Sit down with Yoke Lore: Solo endeavors and musical direction

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Adrian Galvin, who goes by “Yoke Lore,” performs at Barracuda last Monday. Yoke Lore has broken off from WALK THE MOON and experiments with the banjo and drums to innovate pop music.

Photo Credit: Eddie Gaspar

If you were to ask Adrian Galvin of the solo act Yoke Lore about his music style, he’d tell you it’s strictly pop. However, Yoke Lore manages to stand out from the mainstream pop crowd with his electro-folk inspired sound.

Galvin, formerly of WALK THE MOON, embarked on his solo journey as Yoke Lore in 2016 with his EP Far Shore. His music features stylistic choices that aren’t commonplace in mainstream pop music. The folk and indie influences jump out without hitting listeners directly in the face — they’re there, but not so obvious that the music loses its allure.

Adding to the uniqueness of his music is his solo name itself: Yoke Lore.

“A yoke is something that holds oxen together, it connects them. And lore is obviously a kind of story,” Galvin said through a chuckle.

The decision to go by Yoke Lore instead of his given name was born out of an effort to expand the music and audience it reaches. Galvin said he wants to reach as many people as possible and that simply going by Adrian would limit himself to his own identity and proclivities. He added, “I want to expand art to include other people and to include other histories and other narratives.”

When he decided to go solo, Galvin said he needed something to take him to the front of the stage. He contemplated different instruments like piano or guitar, but decided musicians who play those are all too common and require a certain level of virtuosity in order to make an impact on audiences.

“I wanted to find something specific,” Galvin said of his decision to pick up the banjo. “I thought there was so much I could do there. There’s just so much untapped space with banjo.”

The banjo is usually associated with bluegrass and classic folk genres. While typically an instrument that takes center stage, it’s actually just a supporting actor in his music and is used to add a bit of individuality to its sound.

This is the first time Galvin has ventured out on his own as a solo artist, but he is making sure to never lose his roots.

“I’m a drummer. I’m not really anything else but a drummer — I just fake everything else,” Galvin said of his rhythmic beginnings. “I really miss drums. But I record drums and I play all the drums on my records.”

Galvin said he experiences the world and comes at it physically and rhythmically. This approach shows through in his music as the beat of the music affects listeners on a physical level — even his lyrics ooze cadence.

“I think a lot of my writing is variations on rhythm,” Galvin said.

But don’t get him wrong — his music will never be a simple dance track. As he said himself, “it has to have some kind of higher ethic to it.”

Yoke Lore’s music is designed to be the kind of music you interpret however you choose.

“I write so that people can make something their own and really have their own thing with it,” Galvin said. “At the same time, I generally like my music to help people consider themselves.”