Interview with Teresa Suárez Cosío (Teri Gender Bender) (Le Butcherettes)

Congrats on the killer record. 

Thank you!

A Raw Youth taps into the youth in general, but you have a particularly interesting story growing up in Guadalajara. Could you explain what it was like there and how you started writing music in the first place?

Guadalajara: meaning river of stones. Growing up there was a bit part of what prepped me up for life on the road. You have to learn to roll with the punches in México, make something great from those gut wrenching punches.

Anything can happen at any given moment yet when you do take the risk of going out you are rewarded with great life experiences that make you grow an extra thick layer of skin. There are many cons but I do believe that the PROS make Guadalajara a place worth living in or at least to visit once before you die.

The pros are many, it’s rich history, the parks, the cathedrals, the food (the famous tortas ahogadas and carne en su jugo for all you meat eaters) the museums and the residential colonies that neighbor a street full of topos (bumps that reduce the speed) and round and abouts. Funny and ironically enough Guadalajara has some of the nicest and biggest shopping malls I’ve ever seen, where as down a block from some of the malls you see extreme poverty to extreme wealth. A big main con the never ending corruption, it is so evident and in your face that is becomes a mind set and ingrains in the culture.

Guadalajara pulses with oozing life forces. It would be impossible not to be inspired. Jalisco in itself inspires anger, love, passion and a search for something… anything. The ways of the people taught to be stay grounded.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Hold strong to your stubbornness & don’t let people push you around. I will say this to my future older self as well.

The one question I have wanted to ask was, Alice Cooper is famously known for “killing off” Alice onstage and walking off as Vincent Furnier. He is only Alice onstage. Is Teri Gender Bender your Alter-Ego? The one we see on stage?

I don’t even know anymore. Sometimes I’m in denial and I like to think that I’m a librarian, I think my true alter ego is that of a librarian. When I go on Ride Apps, when making conversations with the drivers, and if they ask me what I do for a living, I incarnate the story of a librarian. My secret dream job.

It is pretty convenient though, to be able to blame everything on your alter-ego, isn’t it?

Is there an interesting story on how Teri Gender Bender came to be?

I am convinced that Teri Gender Bender was already here before I was born, I just have the honor of being able to tap into her. Jajajajaja!!! *manic laughter*

I know that you identify as a feminist. What are your thoughts on feminism and femininity? And how does that fit with old school punk?

Femininity is all around us as well as masculinity. Neither source of energy should ever be denied. Femininity is in the sky, in the rivers, soil, trees, oceans (yet slowly but surely we are ravaging her, and as we ravage her we as a totality of human nature embody the energy of masculinity). Natural Masculinity is in the volcanoes, in the earthquakes, it’s storms… it tries to defend mother earth to replenish it’s self.

Feminism is a necessary tool that is glorious to tap into. It gives me a purpose, the essence of feminism is poetry and rage, in search for justice, a mission… it provides a meaning to my life. An influence that embodies the subjects of many branches. It is chaotic and philosophic just like punk is. It does not discriminate. That is why both galaxies go so well together because they embody the spirit of conviction.

What led you to American punk music? You’re quite open about your love for Iggy Pop and Black Flag.

Musically speaking, my love for classical rock music from the 60’s led me to punk rock music. Spiritual speaking, my search for a palette that would permit me an outlet to throw up my angst on.

Iggy Pop is featured on A Raw Youth singing with you in Spanish! Can you please tell us a bit about that?

He is a true gentleman. Him and his wife are great people. His support team is professional while maintaining a family vibe, welcoming and genuine. It all started when Le Butcherettes toured with Iggy some years ago. Offstage Iggy, Omar and myself would have conversations in Spanish. It was very fluid that it was until later that we noticed we were actually all speaking español to one another. So it felt natural to ask him to sing on La Uva. His process consisted of driving around in his car with the demo and he would sing along to it, learning it, finding different ways into it. He did a couple takes, each with a differently tonality and a unique attitude with a certain emphasis to soft whispers that linger in your ear after listening and comping. It was an honor.

Who are some other artists that you dream of working with one day?

Annie Clark, Francisca Valenzuela, Deborah Harry, Kimbra, Alice Bag, Natalia Lafourcade, Mon Laferte and last but not least the great Selda of Turkey.

Last time you were here you played Soundwave, (the last one ever) how was that experience? How was the feedback from the Australian public?

I was just happy that a festival in Australia took it’s chances with Le Butcherettes, despite us having played in Australia multiple times, sometimes difficult to go often on festival runs because some promotors don’t know any better. It’s all a matter of consistence, independence and time… speed of implementation… the hard work ends up paying at the end of the day but then there are bad days as well.  Sometimes it’s not enough for a promotor that a band tours all over the world or that it has a following in his or her country. So, it was a humbling journey, to be able to play Soundwave, in a festival where the great majority of crew/artists were white males with black wife beaters on.

I think the public that saw us, picked up right away that we stuck out like a sore thumb, and it might not have been completely understood but I felt a genuine connection. Also, everyone who worked at the festival treated us very well. It feels like a distant dream now.

While we are on the topic of live performances, I wanted to ask you about your live shows because they’re so extravagant, exhaustive & angsty. When you’re writing your music, do you ever visualize how you might perform it live on stage? Or does that come after the fact?

I used to visualize playing live in front of people from 3 years to probably 16 years old. It was since I was finally able to find an open door to playing shows that I stopped, the ambition progressed into a different yearning. Visualizing to me is like mental rehearsal. I feel like I have been visualize Le Butcherettes since I can remember it was until my early teens that I started finding tangible ways to write them down on a note book. Ideas, emotions and silence.

Le Butcherettes are bringing their sophisticated punk’n’roll to Australian stages this September/October to support fellow Texans At The Drive In at their Brisbane, Sydney & Melbourne shows, as well as making your debut performance at Yours & Owls Festival. As if these shows weren’t enough to get your head around, You also announce a one-off headline performance at Sydney’s Lansdowne Hotel on September 30 as part of the Rolling Stone Live Lodge. All between the 28th September – 2nd October, it literally is just the weekend. Are you planning on any sightseeing this time that you may have missed out on last time?

I’m just hoping for the essential; that our health will let us continue with our life plans and that we get through the shows, offering each one a unique finger print of passion. I definitely plan on walking around the venues and hopefully get to taste some local cuisine, I’m lucky to say I have a dear friend in Melbourne and hopefully we get to meet up in Sydney and catch up. But me? I’m always interested in any sightseeing, hopefully time will permit us a special occasion of museum touring.

Thank you again for taking the time to answer and we hope to see you on the road real soon!

Thank you for taking the time to getting to know me. Hopefully one day it’s in the flesh!