Trio act You Bred Raptors? is one interesting act to follow. For being under the Music Under New York program, down to having an interesting band name, to everything else, there is no telling as to where these guys will end up next. For it is for this instrumental, experimental post rock ensemble that is made up of an 8 string bass, cello, drums, and two glockenspiels that will be going places and be a band, you shall not forget. That 8 string bassist and one of the glockenspiel Peat Rains, discusses the new album "International Genetics" as well as big touring plans.
1. Who are you and what role do you play in the band?
Peat: My name is Peat Rains and I play 8 string bass and glockenspiel in the band. I'm also the band dad, business and booking guy and the dude to blame when all goes to hell.
2. Why did you guys end up with a name like You Bred Raptors? for your band's name?
Peat: I think it started as a joke with my brother. I told him I wanted to start a band with no guitars and no vocals and name it "You Bred Raptors?". And then he said "that would be badass". In hindsight, it probably wasn't wise as it's hard for people to remember and spell correctly. The question mark throws people off as well and an alarming number of people spell it "bread". We should have just stuck with Hootie and the Blowfish. I think we'll continue using it until the Jurassic Park franchise or Universal Studios sends a cease and desist letter.
3. What has influenced your sound and style?
Peat: We like to color outside the lines with songwriting and structure. I want songs to be interesting but also have an accessible and cohesive arc. The narrative within the cello and bass tells a story. We'll switch off on who is delivering the "vocal" line. In the absence of actual lyrics, the songs can be about anything the listener feels. I enjoy the freedom of that. I'm inspired by anything and everything while writing. The metaphysical pursuit of trying to "make it" in the music business is heavy fodder for writing. It's a constant struggle, hustle and battle against the elements and better judgement. But it's the only thing we know.
4.What are your songs about? (What specific themes do they cover?)
Peat: Like I mentioned, it's open for interpretation. I don't presume to know what others garner from the music once it's available from them. I think a lot of the songs on the new album deal with the cycle of loss and hope. It's something we New Yorkers deal with every day. We love the city that is slowly murdering us. It's changing and not for the better for musicians and artists. We have to continually find ways to do more less while receiving next to no financial stability in the process. All of us are eternally fencing with the desire to create versus the desire for food and shelter.
5. Do you write your own songs? (Discuss the songwriting process in detail.)
Peat: Yes, I write our songs. The process is always evolving as we shift members around the last few years. I'll bring a skeleton of a song sometimes and other times something fully fleshed out. I might write cello parts the way I'm hearing them in my head and have an actual cellist transpose those to playable lines or he or she might write them. We woodshed a lot of material in the subway in front of people. Because I feel that's really the true testament of a song's strength. Plus, we're poor and paying for studio rehearsal time gets expensive.
6. How do you describe your music to people?
Peat: We say prehistoric post rock or experimental to most people. I usually add that is sounds like a movie soundtrack if they give me a blank stare. And if they still look confused I tell them we sound like Bon Jovi and watch their eyes light up.
7. Why did you want this band to be an instrumental based act instead of using a vocalist in the mix of everything that you do?
Peat: I enjoy music with vocals but always felt drawn to music that left the interpretation up to the listener. It felt more universal and immersive. As corny as it sounds, it was almost a joint effort for them producing and me consuming. I want to give the same back. I'm very cognizant of parts in our songs that are missing a narrative line. But sometimes it doesn't need to be busy to be interesting. I'm not opposed to vocals but I feel they would have to be unorthodox to work in this band. Perhaps like Battles or Sigur Rós so the interpretation will still be open ended. Or maybe just stick to the Hootie and the Blowfish tribute band idea I've been working on.
8. What can be said about your album "International Genetics" that has not already been said about it?
Peat: It has a great arc. It's a selection of stories in a greater plot. The music business today operates on singles and EPs catering to short attention spans. We wanted to put out an album with a cohesive waxing and waning. We might be functioning on an archaic model and it might be our last full length for awhile but we put two years of writing and workshopping it along with 6 months of album production. We want to showcase that effort.
9. Where did the album's artwork design come from and how does the title represent the music off it?
Peat: Each album has had a working design before the songs were written. 2012's "Hammond" was designed to be the scientific, spared-no-expense, raw idea that spawned the project (much like John Hammond in Jurassic Park). The album art was designed to look grandiose, if not a little naive. Before that was "Muldoon" with a very old school and badass sepia tone. "International Genetics" is the corporate entity behind the creative idea (of Jurassic Park). The art design was manufactured to look like a sleek brochure or propaganda pamphlet. As we eternally climb the avalanche of the music industry, we're tasked with balancing the music and the business. It gets daunting and frustrating. It's a part a lot of bands don't talk about that we've been pretty open with. This album and artwork is our exploration into that dichotomy.
10. What is your favorite and least favorite song off "International Genetics"?
Peat: My favorite song is the epilogue called Smithereens. It came together very well and was also one of the least rehearsed ones before hitting record. There was a chance it wasn't going to end up on the album and then it turned out to be the only contender for the closing track. My least favorite is our cover song of Lux Aeterna. That's available as a free download off Bandcamp so technically not on the album. And it's an awesome song and recorded well. But we didn't write it and people will most likely choose that as their favorite. That's my diplomatic answer. I love them all.
11. What can the fans expect from the new album?
Peat: A disturbing lack of vocals and flawlessly executed mistakes on the final product. Other than that, it's music that's accessible as well as interesting. Plus, a lot of grandmothers like our music and they're NEVER wrong.
12. What does the rest of this year have in-store for you?
Peat: We have some big tours we'll announce soon, a new member and some good things happening with our new record label. We'll just keep grinding it out and sleeping with the right people until someone realizes what a great boy-band we would make.