Slipping and sliding across several inch thick sheets of ice that refuse to disperse from the sidewalk, I make my way inside a café and scan the room for the subjects of today’s conversation. Settling into a corner table I notice a guy in a blue sweater and tan beanie making eye contact with me. I hesitate, going between thinking he’s one half of the duo Yellerkin and thinking that he’s cruising me in a very 1970s way- head nods, eye contact. I blush and look away. Surely he’s hitting on me and not thinking I’m here to interview him. My phone buzzes and I look down to embarrassingly read a description of that very person, stating he’s at the café waiting. Finally, I’m certain this man isn’t a glory hole user but instead Luca Bucelatti, who with Adrian Galvin constitutes the newly fledged folk-pop duo Yellerkin. Luca is also Tei Shi’s beaux, and the producer of her acclaimed debut EP Saudade.
Adrian arrives and together they paint a picture of boyish resilience and wide-eyed fervor. Much like his boy choir gone rock star voice, Adrian’s welcoming smile exudes a kind youthfulness, and Luca’s soft spoken and intentional mannerisms closely resemble his nuanced production style in their thoughtful warmth. When asked how they met, Luca quickly blurts, “Ms. McCormick’s first grade class. We raised chickens. We’ve known each other forever”. Their own past is so perfectly crafted into their current project that the creation of Yellerkin appears like a seamless part of their own personal transitions. Their childhood is not the only theme- the duo also focuses strongly on community and family. When discussing their hometown of Katonah, Adrian excitedly and with much detail relates a tale of the native peoples of that corner of NY- “There’s a tragic story about chief Katonah. He was part of the Ramapough Indians. The same year that the Ridgefield settlers forced him to sell his land to them, his wife and daughter were struck by lightning. Later that year he died of grief. There’s a gravesite near Luca’s house. It’s a powerful story, I feel really attached to where we grew up- in the woods, walking to each other’s houses barefoot. We knew everybody.“
This tale, and the sense of community and family that so strongly ties into it is also the foundation for the naming of the band. Yellerkin is an amalgamation of two very literal concepts- Yelling and family. Adrian continues, “We yell, that’s what I do. Yelling is about desperation, about a really intense expression about love or hatred or anything. That’s all family- it’s a big part of that. My parents are both Freudian psychoanalysts and shit. Family dynamics- family is like a microcosm for the world. Community is a solid structure that then repeats its dynamic over and over. So Yellerkin is like you yell for the ones you love.” Like two beings teetering on the edge of youth and peering into adulthood, Yellerkin is the musings of two intensely emotional and idealistic men shedding their past and building their future. During an acid trip (the story of which spawned an adorable unspoken exchange of approval between the two gentlemen before being shared), the idea for the Nick Pesce created music video Solar Laws was born. Once Adrian got the ok from Luca to divulge the drug induced creative surge, he delved in- “During the iridescent moody comedown we formed an idea of a concept for solar laws. As we began to come back to each other and the world, Nick and I had this idea about a chase- of chasing reality. We’d be tripping, sitting around and rolling joints and then two minutes in you trip off into your own world and start thinking about stuff. Thirty minutes later we’re all back. I still think about the chase a lot. Solar Laws is about the ending of a relationship, but it’s conceptual. Like the steps you take in going through the end of a relationship, or the ending of anything. Chasing it, reluctant, angry, confused. Experiencing loss & change. Out of the archetypes within that I felt the most attached to a boy going into the world. “
Out of the perpetual disconnect that hallucinogenics create between our minds and reality, Solar Laws was born. It’s a “Where the Wild Things Are” inspired journey of a boy and his imagined monster, a symbol of his childhood and naïveté.
Beyond their fascinating and intentional thematic elements, the sound of Yellerkin is a wonderful ode to greats past and a microcosm if what’s alive today. Adrian expresses some of his passions, all of which show themselves in the Solar Laws EP. “We both would die and go to heaven to be Radiohead. That’s the apex. But when you trickle down from that, I love Animal Collective and we used to listen to Zeppelin. Now I’m digging Kurt Vile, he’s so soulful. We listen to a lot of The Beatles too.”
As Adrian dictates some of the many influences on Yellerkin, Luca chimes in with intention and clarity- “Yellow Ostrich. When they did a cover of (Sharon Van Etten’s) Love More. That’s the way I wanted to treat Adrian’s personal record.” This cover by Yellow Ostrich is an affected harmonious fantasy, other-worldly and yet earthly at the same time, like a choir in an antiquated church, in dusty garments, funneled and blended through a modernist machine, with a tinge of romance, youth, and Americana. This very sound is the interpretation Luca has given Yellerkin. Harnessing Adrian’s yelling choirboy cries into these electronic folk pop tracks while incorporating influences from Rock & hip-hop is no easy task, but it’s likely that the inherent connection these two share has been the basis for the creative flourishing together. Stay tuned for their upcoming projects, there are sure to be many.