meet hinds, the spanish garage rock band shaking up gender politics
As they prepare to release their long awaited debut album ‘Leave Me Alone,’ get to know the band we want to party with all night long.
When I was in college, Mac DeMarco and his touring crew crashed at my friend's place one night following a rowdy basement show. The after party roared, but Mac was a courteous crasher -- a rock star turned houseguest with a heart of gold. This is exactly how I imagine Madrid-based band Hinds' couch surfing style. They might accidentally break your lamp, but will probably fix you breakfast the next morning.
Most of the all-female four-piece's time together has been spent on the road, playing the Burgerama Festival one day, somebody's backyard the next. Relentless gigging has helped the group hone its sloppy sweet sound, which blends jangly surf riffs with vocals that treat Hunx & His Punx's 60s-pop snarls to smoky Spanish accents. Before releasing singles "Garden" and "San Diego," Hinds dropped a video for lo-fi ripper "Chili Town," which sees the squad sip shitty sangria and chain smoke over a buffet of gas station snacks. It's a brief glimpse of the band's lust for life that makes you want to take up the tambourine in hopes of joining the party.
Last week, the group premiered the music video for "San Diego"-- a visual diary of their jam-packed 2015 tour schedule. The buzzy band of 20-somethings played a staggering sixteen SXSW shows in March before shredding sets at European festivals all summer long. When we Skype, Hinds has recently wrapped its favorite tour yet: a six week stint in North America shredding stages from Tulsa to Toronto. "Fucking A, it was seriously the best thing we've done so far," Ana García Perrote, one of the band's two guitarists, effuses from London. "In Europe, gigs are more of a cultural thing -- there are older people, sober people. That's cool in a way, because people are really thinking about how you write music," Perrote explains. "But for partying and throwing the wildest gigs ever, America is just so much fun."
On the off nights of its headlining tour, Hinds played supporting sets for Glass Animals, the British four piece behind intricately composed, R&B-inflected indie. One night after wrapping their opening set at a Kansas City show, the girls decided to take one fan up on an offer to rock his basement secret show. "They opened the door and just told us, 'You can do whatever the fuck you want, this is your house, get crazy!' It was exactly how we Europeans imagine American parties -- everyone stoned, making out with each other!" Perrote said.
The spot was so live, Hinds hit up the Glass Animals guys to slide through, too. "Their music is so complicated and methodic, and their live shows are exactly like the same. So watching them play with our instruments -- with the kind of piano that your grandma gives you for childhood Christmas -- in a random basement was amazing," Perrote said. "The people who threw it kept telling us it was the best night of their lives, but all our favorite shows are wild parties or secret gigs, so it was just as exciting for us!" bassist Ade Martin added.
Hinds will return to America come January, when their long awaited debut album Leave Me Alone arrives via Mom & Pop/ Lucky Number Records. The 12-track LP features a trio of singles plus "Bamboo" -- an early effort from Hinds' days as Deers, a duo consisting of Perrote and fellow founding guitarist Carlotta Cosials. It also includes slow burners like "Solar Gap," and the acoustic-flexing "I'll Be Your Man." Though the studio sessions tighten up the group's melodies, Leave Me Alone was born from live shows: "When we were recording, how we play the songs live was clearly was reflected in how we wanted it to sound," Perrote explains. "We recorded drums, bass, guitars, and riff of second guitar all at the same time, because we wanted to keep that feeling."
It's an imperfect record; there are false starts and laughter in the back track. Amber Grimbergen, the band's Holland-born drummer, even has her eyes closed on its cover. But in a musical landscape dominated by hyper-constructed female pop stars -- and a lo-fi scene dominated by men -- Hinds' honesty is heroic for a new generation of young women railing against music's gender politics.
"It's so difficult because there are so few women in rock that people see you as a woman first, not in garage or pop or any genre. So when we are in that box, we get so many comments about how we're not tuning our instruments right. It's like maybe you just don't like lo-fi music!" Perrote says of the band's experiences with industry sexism. "We're gonna disappoint you as perfect women. In rock, no one is perfect." "Music is something that just comes out of you," Martin adds. "You can be a woman, a kid, a grandmother, so why should it be something in which women and men are treated or even viewed differently?"
It's unexpected judgement for the fun-loving four piece, but it's a responsibility they're taking more seriously as the spotlight shines brighter. "We didn't expect this at all, we just did the band because we wanted to do music that was different and had something good to share," Perrote says. "Suddenly, we feel like we have this weight of 'we need to talk about this and we need people to know what's happening and how unfair it is.'"
But through its punky personal lyrics and earnestly high energy live sets, Hinds is creating an unapologetic and -- better yet -- optimistic space for women to create new lo-fi sounds. They're helping make music more equal just by being themselves. "If you're a woman in the music industry, it's impossible to be there floating like a fish, expecting that nothing will touch you. In some way, at some point, it will happen," Martin says. "But we're gonna make it right!" Perrote cheers.
Text Emily Manning
Photography Francesca Allen