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REYNA rediscover their independence ahead of new EP

REYNA / Facebook

The idea of freedom has followed Victoriah and Hannah Gabriela throughout their music career. From early days as part of the Sony Music label through a couple name changes and right up to this moment, the sibling synthpop duo have frequently found themselves at crossroads where they could either cave into what others were telling them to do or stick to their principles.

The path they chose has them standing proudly as true independent artists on the verge of celebrating the release of a new EP, as well as embracing the control they have over their present and future.

“We left our label back in March,” Vic explained in a recent interview with 88Nine’s Dori Zori. “And it was a decision that we made because we wanted to have the power of when to put out music, how to put it out, when we get paid, what things we say yes to and what things we say no to — how we get simply treated.”

REYNA / Facebook

Performing as REYNA since 2016, the pair found themselves in an empowering — albeit slightly frightening — position as a result of that decision. And it had them reexamining just about everything involved with their art: creation, distribution, even how they engage with fans. They cover a lot of that ground in the interview, but the short version is that they’re taking control.

The most visible proof of that is their decision to use an artist-first platform called EVEN for the rollout of their new EP, titled Limonada. Like the name implies, it strikes a balance between rewarding artists and fans for an album’s success, with a pay-what-you-want system that gives more to supporters based on the purchase price they lock in.

Some of those rewards are more tangible — a tote custom-designed by an artist from Mexico City, a t-shirt inspired by the album cover and of course the album itself. Others are more experiential, like the listening party REYNA will throw at Radio Milwaukee on Oct. 17.

Vic and Gab break it all down in the interview, which you can hear using the player at the top of the page. You can also visit REYNA’s home on EVEN to see all the gifts up for grabs and pick up a copy of Limonada. If you want a little taste of the EP — as well as its namesake beverage — the duo’s lemonade stand will be open for business at Catalano Square at 6 p.m. this Thursday, Oct. 12.

Interview highlights

Vic on their new approach to releasing the album:

I think that people are getting confused, like, “Why are you releasing through EVEN? Why isn’t it on Spotify?” The answer is you get .0035 cents out of each stream from fans. That means if a fan streamed it 20 times a day for a year, that’s only $25 we would make from each fan. EVEN is giving us the opportunity to get closer to our fans, bring them fan experiences, bring them exclusive merch and make a little bit of money while we’re doing that. It sounds way more fun.

Gab on what ultimately led to the decision:

It feels weird to have to sell your art. But I think Vic and I have gotten to a point where we are comfortable with being like, “This is what we do. And we value it. We put our time into it. We put our heart and soul into it. We love it. We love what we do.” It’s definitely a tricky little area for artists, but I think more things like EVEN could help the artists become more comfortable with that.

Gab on simplifying the creative process:

I think the more we do that, the more we write by ourselves — together, alone — the more the music sounds like us. I’m very proud that we’ve grown and we aren’t as afraid to be like, “No, this is what we want it to sound like.” The sound that we’re starting to create, I’m very much in love with it and can’t wait to keep exploring it.