Nine Songs: Hinds’ Carlotta Cosials
Carlotta Cosials is still in disbelief that she only discovered The Strokes on their third album, First Impressions of Earth.
“Everything arrives a little bit later in Spain” Cosials jests, as she recalls hearing “You Only Live Once” for the first time on the dancefloor of a Madrid nightclub. It’s humbling to hear that much like her bandmate Ana Perrote, it also took Cosials a little while to discover indie and garage music. Through a shared love of Bob Dylan and bands on the Californian label Burger Records, the pair ended up writing songs together and ultimately releasing a cassette version of their first album Leave Me Alone through the label in 2016.
Cosials and her bandmates - Perrote, Ade Martín and Amber Grimbergen - are set to release their third album as Hinds, The Prettiest Curse, which was subtly influenced by Cosials’ love of tracks like “Take Off With Us” from All That Jazz and “Molotov Cocktail Party”. Perrote on the other hand, tells me that some tracks on the record have a poppier tint, inspired by the Madrid quartet listening to Kali Uchis' Isolation on repeat during the writing process. Either way, the album is a brilliantly eclectic trip, where Hinds chart waters that take in both the familiar and the unexpected.
Explaining the criteria for the tracks that made the cut for her Nine Songs, Cosials tells me a good song needs to "stand the test of time" or have "many memories attached to them.”
"Some songs you listen to a few years after they were released and you’re like ‘It’s really not that good!’" she laughs. "For example - and I’m so sorry if I offend anybody - but to me it happened with Metronomy. I was mad about them in 2012, but then this summer I re-played them and I was like, ‘Oh, I remember this song sounding so much better back in the day!’"
There’s certainly a nostalgic, romantic tint to Cosials’ selections. From sick days off of school watching The Commitments on DVD, getting into nightclubs with a fake ID as a teenager, to bonding over The Clash with her punk-loving Mum, Cosials’ rebellious spirit is captured in her music taste. Which is wild, considering she originally studied medicine at University...
“I tried to pick these songs in a kind of chronological order from my childhood. My parents are kids of La Movida Madrileña (“The Madrid Scene”), so when our dictator Franco died, there was an explosion of culture and freedom and wildness in Spain.
“In Madrid, there was this movement of bands and filmmakers, it was crazy. Music was very rogue and a lot of the lyrics were super direct or even jokey. So I drank from that throughout my childhood.
“Los Nikis were pretty big in my house and my parents always played them in the car. I still love them, and when I play them it makes me so happy. I chose “Maldito Cumpleaños” because I think it’s one of the best songs they have, and it’s an example of what they’re all about. It’s about a couple and the girl is depressed, so her parents buy her a car for her birthday, but she tries to kill herself while he’s in the car too. It tells the story in a funny way. It didn’t actually happen!”
“My parents used to run a school of art, theatre and cinema, and my Dad is the biggest fan of the movie All That Jazz.
"This was the first time that I remember playing a song again and again, looking at the little gaps in between the lines of the vinyl, and dancing and doing the choreography for myself, like all kids do.
“While we were writing The Prettiest Curse, we were doing a melody and I was like ‘What is this from? It’s something from my childhood, what is it?’ In the end I spoke with my Dad, and we rediscovered it was this song. It was like a strong throwback. To me, “Take Off With Us” marks the beginning of performing in my life, it all started with this song.”
“When my parents separated, we would spend Saturdays with my Dad and I remember he had this Molotov album. He would play it when we were driving around in his second-hand 4x4 Range Rover.
“I don’t really want to talk about the social or political stuff to do with the band, or the problem with their song "Puto". I know it’s bad, but I have to confess I still love Molotov. I still really like the way they scream and the way they rap.
“For The Prettiest Curse, I insisted so hard to the girls that they needed to listen to this album, because I thought it would give us ideas for the backing vocals and stuff. In the end, no one listened to it! But on “Riding Solo” and “Boy” to me, there are clear references to the way backing vocals are done in Molotov. I’m choosing them because of the past, and then for our future album.”
“You know when you’re a kid and you don’t have any sexuality at all, but then suddenly you discover it? It’s a pretty cool moment. This is from 1998 I think? I heard this song when I was at summer camp in 1999. It talks about the slit in a girl’s skirt, and the whole camp was crazy about it, because it felt like it was talking about something just for us, you know?
“Estopa became huge in Spain, they’re just these two guys from Catalonia with a guitar and it felt really authentic. Their self-titled album has become a classic for our generation in Spain, no doubt about it.
“I’m picking things from the past that to me have aged well. Some songs you listen to a few years after they were released and you’re like ‘It’s really not that good’. For example - and I’m so sorry if I offend anybody - but to me it happened with Metronomy! I was mad about them in 2012, but then this summer, I re-played them and I was like ‘Oh, I remember this song sounding so much better back in the day!’
“My Mum was crazy about The Clash. She lived in London when she was eighteen, and she was the punkest girl you can imagine. She was a squatter and she had dreadlocks!
“When I started to listen to music from the past, I remember I made a CD that I put on in the car, and it had “I Fought The Law” on it. My Mum was driving and she looked at me when it played and said ‘What?! I remember dancing to this song until 7am when I lived in London. I can’t believe you are listening to The Clash!’
“It’s kind of funny to me to see that carrying on from one generation to another. To her, it almost seemed impossible that we loved the same band. She was so surprised and flattered. She was like ‘I can share memories with you now!’ It’s cool to share that kind of stuff with your parents.”
“I saw The Commitments movie when I was ill one day, so I didn’t go to school and I got to stay in the house on my own. My Mum bought me the DVD and the movie is about a guy who wants to be the manager of a band. He auditions everyone and it shows how they destroy themselves as a band, even before they get anywhere.
“I chose this song because it was the first song that I learned on the drums. I can still play it, it’s so easy. I started learning drums because of this film, at about age 12. They were the worst years of my life! I took six months of lessons and I took this song to my teacher - I was so stupid – and I was like ‘Look, in this song you can actually hear the drums really well, so I can learn them!’ In some songs, I wasn’t able to distinguish what the drums were doing, I never had a very good ear as a kid, I had to train it.
“I love the movie. Watching it as a kid, it was awesome, I was like ‘This is what I have to do in my life!’”
“I think The Strange Boys are the best garage band that have ever existed. They only have two albums, they have a very small repertoire, but they created a style, and they had something that a lot of bands are now kids of; they’re learning from what Strange Boys did. Kind of like Mac DeMarco, you know? There is a very long line of bands who do a very similar style of songs.
“They are ahead of almost the whole of the Burger Records compilations. I saw them in Madrid, and the gig was awesome. It was a 300-capacity venue and I was with two friends. At some point they asked what other songs the crowd would like them to play and I screamed “A Walk On The Bleach!” and they played it, so that’s why I love it so much.”
“We’re getting into the years when I started to have better taste in music.
“I went to see Patti Smith in the North of Spain in San Sebastián at a festival with a friend, and it was right on the beach, in the sand by the waves. It started to rain and she read some of her poetry. She is just such a fucking boss! I don’t have heroes in general, and I would love to have more, because I think having role models helps you. So you can be like, ‘What would Patti Smith do in this situation?’ I think she is a bit like that to me.
“I really think “Gloria” is her best song. Sometimes you choose songs by artists that aren’t the most famous ones, and sometimes I don’t want to be interesting in my answer. I just want to tell you that “Gloria” is one of the best songs! No doubt about it. It’s a masterpiece.”
“I started investigating music pretty late, because I was studying medicine at Uni. Also, my parents had this school of theatre, and I was much more interested in theatre than I was in music. With Patti Smith I started to build my own taste, and after those years I started to listen to music that was current.
“I discovered The Strokes with this song, which means I discovered them on album number three, which means I was really late. I was at a nightclub called Supersonic, I was 15 or 16 years old and I had a fake ID to get in.
"The club was closing and this song started to play. I started to make out with a boy I had a crush on at the time, and they turned on the lights, but the moment was so magical. I was making out with this boy and everybody was so drunk at 5am and everyone’s singing along to this song.
“When the song finished, I ran to the DJ and asked, ‘What the hell song was that?!’ and he said, ‘The Strokes, “You Only Live Once”’ and I was like ‘Oh yeah, you do!’”