Artist to Artist: Hinds x Shamir

Artist to Artist: Hinds x Shamir

To celebrate our forthcoming music issue, we're pairing up some of our favorite artists and letting them play interviewer for a change.

To celebrate our forthcoming music issue, we're pairing up some of our favorite artists and letting them play interviewer for a change.

Text: MATHIAS ROSENZWEIG

Today for our Artist to Artist series, we had singer-songwriter Shamir connect with the ladies of Hinds, your favorite Spanish export. While their musical stylings are notably differentShamir's veers closer to enlightened electropop and lo-fi grunge, while Hinds will make you feel nostalgic for The Strokesthey share a kinship from having previously toured together. V connected band members Ade and Carlotta with Shamir to discuss Rihanna, what scares them, and crying. It was amazing. Read the full interview below, and make sure to grab your copy of the Music Issue on May 3rd (or pre-order it now here).

Carlotta: How are you? where are you?

Shamir: Back in Philly, finally.

C: Do you live there?

S: Yeah, I’ve lived in Philly for almost three years.

C: I thought you lived in Las Vegas.

S: No, I’m just from Las Vegas.

C: And you’re doing good?

S: I’m good, just super exhausted. I haven’t had downtime since I landed. I’ve been meaning to ask you how it’s been since your album came out?

C: It’s good! It’s not even a week yet, but it’s finally out and people are really liking it.

S: It’s really good! In my mind, I don’t think you guys can do any wrong but the songwriting is very emotional on this record, I think.

C: Thank you very much. What was your favorite song?

S: I think “Finally Floating” is my favorite song so far.

C: Nice, nice. That’s an intense onegood choice.

S: It’s very heartfelt, very emotional. I think it’s the most emotional song you guys have ever written.

C: Yeah, we’re kind of obsessed with that time of day, everything that surrounds the night and sleeping and dreaming. These moments are the most real ones at the end of your day. I’m so glad you know it!

S: I know all your songs, I’m like a superfan [Laughs].

C: We’ll have to teach you one of the songs so you can play.

S: I’ll learn the whole record! [Laughs]

C: Okay, so what song makes you cry and when is the last time you cried?

S: I think I was actually talking about this with a friend last Sunday, about how we both cried the first time we heard the song “Harvey” by Alex G.

C: Ah, cool.

S: What about you guys?

C: I cried yesterday! [Laughs]

Ade: And I cried a week and a half ago in New York.

C: We were both at a bar, sitting at the bar, both crying. The bartender poured us both glasses of water to try and help us.

S: Crying for me… I can’t cry casually. Once I start crying, I can’t stop. It’s a whole debacle. I’m like, “I’m gonna need two hours to get myself back together.”

C: Me too, that happens to me, too.

S: Do you have one?

C: I don’t have one that makes me cry unconditionally, but I have cried to the song “Waiting” by Alice Boman.

S: I’ll have to check it out. Okay, I have a question. If you guys had to open for any band, what would be your dream supporting spot, dead or alive?

C: The Beatles.

S: I will say, I’m not a huge fan of The Beatles. It’s very controversial and I’ve been very vocal about it. They’re a band that wasn’t really a part of my upbringing, and also are spoken about very horribly in my house. The equivalent for me is The Who. The Who is like my Beatles.

C: What’s your dream supporting act?

S: I think probably The Slitsthey’re a really old band from the '70s. The lead singer just died recently, so if she was able to come back from the dead and do a tour, that would probably be my dream tour.

C: That was actually our question. If there is another band you’d like to join, who would it be? It has to be real. They have to be alive. Like if your manager called and said, “You have to play with Radiohead.”

S: Is vocals okay? I can’t really play anything.

C: Yeah, that’s fine.

S: I think... there’s a band called Krill that a lot of people in Boston and on the East Coast were really sad about breaking up years ago. If they wanted to form the band back together, I would learn how to play bass and do vocals. The lead singer has a very high pitched voice also, so yeah I’ll do that.

C: Nice, nice.

S: What about you?

C: We both said Twin Peaks.

S: Oh, that’d be perfect.

C: Yes, yes. But for maybe one month, a backup singer for Beyoncé.

S: I mean, yeah. Everyone would.

C: Or Rihanna.

S: Rihanna’s my everything. Do you guys have favorite albums of all time?

C: I do. The Strokes.

S: I know you guys love The Strokes. You know, I never really got that into The Strokes. Maybe I need to revisit.

C: I think they’re more popular in Europe. In the States, not as much.

S: They’re pretty big in America, so they must be even bigger in Europe. They must be almost The Beatles [laughs]. I think that’s the thing, they’re so popular it’s hard to block out the noise. I haven’t had my moment with them yet. I’m waiting for that, I really am.

C: What’s your album?

S: Again, back to The Slits.

C: What’s your favorite thing about [our shared tour manager] Fiona Campbell?

S: She’s almost superhuman efficient. She’s just so good at organizing things and when things get a little crazy, she’s so cool. It’s amazing to see and watch. She’s just so special. Honestly, we’re both lucky we get to tour with her. What about you, what do you love about Fiona?

C: She’s a great feminine figure. Such a hard worker and she’s not afraid to be both feminine and bold, carrying all these things. There’s a big contrast in her styles. She’s a real role model for everything she thinks and how she sees the world.

S: Exactly, she’s so inspiring. I’m happy to hear you guys say that because I identify as queer and nonbinary, so I’m not a woman, but it’s cool to hear that from another woman that she’s this god-like beacon of femininity. She’s almost like a goddess in a very cool way. Okay, here's a question. What’s your favorite song that you wrote together?

C: "The Club", probably.

S: What’s the process like writing in English?

C: We speak in Spanish before about what we want to talk about, how to design the song. It’s cool because all the feelings and emotions come through when we translate it to English. We go back and forth, saying, “No, I want to talk about this,” everything authentic happening in Spanish. Then, in the last moment, we put it into words in English. Sometimes, we have the melody before, or know the noisesnonsense words. Then we try to match the sound with a real word.

S: Oh, okay. I get what you mean. Even I, as a Spanish-speaking singer, will hum a melody and then find the lyrics that go.

C: The first melody we ever wrote, we wrote the melody and then found words that went with it. It sounded like English, but it wasn’t English. Our voice in Spanish doesn’t sound the same as in English. Different songs sound better in Spanish and in English. There were times when we said, “Oh, this needs to be in English,” because it made sense and came out naturally.

S: Do you find writing more in English has helped with your English?

C: Yes, definitely. Not just writing, but also looking up vocabulary. I feel like I’m still worse in English than I am in Spanish. I’m not bilingual yet.

S: Honestly, most people in America who speak English couldn’t get an English degree very easily [Laughs].

C: Have you ever felt really scared of something?

S: Yeah, I was really scaredthe most scared I’ve ever beenwhen I had my first manic episode. It led to me waking up in the hospital and not really knowing what happened or where I was, or why I was in the hospital. Everyone had to explain to me why I was there. It was really scary.

C: When was that?

S: This was last spring.

C: Do you feel any better now?

S: Yes, I feel much better. I got diagnosed with bipolar disorder and was put on medication; I go to therapy regularly. I’m much more balanced out, and because of that, I’m the healthiest mentally I’ve ever been.

C: I love how in your “Straight Boy” lyrics we can understand more about your life and situations you’ve been through. As a woman, in that position, for the first time, you made me feel like I understood. Has it helped you understand your feelings about this kind of stuff? Also, do you have any favorite straight boys?

S: It’s definitely a really emotional song for me. As you know, in this world we’re surrounded by straight men in higher positions. I’m sure you guys work with a lot of straight men in the studio. And so that for me was about me being surrounded by straight men and never feeling comfortable, never feeling heard. Also, when I actually needed something from them, them never showing up. That song was me dealing with this after I got out of the hospital. A lot of them disappeared. I had to learn how to record and do everything by myself. As for my favorite straight boy, I’m still trying to figure that out [laughs]. I really like my engineer right now. He has a gay brother who’s really similar to me, so he’s been great.

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