Just in time for Valentine’s Day, emerging pop duo REYNA are releasing their anthemic and infectious single and debut music video for “Heartbeat”, a power-pop danceable track about breakups, make-ups, and all the squishy mixed-up feelings in between.
In an exclusive interview with GO, Gab of REYNA mused, “When you’re falling in love, you become completely infatuated with that person, and that’s where the concept for the video comes in.” In the midst of embarking on a single deal with Universal, the “Spill Your Colors” artists have been lauded in articles by Pitchfork, MTV, NYLON, Billboard Pride, and more. They have been compared to everyone from Carly Rae Jepsen to Duran Duran.
Given that most of us are pretty deep into cuffing season—snuggling up with our boos and cuddling up to the radiator—”Heartbeat” makes for the perfect queer soundtrack to a life lived without boundaries and much Sephora glitter. Whether you’re having an impromptu dance party with your bestie or cruising your Shane-esque paramour from across the dance floor at Henrietta Hudson, “Heartbeat” will give you all the L words: love, life, lust, etc.—and, like practically any Tegan & Sara song, an eclipsing pang of nostalgia for something that never happened. Even if you have no one to love and are living the life of a lonely lez in her cat-partment (‘this is the way, it’s the way that we live, it’s the way that we liiiiiiive’) at the very least, “Heartbeat” delivers a new Robyn-esque track to scroll Instagram to while you drench your cat in tears. I’m not speaking from experience; this is purely hypothetical.
Lucky for us, we here at GO got the chance to ask REYNA a few questions about their heart-melting new video:
GO Magazine: Which artists inspire you?
Vic: Queen and Tegan & Sara are probably our favorite queer artists. We grew up listening to Queen and watching their fabulous videos. Their songs are so epic, and we were always drawn to Freddie Mercury. When we discovered Tegan & Sara, something clicked in our heads. We were like, “They are women, they are playing their guitars, they are doing music the way they want… so we can do it too.” Some of our other favorite artists are Selena, Cuco, Sudan Archives, Cuco, and girl in red.
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GO: What experience made you first start playing music or develop an interest in it?
V: Our grandmother was a mariachi singer. We used to go to her shows, and she would make us sing with her all the time. We got comfortable singing in front of people at a young age, and we developed a love for music and art. When we visit her in Texas, we still sit around her living room singing with her. I’ll always remember her that way. Once we got to middle school, we got into bands like Queen, Rush and The Police; that’s where our desire to be a band and play instruments came from.
GO: What was the creative process for the song and video for “Heartbeat”? What instruments do you play, and what was the songwriting process like? How was the concept of the video conceived, and why was it significant to you?
V: “Heartbeat” came out of a conversation Gab and I had about a real-life experience. We were in the studio with Drew Pearson, and we were all jamming (Gab plays bass/Vic plays guitar) to a beat Drew had created. The instrumentation started flowing, and the lyrics started coming together. I don’t want to say it was easy to write, but it felt effortless and fun. The video was a collaboration with our friends from Hey Tiger! Productions. We had several chats about how it was important to us to show who we are, it being our first video and all. So we came up with the concept and the idea of spotlighting our Mexican culture with mementos from our childhood like a Mexican luchador mask, which our Abuelo had bought for us at a match in Mexico. Putting that personal touch to the video made it all the more special to us.
GO: As a duo, what’s your collaboration process like? What normally happens when you two sit down to write a song together? Why did you decide to start the project together?
Gab: Vic and I are sisters, [so] we have been writing songs together since we were kids. My sister is my best friend; there is no one in the world I would rather be in a band with. I am not going to lie, there is a lot of arguing when it’s just the two of us in the room—it’s just part of being sisters. But somehow we come out with a song or an idea together. We usually start with a conversation about something going on in our lives or something we want to write about. Then we start making little guitar or bass parts and start singing over them, and we just put the pieces together.
GO: What’s an average day like for you living in Milwaukee? Do your experiences there contribute to the way you embody your music/queerness/etc.? In what ways?
V: Gab and I meet up every day to do music. We do everything from rehearsing to writing demos, having conversations, and drinking lots of coffee. Milwaukee is pretty diverse, even though it’s one of the most segregated cities in the country. The people we have met and formed relationships with deeply influence our music because they make our lives more colorful. I remember walking out of a restaurant once and a guy stopping me to ask if I was Vic from REYNA. I said yes, and he said, “I just want to thank you. Your song “Spill Your Colors” means so much to me and makes me feel less alone.” I was speechless. But hearing this from a stranger encouraged me to be even more vocal about who I am.
GO: Do you have any message you’d like to impart to fans of your music?
G: Vic and I have never been the prettiest or the cool girls, but we have gotten to a place where we are like, “F*ck everyone… let’s be ourselves.” We live in a world where everything is about perception and making impressions on your friends on social media. We can all get lost in the world. It’s so exhausting. We just want to be unapologetically ourselves, and I hope we can inspire whoever listens to our music to love themselves and not be afraid to be who they are.
GO: What is your favorite part about being a musician? Your least favorite? Why?
G: Playing shows is the best part of being a musician. I think to fully get our band you have to come to a live show. We love connecting with the audience and rocking out—it’s truly the part of our job that makes us the happiest. I would say my least favorite thing is when I am not making music or when I am not playing shows. The waiting in between shows or writing trips makes me sad. I just want to be out there doing my thing.
Learn more about REYNA here.