Hinds Talk New Album And How To Make Cool AF Music Videos
Written by Nathan Wood on 4th January, 2016
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Hinds are cool as fuck.
Apologies for the blunt and crude approach, but there’s no getting around it. There’s just something about rising Spanish indie rockers that oozes nonchalant charisma and a hint of danger that has quickly established them as one of the hottest acts to emerge out of Europe this decade.
Maybe it’s the sloppy swagger of their music that recalls the likes of the Black Lips or even The Replacements. Or it could be the cheeky grins they glint at the camera as they swig from beer bottles and suck down darts in their street style videos that make you think you’ve stumbled upon cutting room floor footage from Kids. Whatever it is they’ve earned a reputation as a band whose name you’ll carve into public benches, listen to while you fuck at parties, and generally soundtrack your mischief to.
The four-piece made easy work of 2015 touring the world and playing major festivals, all off the back of a handful of singles, but now they’re on the verge of making their first major statement as a group, with debut record Leave Me Alone set for release January 8.
The album builds on the slacker, lo fi vibe of infectious early efforts but presents them in a much more realised package across 12 songs (including the already released killer singles Bamboo, Chilli Town, Garden, and San Diego) that is sure to nab a lot of attention as one of the most exciting early releases of 2016.
We spoke to the group’s bassist Ade Martín via Skype about how the record came together, why they’ve been forced to sit on releasing it for almost six months, what it’s like to learn how to record an album on the fly, and the secret behind the excessively cool nature of their videos (spoiler alert: it’s because they make them themselves).
I listened to the record and it’s so, so good. Totally what I would have expected from hearing your earlier songs but it adds so much more. How long did it take you guys to make it?
A whole year – a year and a half. Some songs that are there were written before Amber and I came into the band. Like San Diego for example, it didn’t have any drums or bass but the song was almost done. So there are songs that have been written for like a year and a half. And then it took us like 15 days to record it because we went for 10 days to the studio, but then we were going back and listening to it on the train and we looked at each other and said “Shit this sounds like – this is so bad. We have to go back again.” So we went back for another five days to remix it a little bit. Let’s say it was finished in July.
This has been a massive year for you guys – even without a record out. What have been some of the more memorable moments? And how are you feeling now knowing that it’s probably going to be happening all over again next year but on an even bigger scale with an album out?
Yeah – Glastonbury for example. We played Glastonbury this year, but I’m not sure I guess we will play next year as well but we’ll have an album out so we’ll have to go to another, bigger stage. So those kind of things and playing with The Strokes was like our dream come true. Going to Bangkok. We just went to Hong Kong. We’ve toured the world man – Australia also – we’ve toured the whole world!
Are you super excited then for people to hear the record and hear these songs, considering like you said it’s been ready since July. That’s a long time to be sitting on an album, especially for a young band like yourselves who must have had a lot of people bugging you about when you’ll be putting out your first record.
Of course, yes. We recorded in April, so we’ve had these songs since April and we haven’t shared with anyone – mostly just friends and family and business people. So finally – we’ve been waiting for so long and we wanted to release it in September. We said “This is not a winter album, we want people to listen to it in the summer.” And the record label was like “this is impossible, to do a record you need a lot of time.” So… it’s January [laughs].
Do you have a personal favourite song off the record?
Well Garden is our favourite. Like the four of us we all agree with that one. Then my favourite one is the last one, Walking Home. The rest of the girls laugh at me for that song because they say it’s like a freaky song because it sounds really creepy. But I love the chorus. It reminds me a little bit of The Strokes and I’m like the hugest fan of theirs. I can’t believe we’ve made this and I myself is like “Shit, we sound like The Strokes.” I also love Flowers Back. I love that one. And Warts as well.
Something that’s really captured my attention about you guys and I think what’s peaked a lot of other people’s interest too has been your videos. There’s something about them –they’re not over the top with their production but their also not completely lo fi, and they often just capture you guys hanging out and having fun. They look like a really good representation of what it’s like to be in your band and they’re just an extension of everything else going on in your world. Is that true?
I don’t know if you know this but Carlotta [Cosials – Hinds singer/guitarist] makes them. She’s so good because she used to – before the band – do music videos for other bands, like [fellow Spanish garage rockers] The Parrots, and she did it with no money. Like zero Euros. So she got really good at picturing the band with no money and doing really, really good things with the people because you have nothing else. Maybe one time she bought confetti, but that’s like two Euros.
So she got good at using only the people because that was the only thing she had. And she’s done the same with us. Bamboo, when she made that one and it’s to be honest just having fun with your friends in the sun. But she just captures it so well. And then Chilli Town for example was the same. We didn’t have any money, so this is what people would like to see.
Obviously they saw Bamboo and people having fun but also just living but do it just like we do. Like in two hour’s amount of time, what do we do? It’s seriously like we’ll be on a bench, having beers and cigarettes and that’s really what we’d really do and maybe people don’t know this but everyone loved it.
You guys have really honed and embraced your DIY sound on the record. Was there any pressure on you guys to change your approach at all and polish things up in a big studio? And do you like the fact that you’ve kind of captured the energy and sound of your earlier singles and made them run across the whole album?
Actually it was a big studio we recorded in – we didn’t do it at home or anything. And it wasn’t as easy as it sounds. We hadn’t been a studio before. Actually the only time was in Berlin when we recorded the second single and that doesn’t count because it was it was only for six hours because it was for free, so we had six hours with a German guy we didn’t know who was the producer. We didn’t get to mix it or anything, so it wasn’t a good experience. So it was really the first time we were in a studio where we could do what we wanted.
We brought the producer – one of our best friends Diego from The Parrots, who also mixed the other two singles, and it was his first time recording an album and also producing one. So it was so, so new for all of us and overwhelming. Like recording was fine because we’d been playing the songs for ages but then the mixing – we didn’t know what mixing meant really. Like we didn’t know you could record something and make it sound like the most electronic stuff to the most garage thing.
We had too many options and so many bands that we liked [that we wanted to sound like] like the Black Lips or even The Strokes – we loved the sound of Is This It. It was so many things at the same time that we didn’t know what would be good for us and also Diego is a huge garage fan – so it was complicated to get to one thing. So we mixed the first song and it sounded okay. And then we mixed the next one and it was like “No, no, no make this louder and put more reverb here!” That was when we I told you we were going home and every song sounded like from a different album.
We loved the way they sounded individually but not together. It was too weird. So at the end what we did, we said “Let’s just make it sound like Hinds,” so we started comparing it to our second single because we’re Hinds and we want to sound like Hinds, so let’s just do it like that. That’s the way that we did it.
Well you totally nailed it then because listening to it now it sounds all like one body of work. And it does distinctly sound like you – you’re a band with an edge and approach and that really shines through on the album. Now that yourself and Amber have been in the band a while do you have more of a role in song writing along with Carlotta and Ana?
Yeah, it depends on the time. It’s not like we won’t write if we’re not together. Whenever we’re maybe rehearsing and we’re tired of playing the same songs all over again someone says “Let’s try something else,” and we start jamming and something comes out of that. Or there’s Ana’s and Carlotta’s and they’re doing whatever and they start playing and write a song. Or maybe I’m at home and I find a riff on the guitar and I bring it to rehearsal. It depends on the situation.
So just finally, after such a crazy, whirlwind year where you’ve done all these amazing things and played all these awesome shows without a record, have you gotten used to all the attention yet?
It’s not getting that crazy. We really, really appreciate it. For example in Hong Kong, we were just walking down a random street and someone recognises us. It’s so crazy and the fact that someone in Hong Kong is listening to our music and watching our videos is like so, so crazy. We haven’t gotten to a point now that we’re used to it. Seriously it hasn’t gotten into our heads yet that somebody is listening to our music.
I don’t know why but we haven’t actually realised that it’s everywhere. Not that everyone is listening to it but you can listen to it! You know? It’s crazy, so for now we’re so excited about when someone says “I love your band, I love your music,” it’s like “Baaah! You do?!” It’s crazy.