Interview by Miriam C.
Oh, I’m so happy because after some years of real struggle I’ve managed to interview Teri Gender Bender for the garage band Le Butcherettes. Aside the music, I hold to be true that this Mexican artist is a very interesting person for her artistry and ideals: I totally agree when she affirms “that life works in mysterious ways” because you’ve to let it happen and flow with it. But enough with this schlocky philosophy, we’re here to talk about the self-titled debut of Crystal Fairy out now on Ipecac Recordings, the new supergroup who in its ranks features also Buzz Osborne and Dale Crover from The Melvins and Omar Rodriguez-Lopes from At The Drive-In/Mars Volta. Join me in this peculiar interview!
Hi Teri, finally, welcome to Femme Metal Webzine, how are you?
I’m okay. I’ve been up and down, but haven’t we all, right? That is the true beauty to life, you can either make the best of it or sleep.
The press have already aptly dubbed Crystal Fairy as a supergroup but in truth how you and Buzz Osborne, Dale Crover and Omar Rodriguez-Lopez managed to get together and create this new musical creature?
We (my band Le Butcherettes) were on tour with The Melvins. I think it was destined to happen. Ever since I was little I had a strong connection to The Melvins music, I also listened to Black Flag, Iggy Pop, Garbage, Nirvana, Bikini Kill, Sonic Youth, The Dead Kennedys, etc etc… and I felt a strong connection to them as well… and magically enough I’ve somehow come across these great visionaries and have been fortunate enough to have worked hard in my craft, helping the magic come alive and allowing for us to cross paths. I guess, it’s all about the magic. I can explain every boring detail (which of course to me it is not boring but maybe it could be for someone outside of this music world) but the essential plasma of this is that life works in mysterious ways and I believe in magic. Magic has put us together. Our hard work and vision has helped make all of us meet and put ideas into fruition.
On 24th February, Crystal Fairy will unveil their self-titled album via Ipecac Recordings. What you can share about its recording sessions?
That it was a wonderful experience that I think may be hard to pin down with words. It is a bit hazy for me because I am still in a state of shock. A dream that came true for many on many levels. We didn’t go in the studio with a preconceived motion of what we are getting ourselves into!
All the members of Crystal Fairy, as said before, are already active members of several renowned bands like The Melvins, Le Butcherettes and At The Drive-In/Mars Volta. I was wondering to understand how was working with them and mainly, in which way do you feel that the approach is different of when you work with Le Butcherettes?
Working with them was like drinking water. It just came very natural. It felt like we were all thirsty to drink the water which the after comes even more naturally, swallowing comes natural, the muscle reflex is stored in the brain allowing the water to be drunken at a very fast speed yet we are not drowning ourselves.
For what I know, you’re the author of all the lyrics. I believe in artistic freedom and I think that it’s not even right to ask about it in details but if you don’t mind, would you like to give us a general picture on which Crystal Fairy’s debut focuses on?
I’m the author of the lyrics, melodies and some of the music. It was very nice to collaborate with the guys because it was without a question all about the freedom of artistry. I would never be able to work with anyone that keeps me down and refuses to try out an idea of mine. That would be pure self torture! Jaja! Our focuses were to enjoy ourselves during the process, there was a nice cultural exchange of background while at the same time we got to know our similarities as people as much as using our differences as our strengths in the studio and in life generally speaking.
By now many of your fans are curious to comprehend if after this debut there will be any follow up, what do you think about it?
I really don’t think about that because in my head… in my reality, I have no fans… I’m pretty cynical when it comes to those things. There are so many talented, mind blowing projects and many movements going on in the music world, and even so I really don’t think people have the time to be anyone’s fan anymore. I think my generation (millennial) are more into being a fan of themselves, and that is okay… or is it? It’s a constant question I try to figure out, is self love okay? Is this technological age making room for hungry artists like us or are we all of the sudden equal in all the ways possible, leaving room for self sharing and self love for the consumers? Are we entering a bohemian communist way of living, sugar coated by capitalistic memoirs of the penny-less self? In the end, if we are being real here, what I can truly appreciate is the people that show up at the shows, and I can see that there are real people with real souls in a room being unified by a sound coming from real people.
By this time, the singles “Chiseler” and “Drugs On the Bus” got published since December. How did the press reacted and what insights you can share about these songs?
Once a song is shared with another individual, it stops pertaining to you, hence you experience a soft death, a quiet loss. From that point on, you move on to the next birth of a new song, and start the process all over again yet the process can never be the same, which is why the sharing of music is like a death and takes on the shape of something new in someone else’s eyes… though I must admit I never look into what the press thinks or what the reactions are because that is no longer a part of my process, it is like having an amputation and the doctor keeps the leg, you don’t want to know from the staff’s mouths what they think of your rotted up meat that no longer is a part of you. You just want to move on in your life and heal and find a new creative way of learning how to walk again.
Teri, many fans know you for being part of the Mexican garage rock band Le Butcherettes, for the ones that still don’t know your band do you mind introduce it a little with some biographical hints?
I am awful at this because I feel like I’m trying to convince people to get me. What I can openly say at the back of my head is that my band is not a mere band, it’s been a collective, morphing animal that has overcome a lot of obstacles and still managed to reach heights I would have only dreamed of achieving. From playing all the world, from Japan, to New Zealand to Australia to South America to Canada from little Guadalajara from my little room with my fathers ashes sitting in a box inside my brother’s backpack next to me, I can say that I’m very proud of my little band because it has grown into my giant universe that has helped me connect and link with people of all different cultures. I think it’s very important for artists to stop explaining themselves and let their hard work and sweat do the tongue wagging or finger clicking.
Le Butcherettes’ last full-lenght dates back to 2015 with “A Raw Youth” released always via b. Which memories do you hold dear about its creation and what you can partake about its genesis?
Tracking Iggy Pop for “La Uva” was definitely a high light moment for “A Raw Youth”. The man is pure bliss. That is truly a memory I hold dear, because I got to fly to Miami for the first time and go to Iggy’s studio of choice, where the engineers in there are like an extended part of his family. I got see Miami through Iggy’s eyes. That is something very special to me. Getting to partake in a bit of musical history just by being in the same room as him… the man is the father of inspiration. I think “A Raw Youth” is going to be a record that will be fully praised in it’s right by the year 2020. It’s a record I am extremely proud of because I think it is the bridge that will help me turn to a direction of total wildness for the next LB record.
In February, Crystal Fairy will play in the States for 5 exclusive live shows in California, after this what are the next band’s plans in terms of touring?
Sadly, those shows had to be cancelled due to family matters which led to conflicting schedules, but even with this I feel that it is an honor, to be able to say that we had some shows planned but because life is going on around us we have to post pone them. I prefer to see the glass (of that delicious water) half full. Hopefully in the future we can tour once things start to settle down in everyone’s mind.
So, Teri, it’s time for your parting words – I really thank you for your time – please greet freely our readers and your fans. Thanks again!
Wow! Everyone thank you for taking your sweet time to read this and thank you Femme Metal Magazine for giving a hoot of what I think regardless of how pretentious I sound, I am a very shy and quiet fool. And if I do have any fans out there, than all I can say is that you are out of your minds! JA!!!
Photos by David Goldman