HINDS’ Carlotta: ‘When it’s messy, it’s in Spanish; when it’s done, it’s in English’
The homepage of HINDS’ website features a wide banner with a Polaroid image of each of the band members: Carlotta, Ana, Ade, and Amber. The Spanish indie rock band have an aesthetic perfect for the Instagram age: millennial pink fonts, hazy and vintage-looking film shots of the group surrounding house plants, and a Viewmaster on sale on their merch page. It feels like the band are living through their era.
Whether this soft-grunge image and the band’s authenticity is legitimate is about to be put to the test. Their upcoming second album, I don’t run, is set to be released on April 6. Their debut album, Leave Me Alone, which came out in 2016, set them off on worldwide tours and propelled them to the forefront of the alternative music scene. I caught up with Carlotta — guitarist, vocalist, and one of the founding members of HINDS — to chat about the processes and pressures that shaped the new tracks.
Carlotta told me on the phone that I was speaking to her the morning after the band had afforded Annie Mac a first play of their latest single on Radio 1. Safe to say it was an unnerving way to begin. But not to do myself down, I hit her with a incisive and original question: how is the new album different to the first? Carlotta explained that, like the first album, and presumably any future work, I don’t run is a “representation of a moment of [her] life;” so much has changed for the four women in the past two years (“we’ve been touring like crazy and having this crazy life”) that this particular moment was one of deliberate stillness and calm.
Touring with three of your best gal-pals sounds like the holiday of a lifetime, but the band have often discussed the tolls of being away for extended periods of time, moving from place to place. “Suddenly, you enter the cycle of touring and… you start to feel lost, but lost in the whole world. It’s like you’re floating around, different countries everyday.” HINDS took the opportunity for a well-deserved break to make the new album. “It was kind of beautiful to have one year to put all the experiences and the sensations and the feelings into something… you spend two years in a rush all the time and it’s like being a sponge, absorbing all the things that happen. It’s satisfying to vomit it all out.”
“The fact that we have each other is so important; it’s made us stronger. Touring with good company is the best”
I thought that this year-long meditation might have changed the way the band approach their next tour, but Carlotta quickly set the record straight: “It’s tough but it’s awesome. Hell yeah we’re gonna tour the same!” Despite the emotional and physical deficit touring can generate, she assured me it’s what they love. “[On tour] you belong to the band. You belong to your friends. The fact that we have each other is so important; it’s made us stronger. Touring with good company is the best.”
Often in interviews, Carlotta and the band will talk of their affection for Madrid and it’s impossible to disentangle their rebellious, carefree, rock-and-roll vibe from their image as a trendy, European band. And yet, the music they put out is always sung in English.
“When I sing, I like my voice more in English… it’s a matter of the timbre of the vocal. It’s more comfortable for us to speak in Spanish, when we’re thinking about the song; the vibe and the mood.” I asked what the process of translation was like, and Carlotta became audibly enthused. “We have a soup of feelings and sensations in Spanish, and once we put it into English, it becomes like poetry. When it’s messy, it’s in Spanish; when it’s done, it’s in English.”
If I’d managed to resist the desire to be in HINDS up until this point, speaking to Carlotta about the band’s other interests had me ready to submit. “We always design our own merch” — musical and artistic — “since the very beginning.” The band recently collaborated with Urban Outfitters on a line of T-shirts and hoodies, Carlotta sounded proud when she recounted walking into the stores and seeing their designs on sale.
Although it is something the band used to shy away from, Carlotta also said that the UO collaboration, not least because of their reach as an international brand, but also because the profits from sales went to Attendance Records (a charity providing state school children with the resources to create, write, and produce their own albums) made her believe “we’re a good idea for them.” As a highly-visible and successful all-female band she believes that despite it not being the ‘point’ of HINDS, the band is “showing [people] something they haven’t seen before. And that’s a way of having more equality.” The past two years have seen the band mature not only musically, but as members of a small but ever-growing community of women in the world of music, inspiring and enabling others like them to share their triumph.
Originally published at www.varsity.co.uk.