Sahan Jayasuriya

Vic and Gab to play MKE Unplugged this Thursday

The "Take One at TCD" alumni, supporting their sophomore album "Love of Mine," are set to take the stage Thursday night for UWM's MKE Unplugged series.

By - Nov 20th, 2013 08:53 am

Sisterly Love. From L to R: Victoriah and Hannah Gabriela Banuelos. Photo: Shervin Lainez.

Sister songwriting duo Vic and Gab have had a busy year with self-releasing their sophomore album, Love of Mine, and healthy amount of live shows to support it. This Thursday, the band will be turning it down a bit for an intimate performace as part of UWM’s MKE Unplugged series. Anticipating their upcoming performance, the sisters spoke with TCD via email.

TCD: Vic and Gab are a very “live” band with a lot of energy and instrumentation. How do you approach playing these songs in a more stripped down setting?

Vic: We try to cover the empty spaces by adding more parts to a song. In this case we are using the piano to give the songs some of that missing energy.

TCD: Does having to strip down your music breathe new life into older material?

Vic: Definitely. Every time we start working on an acoustic show we discover new ways of playing our parts. It’s fun to revisit songs you thought you were done writing.

TCD: I’ve always felt like stripping a song down to the bare minimum can either expose its flaws or amplify its strengths. Some of the most moving musical performances can be just a single person with a guitar or at a piano. Do you feel like having to “go unplugged” is a reduction of a band’s entire sound, or can it be viewed as a new take on it?

Gab: I think it does reduce an artist’s sound, but that’s also the point – there’s nowhere to hide. It simplifies everything. All you have is a guitar, piano, your voice and what you’re saying to make the audience feel your songs.

Vic: It totally exposes the performer because everything is on you. I feel that a stripped down version of a song can be even more powerful than the original version because you can really project the emotion of the song by simplifying it.

TCD: When approached about participating in MKE Unplugged, did you have any idea of how it was going to turn out, or was it kind of like starting over?

Gab: We had no idea how it would turn out, but we were excited to try something new. It’s refreshing to go back and strip everything down while trying to keep the essence of our usual live show.

Vic: Yeah, we didn’t know what to expect. We just sat down and started playing the songs with an open mind. We’re happy with the results and really looking forward to performing the songs with their new arrangements.

TCD: Did you start off playing more stripped-down acoustic shows or was it always a full band?

Gab: Our first shows were Vic and I playing at coffee shops. We were too young to play at bars and we didn’t have a drummer. We spent years dreaming of having a full band and when we finally had the chance it was clear that we had found our true sound.

Vic: Gab and I would play at coffee shops with an electric guitar so they weren’t really “acoustic” shows. I actually didn’t own an acoustic guitar until playing for about four or five years.

TCD: Because of this series being a little different from most club shows, are you using this as an opportunity to play things you wouldn’t usually play?

Vic: We’ll be playing some covers that we really enjoy that we don’t usually do. We’ll also be playing some older songs that we no longer play live with the full band because we feel they don’t go with the vibe of our new album.

TCD: Is the vibe of the new record different from the previous one? Did you grow as a band?

Gab: I think we grew so much. We played so many shows between records and forced ourselves to listen to new music we discovered. We talked about what we wanted to sound like and what we wanted to say. I feel this time we were more aware of what we wanted the album to be and you can hear the difference.

Vic: The vibe is completely different – Bridges and Guns was a dark record about the passing of our cousin Isaac. His tragedy really struck us and I feel that the way we coped with his death was by writing those songs. Love of Mine is about relationships (not strictly romantic ones but also friendships, family etc) and how they affect us. Musically speaking too, it’s definitely more lively and jangly opposed to our first release.

TCD: Do you think Vic and Gab could ever adopt a more acoustic-based sound?

Gab: No, it’s so hard for us to unplug our guitars!

Vic: I’m a huge fan of our drummer and the energy the full band projects, so I don’t think we would ever be an unplugged band.

TCD: 2013 has been pretty busy for the band. What does the band have planned for 2014?

Vic: We are planning on releasing a new video, maybe a west coast tour, more festivals and hopefully make our first trip to SXSW!

Vic & Gab will be performing at the UWM Zelazo Center as part of the MKE Unplugged concert series on Thursday, Nov. 21, at 8 p.m. The performance is free and open to the public.

Earlier this year, Vic & Gab stopped in at the TCD offices for a different two-woman show, performing for our “Take One at TCD” series. Check out the results below:

Categories: Music, Rock

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