Interview: Hinds

Last night, in an attic above the Tunbridge Wells Forum, we pulled up a sofa to have a chat with the Madrid four-piece Hinds ahead of the night’s live show. Slouched with cans of beer and friends including the support act Oscar, Carlotta, Ana, Ade and Amber have been on a mini-tour across the UK in the lead up to their debut performance at Glastonbury this week and the release of their new album. After introducing ourselves and a bit of getting to know each other, we asked the band what this past year has been like for them.

The gig tonight is part of your UK mini-tour in the lead up to Glastonbury, are you nervous for the festival?

Carlotta: ‘Well I think it’s a lot of our own pressure really. We’re the first Spanish band to play the festival ever so it’s like we’re making history already’.

And you’re here with Oscar tonight, how did you get to know each other? 

Carlotta: ‘Well that’s funny, we actually met in a bar. We knew he was with our label or that’s what we thought because, apparently he’s not! I met him in the road after playing with The Vaccines and he said “Yeah I’m such a big fan” then came to the show. I mean we did have contact before!’

Ana: ‘We shared a booking agent and he was like “Hey what about this” and we dig the music so we said ok and did a super mini-tour the last time we were here about less than a month ago’.

Carlotta: ‘We get on very very well. See it’s not that easy to get involved with another band and we feel so so lucky’.

You’ve played a lot of gigs now, but your 4th ever gig as a band was in London. Why did you decide to take the band touring abroad so early into it’s career and how has your live show changed since?

Ana: ‘It wasn’t actually a decision, people in the UK were listening to us before Spanish people and promoters and labels were running us here from the UK. We did what people were asking us to do and it was sold out!’

Carlotta: ‘It feels like we’ve had years and years of playing and it’s just been one year. We’re different people from the first gig we gave, we still make mistakes but I think it doesn’t matter at all. We keep working on how we could make them better but we’re never satisfied. Before Christmas we had this idea that we needed a new live show of Hinds, we thought “it’s gonna be crazy”. We seriously rehearsed how to get crazy and we needed to find the security of how to dance without feeling ridiculous’.

Ana: ‘But it depends on the crowd. We are the band but we’re only 10 percent and the crowd, they’ll make our live shows 100 percent’.

I guess you can still remember your first ever gig as a band, what was it like? 

Carlotta: ‘Of course! It was in Madrid and it was for free until the venue was full. There was a huge line outside and we played with two of our friend bands. We felt so so so good, though we screwed it up in every song, our friends were so happy and so proud. They were like “Shit!”. I looked at one of the videos and I saw myself doing a solo and I even got impressed like “WOW I didn’t know I could play like that, I’m doing such a difficult thing!”. Everybody was happy’.

So it seems that the band is mainly based abroad, what’s the music scene in Spain actually like and how has it influenced Hinds?

Ana: ‘I think we opened the door for other Spanish bands’ –

Carlotta: ‘It’s not so much the music that’s influenced us, it’s the culture and the lifestyle we have there. I mean we’ve grown up surrounded by friends that were musicians so it wasn’t really the music, it was the spirit of doing music and going to shows every weekend and having the feeling of “Ok I can do this too!”. –

Ana: ‘I also think the way we see relationships, the way we see everything is because of where we’re from and I think everyone can tell that we’re not from like the UK or America. No one’s used to it’.

If Spanish people don’t really connect as well with your music than those of the UK do, would you ever consider the band permanently moving away?

All: ‘NEVER NEVER!’

Carlotta: ‘We love our hometown, we love Madrid. Every time we go back it’s like “SHIT I forgot how much I love it”. We sincerely love it’ –

Ana: ‘Because I think if we lived in London or New York or wherever we would be working all the time or hanging out with people in the music scene. Our manager lives in Spain and that’s all. No labels, no booking agents, no-one’s from Spain so we just feel so free there and do the same things we did before having the band and I think that’s really healthy for our minds’.

You’ve been working on your debut album a lot lately, have you got a release date yet?

Carlotta: ‘Not yet but it’s gonna be like September or October’.

And will any of your older material be appearing on the album?

Carlotta: ‘Only Bamboo’ –

Ana: ‘And a re-recorded version of Castigadas En El Granero’ 

What has it been like working on the album and are you nervous about releasing it?

Ana: ‘Yes well writing and producing everything is horrible! Never do it!’

Carlotta: ‘We only write songs when we’re in Spain because we really can’t do it on tour, it’s like when you’re on tour you have to focus on being on tour. Or at least that’s what we do! It was completely written in Spain and also recorded in Spain. We can’t wait to release it, we really want to show people more songs than the five we have right now! We feel like it’s gonna make a difference like we’re not playing all around the world because of nothing, we are playing all around the world because we can do this’.

Are there any artists which have influenced the sound of the album?

Carlotta: ‘The sound of the album? Maybe The Strokes or Shannon and The Clams’.

So if The Strokes have been an influence on the album, would you say that supporting them on Thursday at London’s British Summer Time Festival was one of your career highlights? 

Carlotta: ‘Sincerely, yes, no doubt. One of the best days of this year! It was really like a birthday party of someone, of us and all of our favourite things were mixed in there in the same 24 hours. It was sunny, The Strokes were playing, we were playing, our friends were playing, you were there too! It was so happy’.

If your festival and touring season has already started, what kind of other things have you got coming up?

Carlotta: ‘So many festivals’ –

Ana: ‘We’re doing an American tour once the album’s out for more than a month. That’s the biggest thing we’ve done. And then in December we’ll do a big one in Europe’ –

Carlotta: ‘A HUGE American tour’.

When you’re playing a gig or festival, how does it make you feel to hear people in the crowd singing back the lyrics to your songs?

Carlotta: ‘You can’t imagine! It’s incredible, it’s such a big thing. You never think that this person has been listening to your song for at least ten times to know the lyrics. Just imagine people at their houses listening to Spotify and listening to our voices, our guitar solos and our shit. It’s such a weird feeling and it’s such a great way to communicate with people through music’.

You seem to be abroad or on tour together for a lot of the time, are the sometimes tensions within the band?

Carlotta: ‘We haven’t argued on tour, I mean the most we have is in the morning like “Where’s my coffee” –

Ana: ‘You can’t be friendly 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and we don’t have privacy. We do everything together, rooms, the van, backstage’.

Carlotta: ‘But there’s never too much you can know about each other. We are sisters now, like really sisters’.

Obviously all of this takes a lot of time, energy and commitment from you, so what do you do to try and relax?

Carlotta: ‘The most useful thing we do in Spain to hang out is to go to the street, to buy cans, drink them and talk. We talk a lot’ –

Ade: ‘And run from the police!’

How did Hinds come together and was it from socialising in this kind of way? 

Ana: ‘We were friends before having the band so that was part of it. Ade used to play the guitar but we gave her a bass for her birthday and forced her! She used to be the road manager’ –

Ade: ‘Actually it was Amber before. When she became the drummer, I became the tour manager’.

It’s quite hard to pin a particular genre on Hinds, how would you describe your music and live shows? 

Ana: ‘See we love that’ –

Carlotta: ‘And even when we describe our music it’s so difficult. We usually use adjectives that are not made for music like energetic. It’s the same with performing. When you’re on the stage you’re a performer and not a musician, it’s another kind of experience. We don’t mind screaming, we don’t mind failing a tune because crazy dancing or something. We prefer that!’

If you had to describe the sound of Hinds as an animal, what would it be? 

Carlotta: ‘I think it would be a powerful thing, not a fish or anything. Maybe something like a tiger. We can be soft like a cat or be wild and crazy!’.

What do you usually do to prepare before a show and to wind down afterwards?

Carlotta: ‘We drink before and after and we used to do loads of warming up. We do the setlist and it’s always in such a rush like “Oh setlist, setlist!” We change it so often and keep thinking of how to do the best show’.

Ana: ‘I think what we do is we decide what kind of gig we want it to be and we’ve toured so much this year that we have examples of certain styles we can do’  –

Carlotta: ‘Yeah like “This one is the chilled one” or this one is “I’m super drunk and it’s gonna be the best night of your lives”. We sometimes want to be really feminine or something, it always changes’.

Finally, where would you like Hinds to be in ten years time?

Ana: ‘I don’t know, we’re scared about the future like everyone else’.

Carlotta: ‘Oh it’s impossible. I mean, where would you like Will to be in ten years time? We just want to be happy like everyone else in the world’.

Words by William Castile

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