Hinds on Brexit: “There’ll be a less interesting scene. It sucks!”
Brightening up what feels like dark and dreary times with their upbeat brand of sun-kissed DIY indie pop, Spanish quartet Hinds are back this summer with their third album, The Prettiest Curse. Exposed’s Carlo Tenkorang gave guitarist and vocalist Carlotta Cosials a call amidst all the chaos to discuss the band’s journey so far, influences on the record, and why she’s not digging Brexit…
It’s been a busy start to the year for Hinds, with two singles out already and the album soon to follow. How are you guys feeling?
We’re so excited! We are so happy, and I think the more I hear the songs and how people have reacted to the album I think we’ve picked the right choices and right decisions
For years on from your debut album “leave me alone” how do you reflect from the first album, have you grown personally, musically? Has anything changed?
The whole world has changed since 2015! The two albums we released were like a photograph of ourselves at that moment. The first album was just us in a studio for the very first time, being incredibly innocent and new within the music world. The second album you really can tell that we were touring nonstop for 3 years, so it was more about the composition of the album which we did in a month and a half. Everything was kind of in a rush as we had to do a before and after of recording; it was the most similar thing to a live show I think. For this third album we had time to think and to try something new, to be able to reflect on our past albums and be able to make changes. We decided was that we wanted more instruments, and not just a guitar based album.
When you first came onto the scene, were you wary of not becoming a ‘buzz band’ and thinking of ways to maintain the initial success?
The story that has happened to us is a story that you couldn’t dream about if you are a band from Madrid. We were born in a country where music usually just stays within the country and doesn’t branch out, and if you were successful you were only successful in Spain or Latin America. But for us, we never dreamt about global success, but suddenly it happened with people from the UK listening to our songs without even thinking we were Spanish – it was such an amazing feeling I can’t even describe it! We played for the first time on TV in America on the Late Night Show, we were on one of the main stages in Glastonbury for the first time, doing stuff that no one from where we come from has done. It was just mind-blowing!
Do you ever feel pressure when starting on a new album?
To be honest, not really. I’m not speaking for the general feeling of the band as I don’t stress that much, and I feel like that’s one of my roles in the band. I’m always positive and saying we’re going to be ok. Ana stresses more and she will say “We’re not going to have time! Maybe I’m not getting inspiration!” Ade is more classic in terms of the way she works, so if we were to investigate new instruments, she’ll be less excited and we’ll have to convince her that it will be cool. So there’s a bit of pressure from the outside, but it’s more internal pressures as you do not want to disappoint yourself.
What sort of things have influenced this record?
We’ve been pretty open for this album. I was listening to a few pop songs as well as a lot of Spanish bands that sing in Spanish – another prejudgement I got rid of as I never used to as I felt songs in Spanish felt cheesy to me, but maybe I weren’t listening to the right ones. Ade was listening to a lot of jazz as well, so we were very open influencing wise in regards to what we listened to and how it could influence our music.
The new single ‘Come Back and Love Me’ is taken from the new album, which you’ve described as your most romantic song ever. Why did you choose to release that single?
100 percent! We’ve never done something this deep, and even the tone of your vocals are entirely different – we never usually sing this low! When it comes to picking the single, I have a WhatsApp group with my school friends and I ask them their opinions and they were insistent that ‘Come Back and Love Me’ should be released as a single. It’s strange because it’s a ballad and usually when you release a single ahead of the album you want to keep the energy up and have the fans super excited; but I think it’s good to have a break sometimes and do something different. Everyone has their opinions, even our labels in LA, here in the UK and Japan, but we as a band felt this would be a good single to release and the cool thing about this album is that we’ve written songs that could be put out as a single – at least seven of them could be a single.
It’s definitely got a distinct Spanish feel to it.
Yes, we used the Spanish guitar within this, which is the one I have as it reminds us of home, summer and a lot of things that we love and miss when we are away.
Are there any particular concepts or themes running through the album?
In the middle of the summer I told the girls I think we need to find a concept behind the album; it shouldn’t just be a bunch of songs put together. So we had to find something that gives unity to the meaning of the songs and will guide us to find the sound of the production, so I said to them let’s look for it because I know it’s there, I know we’ll find it. A week later, we were chatting and Ana said something of ‘The Prettiest Curse’, which was in one of the lyrics of ‘Just Like Kids (Miau)’, and we thought it was one of the coolest things we could talk about as in the end it is talking about our reality. It is the first time that we are assuming that we are musicians and this is what we do, we do music, and this is our way to change the world and to make this place a better place. So sometimes it’s difficult, hence why we call it a curse because it’s something that suddenly happen to us as we never chased it. We never studied music when we were kids, it just bumped into us I guess; but at the same time it’s one of the best jobs, as you can imagine.
Do you have a favourite song?
Yes! It’s ‘Burns’, number 6 on the tracklist. I love that one. That is the first song that Ana and me in the verses do them separate; I did my part and she did hers and the way the melodies and everything, so it’s the first time we didn’t build the words of a song together.
You’ve got a packed touring schedule coming up. How are you with the big tours?
When you’re on tour you suddenly get into a rhythm of life that doesn’t match with the rhythm of regular people. I think one year of touring and being on the road is like three years in a normal person’s life. I think it makes us grow faster and become wiser as well. The downside is you can feel lonely sometimes; the good thing is that we have each other and we are best friends, the best company I could ever imagine. The girls are the fucking best! I love them.
Speaking of touring, in the UK there’s been a lot of concern recently regarding Brexit and how that might affect smaller bands going abroad. As a band who’ve toured across Europe and Britain extensively, do you have any thoughts on the matter?
It’s really sad, because I don’t understand why there are still people who still think that more borders is what they want, putting barriers to art and music and more struggles to get visas. I feel the English land is very fertile territory in terms of art and music and historically you guys culturally have always been on top. I feel like if you close the doors and build up barriers, there’ll be less variety and it’ll be a less interesting scene. It sucks!
Of course, another thing which might have a huge impact on bands is the growing Coronavirus threat. How are you guys holding up?
As I told you before, I’m the one who doesn’t stress. Yesterday in the hotel room, Amber and Ade were kind of freaking out because it’s getting serious! It’s affecting the whole world. Back home in Spain, they’ve closed the schools and universities for 15 days. And they’ve cancelled events of 1k plus capacity. So we’ve not had shows luckily, but we don’t know how long it’ll last. For me it’s a bit interesting there’s something going on which affects all humanity, everyone, no matter how much many you have, no matter which political party you voted for and it just puts everything into perspective.
Hopefully things will calm down, and in that case, what do Hinds have planned for the remainder of the year?
We are simple with what we want! We’re just dreaming about playing at a lot of festivals really. We have a single collaboration coming up that I cannot tell you just yet, but we are very excited about what’s coming up this year.
The Prettiest Curse is out in June.