Adrian Galvin, previously of Walk the Moon and Yellerkin, has been performing under the moniker Yoke Lore for almost two years. I had a chance to chat with him before he plays The Sinclair with Tall Heights on Thursday, December 21st.

Yoke Lore started as a project for Galvin to explore himself without having to compromise with others. “This is the first time that I’ve really gotten to indulge myself in my own proclivities, in my own instincts,” he said. “It is both a good thing and a bad thing that I get to do that. It’s something that is very important to explore, as a person, as an artist. I think it really offers me a really good way to keep remembering myself.” He describes his music as having gentle grit: poetic vocal melodies accompanied by heavy percussion to create a trance-like sound.

In Yoke Lore, Galvin focuses on his relationship to himself and the world: “A yoke is anything that holds things together. Lore is a set of stories. I’m trying to tell stories about how things are connected. I’m trying to assess the integrity of my own connections to listeners, to myself, to my art, the world. The value that we get from life—the meat of it all—comes at those connection points and occurs at those points of contact.”

He also seeks to empower people while reminding them that complacency is not an option. To Galvin, it’s important that people loves themselves without becoming static. “While it’s important to really have a gentle place in your own perception, you really also have to hold yourself accountable,” he said.

Galvin holds himself accountable by always creating something new artistically. In addition to being a musician, he is a dancer and an artist. He owns a dance studio in Brooklyn called Boomerang and drew all of his EP art. Coming from such an artistic family, he sees how these art forms interact. “I really just want to use music to its fullest extent, and I think a big part of that is using the body to move the music,” he said. “I really want to move people with my music, and if I want to move their bodies, then I have to move my body.”

Galvin’s notion of accountability is his responsibility to keep creating, and to exercise the talent that he has so that he can offer it to his audience. “A big, big, big part of it is just consistency,” according to Galvin. That may be the biggest part of it. I know there are old clichés like ‘practice makes perfect’ and shit, but it’s more than that. It’s building muscle memory into your brain and into your body so you can build a second nature. You come in with whatever you got, and I was lucky to come in with some talent for singing and writing music.”

Through consistency, he creates ritual, which he uses to change people’s perceptions of the world. To him, ritual is something that inspires awe and affects how people view the world: “When you walk into a church and you smell incense burning, and you see this old dude with this long white beard, and he’s speaking this ancient language, and he’s reading this 2000-year-old book, and he’s wearing these robes, and there’s stained glass windows, and the light is golden and shit—it’s a very specific experience.” He contrasts this experience to walking “into the first floor of an office building into a room with shitty office carpet and fluorescent light, and a fat dude in jeans reading the book of Samuel… it just wouldn’t be the same.”

Through his personal acts of ritual, he seeks to change how people perceive themselves and the world around them. “Little things like that, you use to change people’s perception of the world,” he said. “You use to change people’s perception of reality, what they’re going through at the moment. You really get to affect change. You get to affect the way people are seeing the world, the way they’re looking at things, the way they’re looking at themselves.”

He ties his live performances to religion, for he is offering himself to his audience as a sacrifice. “Before we were breaking challah and lighting candles in synagogues, they were doing animal sacrifices,” Galvin said. “Before you were praying to a crucified Jesus on the cross, they were doing people sacrifices. Art offers this as well. It’s a sacrifice for the people to get something out of it, so that they can go about their lives and be happier.” Galvin sacrifices his comfort and security to affect the audience in a profound way.

Galvin doesn’t only make art for the sake of empowering his audience, but he makes art because it keeps him grounded in his purpose as a human. “At a basic level, the idea of God is man’s impulse to create,” he said. “I believe that the compulsion to create and reference any kind of god-like character is the same tendency in people who create art and who make love. It is the same part of us.”


You can catch Yoke Lore perform live with local duo Tall Heights at the Sinclair this Thursday, December 21.

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