Editor’s note: Since this piece was published, Deers changed their name to Hinds.
When I first email Deers about writing a feature, their reply contains 16 total exclamation points and one rocket ship emoticon. When I Skype with them, they scream upward of five times. They’re elated. They’re elated to be a band, a real band, complete with sticker-clad guitar cases and a party of a sound to call their own. Unlike many artists who express a steady cool about their “deserved” success, Deers is refreshingly exclamatory, or more simply put, they’re excited as f***.
Which they should be. In the past eight months, since the first shows Deers played as a foursome in their hometown of Madrid, Spain, these girls have rapidly skyrocketed themselves into “band to watch” territory. In April, they posted their first two demos as a full group on Bandcamp. By September, they were opening for The Libertines in Paris and Brussels. A timeline of their fast formation—from two girls posting acoustic covers on YouTube to four girls performing very not-acoustic, sold-out stadium shows—is organized neatly on their Facebook timeline. Each announcement features an increasing number of !!!!!!!!!’s.
Listening to Deers is like waking up and being told you’re about to live the most fun day of your life. A set of charmed, garage pop melodies dreamed up in the hot pink bedroom of a group of best friends, their songs offer a never-ending smile.
And fittingly, it all started at the beach. Co-founders and leaders of the band Carlotta Cosials and Ana Garcia Perrote traveled to the Spanish coast with some friends three years ago, where Ana taught Carlotta how to play guitar. “I taught her how to play like three chords,” Ana corrects, giggling. As it’s explained, they were obsessed. They learned a Bob Dylan song and were practicing it all day and night, relentless. There they were on the beautiful coast of Spain, and all they could think about was getting back to their instruments: “Finally we said okay, let’s make a band.”
Carlotta and Ana started playing shows as a duo, but eventually stopped because according to Carlotta, “It just didn’t make any sense.” Then over the summer of 2013, the girls were watching videos from when they’d started and decided it was time to try again. So they wrote some songs.
Those songs were “Trippy Gum” and “Bamboo,” which Ana and Carlotta recorded with some friends in their practice space and put up on SoundCloud one night not thinking much of it. What happened would lead to a totally surprising, exhilarating year of low-fi stardom. The dream they’d just thought up. A real band.
“Trippy Gum” is the first song the girls ever wrote and the demo that got people curious. It’s about a night Ana and Carlotta had together giving out fliers for a bar. “It was a really drunk night,” Carlotta explains. As if the duo were singing in their usual attitude-infused back-and-forth style, Ana chimes in, “A really really drunk night.” Carlotta: “It’s when you’re so drunk that you’re with everybody and nobody at the same time. It’s about having fun.”
After recording, they realized that they really needed a bass player and a drummer, and who better to carry on the fun than their best friend, guitarist Ade Martin. One birthday and the gift of a bass guitar later, and the band had another member. “It’s the bass she’s actually still playing with right now,” Carlotta smiles, proud. Amber Grimbergen, meanwhile, had a photo of her drumming as her profile picture on Facebook, so they added her and that was that. A complete band.
But to be clear, Deers want to be a band, not a girl band. Still, they consciously decided not to invite any boys into their mix. As a group of women, Deers presents a different set of feminist ideals—they’re cheery in their anger and lighthearted in their defiance. In many ways, they represent the modern day female, the girl who’s sexualized, carefree and fun. The girl who doesn’t give a damn and eats pizza in a smiley, pink tennis shoe-wearing type way—sassy and unruly.
And despite being deeply rooted in an image inspired by Southern California sun and the music coming out of the United States’ most nonchalant rockers (the girls cite both The Growlers and Shannon and the Clams as two of their major influences), Deers have always lived in Madrid. “But the things we like come from America. You play the music you like,” says Ade. When I ask if they’re eager to embark on their first trip to the U.S. scheduled for next year, I get a chorus of “YES!” in unison. Deers will be playing SXSW and Burgerama in March, and they couldn’t be more thrilled.
Surprisingly, though, support from their mother country has been a little slower in coming. In fact, the girls are just playing their first headlining show in Madrid this week, Dec. 18. “It’s sold out, but we think it’s because of our friends, our moms and our cousins. Maybe a few fans we don’t know about,” says Ana. Why they haven’t gotten the support they expected locally, the girls look unsure, and breathe angry for a moment thinking about it. “It’s like they [Spanish press] don’t believe in us. They think it’s a joke.”
The mood shifts again when talk turns to their support in London. “Last time in London was crazy. Everyone was singing the songs,” says Carlotta, starry eyed and cool. “The crowds are really curious. No one’s looking at their cell phones,” says Ana.
One thing that’s clear is these girls—although jovial and partying in spirit—are taking Deers very, very seriously. With their band email out on the internet, Carlotta is constantly sifting through inquiries and drafting responses. It’s a job. So much so that only Ana has continued studying (for now). “Ninety percent of what I’m focusing on is Deers,” says Carlotta.
With their debut album expected to drop sometime in 2015, the number one focus for the girls is creating. “Our biggest goal is a good album. We can’t think about another thing. We dream with it. We work so hard,” they say. Which is an important distinction. Although Deers is warring in their boisterous, amused vibe, they’re serious about wanting to make good music.
And it shows. Relatively young and new to the addicting joy that is making music within a group, Deers are inspired by the thrill, the act of music-making itself. Their songs have a wide-eyed quality, alluring in their accidental, stumbled-upon youth.
Any video on the internet featuring Deers is some beautiful blend of lipstick, pizza and sangría. Together they prove music isn’t necessarily about how many chords you can fit in a song and how delicately you can play. It’s about sincerity and emotion, and Deers are mastering both in the most intoxicating, excited way possible. It’s so good and so genuinely spirited, it’ll make you want to pick up something, anything, and bang it to the beat. Because !!!!!!!!.