It seems like Hinds came out of nowhere to charm American audiences, with their catchy arsenal of warm, floating garage rock anthems, unvarnished confessional lyrics, and generally goofy, bright dispositions. While they have a much higher profile on this side of the Atlantic, Hinds have definitely ruffled some feathers in their native Spain – and are enjoying themselves immensely.
The all-female band are Madrid natives, though their sound is as far removed from any Iberian roots as you could imagine: their debut album Leave Me Alone was pure lo-fi, rough around the edges garage rock. Self-professed fans of “real rock and roll”, the quartet has a stripped down and visceral sound anchored in the dual guitars and vocals of Carlotta Cosials and Ana Garcia Perrote, and are more sonically aligned to North American acts like The Black Lips, King Khan & BBQ, and Mac DeMarco. It’s not to say that Hinds are alone in making this kind of music in Spain; the band also cite The Parrots – fellow Madrileños – as a major influence. It’s just that even with globalization, Spanish airwaves are dominated by, well, “Spanish” music. And Hinds’ success at home and internationally has stirred up some strong feelings in the Spanish Fourth Estate.
“The press here always think our success is because of a male figure,” Cosials says over Skype. It’s late September and Hinds are on the tail end of a mini vacation – three weeks at home after spending the better part of two years on tour. Cosials is warm and comes across as a sincerely enthusiastic and friendly person. But as to be expected from one of the more compelling young garage rockers performing today, she’s not one to mince words when it comes to expressing her frustrations with rampant sexism in the music industry – and rightly so.
“Fuck that shit, man! It’s always either our manager having contacts, or us being part of some hidden agenda.” Cosials fumes. “Why is it so impossible for you to believe that we have achieved this being just us, as four girls?”
She pauses to let out a deep sigh, followed by an incredulous laugh and a smile. “I guess that’s life.”
Brightest Young Things: How are things back home?
Cosials: Actually, they are pretty nice. We have had like twenty or so days of vacation – enjoying life for the first time in two years. [Laughs] I mean – regular life, you know? Exactly the way things were when we were just students. Madrid lifestyle: family, friends, boyfriends, cooking, having a kitchen. That stuff!
BYT: Life as a touring musician can be grueling – do you feel like you’ve adjusted well to being on the road?
Cosials: Being on the road drives you a little bit crazy, and it doesn’t matter how intense you tour. As we’ve been touring that much, we were wishing we had a little bit of time off to relax the mind. It really, really, really, really drives people crazy, and you start to understand how musician’s personalities change from doing it. But yeah, we feel ready to hit the road again.
BYT: Do you have any little rituals to fight homesickness?
Cosials: The only trick we use is that we talk a lot. We are Spanish people and I don’t know if you know it, but Spanish people talk a lot about everything. And we are girls, so we talk even more. [Laughs] So, every little problem, or every little good thing that happens to us, we talk about it again and again. It’s so cool, because you never go crazy on your own. We all go crazy at the same time, and you never feel that alone.
BYT: You’ve said you have a hard time writing songs while on the road, but it sounds like you’re at least bouncing ideas off each other. Were you able to put together any new material while on this twenty day break?
Cosials: [Emphatic] Yeah! Yeah, I’m so glad you’re asking that. Actually we are so, so, so happy and so proud. We found a little bit of time for all of us to get together and go to the rehearsal space, and right now we have about five baby songs. I mean, the songs are not finished – at all – because we are very slow in that regard, but we are so happy with the new stuff we wrote.
BYT: Do you plan on performing any of the unfinished versions of the songs on the next tour?
Cosials: Actually, we’ve been discussing this recently. We’re going to try, but I don’t think we should, yet. [Laughs] When you’re a musician and people are expecting you to play new songs, playing them before the album is out is a big deal – for press people and for fans as well. They’re like “wowwww they played a new song!” And I think we shouldn’t do that. [Laughs]
BYT: What was your background in music before starting Hinds/Deers? Did you grow up playing instruments?
Cosials: Yeah, but not professionally, and not all of us. I started taking piano lessons when I was five years old or something, but not for that long. I guess my head has always been musical – I know how to read music, and it’s not like I was completely away from it ever. But no, I never went to the conservatory or anything. And I started to play the guitar when we started the band. It’s kind of weird, because guitar players usually have been playing for over a decade. But we are such beginners! We’ve been playing guitar for like three years, and I guess we’ve learned to play it because of our live shows.
BYT: What were you doing before music became your career?
Cosials: I used to study in medical school – I wasn’t going to be a doctor, but I was in school for it.
BYT: Wow. Big difference.
Cosials: Hmm. Yes! [Laughs emphatically] I know. And the rest of the girls – Ana (Garcia Perrotte, vocals and guitar) was studying a double career that was…it was? [Screams] Ahhhhhh! She’s going to kill me, I never remember this! A ver, I can do this. [Pauses] It was law and relaciones publicas – PR! Yeah yeah yeah. [Laughs]
Ade (Martin, bass) was studying architecture and the drummer, Amber (Grimbergen), was finishing up her degree in photography.
BYT: You guys are super accomplished!
Cosials: Yeah! Thank you!
BYT: Leave Me Alone has a crunchy, almost unvarnished sound texture to it – I know you guys have spoken of wanting your records to sound as closely to your live sound as possible. Do you think you achieved it on the album?
Cosials: Yes. Definitely, of course – there are even mistakes in the recording! [Laughs] We might have crossed the line even, a little bit. Right now when we look backwards – I guess every musician has this problem – you put something out and then you listen to it and say “shit!” I’m not one hundred percent happy with how all of this sounds. [Laughing] I think in some songs we were too brave. Yeah.
BYT: What do you mean by “too brave”?
Cosials: I mean, when we were in the studio we felt very incorrect. We were like [exaggerated enthusiasm] “Yeah! We can do this! We’re going to make this record and we’re making this record to change the world!” You feel super powerful, you know what I mean? You feel great because you love the songs you’re doing. But I think our producer was even more punk than us. There are a lot of mistakes, a lot of vocals we don’t really love anymore, or aren’t really in tune. I don’t know. Some little details that I would change right now.
BYT: Despite all of that, it seems like American audiences love what you guys are doing.
Cosials: Definitely. I mean, I don’t think it’s a mistake right now; I think it’s the right first album, it’s the perfect move. We made a debut album with all the mistakes, personality, and character we had at that moment, and I think it’s very necessary to have this in a first record. But I can’t wait for the second one because it’s going to be a little bit, a little, little bit less…raw.
BYT: Why do you think you’ve been able to connect so well with fans in the United States and Canada?
Cosials: I think it’s because you guys – American people – have a very healthy relationship between music and people. We love music too, and that was the thing we have in common: we are here because we love music and the sensation that it brings you. North Americans love music in a way that’s very passionate and with your heart, and I think we as a band have that too.
BYT: In previous interviews, you’ve discussed experiencing more sexism than ever since starting to play music professionally. How has that manifested itself, and how do you combat it?
Cosials: I think we fight it even if we didn’t want to. We are fighting it even if it doesn’t look like we are. Hinds is super radical against sexism – we are showing four girls from Madrid doing exactly what they want, in a good way.
We are not showing off, we are just doing it, you know what I mean? Making it too obvious doesn’t work – we are here doing music. If we were the ones that are always saying we are against something, that’s a problem in and of itself. It’s better to think positively: I’m a girl writing music, and I’m writing amazing songs you’re going to listen to even if you’re a boy, or a girl, or a fifty year old lawyer. You know what I mean?
I think the most hidden sexism we’ve received is from journalists, actually. Spain is a little slower with regards to sexism, and so so different from America. You guys have so many great bands made of girls, but here it’s nuts. They can’t get over the fact that we are women, and they usually write about us in a very paternalistic way. Pffft!
People started a rumor that one of our fathers is the boss of Coca-Cola. [Laughs] That we are actually a subliminal hidden campaign of Coca-Cola advertisements, since they have a slogan that says “Everyone Could be Coca-Cola” and “Everything Is Real” and we are so real – according to them we are a full-time Coca-Cola ad because of one of our fathers. So, that’s one of the rumors we’ve heard here in Spain. It’s crazy. [Sighs, laughs]
BYT: What has been your favorite place to play in the States, and where are you looking forward to playing on this tour – if they’re different?
Cosials: I really liked when we played in Kansas City, it was really fun. We played twice in a night – in an official show supporting Glass Animals first. Afterwards we had a message on our Facebook page, and they invited us to play in a house party. It was just like the. best. night. of the whole fucking tour – you can imagine. All the rumors you’ve heard, and everything you’ve seen in American Pie – it’s real! It happens in a house party. [Laughs] It was so cool to live it for one night.
On this tour, we’re going to Phoenix, and we’ve never been. I really can’t wait to go there, and I wish we had time to see the Grand Canyon. We have gigs every day and have to drive. It’s a long trip, I know.