As Reyna, sisters Vic and Gab are more than ready for a re-introduction

After establishing themselves in the Wisconsin music scene with Bridges and Guns and Love of Mine in 2013, sisters Vic and Gabby Banuelos, the frontwomen of Vic + Gab, decidedly called it quits — in name only.

The duo played their final Vic + Gab show at the Pabst Theater last October, a performance that was emotional both for them and their most devoted fans. But it was no goodbye — just a see-you-later.

Now, the sisters have returned with a new name — Reyna — and are ready to re-introduce themselves to Milwaukee in a performance at Cactus Club on March 26. Their first show as Reyna will feature brand-new music (including the synthpop debut singles “Spill Your Colors” and “Ink on my Skin”), but the same talent that’s driven the sisters to prior success.

The new name doesn’t feel quite real yet, according to Gabby, but she expects that will all change after they make their official debut. She and Vic recently spoke to WiG about their new direction, the two new singles, and what’s ahead for Reyna.

The new sound of Reyna couldn’t be any more different from the more alternative vibe you had before as Vic + Gab. What inspired you to start fresh and move forward with a different sound?

Gabby Banuelos: Although it sounds completely different, I feel like we, as Vic + Gab, wanted a sound that was close to that. We didn’t really have the tools and the help. Our music was very organic because those are the tools that we had. We had our instruments, we had songwriting, and we had producers working with us, so I think what inspired that was that we finally had the tools and the people around us to make that sound.

Your first single, “Spill Your Colors,” was streamed 20,000 times within a day of its premiere and now has been streamed upwards of 90,000 times both through Sound Cloud and Spotify. What has been the general response to the track and new sound?

GB: Fans were very curious. I think that sparked a lot of people to go online and listen to it. I think that helped. I think, generally, the response was really good. I was expecting a lot of people to come out and be like, “Oh, you guys have changed! This music isn’t as good!” Stuff like that. But people really liked the song. They like the direction that we’re going in. I think it was a success.

I’ve listened to the song dozens of times in the last week alone. It’s amazing.

GB: Thank you! It’s so weird because we, for months now, we felt the song was a secret because we would listen to it all the time tweaking the mixing and all, and then it finally came out and within a day, 20,000 people listened to it. We were like, “Oh my god! That’s so crazy. Yesterday no one could listen to it because it was a secret and now 20,000 people have listened to it.” It was blowing our minds.

“Spill Your Colors” is such an upbeat track. Was there a specific reason why you decided to release it as the first introduction to Reyna?

Vic Banuelos: I think that the track is very similar to our old stuff. It’s us playing our bass and guitar and I think it would be a good introduction to smooth people into the new stuff.

You also recently released a new track titled “Ink On My Skin.” What was the inspiration behind that track and “Spill Your Colors”?

GB: When we wrote that song, we were in LA for a month so we were missing home; we were missing our loved ones and our significant others. That’s where that came from. I think after that, we started writing more sassy songs. … “Spill Your Colors” was one of the last songs we wrote. I think there was the transition where we were sad and lonely at first, and then we came into our own and we were like, “We’re doing good. We’re writing good songs.” We became more confident. I think you can see that if you compare “Spill Your Colors” to “Ink On My Skin.”

What was the recording process like this time around?

VB: We always wrote songs on the road, you know, on tour and trying them out live. That’s how we developed the songs. This time around, we went to the studio, met a producer, and it was kind of like: instantly get naked and all personal and write a song with a complete stranger. It was a completely different process for us. It was as tough at first because we had never written with anyone else but ourselves, so we had to get used to that process and get comfortable with people being around and sharing ideas with a producer and trying to get as much help and being comfortable with that.

Back in October, you were saying farewell to the name “Vic + Gab” with your final show. Are you excited to be back in Milwaukee for a re-introduction?

GB: We’re so excited. We love playing live. We like that more than being in a studio and writing. That’s what we love to do. We’re so excited to finally be able to get back out and finally share all the music that we’ve been writing. We’ve only been able to share two of the songs, but now if you come to the show, you’ll be able to see everything that we’ve done.

The Cactus Club show is the first live show for Reyna. What can we expect from the show?

GB: It’s going to be a lot more intimate because it’s a small venue and a small show. There’ll only be about 150 people. We’ve been talking about it and we want to introduce the people to the music and talk about the songs and talk about our process of recording and writing them. It’ll be a little bit …

VB: Personal.

GB: Yeah. You’re going to be able to not just listen to the music, but also hear about it a little bit.

Since you’ve played numerous shows in Milwaukee before, what’s been your favorite Milwaukee moment?

VB: I think the last show at the Pabst Theater was very emotional for us. Hearing the people sing the songs to us and knowing that it might be the last time we’ll play them as Vic + Gab, that was very emotional and important for us. We’ve obviously had really cool moments in other shows that stand out, too.

GB: I feel like a lot of people always come and talk to us about one of the times that we played Brady Street Fest. A lot of people that we meet come up to us and be like, “It was such a great show!” It’s crazy how many people saw us at that festival and liked the show.

After the Cactus Club show, what’s next for you two? Will the first EP be released soon?

VB: We do have an EP coming out. We don’t know the date exactly because we’re waiting to see what happens with the singles. We want to push the singles as much as we can. We’re planning a tour again. We’re holding off on the details because we’re focusing on promoting our singles and getting ready for our first live performance. This is why this show is so important for us because we want to feel ready. What better way to do it than with our fans in Milwaukee?