Coinciding with the release of their third album ‘The Prettiest Curse,’ Atwood Magazine chats with Hinds about creativity and keeping the fun times rolling.
Since arriving on the scene in 2015, Hinds have exuded positivity. It’s in the highly energetic, lo-fi approach to music and the way they’ll sing noisily and seemingly without a care. It’s in the authentic smiles spread across their faces when they perform live and their promotion of a continuous party. Their songs are tuneful and tuneless at the same time, embracing a lack of perfection while being incessantly catchy.
Prior to the release of The Prettiest Curse, the Spanish quartet’s third album, a shift was indicated. “Riding Solo” has an undercurrent of attitude that glides glossily along. ‘Yeah I’ve been riding solo, riding solo/ Doesn’t feel ok, nah-nah, make it go away’ they sing in the chorus, over a bed of moody but energized synths and drum beat. In the video, they’re outside situated on the coast. There’s a scene where they’re posing in shallow water, dressed in striped sweaters, dungarees, and bucket hats- all in explosive primary colours reminiscent of a ‘90s Benetton advertisement. In another scene, they’re posing sharp faced in an open top car under a lilac sunset, makeup on their faces and outfits as though fished from an expensive dressing-up box. Part fashion editorial, part genuine Hinds, it’s a taking ownership of childlike sensibilities.
Just like kids, we are late
And our homes far away
We do this, we do that
I’m tired of waiting
We are all afraid of that long road
I guess it’s the prettiest curse
“Just Like Kids (Miau)”, Hinds
In “Good Bad Times”, sassiness is exchanged for a summertime groove- a chilled-out liveliness that encompasses the notion of dancing at a casual beach party while the sun starts to set. The video, again, is part glossy and part playful- the band acting as superheroes while going about duties in stylized costumes. Lyrically the song is about the battle of communication, the challenge in a relationship, the contrasts seemingly blurring.
A part of their evolution can be found with the lyrics, embracing their Spanish identities with bilingual touches. For example, ‘And every time you talk to me/ Diciéndome qué hago por ahí/ And every time you talk to me/ Siento que tengo dueño’ in “Good Bad Times” and the typically Spanish vibes of “Come Back and Love Me”
Come back and love me
Vente y te dejo ganar
Come back and love me
Es que odio esta manera de jugar
Come back and love me
Me evitas, me excitas de mas
Come back to love me
Te lo juro que me duele si te vas
“Come Back and Love Me”, Hinds
“Boy” is a merge of feel-good pop and the scuzzy effect of classic Hinds. ‘I don’t want him to forget me while I’m gone/ I’ll be stuck thinking about him all day long/ Me da miedo que a lo lejos no recuerde/ Me de miedo que se crea que me pierde/ But it’s all I ever needed from a boy (I want, I want my boy)’ go the lyrics, simple exclamations of relatable love. “Burn” is full of angst, yet totally harmless at the same time, while “The Play” addresses insecurities (‘Cause I don’t know who I am now/ And I miss how I used to be/ Because the only way I find myself is through my memory’) in a completely familiar way. “This Moment Forever”, the closing track, is perhaps the band’s most sonically melancholic song to date. It’s down-beat with the vocals wailing like tearful cries- the pain of love overriding all the needs to party.
Single “Just Like Kids (Miau)”, though, perhaps encompasses the new stage of Hinds the best. It’s still messy and fuzzy with whiny overlapping vocals and hyperactivity but it’s more polished too. Lyrically they speak from experience, recounting things like ‘To be fair, I don’t know you but a friend of mine does/ He said you were successful ‘cause your legs are nice’ and ‘Well, well, where you from with that accent?… Are you Spanish or something?’ While also incorporating playful fillers like ‘ÑaÑaÑaÑaÑaÑaÑaÑa’ and ‘HaHaHaHa’ and an exclamatory ending of ‘KIDS!’ as though the theme tune to a kids cartoon.
The Prettiest Curse was initially due out in April but naturally got pushed back to June 5. As a band who’s music is made for live environments, the reception of the album is likely bittersweet- giving us the feeling of being at a closely-packed energized gig but with the sad reality that we can’t physically experience it in this way any time soon. Before its release, Atwood Magazine caught up with Ana from the band to talk about the band’s evolution, current mindsets, life in quarantine, and the role of language in music. It was done from our apartments over Skype, Ana located in Madrid with the afternoon sun pouring through her balcony door windows.
Stream: ‘The Prettiest Curse’ – Hinds
A CONVERSATION WITH HINDS
Atwood Magazine: I didn’t get to see you live with your last album, unfortunately (I had tickets but something came up last minute and I couldn’t go) but I saw you in London in 2015 and it was literally one of the most fun gigs I’ve ever been to. I was at the front and spent the whole time jumping around with a grin on my face singing along with everyone else and to me that’s how live shows should be.
Ana Perrote: Ahhh. Live shows right now sound even better than they already did.
Totally! I have to ask now, how are things going? It’s obviously been really tough in Spain so I hope you and all your family and friends have been keeping well.
Ana Perrote: Yeah, everyone is fine. All our families and everyone in the band is healthy so that is definitely the most important thing. And mentally we are not doing too bad. Personally I’ve been doing a lot of things we can’t really do on the road so I’ve been learning and doing stuff. So I’m pretty happy. In between this madness, not too bad.
Yeah I saw on your Instagram that you’ve been doing painting.
Ana Perrote: Yes!
Is that something you’ve always enjoyed doing or have you just got into it recently?
Ana Perrote: I’ve been painting for a little bit over a year but definitely something that when I focus on it I need to spend a lot of hours. I guess it’s just like songs or anything that I do. I properly get into it. So yeah, I haven’t really had that much time to paint compared to now. I’ve been going crazy, doing a website and things that I know that I would have taken years and years to make. And I’ve done it and I’m happy.
Ohh what’s the website?
Ana Perrote: It’s just my name: anaperrote.com
I’m going to check that out after. You and the rest of the band always radiate such optimism and my next question was going to be how have you been keeping positive during these tough times of isolation but I guess you’ve just answered that with keeping busy.
Ana Perrote: It’s keeping myself busy but also being aware that I’m not ok or if I’m not being busy or not being productive then that’s totally fine. I feel like social media has become this even more stressful place. It always is a stressful place, right? But now it’s even more like ‘who is doing the most?’ and ‘if you’re not making a whole quarantine album then it means you’re doing nothing with your time’. It’s a lot of stress by everyone. I’ve been really appreciating keeping busy but the days when I don’t do that I also really appreciate just stopping…To eat and drink and not think: all of those things are luxury.
Yeah, I guess that’s true about social media. In a way it’s really great in this moment because it’s connecting fans with artists but you’re right that at the same time it seems like there’s a lot of expectation or competition.
Ana Perrote: Right. Obviously it’s just what it was before but like now that’s it’s already really hard for people to cope and be happy and stay on a good mental place. Now if we put that extra pressure it’s like ‘c’mon’. Just make it through and try and make the most but if you don’t make the most then that’s fine too because you’re surviving a world pandemic lockdown in your house. It’s kind of crazy as it is so don’t try and put even more pressure on yourself to be super creative or super fun or learn that language that you never learnt.
Yeah that’s true. I feel like music, more than ever, is important right now because it acts as a sense of community, comfort, and escapism. Are there any artists that you’ve been listening to recently that you’ve found to be extra special?
Ana Perrote: There’s this new band that’s really cool from a friend of ours that’s just realized their first single and it’s called Menta. And then another really close friend that is called Othrigo. And also Oro vega. It’s connected because they are all really close friends so I feel like at the same time that I’m enjoying music I’m close to my friends.
I saw the video for Rolling Stone of you performing in your homes. Is this something that you’ve been doing regularly to keep in contact with each other? Because I’m intrigued to know whether bands are jamming with each other over video call behind the scenes or just taking this time to just have some space.
Ana Perrote: I feel like we have managed to do both. It hasn’t been like overwhelming, like everyday recording ourselves. It’s gotten stressful somedays because it’s a new way of working so we are learning as we do it. But I think we’ve done both. It’s been more chill weeks where we’ve done a couple of interviews and that’s it and then there’s been weeks where suddenly we had a lot of press requests and a lot of those videos and they take a lot of time. I feel like we’ve had our space but we also kept working so it was a good balance.
That’s good. One thing I do love about the whole at home performances is getting an insight into where people live.
Ana Perrote: I know! I’ve always been curious about artists that I like and I’m like ‘ohh that painting. Oh that plant over there!’
Haha! I’m intrigued to know, because as a band you’re always on the road so now you’re in one place for such a long time, have you done anything to adjust your home environment?
Ana Perrote: Yes, I did one thing that really made a difference. I have a very big wardrobe in the bedroom, the doors on it are from the floor to the ceiling, and I painted it white. It was like a very ugly brown and I painted it white and suddenly it feels so much brighter and bigger. It’s something I should have done when I moved here which was like three years ago.
Ana Perrote: And apart from that I’ve set up a little space where before I used to paint. Now it’s like I have the paintings this side and then like a mini studio. I don’t even want to say studio because it’s like five things. But I put my keyboard and the mic I use and the mini amps there to make everything a little bit easier. And then obviously in the opposite corner I have a system where I put my camera so it doesn’t fall down and it’s well charged so it doesn’t run out of battery. These are little things that took me like a week to figure out the position and stuff.
Awesome. And how does it feel to be staying in one place for such a long time?
Ana Perrote: It has been good, ya know. I guess this really depends on the kind of house you have and the roommates. There’s a lot of things that change. But my house is pretty big and I have sun that comes through so those things now can totally make your day. That and being with my boyfriend as well, I haven’t really been feeling lonely. I’ve been good. I miss being home and I’ve actually realized how much I like it.
Onto the music and “Just Like Kids” is great. I recently wrote in Atwood Magazine’s weekly roundup that it feels representative of current day Hinds. It’s got the overlapping vocals and messiness but with more polished touches. And the lyrics are lighthearted but also kind of insightful. How would you sum up Hinds at the moment? Because each album is like another chapter.
Ana Perrote: Yeah. Hmmm. I think this album is like Hinds without trying to prove anything. It’s just a very free version of us. I think maybe with the first album we did what we did because it wasn’t thought of. It wasn’t professional, we just kind of vomited those songs and the production- It was just a picture of who we were at that moment. And then the second one was a little bit like we wanted to make a point that we could be a rock band and that we could make an album with only four instruments and that was it. And I think now because of being more years and I don’t know whether it’s confidence or age but I feel like we’ve totally caught up with all the bullshit and have just felt more free to experiment with songs, with production, with lyrics. Now for the first time it’s only us and it’s not about a relationship. And I’m proud of that because it’s scary to look at yourself in the mirror without all the distraction of other people and stuff. It’s been more honest and free and fun. We weren’t like ‘oh we wanna sound like this.’ It was almost the opposite; we had no idea. We wanted something different and we just started trying things.
Watch: “Just Like Kids (Miau)” – Hinds
Yeah because there’s a shift in sound from what you’re associated with “Good Bad Times” and its really summery pop vibe. Was there a moment when it clicked and you decided to take this route?
Ana Perrote: When we started we only knew that we wanted more instruments and we wanted to sing in Spanish. We wanted to be more accessible in that we are very aware that in the past if you put some of our songs on loud speaker it’s going to break and it’s going to break the windows. And that’s what we wanted to do back then but now we felt like we wanted something that was a little bit more warm and yeah reachable for people. But yeah it was literally trying new things, writing a song only a bass line, find chords we played on guitar and play them on synths. Suddenly our melodies would do something completely different. Everything is based on the fact that we had more time for the first time so we could do all of those things of trial. We didn’t have a plan and we had no idea what it would sound like but I’m super super happy and proud of it.
Ahh that’s exciting! I really like how the ending of “Kids” with the exclamatory ‘kids!’ Is like a theme tune to a cartoon or something. Do you feel like you’ve matured over the years or do you still hold on to and embrace the connotations of youthfulness. Because I’m 25 but I still feel like a 16 year old and I often question whether that’s a good or bad thing.
Ana Perrote: I think comparing myself to my surrounds and my friends and family and people around my age, I feel like we are pretty exactly where are age is. I’m 25 so it’s very very young and I feel like I have my whole life ahead of me. But at the same time I don’t really feel like I’m a teenager. I guess it’s also because being on the road is kind of like a very strange situation which makes you really see important things and we don’t really have time for absolutely everything. So in a very harsh way it makes you realize what you like and what you hate, what you need and what you don’t need. I don’t really want to say maturing because it sounds so corny but just getting to know yourself is a very big part of growing up. But I don’t think ‘oh my god I’ve been in this industry for ages and I know everything about it. Nor do I think ‘this is so new. Argh I don’t know anything.’ I’m aware of what we do and that this is a job but I definitely enjoy it.
Mmm, that’s cool and with your other single “Riding Solo” there’s a coating of lush attitude. It also has undertones of MIA. Do you have any influences with this new record? I know, for example, that your debut was influenced by a lot of your friends- bands such as The Parrots and Twin Peaks.
Ana Perrote: We’ve always had that tendency to for very poppy melodies but sometimes we oppress ourselves because we had a little connotation that I think a lot of it comes from being Spanish and being girls but it’s that if you are pop it means that you don’t have anything else to show. Like somehow it had like a negative connotation to do pop songs. And I guess that is something that we have slowly realized that you can be a total weirdo and do pop songs and still be punk and do pop and all that balance that I think this record has. Like you were saying, it has a very wild part but it also sounds more constructive somehow. In this album, there hasn’t been like a strong influence that we didn’t have before. It has been more like not censoring ourselves and that we had to do the previous records to get here.
Can you talk about the making of The Prettiest Curse? How did the process differ to your previous two albums?
Ana Perrote: Like the writing or recording?
Ana Perrote: Both have been super different and new for us because they were effected by the fact we had time like I said before. For the first time we stopped and focused on the writing and trying different things, meeting people and trying people before we get them to be our producer, and make every little decision a bit more thought through. So now that we had that luxury of time, we really could tell for example in the songs that they are more different to each other. When you write a song, you write about how you’re feeling and where your head’s at at that moment. Up until now the records were written in like one month and two months and three months top so the fact that we had a whole year makes it more like ‘hey remember how I felt in the spring?’ Even the location really changes the vibe and maybe even the songs. It’s not the same to write in London or at home or in LA like we did. So I think all the messiness really helped to create a more colourful palette of sounds.
For the recording it was a little bit of the same because we could spend time in the studio during the year and not ‘ok now you are here to record the album.’ We were a little less scared and started feeling more comfortable in studios, more creative and knowing that the decision you take that day isn’t going to stay forever in that way. We were three weeks in new york, that’s where we recorded it, and it was great. It was the first time we had changed the studio- the two first albums were done in the south of Spain and that studio is incredible. The guy who owns it is incredible, his wife is incredible. The place itself is amazing. But it’s like very isolated to the city and there’s not even like a bar or a restaurant or a coffee place you can go to afterwards. And obviously New York city is the total opposite.
That’s cool. From the songs released so far, lyrics include the references to your appearance and stuff in “Kids” and in “Riding Solo” there’s a hint a vulnerability with lines such as: ‘I’ve been riding solo/ doesn’t feel ok / make it go away’ How personal are the lyrics on The Prettiest Curse and are there any that are feel particularly powerful to you?
Ana Perrote: Yeah all of them are super personal, that hasn’t changed. We always write about things that resonate with us and it’s literally a little bit like a diary. One that resonates..hmmmm..I think “The play”. It’s kind of about an identity crisis and I think that that’s something that people are going to be surprised because when you see us you would think everything is fine and that we are like living the life and we’re always energetic and happy. It is true but that’s just one side of reality, I guess like everyone. And I’m proud that we’ve done a song like “Just like kids”, telling the world how women are treated in the music industry. It’s kind of a joyful way of being like you are bigger than the problem and you make fun of it. And you actually make a song of it so maybe you’re even going to make money from that bullshit. And yeah that makes me happy.
“Riding Solo” – Hinds
One thing I do want to talk about which is kind of more of a personal thing for me rather than for the readers but I’m in interested in that when you formed Hinds and started writing songs, you were writing in English even though you weren’t fluent in the language. How much English did you know beforehand and how to what extent did music help with the learning progress? I ask because I’m trying to get better at French and my go-to way for learning is through music and reading lyrics and comparing the words to how they sound in the songs etc.
Ana Perrote: Our level of English when we started wasn’t bad but it very far away from what it is now. Because of having an international career- which in the end is because of music, right?- we have a team and so many friends and our managers who speak daily in English with us so speaking it has obviously increased and got better by a lot. Actually the moment that we learnt the most English was when we were writing songs. Sometimes Carlotta and me, when we didn’t know where to go, we’d start reading things we had like books of lyrics and stuff. Alex Turner, for example, is someone we really like. We love how he writes poetry and we started reading and he uses the weirdest words for us. Like seriously with some there are five words that nowadays I don’t know. And we have to go on Google and translate and be like ‘ahh that’s what it means’ and you kind of learn that way. But yeah the whole career has helped a lot.
And similarly, I saw in an interview that you enjoyed the word play and discovering new ways of saying things in English while writing your earlier songs. What did your process tend to be like when writing? You said about reading other people’s lyrics but for yourself did you initially have lyrics in Spanish and then you’d find ways to translate them? Or was it more that you would hear phrases that you liked in English and be like ‘that would work well in a song’?
Ana Perrote: We talk in Spanish and we discuss what we want to talk about and the expressions we want to use and then we directly write in English. We don’t write in Spanish and then English because that wouldn’t even make sense because the rhymes are different. We thought about translating songs and we’re going to have to adapt it to have slightly different meanings and words and you can’t really translate it and have the same lengths and sounds.
Mmm cool. And then with this album you have the inclusion of Spanish as well. You kind of touched on it before but is that to do with the ownership of yourselves and kind of being more confident in your identity.
Ana Perrote: I think so, yeah. It’s something that we wanted to do for a long time but we were scared and now we have like a process of writing in English so we know how to do it. This time we had more time and it was like ‘now or never’. And I’m really happy that we did it because I think it works really well introducing it and having half and half. I think it’s very very us and people don’t really do that because there’s not that many Spanish bands having international success and audience.
And what is the reception like in Spain now? Because I know when you first started you were more popular in other countries than you were in Spain.
Ana Perrote: It’s doing great. There was a really big difference in album number two where people had already started respecting us and we had a lot of fans and shows started getting really really good. So I think with this one I kind of feel like it’s our second album in Spain, ya know, and yeah I think people are actually expecting it for the first time. They already really like the second album so yeah we’re in a really good place in Spain right now.
That’s good! Finally, as previously mentioned, you’re a fun and optimistic band so what is your outlook for the future of live music? I know it’s impossible to predict what’s going to happen anymore but I’d love to know how you envision yourselves and the live music environment?
Ana Perrote: I hope it’s similar to what it was before. It doesn’t have to be so hectic and maybe we can all chill down a little bit but yeah all these live streams and stuff they’re nothing to do with what are live shows are and I’m sure people that make them know it and people who see them know it. I hope this is just a break and we will go back to slightly normal soon.
Do you have any motivational words to give to your fans or just the readers in general?
Ana Perrote: Try not to look at the news too much. I think that is the most practical advice and inspirational advice. Don’t obsess over it. I think it could be worse, you know. Its just crazy because it’s the wildest thing that has happened in a lot of time. Just stay in touch with whoever makes you happy!
📸 © Keane Shaw, 2020
:: HINDS ::