Hinds is turning garage rock on its head. Hailing from Madrid, the four-piece band creates tunes that welcome call-and-response melodies from its two lead singers, playful rhythms, and surreal lyrics that are at once assertive and introspective. They’ve been touring non-stop for several years, and their latest album I Don’t Run came out in April. I’d say my favorite track is “Linda,” a bittersweet ballad about losing someone right in front of your eyes.
I’ve loved Hinds since my high school years, so I was thrilled to speak to them after their set in Barcelona. While we spent a lot of our time together dancing to Warpaint (who graced the stage later that night!), talking with the girls only deepened my adoration for them. It was like talking to a group of best friends who all happened to be excited about the same thing. They finished each other’s sentences and giggled together through each story–their lightheartedness and passion shone. Without further ado… Hinds!
ALEX WESTFALL: How did growing up in Madrid shape the way you make music?
CARLOTTA COSIALS: I think it’s kind of different for a Spaniard, because we didn’t grow up thinking that music was an option. It just happened much later in our lives. Suddenly, it was like, oh my god, I think we can do this, and we fell in love with the sensation of making music.
ADE MARTIN: It was like, it’s happening!
ANA PERROTE: Exactly. I think it was too late when we realized it was all happening, so we just went with the flow.
I think being a fan is really important in influencing the way that people create things. Can you talk a bit more about that?
Ana: It really is. When we were just starting, we listened to Black Lips, Ty Segall, Shannon and the Clams, Twin Peaks, The Strokes, Arctic Monkeys. We were fans of so many people for a long, long time before we became musicians. You can see it when we perform. That’s the first rule with all of the decisions we make: it’s like, am I proud of this? Would I want to see Arctic Monkeys or The Strokes play this? We also want to create a Hinds festival, because we’ve been to so many of them and have all the clues to make the dream lineup for everyone.
Which musicians do you go back to for writing inspiration?
Ade: Neil Young!
Carlotta: We’ve had a new tech guy this past tour who loves his music–there aren’t many people who write verses about mountains. Generally, we always go back to the same ones. We always go back to the Rolling Stones. And Alex Turner, lyrically and for melodies.
What is your songwriting process like?
Ana: There are two different phases. First, it’s the four of us. Everyone is writing with their instruments in mind, putting it all together, thinking about things as a four-piece. Then there’s another phase that’s mostly melodies and lyrics–and that’s only Carlotta and me. We’re looking for the chords that nice melodies can go with. Sometimes it starts with the four of us and we try to bring that back to Carlotta and me, or sometimes the two of us bring a few chords to everyone and we work from there. But we take our time. A lot of times, we take it to the group, we change it, we bring it back to the two of us, and we change it again–it’s a really long process.
How has the writing and recording process changed from Leave Me Alone, your first album, to I Don’t Run?
Ana: For I Don’t Run, we had more time to write. And that time was more concentrated instead of split in between tours–in between tours for one year, we wrote eleven songs for Leave Me Alone! This time, we finally had the time and the power to say no to some commitments and take a month and a half to just focus on the record, which we wrote in Carlotta’s house.
Carlotta: As for the preparation process for each song, it has been the same for both albums.
Ana: Leave Me Alone was a mix of songs that we had already released as singles with newer stuff–it was raw feelings loosely connected. With the time we had for I Don’t Run, we could actually think about everything–what we were going to say, and other details: art, merch, music videos. We could focus on the whole thing as a rock album as opposed to a group of songs. We also toured so much in between the first and second albums–we were already looking forward to showing the world who we were as a band.
You’ve practically been everywhere on tour! How is touring as a lifestyle? Do ever get tired of it?
Ana: We love it and we get tired of it. It’s impossible not to be tired on tour!
Ade: I love going back home. We go back a lot, and then we have to decide what to do with our time, which is weird. To decide what you’re gonna do with your whole day…
Ana: When we go home, we share all of our friends. But we also take some alone time. It’s not the same being with the four of us as a band, and being the four of us as friends. We never get sick of each other–we just get sick of having nothing new, like having the same opinions.
Carlotta: At the same time, I can’t wait to go back to Madrid and actually meet each other for a coffee because we chose it. [Looks to her bandmates] I am always choosing to spend my time with you guys!
How do you conceptualize your music videos ? How do you figure out how to present a song visually?
Carlotta: I think music videos are very, very important–it is not that easy to make a good one. Still, so many bands that you love don’t have music videos that you love. For this album, we wanted it to be chill; to represent what we were in that moment writing the album. We started with the football stuff–Hinds as who we are in Madrid, with our Madrid friends and all of that. And then we went to the surreal and dreamy Connecticut snow, and then we went back to the vibes in Madrid again. The string of music videos is like a going-and-coming-back story.
I love in the part in “Ma Nuit” that incorporates a vocal layer of Spanish verse. Is there ever a longing to write more in your native language?
Carlotta: We really make an effort to say what we want to say. Not only with what we wanna say, but what we mean about what we were feeling in that moment. We take care of each word.
I read in one of your recent interviews that emotion is one of the most important things in the creative process, and I think that is essential–so many musicians believe that it’s all about technique.
Ana: Yeah, we still believe that the greatest songs can be played with one guitar, and like a melody. You know, really singular. And then you can make it as fun and interesting as you can. But if you can play that song with one guitar–even if it sounds incredibly difficult–then that’s a good song.
What else inspires you?
Ana: We love the movie The Darjeeling Limited and the book How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran.
Amber: Food! Tacos inspire me. [Laughs]
Ana: Life inspires us! Because we write about how we feel and our personal experiences, everything that we live together counts. Every little drama, joy, or happiness that we have, we can convert that into a song. It’s cool because we are living through most of it together. Or Maybe Ade’s living through it, and I’m close to her as a friend, so I’m living through it too. We can turn that into art and make it something beautiful.
I’m always trying to explain to people why art is so important, but I can never find the words for it!
Carlotta: Yeah! I read the other day that art is completely unnecessary for people, but at the same time, it is so necessary. We have a weird job here–a job that doesn’t really count towards outreach or politics. But I think we are so deep in our own hearts–so much so that it matters just as much as something like politics.
I read in previous interviews about how you never really thought about being an all-woman band initially, but as you’ve gotten more experience in the industry, you’ve had to think about it. There’s this catch 22–either you call yourselves a woman band and go with that brand (and people think you’re only good because you’re women) or you reject that label completely…
Carlotta: It’s tricky, because it’s still more cool to be a boy than to be a woman. We’re working on that. You feel the effects of success everywhere. Being in the music industry, where almost everybody is a man, you always want to say, hey! We’re girls, we’re cool, we play the guitar, we do it right, we do our thing.
Ade: We have to prove ourselves all the time.
Carlotta: Exactly. It’s cool to point out that we are women, but I don’t want to point it out that much either. I just want to be a person who does music!
Do you have any advice for young people who want to make music?
All in unison: Do it, do it, do it!
Ana: I’m not even gonna say dream big. Don’t dream–just do it and learn how to do it. And it works. Things work if you work a lot for it. Just do it. Do it, do it, do it. ♦