Invited by the lovely lads of Yellerkin to experience their hometown of Katonah New York, Wonderland takes a trip out of town to explore the surreal, creative hub
Adrian Galvin and Luca Buccellati from Yellerkin are a rare combo. Somehow both cute and powerful the duo are named after a childhood game, which involved running through the Katonah woods yelling. Adrien, the son of a yoga supremo mother and psychoanalyst father, is, for a 24 year old, astonishingly intellectually astute. A self-proclaimed rule breaker, the singer tears boundaries both musically and as a yoga instructor at his mother’s sought-after yoga studio Katonah Yoga. Luca, the more passive of the duo, was brought up in the recording studio as one of five musically gifted children. Together their uninhibited nature translates faultlessly into the music they produce and explores male sensitivity with courage and sensuality. Their new track Tools takes us on an unexpected journey and is as anthemic as it is elating.
Adrian, you’ve spoken about writing songs based on a relationship’s end. Do you find torment more inspiring than happiness when it comes to writing music?
Adrian: I think when I come into a relationship I’m so excited and lost in someone else but when I come back to myself it’s just you and your hard heart. When a relationship ends you have time to reflect on the nature of the relationship and your responsibility in how it ended.
Do you think that space gives you time to grow more than any other time?
Adrian: I think there are a lot of opportunities. Hard break-ups are an intense learning experience because of how abrasive it can be and how forcibly changing they can be over your life.
Luca: Adapting to change is part of humanity.
On the topic of embracing a lack of control, you’ve bravely spoken about the profound effect the women in your life have had on you. Do you think there’s a lack of male vulnerability in the music industry at the moment?
Adrian: I think there is some male vulnerability in the world but I think it’s fake bullshit. I think that the male vulnerability that happened is expected for example, in the male R&B industry where the men are like “I need you!” then like “Can’t live without you!”
Luca: Sometimes it can’t be taken seriously. There are different aspects of embracing male vulnerability within music.
Adrian: In the very paternalistic culture we live in it’s not as celebrated to have men be as emotionally involved as women because we’re supposed to be unemotional providers and stolid workers, strong silent types.
What music currently are you inspired by?
Adrian: It’s all over the place. Some of the music I’m inspired by is not the music I write. I’m inspired by feeling, the way someone says something, the tone of their voice. I’m really inspired by Death Grips because their fucking energy is insane. I think John Mouse does something similar when he performs which is this blinding relentless energy that’s really intense and effective.
What have your parents given you that have made you the men that you are today and work and operate in the way that you do?
Luca: I think the most important thing for me is allowing me to be creative and helping provide the resources. I grew up in a recording studio and so we spent a lot of time growing up playing in bands so naturally I gravitated towards wanting to learn more about how to record. I wanted the world to hear what we could make and so after going Berklee I was able to.
Adrian: Luca’s parents gave me that too and gave me the ambition for music. My parents gave me this sense of independence and slightly belligerent confidence and it pervades a lot of what I do.
Adrian, how did your father being a psychoanalyst and your mother starting first in theatre and yoga mold you?
Adrian: They’re both self-employed people and they’ve always been self-employed. They’ve made a really big point of how that was and I’ve never been able to live within other people’s boundaries. Even when I went to college I created my own major. It was Encountering Self Divinity Paths and Liberation Theology and German Social Theory and the reason I did it was the same reason I’ve done shit like that wherever. I’ve always had real trouble with authority.
Your mother has founded two yoga studios in Katonah which you teach at. What’s your experience and attitude towards teaching?
Adrian: I lecture a lot in a very intellectual, highly philosophized way. It’s about being constantly being aware of your own bullshit and your own patterns, you begin to make new patterns. You train your body and eventually your mind follows suit. Performing is really hard for me, I get nervous as all hell so I use teaching as a performance.
Your music video for Solar Laws is reminiscent of Where The Wild Things Are. Were you inspired by the children’s book?
Adrian: If it was inspired by Where the Wild Things Are it was only aesthetically. Ideologically it came out of an LSD trip: Me, Luke and the director Nick Pesce had just graduated college. It was an uncertain time and that’s what the trip became about. Trips are always circumstantial and about where you are in life and how you’re feeling, so it became about reckoning with your youth or reckoning with your naiveté and your boyhood and making sure you don’t lose it.
What do you think you’ve maintained from your boyhood? Through that transition period, what’s stuck with you?
Adrian: I think a really important thing that’s stuck with me is a sense of wonder. It’s really important to me to always be amazed by the world.
Luca: I guess having a sense of community is something I retained. At least growing up in Katonah.
Tell me a little about your experience of yelling in the woods, of being woodland boys…
Adrian: My Dad did a lot of hiking and growing up we were a very physical family. My Dad’s a very eccentric dude and he’d always find and create shortcuts through woods and rivers and waterfalls. I was constantly getting lost so the call is something he had to help find each other. He’s a very quiet guy, very mild mannered, super mellow. He’s a bit of a painter and he’s recently got into found objects that he’ll make into sculpture. He comes from a family of artists.
You’ve performed with LA based music and art project Young and Sick.
Adrian: We both admire Nick as someone who has the personality to channel creativity in a really wide variety of mediums and not just across music genres: his illustrations are beautiful as are his songs. He’s a really special guy and he’s really sensitive dude.
Words: Elinor Sigman