The subway is an interesting place; you never really know what kind of plot will unfold after you walk down those steps. People are usually hustling past you with arms flailing, acting chaotic, and testing your every nerve while you're just trying to get the hell out of there. Thankfully, we have subway performers (also known as "buskers") to sage our souls and mask the anarchy that goes on in those underground mad houses.
If you've been online at any point during the past week, there's a good chance you've seen the video of two guys covering The Beatles so masterfully, you could close your eyes and mistake them for Lennon and McCartney. It was originally filmed by New York Nico, but it was obvious that the video had to be seen by everyone—so I posted it to my Twitter and it instantly took off.
— 🌊 (@mattwhitlockPM) February 25, 2018
These two are identical twin brothers, and half of an NYC-based psych-rock band called Blac Rabbit. Alongside Josh Lugo (bass) and Patrick "Sticks" Jones (drums), Amiri and Rahiem Taylor can often be found winning over the hearts of commuters throughout the NYC subways by playing Beatles hits and selections from their own catalog. Blac Rabbit has been gaining serious traction for a few years now, and this might be the nudge that pushes them into the limelight.
When I posted the video on Sunday morning, the band had roughly 500 Twitter followers. As of this posting, the video has been retweeted 50,000 times and Blac Rabbit's Twitter following has skyrocketed to 16,700. Moral of the story: If you see something you like, share it. You never know what the domino effect might be. Listen to the Blac Rabbit EP below, and read on for our Q&A with Rahiem, Amiri, Patrick, and Josh.
How long have you been performing? How about in the subways?
We've been a band together for about five years, just the three of us—me, my brother, and Patrick. We met a little bit after high school at a Sam Ash Music Store open mic in Brooklyn and we stayed in contact. Eventually, we just started this band together. As far as busking is concerned, we've been doing that for about a year now, maybe a little longer.
I'm amazed at how many people just walked by you in that video, without stopping in their tracks to take it all in. Do a lot of people stop and admire, or just drop a tip and keep it moving?
It’s a weird combination. We get a lot of both. Now that the video is going viral, a lot of people are just stopping by and saying "Hey, what's up." It's awesome.
The Beatles' subway cover is going crazy viral. How does all of this feel?
It is so surreal. When you work at something for so long and then you finally see results and progress and a glimpse of what's possible, it's overwhelming. It's unreal. Honestly, we can't even put it into words. We're speechless and grateful.
The Blac Rabbit EP is amazing. What are you up to next? Anything on the way?
We're trying to get our debut album out there, the follow up. We're planning a show at Union Pool in Brooklyn on March 17 and it's sold out. After that, we've got a show at Dickinson College on March 31. Aside from that, we'll have some tours coming in the near future as well.
If you could tell all your new fans and followers three things that they should know about Blac Rabbit, what would they be?
Rahiem: Always expect something new from us. We don’t like to repeat ourselves.
Amiri: If you see us in the streets, say hey. Come and sing along—we're nice guys.
Patrick: I'd just like to say something about the controversy of being black twins playing The Beatles. We get 90% love, but there are some people out there who talk. Stupid things like, "If we weren't black, people wouldn't care," and stuff like that. I want to tell them to try and remove the substance from any kind of pre-conceived notions or beliefs and just enjoy the music.