ATHENS CALLING: Hey Teri… from Athens! I must told you ,that I am very happy to talk you because you are a great musician in the world music scene.
TERI GENDER BENDER: Thank you very much but I’m not really a musician for I can not read music or play technically well. I do what I can with my limitations but in no way am I a real musician.. although a fraction of my ego is very pleased with being labeled a musician by you, it helps me feel like I belong that I exist, that I have “a thing.” No one wants to be thing-less in the world unless you are numb. The other fractions of my ego feel insulted by being limited to just one label but then I tell those voices, those pathetic little thinkers to shut up and feel grateful that any one even cares about them.
ATHENS CALLING: When and why did you start playing and which instruments do you play?
TERI GENDER BENDER: I started playing at the age of very little (probably 4? but it is not little at all compared to prodigal children that start at conception) my interests were alway keen on the keyboard and later on the acoustic guitar because I needed something to help me craft my song writing skills, wanted my poetry to come to live in a different dimension. Why? I was pent up in my home, feeling very angry because my mother and father were always at one another’s throats. The internal abuse within the nest was starting to get boring to me and I needed something new in my life to help me have “a thing”. I already felt like an object so I might as well become subject if I create objectless universes that think not of themselves that just merely absorb their creators grief.
ATHENS CALLING: Who was your first teacher?
TERI GENDER BENDER: My first teacher was Misses K- in kindergarten. She was the first woman other than my mother to wipe my asshole. I was growing up and my mother stopped cleaning my ass until I was 9 years old. Yet my first life teacher in life was my mother overall. She did great courages things like move to the USA from Mexico not knowing the language and learning it from scratch despite the ingrained racism hailed at her and my father. I don’t recall ever having an instrumental teacher though. My father loved classical music. Beethoven was my teacher inadvertently. Still so many teachers around me, I am an infinite student. On a serious note, I would sincerely like to say that God was and will always remain to be my first teacher along the side of The Devil.
ATHENS CALLING: Were you influenced by old records & tapes? Which ones ?
TERI GENDER BENDER: Yes. I was in love with my father’s records. He had The Beatles, Cream, Janis Joplin, Mozart, Bach, etc I loved the Beatles. I grew up completely afraid and stunned by listening to The White Album- that record haunted by dreams. My mother loves middle eastern music, her best friend (Dima) was from Syria and they exchanged a lot of cultural knowledge while I was on the floor with Dima’s children pretending to be Christina Aguilera. I’m very influenced by the essence of vinyl in general. I love the feel, the texture and the smell… being able to dive into the lyric sheet has always been an escape. I am proud to say that Cher’s records (she has a big catalogue of diversity) have had a direct influence in my life.
ATHENS CALLING: Something now about your musical memories .What are your fondest musical memories? In your house? In your neighborhood or town?
TERI GENDER BENDER: When I went to Iran, the music being played on the busy streets moved me into a convulsion of pitiless tears within public transportation.
ATHENS CALLING: What genre of music, you love more and why?
TERI GENDER BENDER: As of late my favorite genre is Iranian Pschycodelic Rock- like Kourosh Yaghmael. I love the layering of the sounds and how you can almost smell the wood forge itself with the analog synths telling a story of a mankind’s historic suffering throughout endless repetition.
ATHENS CALLING: What is the reason, that you write the lyrics and the music of your songs?
TERI GENDER BENDER: The reason that I write the lyrics and music of my songs is because they give me reason. There is not one with out the other. My impulses may differ but the main reason is that it gives me a reason to continue the breathing of my being.
ATHENS CALLING: You are too young but you have an amazing music carrier playing with Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, Bosnian Rainbows, Kimono Kult and with Crystal Fairy which of these collaborations is the best for you?
TERI GENDER BENDER: Thank you for saying I am too young, in my head I feel like I am very far behind to what I am actually capable of but it has been my fault due to limiting myself and having brief satisfactions of rest. I am so tired of wanting to sleep. Sleep has held me back. But sleep is needed to tap into the dreams, dreams are very insightful and can make way for new perspective.
ATHENS CALLING: And about Le Butcherettes ? Have you something to say about the band? Because I think that Le Butcherettes is in the center of your heart .
TERI GENDER BENDER: Le Butcherettes has been the central conflict of my mind, (which I admit has truly bribed life into being good to me)- what is center in my heart is my family, whom I feel I have disowned, thus my heart is a black little fig drying up in it’s sick puddle of pride. A long shadow from afar takes hold of it and buries it around my new borne love for man kind.
ATHENS CALLING: O.K about Le Butcherettes ! Today we have many names in the music scene and I must ask you who are your favorite musicians? Groups? CD’s ?
TERI GENDER BENDER: I am not a big fan of the music scene, it has closed doors to artists that offer vision. But the artists that I admire today are Santiago Arriaga, Awol Erizku, Solange Knowles, Deantoni Parks, Paul Anthony Smith, Jorge Michel Grau, Mariana Arriaga, Mon Laferte, Francisca Valenzuela, Lindsey Byrnes, Bex Sheers and Selda (she is not of my generation but she will forever withstand an important force in my creative process).
ATHENS CALLING: Would you like to tell us, if you know a Greek songwriter or a singer or a song?
TERI GENDER BENDER: One of my all time favorite Theremin player/composer/artist/producer etc etc etc is from Thessaloniki, Greece. Her name is May Roosevelt. She is very passionate and very genuine, when I met her I thought that there was a very serene sadness in her eyes, I even began to question my own sexuality.
ATHENS CALLING: O.K about you now…Any concerts or a new c.d ?
TERI GENDER BENDER: Me and the band (Rikardo, Alejandra & Marfred) have been working closely with a producer we love and admire. A teacher who we have learned a lot from. The record is mixed and mastered and is set to be out later this year. I feel a bit strange about it because it will cease to be our little secret and it will probably be stabbed to death because it’s the best work I’ve ever done personally, and if I like it a lot it will mean that The Devil will laugh at it. But God holds me in her arms. We have an upcoming tour on the west coast of the U.S.A with a very legendary band called Hot Snakes. We are all very excited about this.
ATHENS CALLING: I would like to thank you for the interview with my desire you to have a concert in Greece too.
TERI GENDER BENDER: Thank you very much for bearing with me and for supporting this dream of ours. Hopefully one day, I pray, that we at least get to visit any city in Greece and if we are deserving enough I hope so much with all my will to get to tour Greece exclusively.
* p.s- in Spanish HARTISTA with an H means an annoyance