Q&A: Adrian Galvin of Yoke Lore


Photo by Wes and Alex

A yoke connects two animals together, and lore is knowledge or stories passed down orally from person to person. Combine the two and what do you have? Yoke Lore, a musician who explores the connections formed through storytelling. Adrian Galvin of Yoke Lore sings, plays the drums and banjo, dances, and even lectures on Daoism. His latest EP, “Absolutes,” explores the challenges of finding a balance between opposing sides both internally and externally.

We spoke with Galvin to learn more.

Was there ever a time you considered doing something other than music?

“Yeah, I want to do a lot of things. I draw my own album art and all the art that’s associated with the project so I wan to expand upon that at some point. I would love to get more serious about my dancing and explore and integrate that into my music, and vice versa. I’m also a yoga teacher, so I’d like to explore more aspects of that and other spiritual traditions. I was pretty close to going to divinity school after college so I might do that eventually. I sometimes give a lecture on Daoism that I have in my back pocket.”

You started with Walk the Moon and then had your previous project, Yellerkin. How is Yoke Lore different from them other than being solo?

“Yoke Lore gets a bit more esoteric and a bit more mystical than I’ve been able to go before. It allows me to get a little bit deeper into my interests and history and brain, which is what I do this for. This is like an investigative project, and I’m happy that everyone gets to go through the process with me.”

You grew up in small-town Katonah, lived in Brooklyn, and now mainly live in LA. Where do you feel most inspired to create?

At the end of most tours I usually get myself a house somewhere alone. I’ve done it a bunch of times in Joshua Tree. I’ve done it in upstate New York near the Catskills. It’s more the character of the space I’m in than the space itself. I find that I take a lot of information and stimulation in when I’m in the city around a lot of people and I use solitude to then organize it and process it.”

How would you describe your latest EP, “Absolutes”?

“Positively. It’s definitely a continuation of a process I’m working through. It’s another rung on the ladder that I’m building and climbing. I’m fine-tuning the articulation of what Yoke Lore means to me and to other people, and these songs are further ways to define myself and what the message of Yoke Lore should be.”

What has been the most exciting moment of your musical career so far?

“Honestly, one of the most rewarding things is when I make a breakthrough in the studio. There was one moment when I was taking a 15-minute break crouched under the recording booth, listening to a mix we had done. It was three in the morning and we had to be in the studio the next day and I came out from under the booth and said to my producer, ‘This is two different songs. I’m so sorry, this is definitely two different songs, we have to deconstruct this right now.’ And by six in the morning we had two awesome songs, and that was one of the moments I felt like I had crossed a rubicon and taken over the republic. So I think I get most excited about those moments, where something just comes. Like the song ‘Ride.’ I felt like I encountered it and put it down. It was a song already.”

Any new projects?

“I have a bunch of collaborations coming out—a couple songs with the band Frenship, a song with NVDES. I have a more ambient track coming out with this kid Samuel Proffitt. I haven’t done anything like this, so I’m excited.”

Do you have a favorite song to perform?

“There’s this song that I only play live called Tom Robbins, and it’s about one of my favorite books of all time (Still Life With Woodpecker). I haven’t recorded it because it has a life of its own, and if I were to put it down, I feel like I’d be breaching some kind of relationship I have with that magic. I’m trying not to break the relationship with that song.”

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