words by troy davis
Human experience is about learning and growing. Each day, we’re presented with obstacles and situations which shape who we are. These experiences create lasting impacts, impacts which are especially noticeable when considering artists. For artist, lived experience is often the most effective way to find a definite voice.
I got a chance to talk with Adrian Galvin, more commonly known as Yoke Lore, all about how lived experience has shaped his music. Be it his family, his education, or his choice in instrument, Adrian is extremely aware of all the pieces that make up Yoke Lore sonically.
Hey Adrian! I’ve read that both of your parents are visual artists. How do you feel this has influenced your work as a musician?
My parents taught me how to create the world around me with the things I put into it. They taught me that the more I learn to create in the world, the more I will be able to create myself into the best version of who I could be. I'm trying to make the world a more beautiful, more mindful place that wants substance and meaning. The more songs I write about beautiful parts of the world, the more beautiful the world will become.
I’ve also read that you spent some time living in a Tibetan monastery. What made you feel this was your next natural step, after graduating college? How do you feel this time shaped your musical career?
I dropped out of college for a while to go on tour with a band called Walk The Moon I was in at the time. When I came back after I left the band, college was a bit much, so I took a year to study in India to kind of recalibrate myself. I learned how to be quiet. I think it dramatically shifted the way I hear music. I learned to play the sitar and meditated for a very long time every day. I read lots of Indian poetry and studied Buddhist philosophy. I don't think studying music makes you good at music. It's about studying everything else which makes you an artist with something meaningful to bring to the table. I think going to India made me a better musician; not because I learned music there, but because it made me a more mindful human being.
What is “Goodpain” [the title of Yoke Lore’s newest EP] to you?
"Goodpain" is the necessary period of struggle you have to endure in order to get to the good part of anything. It's the little Sisyphus inside all of us.
Super important random thing, for people who have listened to your music but maybe not seen your live show: you play banjo (SO COOL). What made you pick that up, of ALL things?
The banjo has such a specific history and sonic associations. Only one kind of person in one kind of place plays the banjo, usually. You can imagine the bearded, suspender-wearing crooners with their flying fingers and their accompanying dueling fiddles. Well, I wanted to play with all that. I don't wear a beard or suspenders, I don't clawhammer, and I don't play with a fiddler. I wanted to see the different kinds of things I could do by putting a banjo next to huge drums instead. I wanted to hear how those shrill tones (which usually blended in with strings and dry vocals) sounded instead next to harsh bass synthesizers and underneath vocals soaked in delay. It's new territory, and I'm learning a lot.
Besides your super cool banjo playing, what should a crowd expect from a Yoke Lore show?
I move a lot. Music is dance to me. I write lyrics with the idea in mind that each word has to leave my body in a way that moves me to the next place. Literally and thematically. I expect you to move a lot with me. Also, I like to tell people about what my songs mean. I try to give the audience an idea of what I'm trying to accomplish or explore with each song.
What’s the thing you’re most excited for on your upcoming tour?
I like the routine. I love the repetition of it all. Get up, do yoga, eat, drive, play, eat, sleep. Do it again. I love it.
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