Popular music analyzers would hastily claim musicians such as Lady Gaga to be political activists. While she may be in her own right, the artist’s controversial nature barely touches LE BUTCHERETTES’ rash, outspoken personality with a sound stemming from garage and punk. As frontwoman Teri Suaréz told us, such an attitude rises from creativity, a trait that has both its positives and negatives.
Bad Religion’s Greg Graffin has been noted to say “Creativity is a challenge” and that it “bridges the conflict between our individualistic and our sociality”. Do you agree or feel as if you can relate to that?
Definitely agree. When you’re creating you’re going up against your own personal limits but as well as the limits of others. The creative process provokes that line in the sand and that’s the beauty in it. It’s challenging. That man from Bad Religion is a very smart intellectual. It sort of relates to a book that I’m reading right now called Our Band Could Be Your Life. It’s about DIY punk and how bands grew to the point by overcoming challenges with creativity. The first chapter on Black Flag starts to explore that.
Why is it some individuals feel the need to be creative through music?
If they didn’t they would damage themselves. They’d just become waste. If I wasn’t in a band and wasn’t involved in music I would probably be in Denver or Guadalajara drinking heavily everyday. I don’t do drugs but I would be doing drugs because you’re solely focused on your problems. Music makes you not think about your insecurities. Instead, it plays with them and converts your weakness into an animal that’s controlled, but brought out through singing or your instrument of choice.
Do you think you tested your creativity on Sin Sin Sin?
I wrote those songs when I was 19 so it’s hard to say. The labels in Mexico would come to our shows and show they liked us but they didn’t want to sign us. We weren’t what they were looking for as they wanted popular music. When we were actually making the record, myself and others like Omar Rodriguez-Lopez who produced it, agreed Sin.. is pop inspired. There are elements in some songs that are pop. But, Mexico has a lot more than rock; an underground scene is unique, but theirs is much more unique. They looked at us and said that’s been done before; Joan Jett and Marnie Stern exist.
That was hard to take in because I’ve been trying to be different all my life. Our next album will be better in a progressive way and will be different from anything we’ve ever written. That’s why there’s variety on this record and who knows what will happen next. It might be rap music.
“ My lyrics are very personal and distant in a sense and people have said the music and the purpose is ridiculous and that I’m a hypocrite.. the presence, that’s who I am.”
Was it difficult to test your range, creating short tracks and then others that were nearly twice as long?
A bit but I owe all of it to Omar for that. He pushed me to do things I never thought of doing. He’d look at a song that was just over a minute long and tell me not to be afraid to add an extra chorus or make this one longer than it already is. It was hard at the beginning because the group started with guitar and drums. We wanted to be basic; but when making this record for Le Butcherettes, Omar told me to do more.
You’ve stated before the live stage is where you can “free your animal”, free who you really are. Don’t you find that difficult when there are so many eyes on you content on making their own personal judgment?
It’s horrible. Most of the time, I can be extremely nervous. Like my boyfriend invites me to have dinner with his family at his house and everyone there has their eyes on you as they criticize every action you make. There, I’m much more restricted and quiet. On the stage, there’s the same feeling you get from those watching you but I’m required to sing, perform and express myself. There is a visible barrier there and I try to my best to ignore it.
Is your expressive nature the reason why your music has garnered so much attention in so little time?
It could be. People should know it’s just a part of me, it makes me who I am. I give everything I can in what I do. You can see that in the record and when we play on the live stage.
Have Deftones or The Dillinger Escape Plan commented on your sound at all during this recent tour run with them?
They’re really cool and laid-back. My mother always says to expect the worst from those you admire but both bands have shown interest and actually watch us play all the time. The guys from Dillinger Escape Plan are in the crowds and Chino from Deftones is always off to the side taking a listen to us. They’ve only seen us live though and it’s a lot different from the actual record so hopefully we can get a few copies to them before this run’s over.
How do you feel about being a role model to other musicians?
I do not see myself as a role model. Wow, if that’s true (laughs), I’d feel as if I’ve done my job and I could step away from music. I’ve befriended a lot of musicians on tour and been engaged in deep conversation but no one has said I’ve been an inspiration. Anyone can be expressive; everyone has that personal rage inside of them, that inner emotion they need to let loose. As far as being a role model, I guess it’s cool.
Have you received any recent negative reactions?
Recently, it’s been a bit painful. My lyrics are very personal and distant in a sense and people have said the music and the purpose is ridiculous and that I’m a hypocrite. You look at the stage, I’m Teri Gender Bender. The presence, the performance, that’s who I am. They can judge but like my mother once told me, “they don’t pay your rent”. I’m so used to being criticized and I’ve learned to deal with it so it’s cool.
Does that influence you to be even more expressive on stage?
For a while, friends who are also enemies, “frenemies” I guess, would tell me what I’m doing on stage is wrong and that I’m embarrassing myself. But you go back to the first questions you asked, what I do on stage relates to that. What I do is how I express myself, it’s why creativity is a challenge. I am trying to tone it down though. I just turned 22 so I still have a way to go. I am a bit less naive and my personality, it may change.
[Like this interview? Find more music news and videos on Twitter]