The Pride Issue
Young, Gifted and Queer: Q&A with SA musicians Saakred and Pink Leche
Published: July 2, 2014
Hit the bars where SA music makes its home and who do you see on stage? Dudes unlimited, on every instrument, of every genre and playing on every evening. Of course, women represent a good take of the creative musical space in San Antonio, but as Melissa Ruizesparza Rodriguez of Saakred says, it’s largely a hetero male space.
As Saakred, Rodriguez produces dark, abrasive electronica and heartstring rock ‘n’ roll, products of the creative search as a queer musician. Along with Pink Leche, a producer of raspa-sweet electro art-pop, the pair are some of the most visible and imaginative queer musicians active in SA. We sat down with the artists to discuss queer music in San Antonio in all its shortcomings and proud progress.
Would you identify as a musician or a queer musician?
Pink Leche: My music and my identity are super tight, so connected. My music, my background in music and the people I grew up listening to have made me the queer person that I am. And now it’s engrained. I’m fucking proud to be a queer musician, I’m proud to be queer.
Saakred: It’s hard to separate, it’s us making music and we’re queer people. I think it’s all about whether you’re into visibility or not. Or if you understand the importance of visibility.
Both of your stage names speak volumes about your music. What do they mean to you?
PL: Pink Leche is actually from the [Rio Grande] Valley. It’s a raspa. It was one of my favorites growing up. Being an educator, we’re always being warned—“don’t use your name online”—so I always had to go by an alias. Pink Leche to me is where I come from, it’s totally the Valley. And pink is queer, but also, milk reminds me of Harvey Milk.
S: In music, there’s something that you connect to when you’re creating, when you’re singing. For me, this is a sacred thing, what I’m doing here. It’s the idea that everything is sacred. People started calling me that and it’s become my identity too, which has been cool because it’s gender neutral and something that I dig.
Has the SA scene been a receptive outlet for your music and message?
S: I don’t think that outlet is there. Us as queer musicians are paving the way for other queer musicians to do that. Being a woman who’s non-conforming, it’s fucking hard. Because the women that exist in this music scene further patriarchy, playing the game in a way that sexualizes themselves. I would argue that there aren’t many spaces that are available.
PL: We as queer musicians need to find those spaces that allow us to be who we are and do what we want to do.
S: I think you’re right. As a queer performer in a heteronormative space, when I play, women come to the front and queer people come to the front ... It’s existing in heteronormative environments and changing the spaces from within.
> Email Matt Stieb