INTERVIEW: Le Butcherettes

When I speak to Teri Gender Bender – front woman of Le Butcherettes – she’s in the van with band mates Alejandra (drums), Rikardo (guitars) and Marfred (bass) on her way to Kansas. Later that evening, the band (who are based in El Paso) are supporting riot grrrls L7 on their current tour, and naturally, Teri is in high spirits. I’m in high spirits too, as I’m talking to the woman who I saw dominate the stage at Hackney’s Moth Club at Le Butcherettes’ headline show a few months ago. Her voice and her presence are a formidable force, and I’m pleased to hear that off stage on the phone, her energy is just as prolific. We talk about the band’s new album bi/MENTAL and their recent support slots with Bikini Kill in LA, and even manage to conjure up a voodoo Beatles collaboration….

Hello Teri! I saw you play with Big Joanie at Moth Club in Hackney a few months ago. Talk me through how that went and how you came discovered them…

I wish I could say that we’re in the know, but I have to give the credit to the show’s promoter. He hooked us up with a great new discovery. They blew my mind, holy shit! They were amazing. Putting that all aside, they’re not just talented – there are many super talented people out there – they’re genuine sweethearts. We shared a dressing room with them and they were very self aware and conscious of space, and we’re the same. We always try not to be a burden, so we were both really shy together, and we bonded over that. It was really sweet you know? “We were like cool, we’re weirdos too, yay! You like pizza, I like pizza!” It worked out beautifully and I saw that they’re playing with Bikini Kill in London soon too, which is fucking awesome.

It is, I’ll be there to watch them! You recently supported Bikini Kill in LA too. Please tell me in as much detail as you can how the gig went…

It was like a dream come true. It felt like winning a Grammy. It was a pretty emotional day as it was, because it was our guitarist Rikardo’s birthday. He was turning the big ’29’ so that was pretty symbolic, it was his birthday and we got to spend it at The Palladium, another great venue that we really love and are big fans of, we’ve seen a lot of great shows there before. And to top that, we were opening up for one of our favourite bands ever. Someone once asked me if you could organise a festival who would you have as the headliner? And I was like “Bikini Kill would be my headliner!” They’re also super sweethearts. They came in to say hello and treated us as their guests, so in that sense it felt like home, very Latino, very welcoming. Some bands are shy, and I know I have been before. But when you get a little older you’re less shy, and you take things less personally. Sometimes people might just be having a bad day and not want to talk you know? I used to take that personally, but the end of the day it’s not about me. Everyone has their own movie going on, you know?

But yeah, Bikini Kill are sweethearts and they were very, very welcoming. Such a breath of fresh air. And their set was amazing, holy shit! They played ‘Double Dare Ya’ ‘Tammy Rae’, ‘Suck My Left One’, ‘Rebel Girl’ of course! They essentially played almost all of their songs off the two records they put out, and the EP that was produced by Ian MacKaye from Fugazi. There were loads of people in the crowd too, I ran in to Henry Rollins, and Juliette Lewis was at the show so it was really cool. There were a lot of people who I would say are usually introverts that came out to go and see them.

That sounds amazing! I can’t wait to see them at Brixton in June. You have a very strong performance style and you seem fearless on stage. Who inspired you as a performer and a front woman?

It’s basically this never-ending love/hate relationship between me and my Mother. I say that because she’s the “real deal” artist of the family, and when I was little she was basically putting her career in theatre on hiatus just to be able to be a stay at home Mum with us. But over the years, she took that out on us. So there was this relationship of “damn, I am guilty because she’s the real deal and she knows it, I know it”, so it’s this angst of me just trying to scream all of that desperation on stage trying to get rid of it. And also to get rid of the wrong-doing that’s been done, you know? For me it’s my therapy.

It helps to have other women Pioneers to open up the past as well, like Alice Bag, Kathleen Hana, Tobi Vale, Karen O and Mon Laferte. Mon Laferte is also fearless off stage. She’s had politicians who want to take pictures with her and she’s been put on the spot by them, and she’s had the guts to be like “I am not going to take a picture with you”. Especially in Mexico, the politics can be very corrupt and messy, so just hanging out with one of them can have you end up on someone’s hit list. So to say no to a Politician is to basically get your name on a hit list. But she’s a badass, she still said no to them and she still continues with her art.

But my Mother, she’s an unlimited source of inspiration. Even though we’re sometimes at one another’s throats.

Congratulations on the release of your third album bi/MENTAL. I read that you felt comfortable working with Producer Jerry Harrison because you were able to be “vulnerable and in-your-face at the same time” – that definitely comes across in the songs on the new record, but can you elaborate on that a little more? Did he leave you to your own devices or did he play a bigger role?

I think it was a combination of everything. When you mentioned about be left to your own devices, that’s something I’m definitely aware of when I’m working with a new producer. When you have your original idea and you’re working with someone new, because it’s always been myself in the past or another member of the band so that there’s always a comfort or a shoulder to lean on, you know? But I felt like it would be great to work with Jerry. He was number one on my list because I’ve always admired his work with Talking Heads, but I’m also a big No Doubt fan, and out of the songs he put out with them, ‘New’ is one of my favourite songs and he produced that.

The fact that he was open to producing for us – and that he’d actually heard of our band – was like “Oh shit, I’m not left to my own devices then!” So from the beginning when we just had a phone call I was shaking! It felt so “Ooooh the mystique!” because we hadn’t met face-to-face before. Then his wife was on the phone and she was great, saying she couldn’t wait for pre-production to begin and she invited me to spend that time with them in their home. They were very welcoming, they had me in their home before we started work in the studio, and I got to see the process of how they live and they welcomed me to be part of their family dinners in the evening. I was living in a home full of love, I felt like the family cat you know? Like when a cat relaxes and their tails gets kinda curly? That’s what I felt like, a relaxed little cat. Being able to relax and explore the songs together and just be part of a family. They had no reason to do that either, it could’ve been all just via email you know?

That’s really generous, and great that you felt relaxed. I know you’re an advocate for being open about mental health, and I think that comes across on the themes and lyrics on your new album. Without being too invasive – are you able to tell me why you think it’s so important to be honest with yourself and with others about your own trauma, and the emotions that come with it?

I think it’s important – at least for me – it’s definitely helped. But some people don’t feel comfortable talking about it, and that’s okay too. It’s okay to hold on to something for a long time, eventually the time will come when you want to talk about it. It’s hard to know if there will be someone to hear you out. You’re never alone though, and I try to tell myself that. Just opening up a dialogue is very healthy, which is something I wish I had when I was younger at school when I had all these questions about why I was feeling this way, or why do I have the urge to cut myself and think these horrible thoughts about myself?

I remember when someone would try to open up about it, at least in Mexico with the Catholic Church – we’d be automatically expelled or put in for psychological testing with such a rude manner. There was no tact, it was like “we better evaluate her because she might be a threat”. So maybe a little empathy and dialogue are what’s needed. With mental health in general though, sometimes people don’t want to take care of themselves, period. They’re dealing with over stimulation constantly. A breather would be good. I feel sorry for kids at school now, I remember when I was barely going in to high school when MySpace was becoming a thing, but I cannot imagine being around [social media] now during pre-school or even kindergarten.

It must be a bit of a minefield trying to grow up nowadays.

Collaboration seems important to you – you worked with Alice Bag & Chilean vocalist Mon Laferte on your new album, and you work with members of the Mars Volta in your other project Bosnian Rainbows. In your mind, what makes for an effective collaboration? Who else would you like to work with in the future?

What makes for an effective collaboration is just the wanting to and the will power to do it. There are many times when people say “Yeah let’s do this!” and I’m guilty of it myself, but then dead air…you see the inactivity or you keep pushing it for later, later…that’s what kills a collaboration. For me, I’m attracted to individuals that are like “Shit, let’s do this now, I don’t care where the fuck we are! We’re gonna make this work”. Where there’s will, and want, and desire to do it then hell yeah – we’re in! So luckily all of these individuals that we’ve worked with have had that and the appreciation do it, you know? Why would you want to work with someone that makes you feel shit, right?

There are many, many talented people out there [that I’d collaborate with]. I say this time and time again, but there’s this great artist called Natalia Lafourcade from Mexico and Vanessa Zamora who is a great folklore/pop star, and a great shredder and songwriter. Also Selda, she’s an OG from Turkey, the list goes on! The Beatles, well Paul McCartney…maybe do some voodoo and get the whole group back? Some Voodoo Beatles?

I think you just found the concept for your next record…

You’re returning to London on 9th July to play the Boston Music Room. What are your anticipations for this gig?

Well, hopefully that some people go! We’ll be playing the new songs off of the new record. I take things one day at a time really, but hopefully when the time comes, that everything goes to plan, that we get there safe, that everyone going to see us gets there safe. The cool thing about it – here comes a sales pitch for our shows – is that we never really know what’s gonna happen, we fucking roll with it. It’s a real kind of feeding thing, a give and take situation, that’s why I’m hopeful that people are going because it’s a two-way street. I feed off of the people the band feeds off the people, we feed off each other. It’s like a feast! We’re all just eating!

It’s going to be a banquet, I can’t wait! You’re on tour with L7 now, so tell me as much detail as you can about how excited you are to share a line-up with them…

It’s show number 6 or 7 with them, but it’s been so chill. Another example of great talent and great people who are fucking inspiring and their fans are really sweet to us. It’s been amazing. Our set is about 30 minutes, so it’s really nice to have some chill time afterwards, because when it’s our own shows we have to basically leave right away because it’s curfew!

We played one show with them in this really old and rustic theatre, which I loved! I felt like there were at least a couple of ghosts there, so that was a highlight for me. I love ghosts, who doesn’t right? Who wouldn’t want to hang out with a ghost? I mean, not a demon, just a ghost. But there were a couple of ghosts in that theatre for sure.

Sounds spooky…What artists are you listening to at the moment. Who would you recommend?

Blood Orange – Marfred & Rikardo put it on when we drive, so we’ve all become fans. I’ve kind of been on a repeat too, going back to the classics like Talking Heads, but my biggest obsession that’s been taking up 80% of my listening time is Ariana Grande! I wish I could say something underground, but I went to see her recently and it was insane how she’s only like, 5″ tall and that voice comes out of her! You can see the pain and grief in her eyes.

Good recommendations. Finally, do you have any advice for any woman or non-binary person who’s contemplating starting a band?

My advice – and I’m sure you hear this all the time – is don’t feel like you’re a burden. I feel like that will hold you back. I’ve missed out on so many beautiful friendships and possible songs and ideas only because I thought I was a burden. I felt like I started late, I was 17 when I started a band but I wanted to start a band since I was 6! All those years – from age 6 to 17 – that’s so many years of fear! I wish I’d started earlier. I mean, there was a band who opened up for Bikini Kill on their other LA date that were 10 years old! When I saw them I was like “damn!” and I was so inspired. They’re definitely not having any fear of being a bother or holding back, and that’s so great.

I feel the same about writing, you know? I’ve always wanted to write books, tangible things, because songwriting can be kind of abstract. I wanted to be a tangible “real” writer but my teachers would get frustrated with me because of my language impediments and I felt like I was being a burden on them so I gave up. But it’s never personal, that frustration you know? Sometimes it’s projection. It’s scary sometimes, but you have to just get out there!

Huge thanks to Teri for answering my questions. Catch Le Butcherettes on their upcoming UK tour (dates below)

9th July – London, Boston Music Rooms
10th July Brighton, Green Door Store
11 July – Cheltenham, 2000 Trees Festival

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Record Store Day 2018: GIHE Picks

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… That’s right, Record Store Day. The excitement, the unity of eager queuers, the smell of that shiny black vinyl as you release it from its sleeve, the empty pockets at the end of the day… But most of all, the music. A day dedicated to celebrating our favourite music, and those wonderful shop-owners who provide us with so much of it.

Ahead of the big day this Saturday (21st April), we thought we’d share some of the special releases that we’re most looking forward to this year. From the emotion-strewn nostalgia of classics by artists no longer with us, to some not-yet heard releases from some of favourite new bands, here’s what we can’t wait to get our hands on…

Mari Lane:

Soundgarden – A-Sides
The day I learned that Chris Cornell had tragically left us all too soon also happened to be the day I was diagnosed with Endometriosis. I remember the day well. I listened to Soundgarden’s A-Sides on the way to and from the clinic, trying to find release in a band in whom I’d sought comfort on such days for the last 20 years. And, as I gazed out of the train window, I soon forgot my health worries as the realisation of what an immense loss the world had just suffered hit me. 

It may seem dramatic being so affected by someone you’ve never met, but I guess I’ve always found something particularly therapeutic about Chris Cornell’s voice. From the raging passion of ‘Jesus Christ Pose’, ‘Outshined’ and ‘Rusty Cage’, to the heartbreaking desperation of ‘The Day I Tried To Live’, ‘Pretty Noose’ and ‘Fell On Black Days’, it’s always been something I’ve sought refuge in; a voice that’s stirred a feeling in me that few other artists ever have.

Released for the first time on vinyl for Record Store Day 2018, A-Sides is a compilation album with songs spanning Soundgarden’s thirteen-year career. It was originally released on 4th November 1997 through A&M Records.

Haley – ‘Bratt’
Formally known as Haley Bonar, American artist HALEY has previously charmed listeners with 2016’s Impossible Dream and played on ‘Later… With Jools Holland’, as well as for the BBC 6 Music Festival in Glasgow. Now, under her new moniker, she recently shared ‘BRATT’. 

Propelled by uptempo, looped beats, it flows with a twinkling, ethereal haze and the subtle impassioned power of HALEY’s delicate vocals. Oozing an exquisite, emotion-strewn splendour, ‘BRATT’ sparkles with a shimmering, captivating grace, showcasing HALEY’s ability to create stirring, heartfelt creations.

‘Bratt’ will be specially released on a Memphis Industries 7″ for Record Store Day.

Courtney Barnett – ‘City Looks Pretty’/ ‘Sunday Roast’
Though I haven’t yet heard either of these singles yet, I have every confidence they’ll be worth the £9.99 I’m hoping to spend on Saturday. I’ve loved everything else Courtney Barnett has created, from 2013’s Double EP A Sea Of Split Peas (featuring the absolute self-love anthem that is ‘Lance Jr’) to the recent first taster of her upcoming album, ‘Nameless, Faceless’ – a refreshingly honest take on male chauvinism.

Courtney Barnett is probably my favourite, and most relatable, lyricist. She has a unique ability to tackle everyday life with a perfect wit and raw honesty; that, combined with her woozy vocals and infectious jangly melodies, makes for an utter dream, and I cannot wait to hear more from her.

 ‘City Looks Pretty’/’Sunday Roast’ is out on 12″ exclusively for Record Store Day via Marathon Artists. Tell Me How You Really Feel, the upcoming album from Courtney Barnett, is out 18th May.

Kate Crudgington:

Blanck Mass‘Odd Scene b/w Shit Luck’
Artists who release via Sacred Bones have been my obsession since listening to The Soft Moon’s latest album Criminal a few months ago, so I’m super keen to hear what Blanck Mass’s RSD release sounds like.

He came to my attention through Gazelle Twin, who contributed a remix of ‘The Rat’ to his latest EP, World Eater Re​-​Voxed. Here on ‘Odd Scene b/w Shit Luck’, the sonic punch of Blanck Mass manifests itself in “a couple of anti-macho pop songs” about a “pair of walking hardons” he observed at a truck stop whilst touring last year. The context will resonate with anyone who becomes enraged when they overhear ignorant people spouting trash in public (aka me).

Neither track will appear on a future Blanck Mass album, as the style deviates from his musical norm – making it the perfect release for RSD.

Odd Scene b/w Shit Luck is a 2 track 12″ released exclusively for Record Store Day via Sacred Bones.

L7 – Fast & Frightening
What’s the opposite of a ‘Shitlist’ – a hitlist? Well, that’s what Riot Grrrls L7’s Fast & Frightening album should be at the top of!

Since watching the ‘Pretend We’re Dead’ documentary (which Tash recommended to me), I’ve been listening to these punks on the regular. This album is filled with rarities, cover versions, tracks only found on compilations or one-off split 7″ singles, and plenty more.

It’s the first time the record’s been released on vinyl, and the perfect purchase for anyone who was lucky enough to score a tickets to their Electric Ballroom gig in Camden on 12th June.

Fast And Frightening is a 2LP out for the first time on vinyl for Record Store Day.

Rage Against The Machine – Democratic National Convention 2000
“Anger is a gift” – Zach de la Rocha’s powerful lines on ‘Freedom’ taken from RATM’s self-titled debut (released back in 1991) still burn with meaning and motivation. In the current political climate, I think we all need RATM more than we need oxygen most days.

This live recording of their protest concert at the Staples Center in Los Angeles in 2000 – attended by 8,000 people – is proof that Rage were a band unlike any other; politically informed, militantly organised and immensely talented.

Each time I think I’ve discovered all I need to know about this band, something like this crops up. They may have split back in October 2000, but their ideologies remain relevant and inspirational.

Live At The Democratic National Convention 2000 is an exclusive Record Store Day release of RATM’s concert in protest of the American political party system.

Em Burfitt:

Ask me? Record Store Day is one of, if not the best, day of the year. Christmas and even Halloween lose all appeal when faced off against independent record shops, limited release vinyl, and queueing. If Brits are the masters of queueing, then I consider myself a master of excitedly queueing on one particular day for records I woke up at 6am to find.

Last year, I added Patti Smith’s Hey Joe/Piss Factory and Anna Calvi‘s Live at Meltdown to my collection. Not to mention the free coffee offered ’round the back of Newcastle’s RPM, Reflex, and Beatdown Records (my “locals”). This year, it’s these releases that have all my attention.

Arcade Fire – Arcade Fire EP
One of the first Arcade Fire songs I ever heard was My Heart is an Apple from the 2003-released Arcade Fire EP. This to the point in which I still tell people that my heart is both full and an apple. I won’t say Napster had anything to do with it, but in rural England in a place where No Cars Go in the early noughties, you do what you can. The Arcade Fire EP will be released for the first time on vinyl and if I don’t find this individually numbered Holy Grail by my favourite band in the world, I’m going to be quite sad.

Arcade Fire EP is out for the first time on 12″ vinyl for Record Store Day.

Daughter – Music Before The Storm
Life is Strange: Before the Storm was Daughter’s first deep dive into the world of scoring and as a massive fan of the game series wherein music is so much a part of the experience that it’s as big a character as the storm it speaks of. In a flagship store on Portobello Road this January, the instantly recognisable track Flawsbroke out of the speakers and my heart, filling it with kind of pain I want to experience again and again. Music from Before the Storm is a double LP that belongs with me, and I shan’t hear otherwise.

Music From Before The Storm will be out for the first time on 2LP clear vinyl for Record Store Day.

(Honorable mentions that will break my bank account: Twin Peaks (Music From The Limited Event Series – Soundtrack) and every single Bowie record available.)

John McGovern:

GOAT – Double Date OST
GOAT are at the forefront of the psych resurgence, and the elusive Swedes are rarely away from my thoughts, so it’s exciting to see them cross over into a more popular medium with the soundtrack to Benjamin Barfoot’s comic-horror. The disc is blood-red and features ‘Run to Your Mama’ amongst other tracks. I might even see if I can pick up a copy of the film on Blu-Ray somewhere – the band themselves appear in one scene which, from the trailer, looks suitably trippy.

Double Date will be limited to 500 copies on 10″ for Record Store Day.

The Heads – Everybody Knows We Got Nowhere
This is a re-issue of The Heads’ second album from 2000 and is widely considered to be the Bristol psych survivors’ best. However, I’ll be trying to get hold of a copy (on clear blue vinyl naturally) because the band’s set at Liverpool Psych Fest in 2015 led to me and my housemates making a new, old friend. He was dancing so curiously that we couldn’t help but say hello and have knocked around with him the last couple of years on-and-off. It’s been a while since I’ve heard from Jon B and there’s no Liverpool Psych Fest this year, and, to be honest, I miss him.  

Everybody Knows We Got Nowhere will be limited to 500 copies on clear blue vinyl for Record Store Day.

The Lovely Eggs – Eggland
I still haven’t got round to picking up wobbly lo-fi psych indiepoppers The Lovely Eggs’ fifth album but having observed their career at a distance, both fascinated and slightly daunted, this RSD release – in Special Fried edition, white vinyl with a yellow yolk centre – has me captivated. Single ‘Wiggy Giggy’ had heavy rotation on Marc Riley’s 6Music show (normally around the time I would actually be frying things for dinner) so it seems like it’s the time to crack on.

Eggland LP will be limited to 500 copies in a special hand-packed sleeve for Record Store Day.

Otoboke Beaver – Okoshiyasu!! Otoboke Beaver
Lately, I feel as though I’m being increasingly led to Japanese music. Gideon Coe played Otoboke Beaver’s ‘anata atashi daita ato yome no meshi’ on his show last month and I’ve been curious about this self-described ‘“Japanese girls ‘knock out or pound cake’ band” ever since. Okoshiyasu!! Otoboke Beaver was designed as an introductory compilation for Western audiences, and is a furious non-stop melee of punk and garage with songs written in Kyoto’s slang. Perfect for dinner parties then.

Okoshiyasu!! Otoboke Beaver, a compilation of Otoboke Beaver’s output from 2010-2015, will be released on solid pink 12″ for Record Store Day.

Finally, we’d like to give a special mention to Jeff Buckley – Live at Sin-é. We actually all singled it out as a particularly special record, and both Mari and John have written about what it means to them… 

John McGovern:
There’s two kinds of people in this world: people who desperately want a special edition version of the outré-emotional sound of young (and sadly departed) Jeff Buckley playing his heart out in the East Village’s most famous little dive, and people who are lying to themselves. I’m in the first category.

Mari Lane: 
I’d never been hugely into Jeff Buckley – I knew ‘Grace’ and ‘Hallelujah’, though having been brought up on Leonard Cohen, I had always favoured the original of the latter… However, in the early days of meeting my partner Paul, I would stay over and he would play music all night as he slept. One of his most-played night time albums was Jeff Buckley’s Live at Sin-é – an absolutely perfect collection of exquisite lullabies. Being a light sleeper, I would lie awake and listen to the gut-wrenching raw emotion of each and every syllable. From the heartbreaking pleas of ‘Lover You Should’ve Come Over’, to the poignant cover of Billie Holiday’s ‘Strange Fruit’ and the soaring, quivering emotion of ‘Just Like A Woman’, I challenge anyone with a heart and working tear ducts to listen to this album with dry eyes. It’s a truly special collection of spellbinding songs from an artist who left us much too soon.

 Live at Sin-é was Jeff Buckley’s debut release for Columbia Records in 1993. Exclusively for Record Store Day, it’s being released as a limited edition with four individually designed LP jackets and an eight page, full colour booklet of photos and liner notes.

Find info on all the Record Store Day releases here. And, in the run up to Saturday, have a listen to our Record Store Day playlist!


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