There was no army of homegrown role models for Hinds founders Carlotta Cosials and Ana García Perrote to look up to when they started playing music in Madrid. As much as Spain loves its garage acts, the country isn’t exactly famous for producing wildly popular rock ’n’ roll bands.
Reached on a cellphone at a Cleveland tour stop, Cosials says the groups that do find some measure of success tend to be made up of men, often well into their 30s. That’s hardly super inspiring when you’re a woman looking to form a band.
So the very act of putting together an all-female unit trafficking in abrasive indie rawk was somewhat revolutionary in Spain when Cosials and Perrote eventually hooked up with bassist Ade Martín and drummer Amber Grimbergen at the beginning of the decade. And even though Hinds is now firmly established as one of the country’s great DIY exports, the group is still changing the landscape as it releases its sophomore full-length, I Don’t Run.
“When we started, Spain had zero girls playing this kind of music,” Cosials says in charmingly accented English. “We were the only ones, and we were breaking borders. It was like everything Hinds did was making history for Spain. It was kind of fucking nuts.”
Hinds started out as Deers, but was eventually forced into a name change when Montreal outfit the Dears threatened legal action. That story got the quartet plenty of exposure internationally before it had even recorded a full-length, early singles then talked up by outlets like NME and the Guardian.
A 2016 debut LP, Leave Me Alone, suggested a major love of the bands that spearheaded the fabled New York rawk revival of the ’00s. And just as bands like the Strokes and Yeah Yeah Yeahs had to win over England to get a break at home, the members of Hinds didn’t really taste success in Spain until they’d built a fan base abroad.
Raves not only in the U.K. but also at the 2016 edition of SXSW would prove invaluable.
“In Spain, you don’t expect to travel and tour the world,” Cosials says. “In Spain, you expect to be big only in Spain. So it was never a big dream for us to go abroad and play, but when it happened we couldn’t believe that we did it. We never expected that people would love us and appreciate us in so many different cities. But that’s what happened.
“Right now in Spain we are so much bigger than we ever dreamed,” she continues. “This second album especially has really made a change on our career. People now respect us so much, and are so proud that we are travelling and playing all over the world, and telling people how cool Madrid is. It wasn’t like that when we started out.”
I Don’t Run finds Hinds both confirming its love of revivalists like the Strokes, and moving its blend of indie rock and garage forward—a sign that the group has started to transcend its influences. Produced by Gordon Raphael (who helmed the Strokes’ classic Is This It), the album serves up everything from distortion-frazzled college rock (“The Club”) to turbo-charged indie soul (“Soberland”) to barbed-wire pop (“Rookie”).
Just as notable is the way that Hinds has got more daring—which is to say personal—with its writing on I Don’t Run. Take the THC–dosed new-waver “Tester”, where lines like “Why did you have to kiss me after sex?” and “Why did you have to lie to my face?” are punctuated repeatedly by the question “Should I’ve known before, you were also banging her?”
“In the beginning,” Cosials recalls, “when it was Ana and me, we’d find ourselves going, ‘Where are all the rock ’n’ roll lyrics written by women? I want to scream things about freedom and love and feeling lost and needing my friends, but I want to find songs about that stuff written by a girl.’ Not sung by a girl, but written by a girl, because 90 percent of the songs you hear on the radio aren’t. It was like, ‘Someone is missing out reaching half of the population—I wanna be represented.’ ”
Mission accomplished not only for Hinds with I Don’t Run, but also for a new generation of rock fans in Spain. The singer might have had trouble finding homegrown role models, but that’s not the case for the kids coming up behind Hinds.
“The first time I picked up a guitar, it was with Ana,” Cosials says. “I’d played violin and drums before, but not very good, to be honest. We had boyfriends in a band, but playing music was always something we watched instead of actually doing it. When we broke up with them and picked up guitars, we completely fell in love with the sensation of playing music. We were considered quite revolutionary when we started, but even over four years I see quite a difference. Girls come up to us and say, ‘You showed me I could play in a band.’ And that’s awesome.”
Hinds plays the Biltmore Cabaret on Monday (May 21).