How Vic and Gab Became REYNA
The Banuelos sisters write their own songs with lyrics based on their lives.
Sisters Victoriah “Vic” Banuelos and Hannah Gabriela “Gabby” Banuelos played their last show as Vic and Gab back in October 2015 and have reemerged as the pop group REYNA. Although pop is their genre, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are settling for the cookie-cutter sound riding the airwaves of top 100 radio stations. REYNA is working to create a unique sound based on the sisters’ ability to harmonize along with lyrics that tell their life story. The two siblings are working on their new EP, their new single “Spill your Colors” was released at the end of January 2016 and their first live show in Milwaukee is next week. In Spanish, “reyna” means queen, and you might say the Banuelos hope to become pop queens.
When did you begin playing as REYNA?
We spent all of last year writing in the studio for REYNA. Our first live performance is fast approaching on March 26th at the Cactus Club.
What are some artists that inspire you?
Gabby: TAME, IMPALA, Santigold, Kiiara, Banoffee, Wet and Beach House. Tobias Jesso Jr’s album “Goon” is one of my favorites; I find myself listening to it often.
Vic: Foals, BORNS…I was obsessed with Daughter during our writing process. She’s so soothing and her lyrics are amazing.
Where did your name come from?
Our name comes from one of the first songs we wrote in L.A. We were spending a lot of time out of Milwaukee writing and we felt like we were starting all over again, like we were invisible. We met so many talented young people who were chasing the same dream we were and that made us feel even more like we needed to stand out. That feeling inspired a song about “chasing the same crown” and that sparked the name REYNA.
How would you describe your music?
Gabby: We are a pop band but we grew up with Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson, so don’t get us confused with Selena Gomez.
Any local bands you guys really like?
We enjoy Field Report, Greatest Lakes, No No Yeah Yeah, The Quilz and Maritime, “Milwaukee…Milwaukee…”
What do you think of the local music scene?
Vic: I think the Milwaukee scene is a great platform for bands and artists. There is so much support and genuine desire to see the artists succeed. Being able to play shows around town and having radio play gives an artist confidence. Outlets like Radio Milwaukee and TAP Milwaukee are so important to our music community. Shout out to them for all the hard work and love they put into what they do.
What are your lyrics typically about?
Our lyrics are autobiographical. Even if we attempt to make up a story, it’s still our telling of it, so it’s very personal. This last year we were very inspired by the struggle of reaching your dreams. I think that was a recurring theme during our writing process.
Where do you most often play in Milwaukee?
Vic: We were accused of playing every single show in Milwaukee, everyday, all day…Sorry! Even though we haven’t played a bar show since 2013, we have played our favorite venues like Turner Hall, Pabst Theater and at festivals the last couple of years.
Favorite place to play?
Gabby: Turner Hall is such a beautiful venue with beautiful staff. We love playing there. It’s definitely one of our favorite places. We also have a love affair with the Cactus Club, the proximity of the crowd is always very exhilarating. It’s like the audience is on stage with you.
Have you toured anywhere?
We have toured everywhere in between Milwaukee to NYC, Milwaukee to Texas. Can’t wait to hit the road with REYNA.
Any albums or EP’s coming out soon?
Yes, we have an EP in the works that will be out very soon.
What are your plans for the future?
After the release of our EP, we will continue writing to finish a full album with touring in between.Cascio Interstate Music is proud to sponsor Urban Milwaukee’s Band of the Week column. Running in tandem with their own Band of the Month program, supporting local music is key to CIM’s mission.