q&a: teri gender bender, le butcherettes
I recently discovered Le Butcherettes through listening to Teri Gender Bender’s other band Bosnian Rainbows. Now, their new album ‘Cry Is For The Flies’ has been on repeat for the last month. Released on Omar Rodríguez-López’s label, Nadie Sound, the sophomore album is an evolving mix of dark 90s rock, PJ Harvey vocals and punk. Fittingly Henry Rollins and Shirley Manson feature on this political anthology. I recently spoke to Teri about upcoming tour plans, playing Coachella and the very real challenges the world is facing.
I’ve heard a lot about you as a charismatic front person. Can you tell us about the rest of the band?
The rest of the band is Lia Braswell. She is only 23 years old and plays with the technicality of a jazz player and with the soul of a loyal, untamed beast. She’s a good person and very appreciative and gives her all for the highest purpose, which is to serve the music.
Do you intend to tour Australia?
Oh my, yes. Of course. The first time LB played there was amazing. Lots of good people. The long drives were truly fulfilling in the sense that there is much tall emerald grass, very different to that of the west part of mother nature. We got to see a lot, Perth, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Adelaide. We definitely plan on going to Australia this year for sure. Such great weather and I’m very amused by Australian Mexican restaurants. It’s whole other world.
What’s the difference between being a musician is the US compared to Mexico?
Well, that is a very tricky question only because every person has a different experience. In my experience, at first I used to think that being a sound carrier was harder in Mexico, but over the course of a year I put together a great team that helped me prepare for my crossing over. I know it’s harder for other people because sometimes it comes down to knowing the right people. I was strong enough to surpass the negativity from certain haters only bringing me closer to the people that helped me out. You see, I was never in a major label, and I wasn’t looking for one – I just wanted to be free to do what I pleased, scream, whisper, make, create without any limitations… and that is hard anywhere in the world. It’s just a matter of finding the right team/friends that will help you… and of course hard work.
I see the human race as building to a crisis point. Do you think life will change drastically soon?
Yes. Of course. We are going through very interesting times…. fascinating life changing times. Science is excelling more than ever. Technology is becoming more advanced and the rich keep getting richer. The music industry is going through tough times, records do not sell like they used to, rules are being broken, remade, some are scared and refuse to admit to change, the waves are growing and someday the coastal shores, California, Florida, Netherlands etc, will cease to exist, global warming is real, creationist are in denial. The internet is a huge advantage because we have information at the palm of our hands yet since we have all information a huge social issue is occurring where people have become completely dependent and lazy on devices. Many wars are going on, media manipulated distractions occur to keep us on a blind fold. Monsanto is evil. There is money to be made and the working class man remains as hopeful as ever. My dad was a working class man and his dream was to give his family a future. That’s all he wanted, yet it is amazing and hard to believe that there is so much greed in this world that contains life. We will find other life in this lifetime. I am sure. So many changes, so many changes… special times.
How was Coachella?
I loved Coachella, the car rides from the green room to the stage were nice because the breeze went through our hair and I felt like a million dollars. The kind man that escorted us to the stage was from Argentina so we spoke Spanish and he told me he liked LB. I was very blessed. Good times. Great public. People went crazy and the sound was decent. Unfortunately I got a horrible heat stroke/migraine but the amazing members of ATDI were nice enough to take care of me and gave me salt and potassium to help me recover. It was hot. Desert heat is not for me… pretty ironic because I live in El Paso, so I guess it is for me.
Who are you listening to at the moment?
At this moment I’m listening to myself. Only because we are comping my vocals to some new material in the studio. But when I’m not in the studio I love listening to Agent Ribbons, Apolo, Sister Crayon, Lydia Mendoza, Renee Moi, The Coathangers, Joy Formidable, Garbage, Henry Rollins – all Omar Rodriguez Lopez‘ albums are amazing. Beck… I listen to Beck constantly and also to a lot of Lila Downs. Oh, and Billy Ray Martin & Sparks!
What do you think about culture and how it impacts on equality?
There are many different types of culture. In some cultures it’s acceptable to castrate women. People that defend these cultures are in the wrong. They are trying to be politically correct. I’m sorry, but I’d rather be straight up then be politically correct. When a culture persists in constantly plummeting and kicking the female sex to the ground because it’s in the name of Allah or God, then count me and my children out.
There is no “perfect” culture, every culture has its beauty but women are definitely on the bottom of the pyramid. I’m from Mexico! I’ve hung around from high-class to low income crowds; the woman is viewed as a slut, a joke in the majority of people’s eyes! Sick mentality… that has been ingrained in our mother’s mother, father’s father and so forth… so yeah, it’s going to take a while to fully undo. No war can be won entirely. It’s not that black and white.
How has Bosnian Rainbows changed how you make music with Le Butcherettes?
Everything we lived together is definitely a learning experience for everyone in the band. Being around people that are just as obsessed with music as you taught me that I wasn’t alone. D is always writing songs on his recording devices for his band KUDU and Dark Angels, Omar has a great ear and is an expert at polishing songs and giving them defined structure. I for sure learned a lot. Before BR was started I went to the studio with a lot of songs I had written at hand and Omar (producer for the record) selected a bunch of songs that he felt were more appropriate for LB and another bunch that he felt were perfect for Bosnian Rainbows. It was really interesting to see that I was capable of seeing another side of me come to life in other project. I knew I was capable of writing all kinds of music but Omar really supported that to the hundredth degree. Because I can’t think like that. About separating colors, or sounds. To me it’s just songs that I make. My goal is to just record as much of it possible. The rest takes a life of it’s own.