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Doing It For Themselves: A Chat With Hinds

To describe Madrid band Hinds as up-and-comers doesn’t really do them justice. The all girl DIY four piece have had a rise of meteoric proportions over the past two years, and things are really only just getting started.

First going under the name of Deers, the band struck a chord with the internet thanks to their raw and real demos uploaded to Bandcamp, and it wasn’t long before they started releasing music through Burger Records. From there, they began to tour the world extensively and quickly became one of the most hyped acts of 2015, with just an EP and a couple of singles behind them.

Now, their debut album Leave Me Alone has finally been released and they’re back on the road doing what they do best – going absolutely insane in front of a live audience. However, the reason why they continue to become everyone’s new favourite band goes beyond their scuzzy, messy, DIY tracks – it’s their refusal to be anyone but themselves. It’s the fact that from the start, their motto has been “Our shit, Our rules” and their eagerness to do what it true to themselves, even if they are told otherwise.

We had the privilege of speaking with Ana Garcias, one of the the founding members of the band ahead of the release date. Tired from casually touring the world for the best part of 12 months, we Skyped Ana from her bedroom in Madrid as she enjoyed a rare week at home, but that didn’t stop her fierce attitude and excitable nature from coming through. Talking about learning how to compromise, wanting to get better and how Leave Me Alone is the “probably the least produced album in the world”, see below for our chat with her and prepare yourself to see these ladies everywhere very, very soon.

How are you going, Ana?

I’m great! I just woke up!

What are you up to?

I’m home! It feels so weird to sleep in my own bed and have all my stuff. I’m never here anymore.

You just wrapped up another little tour in Asia – how was that?

It was so crazy! It’s so far away and having fans there is so weird. Their culture is so different and it was so shocking, we felt like The Beatles or something – everyone was screaming! It was a blast!

You’ve been touring so much, are there any places you want to go back to? 

We’ve been a lot of places but I feel like we only really know London because we’ve been there so many times. We never have time to look around. We’re going to New York for New Year’s Eve which we are so excited for – we’re going to do all the tourist stuff!

It’ll be so cold there, too!

I don’t even want to think about that. We hate the cold.

You can come over for to Australia for New Year’s Eve and melt in the heat instead?

I know, shut up! *laughs* The only time we have been in Australia was in February last year, and it seriously changed our lives. Ten days of summer in Australia – it was amazing!

Well when you come back, you’ll have the album out! I want to say congratulations – I really, really like it!

I really can’t believe it. It’s so crazy. It has been done since April, it feels like it’s been a lifetime since then so it was feeling like it was never going to come out! We were beginning to feel like we were always going to be this up and coming band that jus had a few singles and an EP but fucking no! We have a full LP!

Obviously it’s your debut so it was your first time making an album, but it was also your producer’s first time producing an album as well. How was it with all these people doing it for the first time?

I think it was good, we don’t regret it. But I think also you really can tell that everyone in the studio was doing it for the first time. It wasn’t the first time he had been in the studio because he has another band but it was the first time he produced an album, and the sound engineer is actually the owner of the studio. It’s weird because he’s one of the biggest in Spain, but he still really loves the lo fi thing. He just really wanted us to keep stuff like saying, “I really like this take instead of this one” if the first one was out of tune more or something. It’s more sincere, more honest and more real for him. It’s probably the least produced album in the world. It’s so honest and sincere and raw, but we kind of liked it!

You were making it for so long – how did it go balancing the constant touring and then coming back to it?

To be honest, it was a very, very hard time for us. Half of the album was done when we had time so as we started very early and everything went very fast, we were writing songs to play them the day after. We needed more songs! I think the first show, we had seven songs but we needed more to keep touring. The first writing of the album was more like the four of us in the rehearsal room and maybe Carlotta and I would do some chords together and we’d just jam on those with Ade and Amber, and we would go from how we felt. Half of the album sounds faster, with more rhythm and it’s crazier, because it was made for the live show, but then half of it was done in a rush when we started touring a lot and we didn’t have any time at all.

We need a lot of hours to write. We usually spend four hours, Carlotta and I, writing chords together like, “I don’t like this, I don’t like this either, let’s go have a cigarette, I don’t like it, I don’t like it, let’s go have sangria!” So we’d get drunk and that’s when something good or good enough would come. But we didn’t have time for that anymore. We’d have one month of touring then four days in Madrid and we’d have to see everyone and do our laundry and all the things you have to do. We can’t buy socks when we’re on tour, you know, so we had to do it all then AND write the album! We had six songs to do on so little time, so it wasn’t a really good time for us. We were under a lot of pressure, but it was our own because we didn’t want to do a bad record. It’s our fucking first album, we need to do something good!

There are indeed a lot of fast-paced tracks on the record, that’s for sure. But there are also some sad songs on there! Do you think those came from that negative time and that pressure? 

Definitely. The first part is happier; even if the lyrics might not be, the sound is. I also think it’s because we wrote them in winter, which is really depressing for us. We really count on the sun and the beach and the weather! This last winter it was Carlotta and I at her place, which is obviously not the same as the four of us in a rehearsal space all together. It was like, “Okay I’m feeling all of this. I’m feeling pressure and I’m feeling sad because this happened on the last tour and my boyfriend and this and this,” so we decided we weren’t going to force ourselves to be happy because Hinds is supposed to be happy – Hinds is us and we feel everything. We feel happy sometimes, and sad sometimes. I think people will connect with it because you can’t be happy all the time; you feel sad sometimes and you get your heart broken and you deal with bad people. It was definitely because of the environment.

Speaking about pressure, you’ve got the likes of NME and Pandora saying you’re an act to watch in the new year – does that amp up the pressure for you as well? 

I don’t feel that pressure coming from the media. I just really wish people get what we are trying to say with the record. That’s what we’re thinking about. We’ve been playing a lot of those songs live and people already knew them before they were even recorded, so that helps us. We really, really like the album and we’re proud of it so even if it doesn’t work as well, it’s like, “Okay, maybe we weren’t supposed to be as big as everyone was expecting!” You can’t have everything. If it doesn’t happen, of course I’ll be sadder than if it did happen, but maybe we just weren’t supposed to be that big anyway? We would be happy just to stay at the level we’re at right now. I still feel so overwhelmed when I think about having fans in Australia or Hong Kong. It’s fucking great to have that. To have 100 people like it in a different part of the world – 100 people who like my song that I wrote out with my feelings at my best friend’s flat!

Well, I really love that your band motto is “Our shit, Our rules”, I think it’s so wicked! How important is it to continue carrying that as all of this happens around you? 

If we don’t stick to that, we’re gonna get crazy and be really unhappy. Our team is getting so big. We have four labels around the world, and booking agents in every continent and we have PRs – we just have so many people working on Hinds right now. Of course they all want the best for us, but they’re not us. They want the best for ALL the bands they’re working with, so the treatment is not the same. The goal is the same, but the roads can be so different that we really need to stick to it. We can be like, “Okay, I’m going to trust you because you’re a professional and you know what you’re doing,” but at the same time you’re like, “Well this is my shit!”

We get to this point where they think one thing and we think another and maybe we’ll go with them because we trust them, but we really need to feel that security. For example, we are doing this super simple video game for fans. Just for no reason, it’s just fun. The animation of us was me with a cigarette and Carlotta with a beer, and the label wanted to premiere it on an American website which happened to be more focused on teenagers and younger kids, so they were like, “You need to remove the beer, we can’t show that to teenagers.” We couldn’t believe it! We said, “Seriously, you want us to change this animation of what we really are? It’s not like we’re doing cocaine, we’re having a beer!” Hinds is beer, that is something very clear for the world and you can see it in all our pictures. We didn’t even do this video game to premiere it, there are other websites we can do it on. We really need to stick with that motto, and that goes along with “Leave Me Alone” being the name of the album as well. It’s us, and we’ve reached this because of what we were thinking and what we felt was right or wrong. We’re just going to keep trying to maintain that.

Well I think the fact that you continue to just be yourselves is more important to teenagers than any illustration, beer or otherwise!

It’s because it’s so easy to lose the point. We’re in this moment of the band where we have this huge team; it’s the project of our lives. Hinds comes from our bodies and our brains and it’s more than a job for us. Everything we have so far, we’re doing it and it’s working. They’re showing us all these great things we could do, so it’s really easy to miss the point and follow the wrong voices. The best thing is that we’re friends, and we know within ourselves what we want. It’s really complicated, but at the end of the day you’re just like, “Fuck it, this is my opinion and it’s my project.”

Is there anything that you haven’t achieved so far that you want to do in the new year? 

I really want to get better, musically. We started so quickly and we learned whilst touring, but I still feel like we have to get better. I also really want to start writing the second record as well. We already have two songs and I don’t want to forget that because in the end, it’s all about the music and it’s very easy to forget that. We have so many things to think about, so I don’t want to forget that it’s the music that is the main point. We’re touring so much again in 2016, that I already know I won’t be able to write until like September, so I want to focus on finding the moment even if it’s only three days. I don’t want to get to 2017 and have to rush like we did with this record.

How do you keep going? How do you keep your mind where you need it to be? 

I think, in the worst moments. Like right now, we are doing interviews when this was meant to be a rehearsal week. When there is so many things to do, it really helps when it gets so horrible – you have to get to that point to remember the point.

Leave Me Alone is out now via Pod/Inertia.