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Adrian Galvin of Yoke Lore rarely spends a week in one place. We caught a few minutes of his time outside the Austin Convention Center last week at SXSW to talk about living as a full-time touring musician and what he reads on the road.
How has your week been?
I like getting to South By mainly to get facetime with the people I don’t usually get to see, you know. I have a label in Australia and a label in Germany and I never get to see those people; I just know them as email personalities. It’s nice to get eye contact with them and meet the people that are part of your team and doing it for you. And there are a lot of friends here. I’m constantly on tour, and so are my friends. It’s nice to have a moment where you can catch everyone.
Who are some of the people you’re excited to see?
My homies in this band Plastic Picnic are here, and I love those boys. Princess Nokia is here. Pronoun, Charles Fauna, Young & Sick. I have a bunch of friends that I never get to see anymore, because I live in a van.
What’s it like living in a van?
I recently gave up my apartment in Brooklyn, because I’m just on tour too much. You could call it being a citizen of the world or being homeless, but it’s one of those two. It’s fun; it’s good. At this point, doing what I’m doing, it’s necessary. It feels appropriate almost.
What are some of your favorite places you’ve seen on tour; new places that you’ve gotten to experience?
I really, really love Canada. Every single show I’ve played in Canada has just been better and better and better. It’s just a normal ass place, just like any other place, but it is just like very different. A different culture there. I got to go to the third coast, like the south coast on the Gulf of Mexico. I’d never been to that part of the country, I guess. Louisiana, the Florida pan handle, that part of Alabama. The beaches are like, white. It looks like you’re in the Caribbean but you’re still in the continental United States.
What’s your ideal off day on tour?
I find somewhere to read. Go to a bookstore. Go to a movie. Take a hike. Just try to live a normal life for a second.
Any good books you’ve read recently?
This book called 1491. It’s about pre-Columbian South America and the situation that Columbus came into. It’s about redoing geographical scholarship, because post-Columbus. They were trying to learn about South America through the only lens they had, which was war-torn, disease-ridden. Cities had been torn down. He came in and saw people living like that and thought it was a primitive culture, but we need to re-look at all that. He came in to the ruins of a war-torn culture, basically.
We do a lot of books on tape. We just read 1984, which I had never read before. When the offered it in middle school, I guess I read the other one? Animal Farm or Lord Of The Flies.
What did you think of 1984?
Oh it’s awesome; it’s the archetype. So many books use that premise to explore other stories and there are other iterations of it. It’s so interesting to read what it all started from. The first story about that kind of governmental oversite. The fear, communist delusions.
What influences the music you make?
Sincerity, for sure. I read a lot, so a lot of authors really inspire me. Tom Robbins is one of my favorite writers. I get really inspired by listening to weird folk music. I play banjo, obviously, so I’m into antebellum folk. And then I get inspired by the people around me who are doing particularly awesome stuff. I come from a family of artists and I’m truly blessed. Every member of my family is making great things. We’re constantly playing off of one another. I have family who are dancers, and we have conversations about how things move through the body and how you change your surroundings by integrating yourself into it. Changing your space by changing yourself.
What’s something you aren’t often asked in interviews that you want to say about your music?
I enjoy music for it’s open endedness. I want people to have their own idea about what my music is about and to add themselves to it and have their own reactions to things. So I want to leave it open ended.