Ginebras are an iconic Madrid band famous for their queer girl pop anthems, their music videos filled with cultural references, and of course their colorful vintage wardrobe. The band is composed of four Spanish girls: Magüi (lead vocalist and guitarist), Sandra (vocalist and lead guitarist), Raquel (bassest) and Juls (drummer). The four are from different cities around Spain, but met in Madrid through university classes, parties, friends of friends, and queer Tinder –origins we can attribute to networks of queer women.
Ginebras officially formed in 2019 and were signed to Vanana Records after entering a competition for up-and-coming bands and working with the label’s producer. The band has blessed us with pop hits like “Crystal Fighters,” queer girl anthems like “Todas Mis Ex Tienen Novio,” or “All my ex-girlfriends have boyfriends,” and overtly feminist tracks like “Cosas Moradas” or “Purple things.” They recently released their first LP, “Ya Dormiré Cuando Me Muera” or “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” Today Ginebras are a staple to Madrid’s indie music scene and are doing wonders to represent queer girl musicians.
Magui, Sandra, and Raquel recently spoke with GO about the band’s origins, growth, and how they’ve remained successful in light of COVID restrictions that complicate their work as touring musicians.
GO Magazine: How do you all define yourselves? Do you all identify as a “girl band” or do you find the label frustrating?
Magüi: We are a group of four very nice Spanish girls (laughs) who make pop music.
Raquel: We are a little fed up with being asked if we’re a girl band. I mean, we are a girl band and it’s great to claim that we are a girl band, but the question of “What is it like to be a girl band?” is getting old.
Magüi: Especially because it’s used as if it’s a genre of music. They put us in articles like, “Girl bands are killing it,” and each band makes totally different music.
Sandra: We would love to be in articles like, “Up-and-coming bands in Madrid” and be listed alongside bands composed of boys and bands composed of girls.
Raquel: But we are also super proud to be four girls playing and in the end we are making women more visible in music which is super cool.
GO: How long had you been playing before “they discovered you”?
R: Basically we recorded a song and we didn’t totally agree on how it sounded. A professor of mine introduced us to a producer who happened to be the producer for Vanana, our current label. We sent the track to him to work on and he showed it to the rest of the label and they liked it.
GO: What advice would you have liked to receive before starting a band?
M: Let’s see, you know we have grown really fast. One thing begins, and then another and another. There’s not really time for you to wrap your head around it. One day it’s “Two contestants are going to sing one of our songs on Operation Triumfo” and the next Amaia is telling us that she loves our music. And when that happens, you forget what people have warned you about the negative aspects of this, the stress and the depression rates among musicians. It’s exciting but it weighs on you. People told us, “It won’t always be nice,” but we’re only really seeing that now.
GO: How has everything changed with the pandemic and Madrid’s strict lockdown?
R: The pandemic was a reality check for us. In February 2020 we played every weekend and we had planned to spend the summer playing festivals. It really felt like, “This is going to be our new life.” And then suddenly we were confined. The quarantine brought us down to earth and forced us to relax a bit.
S: Luckily Magüi and I live together, so we were able to do Instagram live shows during the quarantine.
GO: Tell us about your songwriting process.
M: Well, we all have different processes. Sandra spits out songs as if they were churros.
R: Sandra has GarageBand on her mobile phone. If you see Sandra in the metro, she is editing in GarageBand and sending us her new tracks.
S: Magüi and I live together, and today, for example, we finished eating and I said, “I don’t feel like working.”
R: Other days we’ll be having drinks and be trying to create something. Some days nothing comes out, and others are better. Actually, today Juls also sent us a song idea with no guitar or anything, just tapping on the table. We’re also losing our shame around sharing our ideas.
S: Yes, and many times the topic comes up first, right? We were having a beer and we said, “We have to write a song about how expensive vintage clothing is,” because we are talking about that at that moment. That’s how “Vintage” originated. I always write notes on my mobile whenever I come up with things, topics, phrases or whatever.
GO: Do your neighbors complain when you’re composing at home?
M: It’s been fine so far. One is a fan (laughs).
S: He would knock on the door and say, “How beautiful you sing.”
M: It would be cool to write a song to neighbors, “Dear neighbor, I’m sorry … ” Idea! See, we never stop creating.
GO: Okay a couple fun questions. What are your approaches to finding gems at vintage stores?
S: I go for the cheapest things and then I’ll figure out how to combine them.
R: Magüi is in the one euro bin.
M: I get in there and I go to the bin that says “Everything at one euro,” or “Everything at three euros.” There you get things but you have to know how to search.
S: Maybe you see something and say “Ugly,” but then you combine it with pants and say, “This works!”
R: The key is to not prejudge an item of clothing before trying to combine it.
S: I used to play this game with my friend. We would enter a store and try on the ugliest things that we could find, that was the game. But sometimes once you had it on you’d say, “Hey, it’s not so ugly.” With clothes you have to trust.
GO: Go-to artist to listen to during a breakup?
S: No one has ever left me, so I don’t know what I would listen to.
R: During my second breakup I listened a lot to Amatria.
M: Taylor Swift, she has great songs.
R: And La Oreja de Van Gogh.
GO: Do you tell people that you have a band?
M: Yes (laughs), in fact many times when we get into a taxi we’ll say, “Look, I have a band,” and of course the taxi driver puts our music on, and it’s like, “No, I don’t want you to listen to it with me in front of you.”
R: It happened to us the other day in a cab, the driver began to watch our music video while driving.
M: Don’t watch the video, drive (laughs).
R: We are going to die! (laughs) But yeah, we like it.