Hinds: 'Rock 'n' roll is not cool any more'

By Paul Glynn
BBC Music

image source, Hinds

It's mid-afternoon on an overcast Tuesday in January - and Hinds are hungover.

The hard-partying Madrid band have ordered a late lunch of French fries and a round of cokes to get them through our interview, after having debuted three new tracks from incoming second album I Don't Run, at a secret gig in east London the night before.

Their evening - no, wait, morning - climaxed at one of the capital's many karaoke bars with drummer Amber apparently stealing the show with her rendition of Estelle's American Boy.

It's fair to say the Spanish rockers - currently one of Radio 1 DJ Annie Mac's latest Hottest Record picks - enjoy their trips to the UK.

"I can't wait to come back and do some shows," says singer/guitarist Ana.

"In the early Hinds we used to be here all the time and yesterday was a total tease.

"It's weird because we feel as Spanish as we can be, but we really feel the warmth from the UK."

"It's home, you know," adds her songwriting partner-in-crime (and BFF) Carlotta.

"In Spain they don't support the new blood as you guys do, the fresh things and the youth.

"You guys made Spain wake up."

The four-piece embark on a "dream" co-headline tour of the US with Strokes guitar hero Albert Hammond Jr later this month and then will indeed return to these shores soon for their own tour, starting on 15 April in Glasgow.

All roads then lead back to London in June where they have been personally invited by Josh Homme to rock Finsbury Park alongside Queens of the Stone Age and friends.

With Keychange pushing for a 50/50 gender split on all festival line-ups by 2022, Hinds - along with the likes of Dream Wife and The Big Moon - find themselves leading the charge for female rock stars, whether they like it or not.

So are the band - who will observe a national women's strike in Spain for International Women's Day - feeling any added pressure to fly the flag for guitar-wielding girls?

"Not only about girls," shrugs Ana. "Just in general.

"We always feel like we have to save rock 'n' roll! Rock 'n' roll is not cool anymore - especially in Spain."

Carlotta agrees; "Making an effort has never been cool. In rock 'n' roll music you really have to try hard the whole set, playing the guitar you're making a huge effort all the time and that's not cool - and we accept it.

"But we love it."

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Ana adds: "You shouldn't force people to listen to music made by women, but you have to do something."

"Boys have been in the music industry and have had years and years of advantage," Carlotta chips in. "So we need time to change and reach 50/50. You definitely cannot do it tomorrow.

"Having a mandatory percentage of women, even as a woman I feel weird about it. I want to just be a human so in my opinion I don't know if it's the best way to eradicate sexism."

"It's a radical way of thinking that in four years we have to do this," concludes bass player Ade.

"Sometimes it's like 'wait a minute' - but then you see these things work."

image source, Hinds

Before festival season begins, Hinds have the small matter of their second born album arriving at the start of next month.

I Don't Run, produced by Strokes associate Gordon Rafael, brings all the same ramshackle jangly pop joy that made the nation's indie bars and summer fields fall in love with them back in 2016 but now with a newfound confidence, earned from several years on the road.

They still wear all the same influences on their sleeve (Arctic Monkeys, The Strokes, The Libertines) as they did on debut album Leave Me Alone but this time in a more knowing manner.

Talent borrows, genius steals.

"You can tell we are better at everything" declares Ade.

"We've learned. We didn't know it before and now we do."

Carlotta adds: "I think it is definitely stronger and more risky, probably because we know what we are doing more and we chose this dirtiness and sound.

"In the first one, it wasn't like a decision that was 100% made, it was just like 50% choice as we were more ignorant."

Ana agrees: "That record was our first ever time, even if we knew we wanted something we didn't know how to do it or how to express ourselves with the producer.

"Now we have more knowledge about how to do things, like pedals, amps and instruments and also we know some words to explain how we want to make it."

media captionHinds rock The Park Stage at Glastonbury in 2016

Ade's driving bass line on album opener The Club helped to ensure the track arrived at Radio 1 as the Hottest Record in the world on Monday, while first single back New For You is equally joyful.

It's on track six, Tester, though that the girls show how far they've come musically, without having lost any of their charm as Amber changes time signatures halfway through to turn a fast-paced banger into a weird trip.

The song recalls good times and (some bad) relationships formed at the central hub of the Madrid indie scene, namely; La Via Lactea - aka The Milky Way, where they regularly hang out with other key players such as The Parrots, Los Nastys, Baywaves and Claudia Vega.

Unlike the petty rivalries of the Britpop era, bands in the Spanish capital share friends, guitars and in some cases, even apartments.

Ade explains: "The Madrid lifestyle on the streets really helps for people to come together and drink, talk and do stuff."

"It's not like you're writing songs on computers because you're so cold and staying at home to do music" says Ana. "For us it's like; 'It's a nice day, shall we meet? Do you wanna jam?"

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This year will also see them perform at Spain's biggest rock 'n' roll festival; Primavera Sound, for, unbelievably, the first time.

And while for many the fight for Catalan independence from Madrid rule continues, Hinds insist that their message is a more universal one.

"Our audience know from the way we talk we show that we aren't against anything.

"It's more like a freedom space we try to create - we don't want to get political."

Having struggled through their second dish of the day, Hinds prepare to head back to Spain, with a final thought for some of the things they will miss most until they return to the UK.

"We love English breakfasts for when we are hungover", states Ana.

"Like this morning it was the only thing we were looking for".

"And teas," adds Carlotta. "English tea."

If this summer goes to plan there will be a plenty more full breakfasts required all round.

Hinds' new single The Club is out now and their second album I Don't Run is out on Friday 6 April

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