Hinds have released thier second album in the midst of a huge media hype. These Madrilenians have long since gone from being strangers to become an icon of global pop. How did they manage to make such a giant leap with just a handful of songs? We chatted with them and analyzed their path. We also took this opportunity to discuss the launch of their new album I Don´t Run to unravel the secret of their success.
Global Sounds, Local Stories
Those who lived the nights at the beginning of the decade in Madrid remember its beginnings. In 2011, they represented a smile in the midst of the crisis and a breath of youthful freshness needed in the scene from Madrid. Despite this, it was not their moment. Two years later, still being Deers, they recorded a series of versions of their favorite band. In 2014, they uploaded Bamboo and Trippy Gum to BandCamp.
The duo, Carlotta Cosials and Ana Perrote, draws everyone’s attention with those predecessors of the Hinds sound. Publications like NME or Pitchfork praise them. Ade Martín and Amber Grimbergen joined the group in March 2014. The Guardian names them the group of the week in September 2014.
That same year, they infiltrate the Malasaña sound of the Make Noise Malasaña contest. They became the overwhelming winners and their expansion in Madrid ends up exploding.
Hinds reminds us how they lived their expected premiere before the live audience. The first time performing the four together was in May 2014. Since then we have not stopped. It was a great impact at the beginning, something impressive. We rehearsed a lot but there comes a time when everything was new in front of the audience. At the time it was very strong. We had never played in a group and the impression was incredible. It happened in Madrid.
Despite the noise they created, they were more recognized by foreign media than in their own country. Something that has been changing, as confirmed by Carlotta, one of the faces of this pop group. There are no longer so many differences. Man, in the big cities we are recognized but it is true that in the small towns we are more unknown. Madrid and Barcelona are very close to London, New York or Los Angeles. We arrived at everything later but now we are at the level.
During that first stage, the first piece of the puzzle that forms the secret of Hinds’ success is its unmistakable sound. The British pop with the Hinds’ Madrid accent gives it a universal character and it does it with a naturalness that impacts. Garage lo-fi with desire to generate good memories and smiles. That is the key. And all this by telling common stories that connect with a global audience and an aesthetic of neighborhood girls that hooks.
They explained to us the secret of their naturalness during the past SXSW in Austin: At first we were very successful and did not have time to create a character. The secret of our naturalness is to be ourselves, although it sounds like an advertisement for tampons. With the press it was the same, if they asked me about something, I would answer like myself, not like Hinds. We are also noisy. We grew up idolizing and learning from Los Nastys and Los Parrots, who are forerunners of Rock n ‘Roll. Their idea is the same as ours: The more you sweat better. Then you add our personality and Hinds emerge.
A New Pop
It was the moment of that britpop that left behind certain clichés to delve into others. That fresh, youthful, noisy but colorful sound was imposed in England. That first concert in London was a good example of that new indie. In the English capital they performed in front of just 100 people with a box of 90 pounds and a humble lodging on the floor of the house of Carlotta’s cousin.
That concert was the birth of a new star in European indie. Immediately that bohemian character inherited from the Nastys would take praise from Patrick Carney, Black Keys drummer, or Bobby Gillespie and even from bands like The Pastels. Their good taste when choosing sounds and covers does not leave indifferent. However, a Canadian band forced them to change their name in 2014. They went from being Deers to Hinds.
Their first recording contract with the English label Lucky Number comes shortly after recording Barn at the Berlin Converse Rubber Track Studio thanks to their triumph at Make Noise Malasaña.
Their discs are licensed according to the place in the world in which they are going to be commercialized. For this reason, in the UK they have an agreement with Lucky Number, with Mom + Pop Music in the USA, with Terrícolas Imbéciles in Mexico and with Sony in Japan. In Spain, their career is represented by Ground Control.
Between 2014 and 2016 they opened to bands like Libertines, Vaccines and Black Lips soaking up that sound that lead to their first album Leave Me Alone. After having toured Europe, the United States, Asia and Australia, their debut LP was recorded in the studio Paco Loco by Diego García with the collaboration of the Parrots.
Soon after, they became the first Spanish group to perform on an American talk show on television. Stephen Colbert opened his CBS program for this historical performance. However, they remained unknown to the general public in the country. Something that has been changing thanks to another piece of this puzzle of success.
Hinds, Those Neighborhood Girls.
Diving in the Hinds clips help explain the revolution they have created. Their image unites style, urban trends and rebellion. The stories that are told in their songs have a great continuation in these videos, that despite their good production continue to maintain the charm of home.
They are an invitation to live in the Hinds universe, which on the other hand does not differ much from the idealization of the simple things that a whole generation lives.
That is the most powerful part of the Hinds brand. To be someone more among those who seek a place in the world and an excuse to have fun without complexes. There are no labels in this universe and everything is framed, even from the chromatic point of view, in a sweet illusion of youth. That is another of their successful keys. The more you know them, the more you want to go with these fun girls.
Which is a virtue based on making the universe personal, something crucial to succeed in social networks. That’s where Hinds makes a difference, their YouTube or Instagram profiles shed a simple life, with very close messages.
They also know how to empathize with their followers and use the networks to reward their loyalty. On the occasion of the release of their latest album, they bought and hid one of their CDs at Madrid’s FNAC. They followed up on the search that became an immediate viral among their audience. These strategies are part of their secret.
Fun Without Brakes
That overflowing freshness becomes unlimited fun in their concerts through endless tours, much effort and very good vibes. Maybe you do not listen to Hinds at home, but if you go to a concert they are very likely to repeat. The experience is unique.
You will always remember this spontaneous and unexpected concert. This is a concert you will never forget. Everything is ready to be memorable and shared in networks. That is another aspect that explains their secret.
Their international experience has allowed them to find subtle differences between the cultural scene inside and outside their country. Spain is far from places like the United States. It is not for the groups but for the infrastructure. In the United States and at festivals such as SXSW, more support is given to emerging groups, which probably have only a couple of songs or a recorded album. In Spain you have to climb up to get to support. They have different mentalities.
Despite this, they are still some neighborhood girls who do not forget their roots. The more we travel the more we realize how great Madrid is. The lifestyle, what you do during the weekend, the work, the way of collaborating with the rest of the groups, is unique. And the friendship. People here flip because it’s not normal for people to be such friends with their friends. The word friend is stronger there.
Say What You Think, Ideology Hinds
In a recent interview they made it clear: We have everything that Spain hates. We are young, women and we are doing well outside. We also do everything with a smile. They never cut themselves and they advocate a convincing feminism and an open mind that make them a reflection of their generation.
Their statements sets them apart from the politically correct and contribute to their successful connection with their audience. In them many women see a mirror of modern femininity. Their way of life based on doing what you want, being creative and not regretting anything makes them a new feminine icon.
They admit their importance in the female image. Well we would say that in a certain sense we are feminine icons. In music there are so few women that this sector becomes sexist, from industry to groups. It seems that everything is made for and by men. Suddenly, being the example we never had is already a lot for us. In the sense of living of this and being successful as women, becoming a musician is already a breakthrough in the industry. There are not so many girl groups. At least the girls love us or hate us. They see that it is possible and that we do what we want.
Since 2016 they have rotated tirelessly, connecting distant worlds with Madrid. They have prepared their second album with care. For all bands it is a difficult process and full of complicated decisions: follow the same line, evolve, make a radical change, incorporate new influences.
A New Return to the Hinds Sound
They have created their I Don´t Run bravely, without giving up their personality. This disc is a dose of double Hinds. There is no lack of lo-fi heirs sounds of the 90s and their vocal games, where Carlotta and Ana play with the lost innocence and style that have made them recognizable.
A good example of this is Finally Floating and its video. In it we glimpsed Malasaña, freedom and friendship as background of a fresh melody and crisscrossing voices that stand out on an easy but very effective pop. The lyrics of Carlotta and Ana can not hide the sounds of Ade and Amber that flood with sharp and catchy riffs where you can detect very marked influences that take us to London and Madrid.
More melodic, perhaps, but without forgetting that rogue garage that has made them recognizable. I Don’t Run is a sentimental carousel whose theme is the lack of love and the supports and pitfalls that it provokes. The Club or Soberland has a warm varnish very consistent with these summer dates. New for You and its football (soccer) video are pure neighborhood recollections.Tester is the ballad made in Hinds for this disc, while Echoing My Name and To The Morning Light are inferior compared to their other songs.
With this new album, Hinds delves into their style. Their secret is revealed in them. The combination of global rhythms, intimate stories, aesthetics, freshness and fun concerts with the smell of sweat and garage have managed to build the pop of tomorrow.
Their trips around the world have turned them into one of the most influential international bands in the world. They have done it by making more noise outside than inside their country starting from nothing. Something that contains more than a typical moral, leaving very clear the need to renew the stagnant foundations of the musical industry in Spain.
They are awaited by another of their perpetual tours and an existential doubt to solve: Assaulting the mainstream or staying as an underground reference.
Cover photo: The Guardian