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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Every Night in Every City: Hinds On Touring, Feminism, And The Strokes

Posted By on Tue, Mar 29, 2016 at 2:18 PM

click to enlarge meet-hinds-the-chilled-out-chicas-shaking-up-garage-rocks-so.jpg

I catch Carlotta Cosials, one-quarter of Spanish garage rockers Hinds, at a rare lull in an otherwise hectic schedule. She’s relaxing in a hotel room in New York City with her bandmates, awaiting their sold-out headline show at The Bowery Ballroom a few hours later. Selling out a show is hardly a rare feat for the group – they’ve sold out 24 of their last 30 gigs by Cosial’s count – but one they still find thrilling.

“It’s every night in every city of the world,” Cosials says. “We love this.” They love it so much, in fact, that they spent this year’s South By Southwest playing a mind-boggling 17 shows in five days in order to beat their previous record of 16 sets at the 2015 event.

Combine this fierce work ethic with the band’s "nuestra mierdas, nuestras reglas" (translation: our shit, our rules) modus operandi, and you start to see what makes Hinds work. Early on, the foursome decided to leave all aspects of their art up to themselves, withdrawing from outside forces to craft their debut in a Madrid rehearsal space. Leave Me Alone follows suit: a gloriously lo-fi and unflinchingly sincere record titled not after its lyrical themes but the frustration the band felt towards exterior parties seeking to meddle.
The emotional and sonic immediacy stemming from this insular ethos has now won them fans in high places: Mac Demarco, Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner, The Black Lips. Not that they’re accustomed to having Mac Demarco in their contact list, that is. “We still feel like fans,” Cosials admits.

I witness this fandom first-hand a few minutes later. We’re chatting about feminism when the news breaks: Julian Casablancas is coming to the show tonight. All four members of the band scream with delight, and Cosials switches between English and her native Spanish as she presses the messenger (their manager, presumably) for details. “He’s the only one we still haven’t met,” she says before revealing her love for The Strokes’ seminal sophomore album Room on Fire. “It’s in my van in Spain. Every fucking time we do a trip with the van, we listen to it. It’s like a rule.”

Other rules include taking care of your own. As a Madrid-based band making good beyond Spain, Hinds see themselves as pioneers in an international rock scene that is rather unknown to musicians in their home country. This isn’t an inaccurate self-assessment, as evidenced by their unprecedented conquest of Europe, America, Australia, and major music publications like the NME and The Line of Best Fit. “Everything is like, ‘I think we’re the first Spanish people in history who are doing this,’” she says before rattling off the names of other Spanish acts worth knowing. (Los Nastys, The Pirates, and Miqui Brightside top her list.)

This tribe mentality applies to feminism, too. Hinds surround themselves with like-minded women on the road, an elbow in the male-dominated touring industry’s gut. But whether on tour or at home, casual sexism remains a constant. “We’ve got to be so much stronger than a boy band has to be,” Cosials says, citing how their all-woman lineup puts their outfits, appearances, and live performance style under never-ending scrutiny.

And while such scrutiny has already grown tiresome, it hasn’t caused Hinds to stumble. Their international tour stretches into August, broken by a few brief trips home to record their second album. For all the affection they feel towards Leave Me Alone, Cosials insists they want their sophomore effort to surpass its predecessor in both songwriting heft and production value.

Their insistence on their shit and their rules, however, is unlikely to waver.

Hinds play at 8:00 pm on Tuesday, March 29, at Rickshaw Stop. The show is sold out.

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Elle Coxon


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