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Le Butcherettes

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Le Butcherettes

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On a hot summer’s afternoon in Northern Mexico, an infectiously delightful voice bubbles down the line as Teri Gender Bender sets herself up to reel off the accolades of her band, Le Butcherettes so far this year. Breathless and bubbly, the garage punk frontwoman says, “I and my bandmates have been touring, I added a new drummer in October of last year – Alejandra Luna is a new addition, so we started touring with her, and she’s been great. On the bass, we have Riko [Rodríguez-López].

“We put out a new record with The Melvins, a collaboration [Chaos As Usual]. I’m working on new music for the Butcherettes, and it’s gonna be produced by Jerry Harrison of Talking Heads.”

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Le Butcherettes genre-defying music has garnered them an exceptionally loyal fan base, in love with their unforgettable personas and entertaining performances. Having toured extensively globally, Le Butcherettes are well-known for their relentless energies. A question regarding how Teri maintains her drive and bounciness has her, unusually, lost for words. “Huh. That’s a great question. Whoa, I just wanna say so many things right now!

“Lately, I’ve felt like I lack drive and I don’t know if it’s my hormones or what, but your question is reminding me of when in my head, the drive was a matter of persistence, of wanting to stay active. I tend to be a very depressed person, so if I’m not doing something, I tend to start hurting my feelings.

…continued below…

 

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“You know that voice, that demon? I guess it has to do with running from that demon, keep as busy as possible. But lately, that demon hasn’t been leaving me alone. Especially since tour finished, I’ve not been doing anything, but it feels so good!”

For all that, Teri often displays superhuman resistance to life’s trials and tribulations, she, just like the rest of us, is afflicted by doubt and self-deprecation. Taking some downtime ultimately though has a positive impact on her songwriting in spite of those demons. “In the van on tour, I’m humming the melody playing the acoustic guitar a little softer but when I’m home? Whoa, when that sadness takes over, that wave?

“Instead of drowning myself in bed which I’m prone to do, I just pick up the guitar, and it helps me, I scream at the full volume – well, considering the neighbours, I wanna be nice to them too – but right there without being ashamed. For me, sharing music before recording an album, it’s the most embarrassing part. I feel naked.” Bender pauses with a heavy sigh.

“I have to look for that arrogant little voice that says, ‘No, come on! Get a little in tone with your emotions!’ I try and balance those good and bad insecurities. It’s good to have the insecurities, but it’s also good to find that strength and that drive, remind yourself of it.”

All that downtime in her room and Teri promises that Australian fans will get a taste of that raging material when Le Butcherettes support At The Drive In on tour this September. “The record, we’re in pre-production with Jerry, and we’re gonna record in August, then we’re going to Australia – ah, I’m so excited!”

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Of the opportunity to share a stage with At The Drive In, Teri’s eccentric excitement bounces on back. “We’re all really good friends and fans of each other’s music; it’s genuine from both sides. Some bands are strictly political and united in a view, but just so you get an idea, all of us, we like to go out, hang with our families.”

Bender loves what she does, and her wonderful Mexican accent sings as she talks about differences in her energy and her audiences from country to country. “If someone says the energies aren’t different, I think they’re lying – that would be denying cultural difference. Sometimes people take it a little personally but in different countries, you know, we’re all different, there are different rules, different gestures – one time we played in Tokyo and the crowd was extremely quiet, and it wasn’t because they were snubbing us, it was because their cultural etiquette is to be very intent on listening to every detail or it might be considered rude.

“Sometimes my performance can be a little sexualised so it might be more taboo in one country over another. In Mexico, women are over-sexualised – it’s a cultural thing that will start progressing, and women will start being taken seriously as musicians and artists – as Kendrick Lamar says, ‘It’s gonna be alright!’”

Written by Anna Rose

Le Butcheretts touring with At The Drive In

28 Sep. – Festival Hall, Melbourne
29 Sep. – Hordern Pavilion, Sydney
1st Oct. – Yours & Owls Festival, Wollongong
2 Oct. – Eatons Hill Hotel & Function Centre, Brisbane

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