New York native Adrian Galvin has worn a few different hats throughout his musical career: First as a member of Walk the Moon, second as one-half of folk duo Yellerkin, and third as the semi-electronic indie pop solo project known as Yoke Lore. Describing his life as “busy” would be an understatement, especially considering the artist has been playing shows and touring almost nonstop for the past year, all while recording and releasing a new EP. In this interview, Yoke Lore discusses his new EP Goodpain, his musical background, his tour life, and more.
Cliché: You’ve been a part of many bands in your life, yet you still manage to find a distinct sound with every new project. Tell us about your musical history. Are there any projects that stick out the most in your memory?
Yoke Lore: I have been in more bands than I can count! I think each one has been a pretty natural progression for me. In most other bands I’ve been in, I was the drummer. Being the frontman recently is a really different experience. I was in a band called Motley Shrü. We played Mötley Crüe covers and wore some pretty revealing outfits. That one stands out.
How has this musical journey influenced your solo career and the music that you make as Yoke Lore?
I am lucky to have had a really rich crucible. I am privileged to have had music in my life growing up. I created a band the moment I realized I could and have been doing it since. I have had time to make so many mistakes, wrong turns, and pitfalls that have cleared the way for the work I do now. I have always had supportive and loving parents and peers to encourage and speed me on. The music I make is the culmination of my history, and I think if you listen closely, you can hear how I got to where I am. You can hear the music I grew up on. You can hear the drums leading every song. It’s those things that make the music dynamic and important.
I’ve read a lot about your parents’ artistic careers and how they ushered you into the world of artistic expression. Do you agree with this statement? How did your upbringing contribute to your life as an artist?
My parents being artists for sure didn’t deter me from the trade, but it wasn’t as if they forced art classes on us. They encouraged whatever we did. They had the wherewithal to encourage our curiosity. They let me take a painting class because they loved that I wanted to paint, but they also took me to wrestling practice and skate camp. The most important thing they did was to instill in us the radical notion that what we make, what we say, and what we do create the world around us. All the kids in my family are artists and are trying to embody that idea. I think we are all trying to almost live up that idea: to live in a beautiful world, one has to live beautifully.
Your name is a reference to stories that bind things together, but what does this mean to you on a personal level? What binds you together?
That’s the point! I’m not sure. Or maybe I am sure and I want those holds to be stronger and better. I think of it a little bit like Marx’s levels of alienation. He said that in industrialized capitalist society, because of the cost-efficient forms of mechanical labor, modern man was becoming alienated from the products he makes, the people around him, the meaning of production itself, and finally himself. Marx held the belief that the things that bind a man to what he makes define him. He thought that the things, feelings, and experiences that bind people to one another define those people. And finally he thought that without a purpose driving a man toward a meaningful goal all men can and have the freedom to share in, men will become despondent and abject. I agree with Marx.
You just got off a two-month tour with Overcoats after they discovered you at SXSW, which must’ve been an insane experience. Can you tell us about that?
We were at an urgent care taking care of a mishap and we called them to make a brunch date. They were at a different urgent care across town dealing with an unrelated mishap. Tour life.
What is one thing you know now that you wish you knew before the tour started?
If there aren’t carpets on the floor of a hotel room, don’t stay there.
You recently released Goodpain at Baby’s All Right in July. What was it like playing a release show in Brooklyn? Can you describe the night?
It was an amazing night. It was a fantastic show. Had some really good friends open for me. I’m just starting to headline and it’s a very different experience than opening. Playing later, playing longer, more of the crowd is for you. It’s a much more involving way to play a show, a bit more stressful, and a bit more rewarding.
What has been your favorite track off Goodpain to play live and why?
When I play “Goodpain,” I put my banjo down and just sing like a pop-star, and that’s super fun.
Who have you been listening to recently? Are there any artists who heavily influenced your sound on Goodpain?
Lately, I’ve been listening to lots of Tears For Fears and this guy Dorando. I love Nas, too.
Besides touring, what’s next for you? Do you have any future plans made for yourself or your music?
I have all sorts of plans. I want to write a book about liberation theology and the modern body politic. As for music, we head back out on tour in a couple weeks with Overcoats, and then we go out with Aquilo in October. We may hibernate for a bit before some new music in the new year. All good things.
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Yoke Lore Discusses His New EP Goodpain: Image courtesy of Shervin Lainez