Interview: HINDS talk I Don’t Run, tackling festivals and more at Primavera Sound

While out basking in the Spanish sun at Barcelona’s Primavera Sound, we caught up with one of our favourite groups, Hinds. Revelling in the release of their latest record I Don’t Run, AmberAde and Ana tell us some more about the making of this record, bringing it to life on stage and generally levelling up as a live band.

So we’re backstage at Primavera 2018. It’s been two days since you’d played. Tell me about the experience of playing, how’d the show go? You’re doing quite a lot of shows at the moment.

Amber:​ Really good.

Ade: ​Really, really good. It was good for sure. We released a record right before that, so it was really nice to play those shows and see people enjoying the new songs, which is a new thing for us. Then America was crazy, because we started the tour and shows started selling out, which is really, really good.

Is that the first time that’s happened in that territory?

Ade:​ No, but for this record, yes. So it was a good sign for the record. People are liking it and coming to the shows. And then Primavera, which …

Ana: ​It is what it is, you feel me?

Ade: ​Yes it is. It was good. The thing is that, we always have the same problem; every time the festival season starts, we always forget how the stages are so big.

Ana:​ We forget.

Ade:​ They’re big venues, but they’re still venues, so you get used to that comfort zone.

Ana:​ Like, the night before, we were playing a venue in L.A. It was crazy to be like, ‘a venue’, and then, Spain.

Ade:​ So you get here, we’re playing on the main stage, which is like the biggest stage ever; [in] some ways on stage was tricky [and] because of that, I worry.

Having more control as well.

Ade: ​Exactly, and hearing everybody else [too]. I couldn’t hear Anna –  Anna was at the other side of the stage, and I didn’t know what she was doing, I was missing her.

Ana:​ I wasn’t there. Honestly, I didn’t even know.

Well, neither could the Beatles, so you’re in good company. Where did you play in L.A.?What venue did you play?

Ana:​ Teragram Ballroom.

​Beautiful room.

Ana:​ Beautiful room, sold out.

​Great, big capacity in that room. Really comfortable room. I’ve seen a few shows over the years. Are you getting comfortable playing those sorts of rooms rather than the first ones?

Ana:​ The thing is, we’re doing so much that even if we do a little festival, it’s still two months out of the year and then the rest of the months are [in] venues, so we’re can’t help but just being used to venues and sweat on people being there really soon.

Amber: Yeah, and venues means that people are paying for our show.

How do you think, you mentioned with the latest shows, they’re starting to sing along with the songs; I certainly started on Thursday. How are you finding the new songs to go down live? ​When I listen to the record, I kinda go, ‘I really wanna hear this live’. That’s kinda what I hear as a listener.

Ana:​ When your band plays, suddenly there’s like a random city where like everyone just only knows about the first record. Especially in America an [with] the festivals, it’s more about the second one than the first one. It was really good.

It’s so fresh, I mean it’s been out not even two months.

Ana:​ Like, I think people get the new songs more a little bit.

They can understand the lyrics more.

Ana:​ Yeah, they understand the lyrics more and they’re the sound is easier than the first record.

But it still has that real lo-fi element to it. It still feels a little dirty; I guess that’s the best way to put it, which is good because I feel like if you lost that, if it got too glossy…

Ade: ​I mean it’s just the way we are, you know what I mean? We’re not fighting anything…

Amber: You’re dirty, man.

Ade:​ We’re not polished people, ya know?

Let the record show that they look terrible. [Laughs] Nah, I’ve read quite a few interviews leading up to the album release and that was a really important part, both in terms of the producer you picked and the direction you went with the record. Even the closing song, which is such a… you know, it’s almost like you’re in another room listening.

Ade:​ We were in the other room.

Oh, is that, is that how that was recorded?

Ade: ​Yeah, it was because in the studio we recorded, it’s the house of the owner of the studio. The studio and then the house of the musicians and the whole record was  [done] in the studio.

Then this one was in the house of the musicians; we just did it with one mic and actually, the song started just by playing an acoustic guitar and just vocals. We liked the recording so much, we got our phone, because we always record the demos with our phones. We liked it so much that in the studio where like, ‘Okay, we’re just going to put one mic and that’s gonna be enough,’ and it still sounded too polished and too good compared to what we wanted to.

That it was like closer to the demo. What we did was [we] recorded with one mic and then that mic played through my phone to my speaker like a fucking small JBL speaker that we use to pre-party before the shows.We played it on that speaker and we recorded it from that speaker to get the sound that we got in the record.

Well, I said that’s along the way “Ma Nuit”, which is the closing song on the album. To me, that just encapsulates the sort of band you are and it was great to hear that. I mean it struck me, when it came on that the end of the record and I was like, ‘Oh this kinda the band that I feel like I’ve known over the years,’ The whole record is, but that was just, it was a nice touch at the end of the record.

Ade:​ I think it’s like really important for us too; it’s like we don’t see, we’re not like in this single, single, single, single fight that the whole world is into now. We’re really taking care of like the record and like we wanna see [it] as a big piece. We had an instrumental song on the first record. No one will have ever expected Hinds to have an instrumental song. Anyone’s like, ‘Yep, we like it,’ and that’s the way we feel about this song; we don’t wanna sing it, but it’s just, that’s the way it is.

Amber:​ It feels like it brings you back to Earth. You listen to more [of the] record, which is more polished…suddenly you get that vibe again…

Were those songs tracked live as a band or were they tracked individually?

Amber:​ All of them were live…

Ade:​ Not vocals, though. Music and us. Yes.

Amber:​ Yeah. We always try like to keep it as real as possible. No auto-tune, no click program; we’re trying to do it as close as we are when we play live. Even then, with our guitars, our bass, it was really close to what we sound like, I think.

Ade: ​To sing the track that we liked was like for every song, we played it like five times. So it’d be like if you play five tracks, you played the drums, then the bass, then whatever. You don’t get the feeling of the whole thing. Every take that we liked, that was the real one. It was more of a feeling. It’s not the one that sounded better, it was the one that felt better.

​And then [that] translates easily onto the stage so as soon as that record’s done, you’re able to go out and play them live, which not every band can do. They have to figure it out after the fact.

Ade: ​I mean, we had to figure it out because we only had a month to write the record. So then suddenly, we’d do some things [in] life that wouldn’t [get] thrown into the record, because we had another month to rehearse it before going on tour

​Add it to the song. Like when you play it live, do you feel you’re able to continue to develop those songs, even the older ones?

Amber: ​We toured it. We toured the first record before we recorded it. Even some of the stuff, we didn’t finish. We had such a short set, we had like six songs done;  we were touring the world tour like, ‘Fuck, we just threw like a three second teaser of two parts of a song’.

We just play it live, which is the only thing we have; we we would say, ‘Do you guys wanna listen?’ They were like, ‘Yeah, of course because you’ve been only playing for twenty five minutes,’ We would play songs the way it [had been] written because it was the only thing we had. So yeah, they definitely grew up being played before like…

Ade: ​They sound better now, which is just crazy. ​Like right now, the old songs sound better.

[With] the band, it’s been a few years as well and you’re getting better as a band. That’s gonna happen just naturally, but becoming better musicians, more confident musicians, working with other people and being influenced by them. In that respect, you’ve obviously sharing festival stages with a lot of great bands, but that probably doesn’t have quite as much influence as the stages you share. It’s more venues. So I mention you did some shows with Albert Hammond Jr. who I’ve got to see both him and yourselves at SXSW this year.

Obviously, you work with his producer on this record as well, so there’s a connection there. What is it like kind of sharing stages with artists like that and what do you learn from being around those sort of artists?

Ana:​ Just pushes us. Whenever, we see someone, we meet them and they’re like, ‘I just wanna be as good they are’. The thing is they’ve been playing music for like fifteen years, twenty years, twenty five years and we’re like, ‘Oh fuck, I have had four years [to] be where we are’. Which makes you feel proud, because like I didn’t need fifteen years of playing guitar to be here, but at the same time it’s like, ‘I’m still here, I’m here’. I wanna be as good as you are, so it’s just pushing you to be better.

Does that come down to both as song writers and performers?

Ana:​ Especially performers. I think a good song can be written with one guitar and one vocal – really good songs. Then you can have the crazy parts, like adding all the elements and they’re interesting and sound amazing. Writing is more… you don’t really need to know that much to write an amazing song. To play good, especially as a four piece, you have to spend time, spend time together playing, playing, playing and rehearsing.

You mentioned before with, you know, being at a point now at the beginning tour versus the beginning where you had twenty five minutes of songs and you had to play that twenty five minutes of songs. Now, you can choose what songs you wanna play. 

Amber: ​It’s hard.

How do you put your set list together now? How do you, just go based on the songs you want to play or do you kind of see what works and what doesn’t?

Ade: ​I mean, we almost play all the stuff we have.

Some of them are pretty short.

Ana: ​The way we recorded the album and everything, some of them didn’t really get to sound like the album on stage. We really tried, but it’s not perfect, so we chose the ones that really fit with the second record too. It’s crazy having this long set list that’s so fucking long. Like an hour long.

Ade:​ I love it.

Ana: ​It’s actually really cool; we managed to do like we have never done it before, but with the new set list, it’s not only like song after song. It feels more like a show? It’s like, we started this song, but then we put it with the next one and then we do this dance; then we talk about this and then we talk about that and then we put another song with another one. It feels more like a whole thing, together.

That’s pretty cool.

Ana: ​It’s really, really cool.

Yeah. It must be nice to be at that point that you can construct and move things around.

Amber: ​It’s really fun, too.

Well, congratulations on the new record. It was great seeing you the other night. But yeah, I wanna see you in a smaller venue now. We hope to see you down in Australia later in the year or early next year. Fingers crossed. We’ll certainly do our part. Until then, thanks. Great to see you again.

Amber: ​You too.

HINDS’ record I Don’t Run is out now. Stay up to date with the band at www.hindsband.com.