This Sunday I sat down with Carlotta Cosials (vocals, guitar, writer) and Ade Martín (bass) of Madrid-based garage band Hinds. With energetic, passion-filled and playful sets, the lo-fi quartet have made a name for themselves at festivals like Glastonbury & Reading + Leeds. They’ve traveled everywhere from Thailand to Australia to Berlin and across the U.S. with sets at SXSW and a sell-out Warsaw show in NYC. Originally spearheaded by Ana Perrote (vocals, guitar, writer) and Cosials, the ladies have added drummer Amber Grimbergen and Ade on bass to create a bigger sound and even more enjoyable live show. Together, they’ve made an impenetrable mark on the indie scene – breaking through glass dive bar ceilings and shattering social expectations of what women in music are capable of. After all, ‘female’ isn’t a genre, it’s a gender – and these women show how great music drowns out the sound of negative machismo comments and only amplifies their hard work and success.
I’m so excited to see the show tonight! I was at the album release party that you guys had in New York this spring – it was so crazy and probably one of the most fun shows I’ve ever been to.
Carlotta: Yes! We only did that karaoke ending for one show. It was officially prepared because we wanted people to know the lyrics and stuff. We posted them on Tumblr, I think.
Ade: We played the normal gig and then after that we had the karaoke so we picked the songs to do that. It wasn’t like we played the songs and then people came on stage. We played all of the songs and then played some again so then people came and sang with us to celebrate.
I brought my friend who had no idea who you guys were and he got so into the set that he ran up there without knowing any lyrics. He was just so pumped and became a fan that night – what’s it like creating such an inclusive vibe like that and turning strangers into huge fans in one gig?
Carlotta: Well, that’s the best thing that you can tell us. Going to a festival and stuff and playing for people who clearly don’t know the lyrics and who are clearly hearing our name for the first time – you can see on their faces that they didn’t know us before and it’s kind of cool when they like it.
Ade: What I really love is when people come with a group to a concert of ours and tell me, “I really wanted to go to the concert but didn’t know anyone who wanted to go so I paid for all my friend’s tickets and made them come. They didn’t know who you were but now they’re in love with you” – you know what I mean? That’s amazing, when there’s one person that takes like five friends.
You guys are really known for interacting with your fans on social media and it’s nice to see fans tweeting “I need a concert buddy!” and immediately getting a response from other fans in a similar way – how important is that community aspect?
Carlotta: For us, it makes everything super easy. When suddenly you can use them – they detect so many system failures on Spotify or are there to tell us that our shows sold-out. All of our audience news, we get from our fans directly from Twitter or Instagram comments. It’s super useful to know what’s going on with the stuff we have in the world. It helps when we’re deciding which cities to tour and where they are in the world, it’s just super useful to a band and it’s for free!
It’s not a label telling you your demographics, it’s literally your fans expressing themselves and sharing their locations because they’re so eager to experience a gig and share it with people.
Carlotta: Exactly! Directly. You can choose too. You have the power over everything and that’s the best for us.
I watched an interview that you guys did where you discussed feminism and I just find it so interesting how powerful your presence has become in the music scene – not because of your gender but because of how you can speak up about the fact that your music shouldn’t solely be judged based on it.
Ade: When we started we didn’t really want to talk about it. We didn’t want to make that the focus, so we were really scared to talk about it. We didn’t really know how to handle it. When people asked about it, we would prefer to skip to the next question.
Carlotta: They’d say ‘girl band’….
Ade: But then when the band started growing – not even just touring more, you begin to see what being a woman means in this industry and we find the craziest thing [is] that the more we live in this band, the more we see just how hard it is being a woman. At the beginning you think, “Oh, everything’s great!” but then you start realizing stupid little things that you didn’t know before and that are constantly happening and it gets you super upset, seriously. It makes you really, really, really mad.
Carlotta: In the end, it’s like the definition of machisimo. Boys just think that they are better and can treat us worse than they do to other men. It’s crazy but it’s exactly the definition. They just think they are better or that we’re not good enough as girls. You know what I mean? It’s a problem, because it’s a lot [of things] that just come from the gender. Women we stand [the pain] better, we stand through so many things, we are more disciplined in some things and I think you take it for granted. Suddenly there’s a very, very thin line where men just don’t respect us the same as if we were boys.
Ade: And that’s the thing. There are these obvious things and then there are the little things that are the worse. It’s horrible but boys are boys and girls are girls and the way that boys see girls in the music industry is wrong.
Carlotta: They don’t think we’re similar at all.
Ade: If you’re a girl in the music business – not even a pop star – you’re not supposed to jam or have your t-shirt off or show your tits, like “oh my god!” – you know what I mean? When you stop and think about little things like that, it’s pretty, pretty crazy.
It’s basically like being a woman in music is a separate genre all together. You’re not an garage band – you’re a female garage band and that adjective traditionally affects the perception of the quality and talent of your band as a whole.
Carlotta: Yes, exactly. It’s like when people say the music style is ‘girl band’, it’s like fuck you.
Ade: It’s like another thing completely, yes.
Before this interview, I was even thinking about how my role as someone interviewing bands as a woman is affected. I get so many guys and an alarming number of women who immediately pin me as a groupie and I find that I can work 10x harder than the boys at my station or men who run blogs and I’ll still get demoted or objectified. It’s frustrating for me so I can’t imagine the impact it has on an artist in such a male-dominated genre to begin with.
Carlotta: Yeah, they think you’re a groupie. It’s so true, it’s very frustrating.
Our station is mostly operated by women so the idea that that’s shocking to people is wrong and some of them are incredible musicians.
Carlotta: That’s amazing (knocks on table). In America you guys have a lot of amazing women in music and more girl bands. That’s so cool. I mean, much more than in Europe, so much more.
You guys really blew up in the UK, right? Not many female bands are really getting their voices amplified in the same way. I know that Wolf Alice at least has Ellie on guitar and lead vocals…
Carlotta: Yeah, but she’s only one girl. Us being four girls was totally on purpose. We wanted it to be four girls, for sure.
Do you remember that moment when you started seeing things gain traction over there? I know in the beginning it was just you [Carlotta] and Ana.
Carlotta: Actually, the only moment that has been a real ‘blow up’, as you say, was the first day that we put the songs up on the Internet. I mean, the reaction of the people – we had an email from NME, we had two emails from promoters from the UK, too. We didn’t know exactly what a promoter meant. We got a manager that day too. Everything happened, like the first day we put those songs up. No promo pics; we had like 200 likes on Facebook. That was the only moment, because after that it was everything just step-by-step – very fast, (laughter) but step by step.
‘Garden’ is the video with the Goddard influence and I think that’s so beautiful. This visual and audible journey from love and trying to find yourself but realizing that journey is a solitary one that you need to find within yourself.
Carlotta: It’s so cool that you got it that well. Actually, we took this director who did ‘Garden’ and ‘Warts’, the last one, and we explained what we wanted. We brainstormed and we said, “We want an animal and we want to all be together, like no singer in the front and everybody in the back”. We wanted it to be clean. The garage scene, we love, but it’s like every time we made a video we were getting less and less quality on the cameras. The worse the camera the better in garage but we wanted to break away from that and have a super polished video. Taking Goddard as inspiration fits perfectly with the theme of the song which is like a trip – you’re going somewhere but you are going nowhere. It’s a trip that never ends.
Yeah, I feel that. I feel that big time.
But I think it’s nice that you guys put that energy into creating amazing video content because some bands are really dead set on being all music and let the label handle the creative end.
Carlotta: I love the videos. Look, we even designed the sticker that comes in the vinyl. Seriously, we design everything and take care of every single detail because we – first of all, don’t like the first thing they show us like the roll-off thing they give us. That’s not going inside [the vinyls] and it’s like a shitty sticker that never – you lose it, I mean you lose it because it means nothing to you it doesn’t even have the name of the band on it.
Ade: We’re music fans of other musicians so I remember going to a gig that I really loved and wanting to buy a t-shirt but being like, “I don’t like it!” They’re horrible, I really want it and I want to wear it.
Or they’re so small when all you want is a baggy tee to sleep and jam in.
Ade: Exactly! We need to take care of that kind of stuff because then, I think people appreciate it very, very much.
Carlotta: Or even, when you said the sizes – so many boy bands make women’s t-shirts and I just think, “You really don’t get it.” First of all that shape – that’s not what a woman looks like.
There’s not one shape of a woman and then you see those cuts and tight tees and I’m just like, really? You’re doing us dirty.
Carlotta: I don’t know who made that thing but it’s terrible for everyone. [Laughter]
Probably a man.
Carlotta: There you go!
Our college radio station is free form so no one is forcing us to play anything, it all comes from a very ‘pure’ place. Because of that, I find that we really end up archiving tracks that we’ll look back on and consider each show to be a part of the soundtrack to our four years here. Are there any songs that are crucial to your own ‘soundtracks’?
Ade: I can for sure say The Strokes ‘The Modern Age’ – that song changed my life. Yes.
Carlotta: For me, for sure, [laughter] For me I always say this song called ‘Bring It On Home To Me’ [Sam Cooke]. It’s these kind of songs that are like super, super old and I think the original one is from Sam Cooke but I’m not really sure, actually. There’s like so, so many covers about it and I like that it’s a song where in the 60’s and the 70’s and the 80’s – every body, at some point, has covered it and it’s a precious song. I like it.
Ade: Ah, yes bueno. My dad had this Kinks CD —
Carlotta: Exactly, you don’t realize you love them until you suddenly listen to the whole album and you’re like fuck dude….
Ade: My dad would put it on and I knew the songs, like not even the lyrics I could, you know, “ la, la, la, la, la”, you know? And then three or four years later, I was like, “Shit, what was this band my dad used to play?” It was The Kinks and I was like, wow. And then my favorite song when I was a kid – you know when you’re a kid and you don’t remember everything? I just remember hearing my favorite song ever which was ‘Video Killed the Radio Star’ and that was my favorite song since I was like nothing and I love that song.
Carlotta: And I’m going to say a Spanish band and they’re called Los Nastys. Their song ‘La Lenta’ – I will write it down for you.
Oh, I love them.
Carlotta: They are the BEST!
I was listening to Las Kellies the other day – half because it’s my name, I’ll be honest.
Ade: Ah! Las Kellies. Si, we played with them two years ago in Madrid. Yes, they’re nice.
I know you guys have played huge festivals like Glastonbury, but if you could choose five bands for a festival what five would they be?
Carlotta: I mean, I think, let’s headline with Kanye. We saw him at Glastonbury. It was super special.
Carlotta: We were about to go – well Ana was, to this tour with the floating platform. I wish I had seen that, like in my lifetime.
Ade: Actually, I don’t know if I would like that. You can’t really see him. I feel like it’s, like, too unreachable, you know?
Carlotta: Is it like that all the time, you think?
Ade: What he does, is he lays down and tries to touch the people, but I don’t know I feel weird. Maybe it’s amazing, I don’t know.
Carlotta: I think we need a rock band. I think we should put The Strokes.
Governor’s Ball, essentially.
Carlotta: [Laughter] Yes!
Ade: The Growlers!
Carlotta: Ah, si. The Growlers, please.
He has such a unique tone of voice.
Carlotta: …and the lyrics he does. They make you want to cry, to CRY seriously. I think ‘Naked Kids’ is one of the best songs, lyrically of all time, seriously. I love it it’s amazing.
I completely agree.
Carlotta: …and Hinds, of course.
They’re okay, right?
Ade: Yes, to close the festival from 5-7 AM.
Then it will rain and Kanye will cancel his set.
Ade: Ah, no but we’ll be in Spain so it won’t rain.
Carlotta: Yes, that’s what you don’t know yet! Hm…I don’t know if I want someone big or someone small and cool. Goodbye Honolulu! They’re from Canada and they are so small but they are amazing. They’re amazing songwriters – like amazing, amazing.