Tegan and Sara balance looking back on their youth as twins with planning for the future as a duo

Canadian pop music duo Tegan and Sara tell Tom about their latest album Crybaby and a new Amazon series based on their lives called High School.
Tegan and Sara in the q studio in Toronto. (Vivian Rashotte/CBC)

From their latest album and their memoir to the recent updates to Canadian health guidelines around alcohol consumption, Tegan and Sara's latest conversation with Q host Tom Power covers a lot of ground.

On seeing twins onscreen in a new light

When asked about turning their memoir into a television series with Amazon, Sara said the series is a unique opportunity for representation not just for young queer women, but also twins in general.

"One of the first sort of most shocking realizations I had when we started filming High School [was that] I've never watched anything with twins. As a twin, I felt like the gap I guess in some ways that this fills for me as the viewer, was that I was profoundly moved by watching twins, even if it hadn't even been based on our life. Like, here were twins that looked like me or who acted like me...[there have] been these very specific and narrow sort of, you know, I don't know characterizations that didn't necessarily relate to me, but here I was, a twin, watching at 42 years old, twins on screen that reminded me of us, who were literally playing us," Sara said.

On growing up as twins

People who aren't twins might not realize just how different life can be for those who have a twin, Sara explained.

"I think that there's a sort of simplified, dumbed-down version of twins that Tegan and I have certainly struggled with as we've sort of battled through our own personal lives and professional lives, like everybody mixes you up all the time, they can't remember your name, they almost don't even try to remember your name... on the surface that sounds silly, even sweet, quaint, whatever. But imagine that you have gone your whole life, and no one remembers what your name is? Or there's another person out there in the world that people are always confusing you with, that they think you can read that person's mind and that you share all the same opinions and feelings and thoughts? In some ways it's been a very disorienting and sometimes frustrating way to go through the world because it's like, maybe when you're three years old it's funny, but when you're 42 you start to feel like, 'oh my god, do I exist? Am I substantial? Am I being taken seriously?' And so, I think the representation of twins in my life has always sort of been like it's either simplified in this goofy, mind-reading, dress-the-same sort of thing. Or, there's an exploitation, sexual/incestuous thing that happens a lot with twins that, especially as female twins, Tegan and I have had to deal with a lot," Sara said.

On trusting their story to someone else

Although they had a friendship with Clea DuVall before tapping her to direct High School, Tegan said it still wasn't an easy decision to put their life story into someone else's hands.

"We've known each other, we've been friends forever, she's come on holiday with us, she's spent many Christmases with us, so she's not just any old friend; she's someone who has sort of infiltrated the sort of inner family of Tegan and Sara as well. ... I think I just assumed because she was our friend that it would be easy, but it's added a whole layer of intimacy to the process that I didn't expect. And so Sara and I've had to really challenge ourselves and learn to let go, which is really good for us. Even though it's been fictionalized a lot, people are always going to see it as our story," Tegan said.

Today's episode is also available on our podcast, Q with Tom Power. Listen and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.

WATCH | Official trailer for High School on Prime Video: