Two years after Tegan and Sara recorded their first song for a movie – the Oscar-nominated "Everything Is Awesome!!!" for The Lego Movie – the sisters have another, the synth-pop relationship tune "Fade Out," in the indie film The Intervention. A video for the tune pairs its sentimental lyrics with whimsical behind-the-scenes outtakes and bloopers from the movie.
The movie features Natasha Lyonne, Cobie Smulders, Jason Ritter and Alia Shawkat, among others, and it tells the story of four couples who go on a weekend getaway that unexpectedly turns into a "marriage intervention" for one pairing. Sara Quin already had the song, which was written along with the duo's recent Love You to Death, but she adjusted its lyrics to fit the film.
"I played a rough idea of it for Clea [DuVall, filmmaker, actress] and she really liked it," she tells Rolling Stone. "So I tried to imagine Melanie Lynskey's character and the misguided attempt to fix other people's lives when she herself was headed for a fadeout in her own relationship and rewrote the lyrics." The sisters cut it in a quick session they had to end early because Tegan had a severe allergic reaction and needed to go to an urgent-care clinic. "We were hoping we'd recorded enough for the engineer to work with," Sara says.
"'Fade Out' captures the emotional complexity of the film," DuVall says. "I love the duality of the dreamy melody with the somewhat bittersweet lyrics. When Sara first played me the finished song, all of my anxiety disappeared. The more I hear it, the more I fall in love with it."
After the movie was finished, DuVall went back to her footage and worked on the video, which she found to be difficult. "Music video tie-ins with movies are not an easy thing to do," she says. "My goal with the film was to create something audiences felt included in – the video became an opportunity to expand on that idea. The woman who edited the film with me and I tried to create a video that we hope makes people feel like they were there while we were filming."
In addition to enlisting Tegan and Sara to write a song for the film, DuVall hired Sara to work on the score. They discussed some of the parameters for the soundtrack – "Clea hates xylophone," Sara says, and the director wanted "acoustic guitar that would sound like a glass of red wine" – and Sara got to work. "A lot of the first few weeks primarily involved me Googling 'How do I score a film?'" she says. But eventually she settled into a process that found her sampling her own voice and replacing the melodies with instruments like piano that obscured the sound of her vocals.
"A big reason why I wanted to work with Sara on the score is because she hasn't done it before," DuVall says. "I wanted something that didn't sound like the scores I am used to hearing. I'm really thrilled with how it turned out."
The film will come out Friday in theaters, on demand and on Digital HD.