Interview with Hinds

Charlotte and I sat down backstage at Rescue Rooms with half of garage-rock Spanish quartet Hinds to chat to Ana Perrote (guitar and vocals) and Amber Grimbergen (drums) about life on tour, how they pulled off the notoriously tricky second album, and how bloody grim British wintertime is.

Daisy: How are you finding the tour so far? You’ve been to America, Europe, here…

Ana: Japan…everywhere! Si, you mean the whole thing, how is it? I don’t remember, it’s too big of a question!

Daisy: This is the second time you’ve toured ‘I Don’t Run’, isn’t it?

Amber: In the UK yeah, we did back in April as well.

Ana: This is the longest tour we’ve done so far- when we say tour, we mean without going home, like only Europe and the UK.

Charlotte: That must be quite exhausting though?

Ana: Only 5 weeks, of the UK and Europe…

Charlotte: Where’s your favourite place you’ve been? Nottingham? (laughs)

Amber: I love touring in America, I love it.

Charlotte: Oh, I can imagine, I’d love to go.

Daisy: When you’re in America it must be hours in the van between each show?

Amber: Yeah, it’s crazy but somehow, it’s not that heavy, I don’t know why…

Ana: This time because of the good weather- we’re really affected by the weather, the cold… it’s dark so early but we really wanna go out; it’s so cold we’re gonna get sick if we go out, we just have to sit in a miserable dressing room-

Amber: -which is cold! Si, this one is one of the best on offer.

Daisy: So, when you’re in the van, what do you do to pass the time? What do you listen to?

Both: We listen to music constantly.

Daisy: Do you have a favourite artist at the moment?

Amber: Because we drive so many hours it’s… you can’t even imagine. How many hours a week do we listen to music?

Ana: I probably don’t want to know… it’d freak me out. (laughs)

Amber: Sometimes we do this thing where you put earphones in with no music, just too… hear less, it’s crazy.

Ana: Yeah we do that, we read a lot, we sleep… we sleep a lot.

Daisy: How often do you get a day off?

Ana: We made our booking agent for this one- for the first time- make it every three days. Sometimes it doesn’t work, but usually every three days.

Amber: So, tomorrow’s a free day!

Ana: Yeah, especially in the April tour we all got kinda sick, and I completely lost my voice for example… things that you can’t just recover from if you don’t stop.

Daisy: How do you spend your days off? Sleeping?

Ana: Sleep, we exercise usually so we can feel like humans-

Amber: -and then, nothing! We love to watch movies, we love to cook…

Charlotte: Do you get much time to explore the places you go to then?

Amber: Nah, even if we love them, we want to stay in…

Ana: At the same time, we’re getting lucky here in the UK ‘cos we have so many dates here that we really are getting time to have a little walk and see it and feel like “oh, nice”- like yesterday, my phone broke, so I did that and in those ten minutes I felt like a human actually exploring where I’m at.

Daisy: Saying that, I was wondering about your new single, “British Mind”- what’s the story

behind that name?

Ana: Well, that kinda came from a theory we have that we’ve been noticing since we started touring that so many songs are written by British artists out of the ones we listen to- we realised that all the metaphors of happiness in these songs usually tend to be with good weather, or sun, or something. And we’re from Spain, for us it’s something that we don’t think about that much… it’s just like “oh yeah whatever, sun”. Which doesn’t mean when we don’t have it, it’s not fucking hard! (laughs) But yeah, so it was just a theory because the whole song is kinda like the first time we talk about us as a band, and things we did, instead of just a relationship, boys… it’s always fucking boys. (laughs) So yeah, it was just something we’d noticed, with The Beatles and stuff, it’s always like, ‘sunny’.

Charlotte: You’re popular here, but do you think the popularity doesn’t transfer country to country in the same way… would you say you’re more popular here than in Spain?

Ana: I mean it’s not about Hinds, as much as it’s about the countries. Maybe the amount of people that listen to ‘indie rock’ music in Spain is at like, 3% of what you guys have. And how much you guys invest in music: you pay tickets, you travel to see bands, you buy merchandise, you buy the records, you fucking-

Amber: -it’s more dedicated… it’s a part of you.

Ana: And it’s not only like, “oh yeah I do it ‘cos I like it”, you guys have a sense of respect about music-

Amber: -it’s a whole culture thing-

Ana: -yeah, and in Spain it’s like “I’m doing it because I wanna get drunk and I wanna dance”. They only see it as a youth thing- to just you know, dance- whereas here we have people who are like, 60, coming to our shows as much as teenagers and they’re both great and they all-

Amber: -buy merch…

Ana: yeah, it’s just crazy here. Yesterday for example we played… Leicester, and it’s only 45 minutes away! And you know, we had people there, and we have people coming here, and the next one’s only 2 hours away… if we did that in Spain, it would be empty everywhere. And you can only play Madrid and Barcelona…

Daisy: Coming from America to here it must be weird, with the gigs so far away from each other over there and so close here…

Ana: Honestly, I’m so happy!

Charlotte: Did you have to stay on a tour bus as well?

Ana: Nah, no tour bus, we have a van.

Daisy: So the decision to sing in English, and write the songs in English- was that purposeful?

Ana: Yeah, ‘cos all the music we listen to is by people who sing in English, so when we first started writing… obviously we didn’t know if we were ever gonna release anything or if it was just gonna be one song and that was it. When we write we just mumble words, and those words sounded English, ‘cos that sounded better for us, ‘cos of the things we listen to. So, it wasn’t thought at all, it was just like… natural. I know it sounds weird, because it’s not natural for us to sing in English, but the music was in English, so it just came out that way.

Daisy: You listened to English artists growing up then? Who were your favourites?

Ana: Well maybe back when we started it was more Americans-

Amber: -but English speaking, si-

Ana: -si, English speaking, like big ones: The Rolling Stones, Creedence Clearwater, Bob Dylan-

Amber:  -Arctic Monkeys…

Ana: Well, Arctic Monkeys we still listen to. And yeah, so it was more like those oldies, those greatest albums, and then… we first started the band a long time ago, but we never wrote songs, and then we discovered Burger Records and this American wave of new bands that were doing something pretty DIY that just sounded really natural and didn’t sound like “you have to be Bob Dylan to write a good song”. So, we were kinda inspired by that and started working on our own.

Daisy: How did the band start off? You and Carlotta (Cosials, guitar and vocals) had Deers as a duo before Hinds, but how did you find Amber and Ade (Martin, bass and backing vocals)?

Ana: Well Ade was our best friend really, it was always the three of us, and she’s a guitar player- well, I don’t know if she is anymore…. She was a guitar player and we were starting the band and obviously there were already two guitar players, that’s already enough, so we were trying to look for a female bass player and we couldn’t find any. That’s what we were saying, Madrid isn’t full of musicians, especially not female musicians, so we begged her like “please please Ade, can you please play bass, just until we find someone else?”, and she was like “ooof I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t play bass!” and we’re like “please please do it, if you love us you have to do it!” so she was finally like “okay, whatever”-

Amber: -and then you gave her the bass!

Ana: Yeah exactly, for her birthday we were like “so here’s your bass!”. And then even before we released anything… Amber’s really good at researching music, and things that are happening- she’s constantly doing it. And when we had Deers and we had like 100- maybe less- like 50 followers on Facebook, and we took care of everything: social media, pictures, promo, whatever. And we saw that someone shared- ‘cos we always saw what everyone shared, we knew exactly what was going on the page- so we saw that she shared it, and saw she had a picture playing drums on Facebook, so I just mentioned like “hello! We want someone for our music, d’ya wanna meet?” … and we met, and that’s it. It was crazy… literally a Tinder match. (laughter)

Daisy: Is it a conscious decision to be a girl band?

Ana: Yeah for sure. As I was saying, in Madrid, the scene is really small and obviously, when we started, it was only boys, so all of them had been playing for so many years and we were like huge fans of whatever they did- you know, when you’re a teenager and your friends are in a band it’s the coolest thing and you admire them. And we knew that if we got one of them into the band it’d be like… we would feel too stressed about their opinions and we would constantly let them do everything ‘cos we respected them too much and we didn’t have self-love ‘cos we had never written songs before- we didn’t know we could do it. That was actually kinda why Carlotta and I started the band so late, ‘cos before we met each other we didn’t really feel on the same page with anyone- totally not judged. None of us had any idea how to sing, how to play guitar, how to write songs, no idea about anything. And all our surroundings in music… knew everything. In our heads, it was everything. So yeah, we felt like we would never stand up against them- not because they wouldn’t want us to say something, but because we would feel too small for that. And then also ‘cos we knew straight up- and I know we were right about this- that if we were 2 boys and 2 girls everyone would think they write the music… I don’t work hard for that.

Charlotte: Yeah, it’s really refreshing to see a girl band- obviously there’s so many great male bands but female bands coming and starting to be successful- it’s a nice change.

Amber: It’s great actually, to see them coming more and more and more-

Ana: -it’s fucking great.

Daisy: Do you have any favourite girl bands? Any recommendations?

Ana: Hmm… girl bands as a whole thing, no. We know a lot of bands that have like one female member, but not a whole… oh no! The Japanese one-

Amber: -ay, Chai!

Ana: They’re from Tokyo, no? They’re really good, going to tour here soon.

Amber: Yeah really good, they’re signed with Heavenly Records.

Charlotte: We’ll check them out! We went to see Dream Wife the other week…

Ana: Oh si, they’re fucking great.

Daisy: Actually, one thing I asked them about was whether they’d heard about Girls Against?

Ana: Yes! You know we’re doing a festival in London?

Daisy: The Party Planet one?

Ana: Yeah! They’re sponsoring that- we definitely wanted them to be involved so they’re gonna be there, they’re gonna have a stand… we love them.

Daisy: That’s great! Is there anything like that in Spain?

Amber: Probably not…

Ana: Not specifically for gigs, because obviously we have a huge sexism problem too, but as there’s not that many shows, you wouldn’t think of… you know, it’s not that common for girls- for girls or boys- to go to shows because, well, no one goes to shows. As far as I know there’s not a bigger organisation… yet.

Daisy: It’s great there’s more and more bands working with Girls Against, it’s a proper little community.  Are there any bands you guys get along particularly well with? We had tickets for The Parrots but they had to cancel their Nottingham show…

Amber: Oh shit! I think it was because he lost his voice…

Ana: But yeah, they’re fucking awesome, The Parrots are like our best friends from home.

Charlotte: I know we talked about your English inspirations but are there any Spanish bands that you really love?

Ana: Los Nastys, Baywaves– they’re starting to come to the UK. I mean it’s kind of like the same thing that’s happening all over the place: now, what’s cool in Spain is trap and pop, so there’s not that much rock coming out, so we always say the same bands but they’re still as good as they were.

Charlotte:  I’m actually going to Madrid for the first time in February, is there anything you can recommend?

Ana: When in February?

Charlotte: Within the first week I think?

Ana: Ah no, we have a show with The Parrots and Los Nastys at the end of the month…

Charlotte: That’s so unlucky! Any good venues?

Amber: Hmm- La Via Láctea?

Ana: -yeah, there’s always DJ’s that play good music there, and then venues…

Amber: Well, like we said, there aren’t that many shows going on.

Ana: There are literally about 5 venues in the whole city, the whole capital. And all the shows are there, it’s not like “oh, that’s only a punk place” … we play there, and then a pop artist, and then the punkest band… there’s just not that many.

Daisy: On another note, regarding ‘I Don’t Run’- it’s kind of different to ‘Leave Me Alone’ in terms of how it seems more… honest, and mature, if you get what I mean?

Ana: Yeah!

Daisy: Was that intentional?

Ana: Well I mean for the first time we had time, ‘cos ‘Leave Me Alone’ was written in between tours, when we were in Madrid- over a period of maybe 7 months, but in between tours. While for ‘I Don’t Run’ we were able to take 2 months off just to write, and that felt like a luxury. And I think it’s just different because you can tell that we’re different. ‘Leave Me Alone’ is a picture of who we were when we started the band, such a baby band; everything was DIY, really punk… that’s who we were, and ‘I Don’t Run’ is clearly 2 years after- we’ve toured so much, we’ve lived so much-

Amber: -fresh ideas, you know-

Ana: -so it’s just really whoever we were at that point.

Daisy: Back at the start you were playing smaller venues, much more intimate shows- do you prefer the bigger ones?

Ana: I don’t know. This tour for example, we’re all over the place, we’re having bigger venues, I think too big for what we should do… so whenever we go back to playing smaller shows, it’s nicer, ‘cos we get fed from that. We’re not a band that plays the same show every night, not at all; you never know what’s gonna happen, on a good and on a bad one. Maybe that’s a little unprofessional, but at the same time, we feel it so much we can’t fake it. So, I don’t know.

Daisy: It’s weird, the first time I saw you guys was in Brighton in 2016, and there was barely even a stage- you were all on the same level as us-

Ana: -oh si, cool!

Daisy: So it must be strange for the band and the venues to have scaled up so much?

Ana: Yeah, you clearly are more comfortable when it’s a bigger stage, because you can dance, you can walk or whatever, but when there’s a fence it’s just like “oh seriously, I want you closer!” you know?

Daisy: You’d never play stadiums, huge shows then?

Ana: (laughter) I mean, if 20,000 people want to see us, I’m not gonna be the one to say no to that… I don’t know, I think we would always do secret shows-

Amber: -yeah, like house parties, we love that.

Daisy: Do you have a favourite track to perform live?

Amber: I’d say the new ones, they’re more-

Ana: -si, we have a thing, we call some of the songs from the first record ‘suena mal’ like-

Amber: -bad sounding-

Ana: -we call it ‘sounds bad’ because it was written bad. You can tell when we first started the bass is doing a line which is not in the same tone as the guitars, for example, or we’re singing things which aren’t the tune that they should be or whatever, so playing them live, now that we’ve noticed, feels a little bit weird. The second record was obviously more… I don’t want to say professional, ‘cos that’s a horrible word, but it sounds more like we knew what we were doing with our instruments and our voices. So, the second one sounds better, I think.

Charlotte: Do you have any highlights so far, moments that have just made you go “wow, this is amazing!”?

Ana: Fuji Rock, for sure-

Amber: -Fuji Rock was crazy.

Ana: We played like a huge festival in Japan, I don’t know how many people we had there-

Amber: -sooo many! It was so much fun.

Ana: Berlin was great-

Amber: -Berlin was insane.

Ana: Miami, New York, London’s always really good… we play so many times it’s always hard to say one when there’s so many different things going on.

Daisy: Which do you prefer, festivals