They might currently be one of Madrid’s biggest musical exports but even a fleeting swipe through Hinds’ social media reveals a very active and very international fan base: “We have a lot of crazy fans” says Ana (guitar and vocals) “because we always act as we are, in real life, people see that and think they are actually our friends or they just want to be our friends. It’s kind of fun!”
‘Fun’ is the immediate feeling that’s being projected by Hinds. Indeed, they are relaxed and carefree, Carlotta, the lead vocalist, is drawing a picture for me on a napkin as we speak. But just ‘fun girls’ is a label they reject, refusing to be pigeonholed. They vehemently stand by the idea that just because they may not be deadly serious on stage, it doesn’t mean they’re not serious about music. And why should the two be mutually exclusive?
In a music industry that is, still, largely coordinated by middle-aged white men, Hinds have faced a considerable amount of backlash. Not so much from the industry itself but from the press: “It’s the way they write about us,” says Carlotta. “They don’t do it on purpose but it’s always the same ‘cute girls on stage’. That’s all they see. It’s very automatic thinking, as soon as they see us they print, ‘Girls just wanna have fun’ and it’s the worst. When the press see girls on stage having fun, it’s all they can see, they can’t actually hear the music. Girls do wanna have fun, of course, everyone does, but we want a lot more too. It’s our mission”.
Hinds, who formed in Madrid in late 2011, empower a new generation of young girls who can replace ambitions of being the rock star’s girlfriend with a dream of being the rock star. “We’re not trying to do anything radical. We just love music. But something we’ve realised is that being girls trying to make music is already a radical idea,” Carlotta explains. “We are facing so much unfairness and so many ugly comments and such judgement and that’s only because we are girls, which is crazy. We’re realising now what it means to be a girl in the music industry”.
The band cites The Flaming Lips, Drake and Mac de Marco as their current music of choice, but explain how the lack of visibility, in terms of female musicians as opposed to ‘pop stars’, is a part of the problem. “The absence of girls in rock ‘n’ roll is partly because it is very tough to be a girl in this industry and you never see girls in rock bands. There’s a huge lack of representation. We’ve always been surrounded by music; all of our friends, boyfriends or whatever have bands and we would always go to gigs. We had so many guitars around but initially we never thought to learn how to play them because you never see girls doing that. Having the idea to be a band is hard enough, but most girls won’t even get the idea, because you don’t see enough girls on stage”.
Speaking of their influence, the band gush at the idea of inspiring young girls: “It’s beautiful. We get sent Instagram videos or get tagged on Facebook and we see these 13 year-old girls in their rooms playing or singing like us and they just look so free. I think they see how free we are on stage, doing what we love and they get it.”
Hinds’ music is not catered to a specific audience, and neither is it marketed in that way. The lyrics come quite simply from their thoughts and feelings – “on the album there are not that many party songs, maybe three? The rest are more mid-tempo, relaxed good stuff”, they say. It’s an echoey sound, reminiscent perhaps of Best Coast, and it’s not shy on zealous guitar riffs either. However it’s crucial to their musical identity for them to remain relatable in spite of their success. “We were actually getting concerned because we don’t want to write too much about missing home”, says Carlotta, “because we live on the road we don’t want to get stuck on that, we have so many thoughts about what we miss and how big the world is for us. Our life is in a straight line, and we can’t go back to the cities, every night is the last night in that city, and you can’t turn back. Every day is about the next thing, you don’t get to stay anywhere.” And when they are on the road, far way from the home comforts of Madrid? “We watch movies. We like Wall-E, we’re so uncool like him”. That’s one point that we’ll have to disagree on.