Peat Rains has been waiting 22 years for a worthy sequel to “Jurassic Park,” which gave his band its name, You Bred Raptors? (Say it in the incredulous tone of Dr. Alan Grant.)
After seeing “Jurassic World,” he’s still waiting.
“The first one was so groundbreaking; you knew you were watching something historic,” he recalls. “I didn’t feel any of that [with ‘Jurassic World’]. It was a really big letdown.”
But Rains, 32, isn’t giving up on his lifelong love affair with the idea behind the franchise: “I want to see [a dinosaur park] before I die. I want to ride a triceratops; that would be dope.”
For now, he’s still got You Bred Raptors?, who are opening for The Protomen this Sunday at the Gramercy Theatre. The band began as a solo project, with Rains doing all the instrumentation. “And that’s great — for a song or two,” he admits.
“You don’t really grow as a musician or a songwriter unless you don’t have somebody telling you, ‘No man, that’s really douchey,’ or ‘That song sounds the same as your last song.’There’s definitely a point you reach when if you’re not challenged by somebody else’s song structure, you’re always going to be in check with the extent of your ability.”
But he didn’t want to work with a guitarist (they tend to have egos), so he added a cellist and a drummer to his own eight-string bass. You Bred Raptors? has been playing at subway stations three times a week since 2010 as part of theMusic Under New Yorkprogram, though Rains is modest about their success.
“I think we’re too weird; we just got in on a good year,” he says. “There were a lot of generic singer-songwriters auditioning that day, and we were something different.”
“Different” is one word to describe it. The closest comparison to their atmospheric instrumentation may be Bear McCreary’s moody soundtrack to“Battlestar Galactica”— the songs feel epic and very personal at the same time. Rains says allowing their audience to interpret the songs for themselves is the reason they continue to wear masks while performing. (The prop began as part of their “Jurassic Park” origin story as “scientists who were busted for unethical cloning practices.”)
“If I’m up there crying during a song, obviously it means something to me, but it can mean anything to you,” he explains. “And the masks help with that; we have different masks for each song depending on the feel. It’s a fun element, but it’s not super integral anymore.”
Rains calls the subway the “lifeblood” of the band. Since they started busking, they’ve made five albums (all named for “Jurassic Park” characters) and contributed music to movies, TV shows and stage productions. But You Bred Raptors? just returned from a tour of the U.S. and Canada that Rains says was equal part reconnaissance trip for where they’ll land next.
Aside from the band, he has to teach juggling part-time to make ends meet, and with small venuesclosing almost weeklyand the politics of booking, he says there are fewer opportunities for offbeat bands.
But as long as he’s playing somewhere, that would be enough.
“[Music] is the one thing that makes me happy, and it’s the one thing that I’m good at,” Rainssays. “There’s not a lot of work going around for jugglers, so I gotta stick with this.”
Eva Kis is on Twitter @thisiskis, where she talks about pop culture, cats and media almost as much as food.