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This filmed music series features local and nationally touring musicians performing in the Lake Effect Surf Shop in Shorewood. Live at Lake Effect is hosted by Lake Effect’s Audrey Nowakowski and Milwaukee musician Trapper Schoepp.

REYNA: Live at Lake Effect

"Live at Lake Effect" is a new music series featuring local and nationally touring artists performing in the Lake Effect Surf Shop in Shorewood, Wis.

We brought the Lake Effects together, along with Visionary Studios, to showcase musicians once a month through an interview with the band exclusively on Lake Effect, plus filmed performances. Today we have Milwaukee’s own REYNA, made up of sisters Vic and Gabby Banuelos.

REYNA recently released their new five-song EP, you could at least say goodbye, which is a concept album about the stages of a breakup. "Everything from the art to the music videos, it all goes together, it's all it's own little world and we're very proud of that." explains Gab.

Vic adds that most of the EP was produced in their room on their personal computers during the pandemic. "This was the first time that we actually had the opportunity to do that," she says. "Because of COVID I think we had the time and the necessity to do it."

The duo also worked with Brad Hale from the Minneapolis band Now Now to produce the EP. "We went into the studio with him and it wasn't to like make songs, it was just to make these songs better," adds Vic. "So I think that's why the album sounds so big, because we actually had the time to just like enhance it instead of making it from scratch and having the pressure of being in the studio."

REYNA played an acoustic set for "Live at Lake Effect," which is different from the electro pop sound the duo is known for. But for both sisters, playing stripped down versions of their songs is an important part of honing their sound.

"I think an acoustic version just always allows the song to shine more. You can pay more attention to what you're saying and the core feeling of a song — which I really, really am into," Gab explains. "Even when I sing, like when we do acoustic shows, I get more into it emotionally. It just makes me feel the song a lot more than when I’m doing a full band show."

"It's very intimate and you have to play every note right because you're very naked out there," says Vic. "I think it's made us better musicians and we interpret the songs better [acoustically], I think."

REYNA had gone by Vic and Gab up until 2016 when they had the opportunity to rebrand themselves with a name that was both personal and represented their culture. Gab recalls that they came up with the name 'Vic and Gab' just before playing one of the first shows they ever booked simply because they wanted to play music together. When the pair was asked for the band name, they didn't have one, so they just came up with the "ten second name" of Vic and Gab.

"Those are our names, that's what our parents call us, and then we were stuck with that for a very long time and we didn't really like it. So when we had a chance to do it all over again we really wanted it to mean something," says Gab.

"Reyna" means queen in Spanish, and is also a homage to all of the strong women Vic & Gab were raised by. "One of the people who like forced us to sing, literally forced us to sing when we were little was our grandmother, and she's like the biggest queen I've ever met," jokes Gab.

Moving past Vic & Gab and going by REYNA is also representative of the sisters embracing and bringing their Latina culture to the forefront and making more bilingual songs.

"In the beginning I feel like we were afraid of being put into this box of like, 'Oh, they're Latinas.' But it's like, that's what we are," says Gab. "It doesn't matter if we are up front about it or not, it's our face, it's who we are. And I think it's better to just own it and if you're really yourself I think people relate to that."

"We have never felt this comfortable being ourselves. And I think it also comes with age and you know just like growing into who you really are... So I feel like we’re going to keep putting music out that is going to be us to the core," says Vic.

"I think [singing in Spanglish] was the missing link to our music because when we talk to each other, we talk to each other in English and in Spanish. And like now we can say those things in our songs and it just feels right," adds Gab.


  • 2am serenade (0:20)
  • todo to nada (4:14)
  • talk it out (7:30)


  • Vic Banuelos: vocals & guitar
  • Gabby Banuelos: vocals & guitar

Live at Lake Effect Team:

  • Executive Producers: Audrey Nowakowski & Trapper Schoepp
  • Audio Engineering: Jason Rieve
  • Location: Lake Effect Surf Shop in Milwaukee
  • Production Company: Visionary Studios
  • Camera Op: Brad Roehl, Kieran Walter Sundaram & Brandon Stearns
Audrey is a WUWM host and producer for Lake Effect.
Trapper Schoepp is co-executive producer of Live at Lake Effect, a filmed music series from WUWM's Lake Effect.
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