Review Fix chats with You Bred Raptors’ Peat Rains, who discusses the band’s origins, creative process and goals for the future.
Review Fix: How’d you get involved in music?
Peat Rains: I was born in Kentucky and grew up in bumfuck Pennsylvania. It was the semantic definition of Pennsyltucky. My father was a bass player and my mother was musical as well. They were Dead-Heads so my siblings and I grew up always having music from all over the world playing. My hopes of becoming an Olympic diver were shattered when I didn’t want to wear a speedo in front of people so music seemed like the most obvious alternative.
Review Fix: Who influences your sound the most?
Rains: I wouldn’t say any one band or artist. I tend to look to movie scores or songwriters creating for different media to be a big influence. Composing something different than the norm but still being accessible and engaging is the tightrope I like to walk. I want to challenge myself and our listeners to experience new sounds and to never be too predictable.
Review Fix: What’s your creative process like?
Rains: The process, unfortunately, isn’t too nailed down in repetition. Living in a small one bedroom apartment in Queens doesn’t elicit much room for a dedicated practice space. With some recent pedal and Pedalboard endorsements, I’ve been able to at least always a setup ready to go. Before, the act of getting my pedals out and setting everything up was tiresome because we had three sets of shows to always prepare for: busking shows, Broadway/venue shows, and our residency shows. Each of them had different equipment and merch we had to bring. We are trying to streamline, if for nothing else other than our own sanity and to cut down on how much shit we will inevitably forget.
I write from deep places of emotion or from completely random places. Some songs are about something heavy and others are just fun exercises or stem from a finger drill I was running. We don’t usually divulge which is which because it’s open to interpretation. Usually, I’ll write a skeleton to a piece and give it to the drummer or cellist so we can hash it out. Then we’ll take it to rehearsal or to the subway to woodshed it.
Review Fix: What makes your new album special?
Rains: Just creating an album in a time of short attention spans, singles and rapid consumption is risky. We wanted to make a full-length album with a story to tell, emotional arc and showcase of versatility. It’s what music SHOULD be. We live in an era where a team of producers will work for months on one chorus for one song, tweaking it so it sounds as similar as possible to another successful song. We know we are swimming upstream here but we want to music to speak for itself. It’s a journey so grab your air-sick bag.
Review Fix: How would you describe your sound to someone who’s never heard you before?
Rains: It’s the soundtrack to a movie that hasn’t been made yet. It’s fun and catchy but also interesting and complex. We are marginally better than Paris Hilton as a DJ. That’s our biggest selling point, I believe.
Review Fix: Bottom line, why should someone buy it?
Rains: Because what ELSE are you going to listen to while having terrible sex?
No, but seriously, music is in dire straits the last decade or so. The music industry is operating on archaic and greedy models of an era long gone and musicians are on their own now. Labels come and go and getting a viral video is now more important than cultivating talent and rewarding persistent hard work. Do you remember when labels were there to promote the artists and not the other way around? Because I sure as shit don’t.
It’s important to find artists you enjoy and support them in the trenches because they aren’t getting much help elsewhere.
Review Fix: What are your goals for the rest of the year?
Rains: We are in the midst of a big member change. So, finding someone that gives a shit and is seasoned enough to traverse the inevitable ups and downs of this career is key. I’m lucky to have a great drummer that is a lifer with me. Writing a slew of new material, keeping things fresh and interesting is always our goal. It’s a new phase for a band that’s done close 1,000 shows and grinded for 7 years. You need a rebirth every now and then so you aren’t calcified by stagnancy.
Review Fix: What do you feel you have to do to make your dreams in music come true?
Rains: Survive. Past that, be realistic and don’t take bullshit shortcuts. A lot of this business is walking on the minefields of politics and networking connections. Play the game but keep your dignity. But realize that unless you’re incredibly lucky to have a tight band that is with you through thick and thin, you’re going to lose a lot of friends along the way. It’s an all-consuming career that WILL leave you feeling isolated at times and dirt poor the rest of the time. But if you’re afflicted with the disease of needing to perform and constantly creating, then there isn’t much of a choice. My advice is to have a rich, geriatric relative that you can knock off because money always helps grease the wheels.
Review Fix: What’s next?
Rains: We have a big tour in the Fall that we’ll be announcing soon. Other than that and a few in town shows, we are laying low and writing new material while we regroup and strategize for 2018. Plus, I have to start training for the 2020 Olympics if I’m going to be a diver still.