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Get To Know: Yoke Lore

Singer-songwriter, dancer, yogi, artist, and just all around creative person Adrian Galvin (known professionally by his moniker Yoke Lore) has had quite the year so far, and he's only getting started. In addition to releasing his Goodpain EP, Galvin has toured all over the country, recorded an Audiotree session, and had his songs placed in some of your favorite TV shows. He just completed another run with Overcoats after touring with them in the spring, and on Tuesday he'll be at Lincoln Hall with the mellow British duo Aquilo. Before the show, we chatted with Galvin about everything from the process behind his EP, his core beliefs and values, pirates, bookstores, and more! Get familiar with Yoke Lore with these six facts you need to know!

Photo Courtesy of Yoke Lore

Photo Courtesy of Yoke Lore

He's Always Writing

Yoke Lore released a sophomore EP in June this year, as a follow up to 2016's Far Shore EP, but Galvin says his songwriting never really has a set plan. "I'm always writing. It’s a constant process for me, so there isn’t really a time where I’m like 'I’m gonna write an EP' or like 'I’m gonna write an album now.' It’s just kind of what’s happening. [Good Pain] just came together...those are the songs that felt the most...that fit most naturally next to and within one another. It was kind of like a set of ideas that I had for awhile that I wanted to elaborate on and really have to deal with. It was probably a couple months long process, but again the process is kind of on going," he says. 

As far as the recording process, Galvin reveals he went a bit off the grid to knock these songs out. "So we recorded it in Connecticut in this--" he pauses before saying, "It sounds so like dumb and hipster when I say this, but it’s this converted barn. It’s really beautiful, in the middle of nowhere. The middle of the woods. It’s just a really good place to go. When we made Good Pain we didn’t have any internet hooked up yet. We were there for maybe like a week, and we would get internet and phone service when we drove into town, but other than that, we were just in this beautiful studio with an amazing array of instruments. Silly pedals. All kinds of drums and stuff." The huge selection of instruments came into play to help deliver the diverse puzzle pieces on Good Pain; each song weaves its own story with a unique tone and sonic structure, but the individual narratives come together to form a story. 

He Practices Taoism

As fas as what inspires the constant flow of writing from Galvin, he gives some insight on that as well. "I get really inspired by books that I’m reading. I’m a big practitioner of the I-Ching. I'm using a lot of weird words there, but I’m a student of taoism, and I focus on the I-Ching a lot," he begins. "What is’s kind of like the taoist equivalent of like tarot cards or something. You can look it’s an Oracle, is what they call it. It’s a navigation tool. You use it to ask questions. The taoists believe that all life is constant flux. All life is constant change," Galvin continued. "In order to feel okay in an environment of constant flux, you have to be changing as well. So they came up with like 64 different transitions that you could possibly be going through at any different moment, and they like mapped them out. So they wrote them all down, and you throw these coins and you build a hexagram with these coin throws, and you end up with one of these 64 transitions. Then you look it up and read about it and figure out where you’re going," he added. 

Galvin also says that while he uses these beliefs to guide him in life, he also uses them to guide his art. "I use it to really like find and map out and follow movements in myself and in my writing. I think the ideas that it contains really inspire me. The idea of constant flux and figuring that out...I’m pretty sure that’s where every belief system begins. With the idea that 'this sucks, how do we figure it out?' I know that’s where Buddhism starts. The first noble truth of Buddhism is that all life is suffering. They’re like 'this sucks'. They don’t hold back. Even if you think about it, the same thing as’s original sin. Blanket statement: 'This sucks, where do we go from here'?" he says. 

Although one of Galvin's biggest outpour of creativity comes in the form of song, he's also creative in other ways, and still pulls from his beliefs to be inspired in that work. Talking more about his passion for visual art as well, Galvin says, "I think I’ve always kind of been into it all. I’m a dancer. I have a dance company. I’m a yoga teacher. Obviously I play music, but I think that this is where music schools go wrong. And they try to make musicians by only focusing on music. To me that’s like the opposite of the point. The opposite of what we’re trying to do here. Everything else enriches everything else. If I want to be a better musician, I’m not just gonna try to be really good at playing chords. I’m going to find out the things that inspire me, and go figure those things out. The dance that I do and the movement with my body really helps me navigate my body onstage and makes me a better performer. The drawing kind of gives me these little like maps to follow that kind of like help me being to figure out where I am and where these songs are going for me. I think it all enriches every other part of it. I don’t think I could do just the one thing. It would feel incomplete, whatever it was." 

Bookstores Are His Favorite Tour Pitstops

While Galvin's art is inspired by his other art, he also looks for other sources of enlightenment. Since he recently stopped over during the summer after performing with Overcoats in May, I asked Galvin to share some of his favorite spots around our city. "I do love Chicago. What’s that bookstore? Myopic Books! It’s a really great place. I spent a couple hours in that place last time I was in Chicago, after our Audiotree session, which was at like 10 in the morning. After an all night drive we parked ourselves in this bookstore and zoned out for a couple hours. I always try to find a really good bookstore in a lot of cities. It’s one of my favorite things to do," he says. 

As far as his other favorite stops in Chicago, Galvin says, "I went to the Carhartt store, which is down the road from that, which I fucking loved. It’s rare to find a whole store. I’m a big fan of Carhartt, which is this kind of industrial clothing brand. A lot of constructions workers wear it, but they make the best stuff because it wears so well. It breaks apart so nicely!"

He's A History Buff

In addition to reading books on the road, Galvin enriches his mind by listening to podcasts that are equal parts entertaining and educational. In the realm of educational podcasts, Galvin loves learning about history. "We don’t really listen to music at all. I guess I listen to music if I’m like in a venue or before a show by myself, but in the car on these long drives, we’ve gotten really into these long form history podcasts. There’s this dude Dan Carlin, who is the godfather of history podcasting. One of the most brilliant dudes I’ve ever had the pleasure of listening to. He goes into such fanatical detail about historical events that you could just listen to for hours on end," he says. "We’ve gone through his entire catalog at this point, so we’ve used him up. We’re on episode 90 of the "History of Rome" right now, which we’re gonna continue on from our last tour. We’re just getting into it...the History of Rome is like 300 episodes or something, so we’re just getting through the Caesars and it’s just about to get good," Galvin continues.

While most people might get that "tour brain" when everything sort of becomes autopilot for them, Galvin seizes the opportunity to stay on his toes. "I love making tour into an intellectual experience. When I can make these long drives into history lessons, it makes tour so much nicer. It keeps me stimulated. It keeps me guessing," he adds. By listening to so many history podcasts, Galvin has also been able to throw out random facts and trivia knowledge...especially about Pirate vernacular. "We were listening to the History of Pirates actually. There’s this vernacular that you find in the English language that’s just like Pirate Speak. They used to whip sailors who were not obeying their orders. They used this whip called the "Cat of 9 Tails", which was a whip with 9 strings, with either little knots or rocks or a piece of metals at the edge or their strings. Really terrible thing. You didn’t want to get whipped with the Cat of 9 Tails. So the Captain or the First Mate who would do the whipping, would leave the whip in a bloody bag on the deck. Everyone was like don’t fuck up, don’t let the cat out of the bag. There’s so many things like that," he revealed. The more you know...

Most of His Songs Have Two Sides to Them

Some of the best songs that can stand the test of time are those that can stand out even when they're completely stripped back. On the recorded version of Yoke Lore's Goodpain EP, there's layers and layers that come together to form the finished product, but the songs Galvin writes always begin with the bare bones. However, some lucky fans get the chance to absorb that first step of the process depending on the live setting they catch Yoke Lore. Talking about his recent stop in Chicago this summer to do an Audiotree session and a Sofar Sounds show, Galvin says, "Audiotree was a full set, but we had to drive through the night to make it to that. We were driving from Denver the night before. Then we played a Sofar in Philly too." For the Sofar Sounds performances in Chicago and Philadelphia, Galvin performed a solo set with just his banjo. "I really like the acoustic thing because it’ music is very big and expansive sounding. There’s a lot of like synths and sweeps and stuff, and it’s nice to just pair it down and really give people what I wrote in my bedroom like a year ago. I like that I can offer both iterations, and I think that both iterations are meaningful and have value in their own way," he adds. 

Being able to have a strong acoustic and raw version of a song, in addition to an organic sounding song that's been fully produced actually proves to be quite rare these days. "I think it’s like a test of a good performer who can perform without any bullshit. And I think it’s a test of a good song that you can play it with just one instrument and it can still be a good song," Galvin concurred. However, it still surprises people to see a Yoke Lore song done with just a banjo. Laughing, Galvin says,"I can’t tell you how many times we’ve gotten up there and people are like 'whoa you play the banjo?!'"

He's Friends With Tourmates, Overcoats

Besides educating himself and being a multidimensional performer, Galvin admits his tour mates are also a huge part of being out of the road. Talking about the best friend pairing behind Overcoats, Hana Elion and JJ Mitchell, Gavin gushes, "I fucking love those girls so much my gosh. They’re the best. We toured with them whenever it was earlier this year. We had an amazing time with them!" 

Thinking back on his first run with Overcoats, Galvin added, "I love their music so much. We had a great time with them. We had a little bit of a rough tour the first leg cause we did a leg in the midwest, and a leg on the west coast. It was just spring...seasons were changing, and we were just sick. We were all just dying. Then we all started getting injured. This one morning I had this cough I couldn’t shake, and I was like fuck it, let’s go to Urgent Care and get me some antibiotics so I can kick this thing. So we get to the Urgent Care, we get the antibiotics and we call the girls to meet up for brunch, and they were like 'Actually we can’t we’re at Urgent Care, Hannah hurt her foot last night!' We were like what?! We’re at Urgent Care!" Even through the rough times, Galvin says he and the Overcoats crew had a great time in general.

There you have it! To witness the magic of a Yoke Lore performance, find information on all upcoming tour dates here, and grab tickets to Tuesday's Lincoln Hall show here. Get ready for the show by listening to Goodpain in full below!

Get To Know: Post Animal

This past Friday night, I caught up with the boys in Post Animal before they headlined night one of Chicago’s Psych Fest at The Hideout. Although the band was down one member, with this weekend being one of the first times they’ve played without guitarist Joe Keery, the remaining five members still had plenty to talk about. Throughout the conversation, I found out all you need to know about this up and coming Chicago band, including news on their upcoming album and tour, stories about their haunted recording space, their influences, and their feelings on a certain Netflix show (which, if you didn’t already know, one of them happens to star in). There’s no doubt about it, 2017 will be an incredible year for Post Animal, so get familiar with them now. 

Post Animal is: Dalton Allison, Jake Hirshland, Joe Keery, Javi Reyes, Wes Toledo and Matt Williams. Photo by  Kristina Pedersen . 

Post Animal is: Dalton Allison, Jake Hirshland, Joe Keery, Javi Reyes, Wes Toledo
and Matt Williams. Photo by Kristina Pedersen

Their Influences Include Bands like Black Sabbath and The Police, Their Parents... and Mel Gibson

One of the first things I always want to know about musicians is how they got into playing music.  Matt Williams, Javi Reyes, and Wes Toledo all credit their parents for getting them into music at a young age.  “I started playing music when I was like four,” Wes says. “My dad was a musician too, so he just kind of started me at an early age. I started listening to the Police and bands like that, like the Beatles liking of music came from that," he continued on. Matt adds, “My mom was a musician so she kinda forced me to take guitar lessons. She’s a bass player, but she was like ‘you need to learn how to play guitar,’ and then I kinda got forced to…” Javi says his mom also had guitars laying around, and he first started playing the guitar that his brother was given for Christmas one year. “I  learned how to play the James Bond theme,” he recalls.

Dalton Allison says that other bands, like Black Sabbath, inspired him to start making music, while Jake Hirshland admits that his inspiration stems from just wanting to be in a band, saying, “I just wanted to be in a band so bad dude, that I like picked up a guitar and tried to get good enough.” All of the guys also agree that films scores played a big part in influencing them, with Dalton deeming the Jurassic Park score as his favorite.

Oh, and the part about Mel Gibson? That came up while Matt chatted about the early days of guitar lessons, revealing, “The very first lesson I took was so awkward. There’s like these guitar books, I think they’re called Mel Gibson, wait! Not Mel Gibson...those learning books...”  It turns out he was actually talking about Mel Bay guitar books, which we quickly figured out, thanks to a member of another band playing that night.

All Of The Band Members Are Multi-Instrumentalists

If you’ve ever seen Post Animal live, you know they’ve got a lot of guitars on one stage (they also have a lot of hair on one stage, but that’s besides the point). The reason for so many bandmates stems from a few of them originally being substitutes who just never left. Dalton and Matt grew up together as self-proclaimed “bad boys of Danville,” first starting a band in sixth grade. As for the rest of the guys, Matt says,“We just kinda met people through friends and through work, and then someone was like ‘Hey I know this guy who’s a really good drummer, Wes. You should play with him.’ Then we did, and someone was out of town and Javi had just moved into town. So we were like ‘Javi wanna play these couple shows with us?’ And he just never stopped playing with us.”  

“We’ve pretty much just been tacking people on. I moved to Chicago and started playing with these dudes. It was a lot of people going out of town for a while, so we were just subbing people,” Jake chimes in.  The rest of band agreed that they just can’t let anyone go.

Dalton also gives credit to the adaptability of his bandmates, saying “We’re really lucky to have a mutli-talented group. Like Javi can pretty much play anything, Matt can pretty much play anything, Jake can play anything. Wes is one of the best drummers that I’ve ever played with.”  

The Lakehouse They Recorded in Is Haunted

It’s been a minute since Post Animal released their 6 track EP called The Garden Series, but lucky for us, the next album is just about ready. How is this new full-length different than the band’s previous releases? Other than the location where they recorded it, Dalton says,“It’s the first one with all 6 of us on it, so this is the most exciting for sure,” adding on that it should be between 10 and 13 songs. He also says that this new record is more collaborative than their past work, crediting each band member with writing their own parts.  

“Yeah we’re all pumped. Recordings are done and Dalton’s in the cave doing [post] production on it. We’re hoping the spring time,” Jake adds about the progress and planned release of the record.  Continuing on about their recording process, he adds, “I feel like the way we recorded is also...we did a lot of stuff at the same time and we never really used the rooms we were in. Rather than recording it in Dalton’s bedroom like we’ve been doing for the last couple, we actually went to this lakehouse of our good friend and just squatted in the living room and played everything loud...getting all the sound of the space. I think you can tell [it was recorded live].”

While we’re on the subject of the lakehouse, Wes drops the bomb that the place was haunted. Javi and Dalton both attest to strange glitches appearing on their recordings from the lakehouse, while Jake, Wes, and Matt admit to having to sleep in the same room eventually after several scares. Jake recalls one night in which a nightstand flipped over in the room they were sharing, after already being woken up by a ghost. “These old, wrinkly leather hands just tugged me awake. It was bizarre,” Jake says. The rest of the band add that they’re not big on embellishment or really into paranormal activity, with Jake continuing, “Yeah we’re rational at heart, but it was bizarre, I had no explanations for some of the stuff I was feeling and seeing. The table flying over…”

In addition to the ghost scares, coffee got spilled on their computer halfway through recording, causing the band to worry they’d lost all of their work. Despite all of these scares, the band say they still had the time of their lives recording in the house adjoining Paw Paw Lake.

Rather than recording it in Dalton’s bedroom like we’ve been doing for the last couple, we actually went to this lakehouse of our good friend and just squatted in the living room and played everything loud...getting all the sound of the space
— Jake on the band's recording process

They’re Really Excited to Play Daytrotter Downs Festival In March

At the moment, the Post Animal boys have only got a string of live dates announced for this year, including some shows in Michigan with Twin Peaks and a slot at Daytrotter Downs Festival in Davenport, IA. However, they let on that they’ve just locked in the first two weeks of an upcoming tour, with Wes adding on that they’ll be out on the road all summer.

Talking more about Daytrotter, Dalton says,“I think that’s the first time that any of us were kinda shocked that someone asked us to play. We really respect what they’ve got going on.” They’re also all excited to check out some of the other bands on the line up, with Jake shouting out NE-HI and Wes and Matt giving nods to Joan of Arc and Gaelynn Lea.  

Daydrotter Downs Lineup Poster

Daydrotter Downs Lineup Poster

They’re Also Really Excited To See The Country

Before the interview, I noticed that a fan had commented “come to Brazil!” on one of Post Animal’s recent Facebook posts. To me, the summoning to Brazil is a sign you’ve made it. Bringing up this comment, I asked the band where in the world they’d like to tour.  

“South America would be a dream. It’s gonna be dream to even…. like I’ve never even been to New York City in my life. Every single place we go is gonna be a new place that I’ve never been, so that’s pretty crazy,” Dalton admits.  

Javi agrees with South America, saying “I’ve got family down there, so... Just so you know my name is Javier.” Jake agrees with Dalton’s point that it’ll be crazy to see the country, while Matt says he’s particularly excited to play in the states he hasn’t been to, like the Southeast. “Speaking of the south,” Jake adds,“We might be playing SXSW, but nothing is locked in.”  

They’d also love to eventually play some European dates, so keep your eyes out for that.

They’ve Got a Lot of Love for Fellow Chicago Musicians, Especially Jude Shuma

Post Animal recently headlined The Empty Bottle, with support coming from fellow Chicagoans Lucille Furs and Jude Shuma. Not only was the show entirely epic, but it turns out the Post Animal members all love the other two bands. Wes started the love fest for Jude and also gave props to Lucille Furs by saying,“[Twin] Peaks rocks, Joe Bordernaro. Lucille Furs obviously. Jude Shuma!” Jake recommended also interviewing Jude, with Javi attesting to his great interview skills, calling him a charismatic guy.  (So Jude, if you're reading this, let's set up an interview?) 

The guys have also got a lot of love for Chicago venues, including The Empty Bottle, The Hideout and Thalia Hall. “It was a bit of a dream playing Thalia with Twin Peaks. That was scary,” Jake says about the latter. “I’ve just never even been on a stage like that[with a barrier], but in the crowd it doesn’t look like there’s that much space. But when you’re up there, it’s like a good eight feet of space. It’s just like intimidating being that far away from people,”  he continued.

Dalton agrees that it’s more intimidating being separated, saying “You have to like really try to see how the audience feels when they’re not crammed against the stage.”  

They’re Big Fans of King Gizzard, Ty Segall, The Nude Party...and Dire Straits

Not only are the Post Animal members really into fellow Chicago bands, they’re big music fans in general. When asked what they’re listening to at the moment, Javi says, “This new Ty Segall album that just came out, or it comes out today. It’s been streaming the past week.” Jake says, “Mild High Club has such a special place in my heart,” while also mentioning that the entire band loves King Gizzard [& The Lizard Wizard].  

“I’ve been listening to this fucking sick rapper named Denzel Curry, who is so good,” Wes adds, while Dalton shouts out Vince Staples. Javi calls the band’s music taste eclectic, while Jake admits that they listen to a lot of older material as well. Similarly to the love expressed to Jude Shuma, the band also gushed for a few minutes about their admiration of The Nude Party, a band they recently played with in Milwaukee.  They also went to see NYC band The Lemon Twigs the night before at The Empty Bottle. 

Lastly, Wes chimes in, “Dire Straits is a good band,” joking,“They fucking rock. That better be in the interview by the way. Dire Straits fucking rocks.”  

They’re Happy For Joe’s Success As an Actor, But Please Get Their Name Right

If you weren’t aware, the sixth band member, Joe Keery, was MIA for this interview because he stars in a little known Netflix show called Stranger Things.  Naturally, the insane amount of success that the show has had has brought some new attention to the band over the past several months.  So, are Joe and his bandmates sick of the Stranger Things-driven attention? Not at all, but it does make things a bit more challenging at times.

“It’s hilarious that he’s not here right now,” Dalton says when I asked the question.  “It’s just weird cause there’s like this last year, Matt would be gone so Javi would fill in for Matt. Or like Wes would be gone so Joe would play drums. So originally Wes came into replace Joe. So now it’s like weird cause we wouldn’t really hesitate to play without anyone, but we kind of like have to hesitate to play without Joe. That’s been like the weirdest part... kinda feeling detached from our own project because of all the fame that got brought to it, not necessarily for the wrong reason, but for a different reason.”  

Jake chimes in, “We sort of just decided, actually it was a pretty recent decision, but we decided the only way to do this properly from here on out is to play doing exactly what we would have done before. Like tonight is a great example of a show that Joe couldn’t be at, and we’re just playing a damn show.”  

Dalton does admit that it breaks their heart to play without him, but he credits Joe with doing a great job of handling it all, and coming back when he can. “His life has gone from kinda 0 to 60, so it’s a little hectic. So here and there it’s gonna be without him. [Joe] just flies...he’s so committed to flying back day of," Jake says.  

The band also take all of the attention in a positive light, with Jake saying, “Even the people who come mostly to just meet or be in the presence of Joe, they end up being pretty cool audience members. I think a year ago we would have done almost anything to play these types of shows.”  

With so many band members, the guys also comment that they’re still able to deliver their best performance, but Matt contributes, “People can learn each other’s parts. The big difference is like the presence of a body. The nuances of how they play.” “No one can replace Joe’s stage banter,” Dalton adds in. Luckily, Joe is willing to do all he can to be there for shows, so the crowd won’t miss out on too much banter.  For their recent show at The Empty Bottle, Joe told the crowd he took two planes to get there.

All the guys really ask, is that you get their band name right, and don’t call Joe “Steve.” Javi recalls a time when someone said “give it up for Stranger Things” right after Post Animal performed. While something like that is clearly disrespectful to the entire band, no one was more upset about it than Joe himself.  “It’s kinda like exploitative of him personally. Like when people call him’s just like, you don’t even take the time to...They don’t think about the fact that he’s a real person and not the character. We’ve all had these crazy experiences of how people interact with him when we go to a bar or something like that. That’s been like the most hilarious and most disgusting part of it,” Dalton says in defense of his friend.

It’s clear that the guys in Post Animal are all great friends and they’re all supportive of Joe, but they’ve also got a great sense of humor. Wes joked, “Fuck that guy. Off the record, he’s one of my best friends, but on the record, fuck that guy," about Joe.  

Later on Friday evening, the guys did exactly as they'd promised and delivered a killer performance. Seriously, I picked a terrible night to leave my earplugs at home because they don't hold anything back during their shows.  Throughout the set, they also seemed to be genuinely enjoying themselves, which always makes a show more enjoyable from the audience.  Keep up with all of the Post Animal news by checking out their Facebook page.  You can also listen to The Garden Series below: