Olympians [Interview]

We recently caught up with the wonderful Norwich based rockers Olympians to have a little chat. Originally I intended to use a few quotes from the interview and incorporate them into something of an ‘introducing’ piece but I decided the interview was too funny to mess with. So here is the whole thing – I think you’ll agree they do a rather decent job of introducing themselves.
Their excellent debut EP, To Our Wives And Sweethearts,  is out now. You can listen to it at the bottom of this post, download it here, or get the CD here. It’s well worth four quid.

When did you decide that you wanted to make music?

Chris: I remember knowing Dan for a while. Ed was already playing in a band with him and we ended up a three piece. Ben played some shows and it’s stayed that way ever since.
Dan: It seems the natural thing to do. You can only criticise other music for so long before you feel the need to prove your credentials. We haven’t yet, so I guess we’ll keep making music.
Ben: I decided I wanted to play music when… I got a Casio keyboard for my birthday when I was five. I realised I had to do something better than just listen to the ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go Go’ demo, otherwise life would have been proven desperate and hopeless. So I learnt The Flintstones theme tune. My life has been catching up to this moment ever since. As for playing with these chumps, I was allowed to play a drunken trumpet ‘solo’ at one of their gigs as a birthday present. I’ve been trying to catch up to that moment ever since.

How would you describe your sound to someone who had never heard you?
Chris: Dense. Genuine. Do not iron.
Dan: It depends on whether or not they were going to later hear us and be provided with a forum in which to pull us up on our answer. If they’d never find out, I’d say we sound like Iron Maiden ON ACID.
Ben: Like your favourite band, but better. Probably.

Who are your biggest influences?
Chris: Our parents. We’re like tiny half-melted-mutant versions of all eight of them.
Dan: I feel I’m undermining my parents by saying this now, but Youthmovies are a pretty big influence. I like the way they went about things, and that follows through into the stuff the Blessing Force guys in Oxford are doing. Very communal, bands and artists helping each other. Plus Youthmovies’ music is ridiculous and excellent.
Ben: Everything we hear is an influence. Every interesting new band, every pumping dance tune, every scratched LP, every rubbish gig, it all goes into the big melting pot of ideas, either as something to aspire to or something to desperately avoid. This melting pot is then the subject of practice-based fist fights, and whoever displays the most brute strength at this point has the most influence on how something turns out.

What is your proudest moment to date?
Chris: Every morning when I wake up and remember I’m an Olympian.
Dan: Every time we go live on the radio for interviews and say something horrendous we can never take back. Those social faux pas are like my children.
Ben: That gig we did at the top of Mount Everest. The orphans were so thrilled.

Tell us about your favourite show you’ve ever played?
Chris: Cats in Paris record release at The Deaf Institute in Manchester. Great band. Great venue.
Dan: That, or an all-dayer in Brixton we played earlier this year. Stairs To Korea were great, My First Tooth were great, Cats In Paris were great and Dananananakyroyd made us all feel like rock-less cowards by rocking hard.
Ben: Very difficult to decide. We were lavished with attention at our EP launch which is always nice. Any gig playing with good bands to a rabid audience is a recipe for success, so there are too many to decide from. Ahem.

What do you hope to achieve?
Chris: As a band we don’t have a finish line, just the desire to make records. I do feel that the more involuntary spasms we can induce, the better.
Dan: I suppose there’s lots of little things that would be nice, but they change all the time. Right now I’d really like to play in Wales or Scotland, but I think perhaps that’s because I need a holiday. We all do. It’s not easy rocking this hard.
Ben: 500m Rocking Badge. We have the 250m badge, and we’re hard in training every morning. Apparently when you get to a 1000m you get a new pair of Speedos. For some reason.

Tell us a funny band story.
Chris: We have a logo. It’s a deer with penis antlers.
Dan: One time we played in Bristol, and when we returned to the venue to get our stuff in the morning, we got caught up in some bizarre pagan celebration, and Ed got chased down the road by somebody dressed as a 10 foot tall tree.
Ben: The driver on one of the tours had to pull over at the side of the road driving outside Paris because he was so desperate for a wee, and he forgot to put the handbrake on, so the rest of the touring crew just rolled off into the middle of a busy motorway. Everyone in the van was way too drunk to even notice! Oh, you mean our band. Yeah, the tree story’s pretty funny.

What is wrong/right with music today?
Chris: There is never a day for which music is wrong.
Ben: Music is always right. The only bit that’s ever wrong is occasionally the people around it, who are sometimes swaggering money obsessed douche-holes. But most of us are chums though, right?


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-David Tinkler


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