"One second – I'm going to grab a beer so I'll feel relaxed and tell you our secrets," Ana García Perrote says with a laugh. The 21-year-old singer-guitarist is backstage at a theater in Lille, France, killing time before she hits the stage with the Madrid-based quartet Hinds. Their shows are ridiculously fun garage-rock rave-ups – much like their debut LP, Leave Me Alone – and lately the crowds have been wilder than ever, which is just how Hinds like it. "Our audiences used to be more shy," Perrote says after finding a Belgian brew. "But now people know that if you go to a Hinds show, you can get as drunk as you want, and dance as much as you want, and you can even go onstage. You can just feel free for an hour."
Hinds began in the summer of 2011, when Perrote and singer-guitarist Carlotta Cosials, who met through an ex-boyfriend, brought a couple of acoustic guitars along on a vacation to Spain's Mediterranean coast. "I didn't know how to play," says Cosials, 24, "but Ana taught me the three chords that she knew." They ended up sitting on the beach, strumming Bob Dylan's "It Ain't Me, Babe" and trying to memorize the knotty lyrics. "We got really obsessed," Perrote says. "We had tan lines from where the guitars cast shadows on our bodies, and our fingers had marks on them." Next, they tried busking their Dylan cover and a few other songs by the shore; it was good enough to bring in 30 euros. "We were so happy that we could pay for the gas to Madrid and back!" says Perrote.
That fall, they played a couple of gigs back home as a duo. The first was a success. "Madrid is super-small – we only have, like, five venues, and they're all right next to each other," Cosials says. "So suddenly seeing your friend playing guitar and singing was a very bizarre thing. Everybody was so happy." But the spell came undone at their second-ever show. "We changed all the songs on the set list and played new ones and more difficult ones," Cosials says regretfully. "It was terrible! We were super-ashamed."
Their career quieted down after that, only to roar back in 2014, when they rounded out their lineup with bassist Ade Martin, 23, and drummer Amber Grimbergen, 19. A few buzzy singles later, they were selling out club shows in the U.K. and Germany. "We uploaded some songs to the Internet, and that evening we had emails from people in London and the U.S.," Cosials recalls. "Even if we weren't totally ready to show ourselves to the world, we decided to just do it and accept that our level of knowledge of being in a band was zero." She laughs. "It's crazy!"
At the time, the band was known as Deers; in early 2015, after a similarly named act threatened legal action, they posted a characteristically carefree handwritten response online. "We received an email from a Canadian lawyer saying that our name created confusion with his band's name," they wrote. "And that name is not even Deers (LOL). We tried our best, really, but we have no choice, so… Okay!!! Let's take this with a smile!!!! Deers are now Hinds! And we are the same people, we are even the same animal! Unbelievable!"
The band will spend the month of February riding around Europe in their tour manager's van in support of Leave Me Alone, chatting and listening to Strokes and Mac DeMarco albums to pass the time. "We are very, very talkative," Cosials says. "I don't know if it's because we're Spanish or something, but we talk almost all the time when we're awake."
After that, they're excited to return to the States this March. "The wildness of Americans really turns us on," Cosials says. "People really give themselves to the music. In Europe, people don't go that crazy. Music is the door of freedom!" They're still talking about the house party they played in one Kansas City fan's basement after rocking a local theater in October. "It was exactly how Europeans imagine American parties," Perrote says. "There was alcohol, there was weed, there was everything. Everyone was making out with each other. We couldn't hear anything because everything was so loud. This is the best work ever, seriously."