Our collaboration as artists began through our mutual appreciation of the written word. Before we started collaborating musically, we would write to each other from afar to share our favorite poems, essays, books, and talks. Eventually, we began sending our own poems to each other on a daily basis, which evolved into the songwriting collaboration you hear today.

We’re very inspired by artists such as The Fugs, Patti Smith, and contemporaries like King Krule whose unique blend of poetry, rock n’ roll, and performance transcend the boundaries of each medium.

Here are a few passages, many of which we encountered recently, that seem to stick in our minds!


'An Interest in Life' (Grace Paley)

In the middle of my third beer, searching in my mind for the next step, I found the decision to go on Strike It Rich. I scrounged some paper and pencil from the toy box and I listed all my troubles, which must be done in order to qualify. The list, when complete, could have brought tears to the eye of God if He has a minute. At the sight of it my bitterness began to improve. All that is really necessary for survival of the fittest, it seems, is an interest in life, good, bad, or peculiar.

'Audre Lorde' (Sister Outsider)

Poetry is not a luxury. It is a vital necessity of our existence.

Excerpt from 'Slowly: a plainsong from an older woman to a younger woman' by Judy Grahn (She Who)

it is a long story
am I not proud to be your version?

it is unspoken.

speaking, speaking
am I not elder

are you not wine before you find me
in your own beaker?

do you not turn away your shoulder?
have I not shut my mouth against you?

are you not shamed to treat me meanly
when you discover you become me?
are you not proud that you become me?

I will not shut my mouth against you.
do not turn away your shoulder.
we who brew in the same bitters
that boil us away
we both need stronger water.

we’re touched by a similar nerve.

I am like your daughter.
I am the will, and the riverbed
made bolder
by you - my oldest river -
you are the way.

are we not olden, olden, olden.

'Music' by Robert Walser (A Schoolboy’s Diary)

Art wants to cuddle up to us. Its nature is so completely pure and self-sufficient that it doesn’t like it when you pursue it. It punishes whoever approaches it trying to grasp it. Artists know that. They are the ones who make art their profession, even though art absolutely does not like to be grasped. That is why I never want to be a musician. I am afraid of being punished by such a sweet creature. You can love art but you have to make sure you don’t admit it to yourself. The deepest love is when you don’t even know you are in love.

'The Time Before Death' by Kabir (translated by Robert Bly)

Friend? hope for the Guest while you are alive.
Jump into experience while you are alive!
Think... and think... while you are alive.
What you call "salvation" belongs to the time
before death.

If you don't break your ropes while you're alive,
do you think ghosts will do it after?

The idea that the soul will join with the ecstatic
just because the body is rotten --
that is all fantasy.
What is found now is found then.
If you find nothing now,
you will simply end up with an apartment in the
City of Death.
If you make love with the divine now, in the next
life you will have the face of satisfied desire.

So plunge into the truth, find out who the Teacher is,
Believe in the Great Sound!

Kabir says this: When the Guest is being searched for,
it is the intensity of the longing for the Guest
that does all the work.

Look at me, and you will see a slave of that intensity.


Olden Yolk's self-titled debut album is out February 23rd via Trouble In Mind. Check out 'Takes One To Know One' below./strong>