Arts Desk

“Double Rainbow”: D.C. Electronica Duo Protect-U Had the Idea First

More than 10 million people have watched the clip "Yosemitebear Mountain Giant Double Rainbow 1-8-10" on YouTube, and more than 6 million have seen the song version, uploaded by the comedy troupe behind Auto-Tune the News. In other words, it's a full-blown meme—and a victory for spaced-out Yosemite hippies and scrappy Internet comics the world over.

In fact, there's only two dudes who should feel left out by the teary, universal ecstasy of the clip's Paul Vasquez, aka Yosemite Bear: Aaron Leitko and Mike Petillo, who perform as the D.C. electronica duo Protect-U. Last year, Protect-U released its debut 12-inch on the local Future Times label. The A-side is called "Double Rainbow."

LISTEN: Protect-U – "Double Rainbow"

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"I harbor no bitterness," says Leitko, a former Washington City Paper contributor, in an online chat. "I wouldn't have minded 6 million listens, though."

He says he named the song after North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il's "origin story." "Because he claims that his birth was heralded by the appearance of a double rainbow and a new star in the sky," Leitko says. "And then I just thought, given the sorta-spacey nature of the song—the Reading Rainbow-style synth sounds—that it would make a good title."

"Kim Jong Il aside, I think we staked out claim to 'Double Rainbow' first," says Leitko.

As for the Gregory Brothers' "Double Rainbow Song," Leitko's a fan, but Petillo has a different take. "This shit sucks," says Petillo. "However, if it was run through a delay unit, a reverb pedal, and pitch shifter, maybe it would be cool."

Protect-U performs on Aug. 18 at U Street Music Hall, and has another record planned for this fall.

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