The Prettiest Curse

The Prettiest Curse

Going into their third album, Hinds felt ready to confront something. “Pop melodies!” Carlotta Cosials—the Madrid band’s co-songwriter and frontwoman—tells Apple Music. “Incredibly poppy melodies. They live in a place we had always banned ourselves from going, but the day we met Jenn we discovered a new option.” Across records one and two (2016’s Leave Me Alone and 2018’s I Don’t Run), Hinds perfected their joyously unruly lo-fi rock, but working with producer Jenn Decilveo (Anne-Marie, Bat for Lashes) helped the band set fire to their self-imposed rules. “It was the first time we really thought about our production,” says Ana Perrote, the band’s other lead songwriter and frontwoman. “We’d been writing and recording the same way with everyone sticking to their instruments, and suddenly we shook that all up. Plus, we still found ourselves, our energy and identity.” The results are definitely shinier, but moreover, The Prettiest Curse captures a band—rounded out by bassist Ade Martin and drummer Amber Grimbergen—finding their sweet spot. Songs like “Good Bad Times,” “Boy,” and “Waiting for You” are glorious cake-and-eat-it moments: still built around the crackling Cosials-Perotte chemistry, but set off by a confidence to see what their DIY rock might look like with splashes of vivid color. That confidence spills over to singing in their native tongue for the first time. “It was strange to write lyrics in Spanish,” Cosials says. “You don’t know what’s artistic or not, because our Spanish is used for daily things like ‘pass me the glass.’ We had to be brave and see if how we were expressing ourselves in Spanish would be beautiful or not. We’re bad at a lot of things, but I think we’re good at cheering people up.” Here, Coasials and Perotte take us through their triumphant third album, track by track. Good Bad Times Carlotta Cosials: “We wrote it in one day. There are so many songs on the album that we did pretty fast. We tried to be more faithful to the initial instinct than we ever have been. We used to do the opposite—going round and round over an idea—which did usually put us in a better place, but staying loyal to the original idea worked really well.” Ana Perotte: “It’s my favorite on the record. Having it almost half in Spanish and it sounding super natural is great. Every instrument sounds new.” Just Like Kids (Miau) AP: “If we spend two days in a studio, the first day we’ll often spend so many hours thinking about a song, working on it, trying to tweak it, and thinking that we’ve got it. And then the day after, with only a few hours left, suddenly we’ll write an entirely new song and we’ll love it. This was one of those. The playful melodies in the verses are classic Hinds, but the big step here is in the chorus. It’s like a chorus from a musical—it’s very theatrical.” CC: “We couldn’t have written this song six years ago. It could only happen because we’ve had six years together. We have the maturity now, and we’ve been through the sexism we’re singing about every single day during the six years. It was definitely worse six years ago—we were new, we were so young, we were all women, and we’re Spanish, where I think we’re still a little bit behind in what feminism means. But having the perspective of all those years gave us the strength to talk about it with a sense of humor. I think if you’re going to try and write an anthem about how women are treated in music, it should be something close to this. Something that is positive, and shows up the reality—but not in a moaning way.” Riding Solo CC: “In the summer of 2019 we played this weird festival on a boat. Yo La Tengo were there, and blew our minds. Ade suggested we could try something like Yo La Tengo—a very long musical moment where we can enjoy our instruments and have a moment for ourselves. Third album, six years together: We can actually get our dicks out and brag a little. The song itself is about not belonging to anywhere and floating in space, as our lives had been for a very long time. This is a musical moment of chaos—but very controlled, almost shoegaze chaos.” AP: “It’s also the reason we ended up doing the album with Jenn Decilveo. We first wrote ‘Waiting for You’ with her, and then the day after did this, and realized the strength of the connection. She listened to us, respected us, and gave us the resources to do what we wanted to do. It was super empowering.” CC: “For me, I know truly understand the role of a producer. I think you have to learn it during the years trying different producers, and you don’t know how much they should get involved in a song, or whether they can have an opinion. The definition was always very messy to me. If I need a definition now, I’m choosing whatever Jenn is.” Boy AP: “If we played you an early demo of this song, you would laugh. It’s super, super slow and very laidback. It was called ‘Ibiza’ for a long time. When we handed some demos to our team, no one even mentioned this song. And it was one of our favorites.” CC: “‘Not strong enough,’ they all said.” AP: “So we changed it entirely and added this Gorillaz-style really strong bass with a melody on top. But Jenn thought everything but the chorus was shit, which broke our hearts again. But we went back and wrote totally new verses in the studio, without thinking too much about it. We realized we already had so many serious songs, so we just went with ideas that made us smile. And in the end, that’s what you want with music, right? People smiling.” CC: “Even with the chorus, we had so many arguments with Jenn. It goes: ‘And it’s all I ever needed from the boy (I want, I want my boy).’ Jenn couldn’t understand why we’d want to sing about needing a boy. We told her that sometimes it’s all right to feel that way. Of course people need people. It doesn’t mean I’m nothing without a boy. I’m so happy that we trusted our instincts on things like that.” AP: “We wanted to embrace that feeling when you feel like a superhero because you’re so in love. It was a chance for us to say that while we love touring and being in a band, sometimes you just want to stay on the couch together. To give anthems to those little moments is super cool.” Come Back and Love Me AP: “It came very naturally to Carlotta and I when we wrote it, which is strange because it’s very, very different to absolutely everything we’ve ever done. It felt like a present we got from somewhere, so we couldn’t change it. It happened to us.” CC: “We’re obviously seen as this super energetic band, and people expect us to be happy and cheerful, but we love slower songs and ballads with quiet vocals. We often feel like we’re defenders of ballads, because I think we are good at them. Well, slow songs; we’re probably not good at doing proper sad songs that make you cry. This song had to be the same as the demo—slow, romantic, and with the Spanish guitars. Plus, one of the objectives for this third album was to give our vocals different textures. We would occasionally write certain songs in our usual higher pitch before reminding ourselves: ‘Don’t forget what we said in the first meeting.’ It’s why the whole album has a different flavor, in my opinion.” AP: “We also got to write a lot of this album in the studio, so we could actually hear ourselves on proper amps without having to yell on. So suddenly we could explore singing softer, whispering, little gasps and whispers. I love it.” Burn CC: “This was our first song ever where we’ve written the verses separately. We always write the whole thing, then choose who sings, but here we had the chords and the chorus but wanted a more chill verse. I got a text from a boy that got me really, really mad. He said: ‘Oh, last night I was out with this person and he was saying not very beautiful things about you.’ But he wouldn’t tell me who it was. You know when you’re on your own at home and you’re mad, but you don’t think it’s important enough to call a friend to talk through, it’’s hopeless! So I took my guitar and wrote the verse that evening before texting Ana really nervous.“ AP: “I was just really excited, and wrote my verse straight away. We got quite excited in the end because we thought we were actually rapping in the verses, before realizing that it was very much not rapping.” Take Me Back CC: “It’s all about Ana’s guitar here. Her solo. It’s one of the most beautiful parts of the whole album. After the choruses and the four chords that we do, the solo takes you back to the verse again—it’s not dramatic, but it’s just beauty.” AP: “I love everything about this one, even though it was so fucking hard to figure out the chorus. I love how regretful the lyrics are—those moments when you realize that you fucked up—and they work so well with the melodies. It’s all so super clear, and sounds quite ’90s to me. Realizing that we didn’t really need vocals on the chorus was fun. We suddenly knew we just needed to yell something and let the guitars do the work. It’s something we did with ‘Easy’ on the first album, but hadn’t done again.” The Play CC: “At some point, everyone in the band has had a pretty serious identity crisis. We are probably more prone, because we are living together constantly and it’s natural to compare yourself to the others. Who am I without Hinds? You’re suddenly a four-piece instead of individuals. It’s not that easy to have a personal life with your own tastes and decisions when you’re on tour or in the studio.” AP: “I realized the other day how crazy it is for your subconscious that every time you see a friend or you see someone, anywhere, they say: ‘Oh, where are the girls?’ As if you’re not enough. You want to reply: ‘I don’t know, but I’m here. I’m not asking you where your fucking best friend is, or your coworker is.’ It’s crazy to get that question constantly.” CC: “The entire album deals with reality, and sometimes reality is shit. Asking, ‘Who am I?’ is one of the biggest, most common questions human beings can ask. I don’t feel like I went to a therapist after writing this song, but it did feel special. It was good for us as a band, because this feeling is such a personal thing that suddenly creating a song about it altogether was a challenge. It was really beautiful that we were able to share the problem and found a way through, musically.” Waiting for You CC: “It’s pop and it’s proud. Maybe this is our poppy limit. It was actually very conflictive, too, because we were determined to put out a 10-song album and we had to kick out a different song, which we also loved. To me, it’s a song that makes me sad. We’ve never sang a song from our partners’ perspective. Life is tricky when you know that person has been waiting for you, and you cannot give them anything else, so they hate you.” AP: “We were definitely working through a lot of feelings of guilt when we wrote it. I remember you were crying and super emotional because you felt so bad about making someone wait for you. I think it was interesting to be able to write a song where you talk about being, literally, hateful and get through that process and forgive yourself, knowing that though you did hate hurting someone, in the end, it was the right thing to do.” This Moment Forever CC: “There were three certainties on this album: ‘Good Bad Times’ begging to be the first song, keeping the Spanish guitars on ‘Come Back and Love Me,’ and knowing this would be the perfect end for an album.” AP: “I think it’s so strong and so beautifully sweet and represents a very specific feeling that I’m so happy we captured. Because I sort of forgot about that feeling, and how lucky am I that I now have a song to take me back to it. I have my own time capsule.”

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