While it’s easy to slap the indie label on HINDS’ music, their sound bears an avant-garde individuality, a uniqueness. It’s something that can be hard to wrap your head around at first, but one that carries a certain magnetism, pulling you towards their soundwaves with an inescapable force. The Madrileños’ tales of heartbreak, heartache and a whole lot of bullshit are attenuated by the overlapping vocal melodies and sun-kissed riffs that could have come straight from America’s West Coast. The bleak yet vibrant contrast is characteristic of their sound and creates a blissful exploration of the bittersweet tides of life.
Having recently released their second album I Don’t Run, the four amigos are heading out on a headline UK tour this November, with a stop in Liverpool at Arts Club. Ahead of the show, vocalist and guitarist Ana Perotte, on tour in the USA with the rest of the band, kindly set aside some time from her hectic schedule to chat with James Booton about the constraints of touring, the freedom of a second album and the complexities for an all-female band battling against the industry.
Photo by Alberto Van Stokkum
Hi Hinds, how’re you? How’s touring in the US been so far?
Hola! America is incredible. I’m actually typing this while I sit on the porch of our Airbnb in El Paso, Texas! This tour has been really special so far; we have finally got the time to go to other states such as Florida, Louisiana, Texas, etc., not just New York and California. It has been wonderful. As we are from Madrid, we are used to bands skipping our city on tour, so we really relate to the excitement of the fans in these cities.
You’re renowned for playing a blistering number of shows when on tour (was it really 20 shows at SXSW 2015?). Have you been taking things a little slower stateside this time?
Not at all. Our first year at SXSW we did 16, and our second year we did 17. Last year was 14. Does that sound like relaxing?!
This relentless pace and demand is something you feel made you rush your first LP. Were you able to combat this a little more on I Don’t Run?
Yeh, totally. That’s one of the reasons we called the album I Don’t Run! We were able to take a whole two months to write the songs and then we then spent two weeks recording. After that it took around 10 days to be mixed.
Did you feel as though there was more pressure on the finished product, given more time was spent on writing on recording?
I don’t think so. When music is your life, it’s easy to get a bit lost and think timing is the most important thing; you tend to rush things because you are a touring machine. We would feel like, ‘Oh my god, it’s been a whole month without playing a show in Madrid, what the fuck am I doing with my life? Who am I?’ But everything needs time, and releasing a record not only depends on you; a lot of people have to be coordinated as we have a label in the UK, another one in the USA, another one in Japan, Australia and Mexico!
You have previously said that your new album is “more honest”. Do you think it is essential for music to be sincere? Is this something Hinds always try to convey to the listener?
I don’t think we could do anything that’s not sincere. We are like that. When we started the band we never thought of changing the people we are and the people we show on stage, on social media and in interviews. Hinds is Hinds.
Was there a greater sense of creative freedom on your latest album than on the first? Any changes to your songwriting process, or new recording techniques?
The main change was time. We didn’t have to exhaust ourselves in the 10 days between tours like we did with Leave Me Alone. On that record we were literally meeting to do the album instead of doing laundry, that’s how little time we had. The writing process on I Don’t Run didn’t change much, though. Generally, our songs have two different phases: one where Carlotta and I find chords, melodies and lyrics, and one where the four of us play our instruments plugged in and make it electric. With I Don’t Run, we had a bit more time to start things in the rehearsal room, the four of us. But we always have to take that back to our house to see if it makes senses for our two vocals.
Have there ever been moments where your commitments to recording and relentless touring have become strenuous?
Of course. Always. We never have enough time to go everywhere we want to, to design all the merch we like, choose the supporting bands we dig. We’ve tried since the beginning to be as fair with all the cities we visit as possible, but the world is pretty huge. We are constantly working and thinking on Hinds. This is still a very personal band; it’s the most precious thing we have, and we won’t stop taking care of it. However, I do think we are getting better with experience. We now know how to have a meeting on the phone in the van in the middle of the desert, design posters on airplanes, or do interviews backstage hungover! It’s an art.
There’s an audible sense of camaraderie in Hinds’ music. Is spending so much time together on tour as breezy and joyous as your records?
Yeh, it really is. But, to be honest, as soon as we land in Madrid we all go and have a beer together with our friends. We don’t get sick of each other. What we live is something that no one can understand except us. This makes us more than friends – kind of like sisters.
Do you think there is more pressure on all female bands to uphold certain ideals? Is this something you have noticed in the music industry as your popularity has increased?
Totally. Because we are women, we’ve taken so much shit. Especially when we started. People are not used to seeing real life, down to earth women making music, it seems. Our representation in music is mainly pop stars, related to beauty, delicacy and perfection. We started as a DIY band, learning how to play our instruments on stage, singing and performing as we wanted. We got a lot of critics in Spain. Nobody even thought we were pop-punk, indie. For them it was just women yelling: something very new and annoying, apparently. I think we have to work twice as hard and constantly prove everyone wrong. Still now, we are not ‘girls that just wanna have fun’. We are fucking making art, and we will do it for a long time.
There are some pretty brutally dissatisfied lyrics running throughout the new album. How do you draw such a euphoric atmosphere out of songs that explore such dark stories as Tester?
Everything we write is based on stories that happened to us. I don’t think you need more details than that…
Do you feel that this bittersweet contrast between lyrics and instrumentals is the product of using music as an expression of emotion and as a way to deal with your struggles in life?
Totally. Carlotta and I write the song or a lyric all together, and then we split it to see who sings what. But it’s really easy and enjoyable for us to write. It’s just like having a beer with your best friend and remembering what you/she went through. Sometimes when we feel heartbroken or someone fucks with us, we say to each other, ‘He has no fucking clue of the song we are gonna write!’.
In what direction is the band moving now? What’s next for Hinds when the touring is over?
Hinds play Arts Club on 16th November. I Don’t Run is out now via Mom + Pop Music.