Meet Zahira Gutierrez musician, bandmate of the Wild Moccasins, artist from Houston Texas. We talked to her about her latest endeavors and what inspires her.
BB: How long has Wild Moccasins been together? How has it changed over the years?
ZG: We’ve been together for about 8 years now. Members have changed, styles have changed, but most of all the creative process. We’ve all gotten more comfortable with our song writing roles throughout the years. In the very beginning stages of our band (most of us teenagers) Cody brought in a skeleton of a song and we built around it. Now we all contribute pretty equally.
BB: Do you have any other music projects going on?
ZG: I did a solo show back in February that coincided with an art exhibition called “Public Communication : Performing Knowledge of the Body” but ultimately knew that the songs I had written for that would go to making the new Wild Moccasins album.
BB: How was touring with Stars or Of Montreal? Any particular magical tour stories?
ZG: Stars and Of Montreal were both really great. Both bands were similiar in that they had been playing music for a very long time (20+ years). It was very inspiring to be around them and hear their tour horror stories and their triumphant stories as a band. When you’re in a band for a few years and you start to struggle with money, finding a job that will hire you with your touring schedule, figuring out what the next step is, you can lose sight of why you’re really doing it. Touring with of Montreal and Stars reminded me everyday that you should never give up.
BB: Any favorite new bands right now? What are you listening to these days?
ZG: As far as newer bands I’m really into Blood Orange (Dev Hynes), The Juan Maclean. But I’ve mostly been listening to older music like Sade, Janet Jackson, Grace Jones.
I’m on an R&B and dance kick for sure.
BB: Will you be working with Girls Rock Camp again this year? What was that experience like?
ZG: I do plan on working with Girls Rock Camp this year. The experience is like none other. I would have killed to have a program like that when I was younger! The girls are brilliant and show so much potential and their excitement is contagious.
BB: Do you ever feel classified as the female in your band or as a female musician in general?
ZG: All the time. I try to pick my battles these days..but it becomes frustrating when you can tell that’s all a person sees you as, the girl in the band.
BB: I read in Paste that you make your own clothes. Do you DIY anything else? What inspires you to create?
ZG: Making my own stage wear initially came from being broke and knowing I couldn’t afford the extravagant costumes I really wanted. I wanted to look like Bowie or Bjork but didn’t have the resources so I made them myself. It has evolved over the years and now it’s just a part of who I am.
BB: Your work seems part performance, part music, part art, and part fashion? How do all of these things fit together for you?
ZG: Music, art and fashion always seemed like they belonged together for me. I think it’s strange to keep them separated. I honestly have never even had to think about it much up until recently when I had my solo show. Because it was a part of an art exhibition people seemed to question me more on what I was exactly doing, when I just did what came natural to me. I made some people uncomfortable and they left, but the people who knew me seemed to dig it. All I can do is what feels right.
Photos by Sean Askandari. See more of his work at Dress Yo Self.