Interview: Hinds on Their Fearless New Album and Speaking Loud

Thursday, June 11, 2020
Photo by Andrea Savall

For Spanish band Hinds, life has looked very different for them so far in 2020. After spending the last few years touring consistently, they’ve had to spend more time at home. Restrictions and the effects of COVID-19 not only delayed their touring plans — including talks of possibly visiting Australia again — but they also had to put a hold on the release of their highly anticipated third album The Prettiest Curse.

According to Ana Perrote, the decision to push the release of the album back was the only choice that made sense. Not only were some of the band’s family members impacted, but it also felt wrong releasing something celebratory like an album when much of Spain and the world were confined to their homes and amidst challenging times. A few weeks before the release of the album, Perrote noted that she was feeling excited, but there was also a lingering sense of fear about the album coming out after a delay. “My biggest fear would be to release it online and for it to get lost on the internet. We’re not going to do much physical things for it, which is weird and scary.”

A few weeks later, the album was finally unveiled last Friday. Perrote’s fears that people would not care and forget were diminished — since being released, the album has been praised by fans and critics alike for the bold direction that they took it in.

Despite mixing up their sound, Perrote says The Prettiest Curse ‘sounds more Hinds than ever’. They might have embraced pop-inspired melodies this time around, but their fearless attitude and energetic sound continues to remain at the heart of their music. “Even if it’s more warm and has more layers and more colour in the sound, our punk side is really present as well, which is the only thing we were concerned about when working on it. Once I heard it and felt it, I didn’t worry.”

When working on the record, they didn’t notice that they were moving into a new direction with their sound, it happened naturally. “I didn’t even realise until we released our first single,” says Perrote. “I was like, ‘Oh shit, maybe this is different. I wasn’t so aware until we put it out in the world. I think we really wanted the album to still have our personality and energy.”

The album marks a change of mindset for Hinds — they no longer feel like they need to prove themselves to anyone. “We’re no longer new to the industry, we’re sort of like veterans now in a sense. We’re talking more directly and talking about things that are a bit more brutal and sad. I feel like we’re speaking loud. Maybe before in the past, we would judge our ideas or our melodies, our lyrics being like, is this too punk? Is this too cheesy? Is this too girly? Just double thinking everything. We felt like it was cool to literally say what we wanted to say and not hide it in metaphors or something like that.”

The new record saw them work with Grammy-nominated producer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Jenn Decilveo, who has previously worked with an array of acts like Bat for Lashes, Albert Hammond Jr. and Beth Ditto. When they met Decilveo in LA, they weren't concerned with her extensive list of credits, instead, they wanted the connection to feel right — and straight away, they knew she was the one.

“The first day that we met, we were like, ‘Okay, she’s the right one’. We actually texted all our team. We were like, ‘We love her, she’s great for the album. She’s amazing, she plays all these things and she’s helping us build this wall of sounds,’ we were just so excited. And our team were like, ‘Let’s see when you finish your trip’. We knew at the end of the trip that she was fucking perfect for us.”

On the first day, they wrote ‘Waiting For You’ and then on the second day with Decilveo, ‘Riding Solo’ was written. “It was super crazy, the fire, we could write so fast with her. It was very empowering, there was so much female energy in the room. She was also good at listening to us, she took us and the project seriously. She knew how to listen and how to make us listen to her.”

Up until The Prettiest Curse, they had worked with other people but much of what they made was created with a DIY-approach. So having someone like Decilveo was the welcome change that they needed. “We hadn’t up until then let anyone else do as much. We pretty much produced the other albums a lot by ourselves. We really wanted someone else to be part of this and it was very hard for us to let go.”

Another change for the new record was switching between English and Spanish in their lyrics, whilst before they mostly stuck to singing in English. Though Spanish is their first language, writing in the language after spending the majority of the time writing in English was a different experience for them. “The way we write had always been in English. So to start writing in Spanish, it was a whole process that required a lot of time. We had this crazy playlist of Spanish artists and we would listen to it.”

“We ended up with a mixture. Where one verse is in one language, or the backing vocals were in Spanish. I think it's even more personal, because obviously for us, English is our working language, and Spanish is our intimate language. So I feel like mixing them both, it's just like giving more colour to it. And obviously, now people from Spain who don't know English can actually sing to the songs and understand what they're saying.”

Though their new release has given Hinds an insurgence of self-empowerment, they hope The Prettiest Curse has a positive effect on listeners too. “I hope it gives empathy to people or helps them feel a bit less lonely after a bad phase. One of the most dangerous things to happen is isolation and loneliness is a serious thing. I think talking about it, singing out loud and being outspoken really helps and it’s what has helped us.”

Written by Amy Smolcic 

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