Good news: If you are reading this, you almost survived another Summer heat wave. Now you can reward yourself with some late August and September rock shows. Temperatures should be dipping low enough to make seeing multiple shows not only extremely possible, but recommended by some medical professionals.
As always, check here for the live music calendar because there’s a lot happening soon that you don’t want to miss.
This Spring, I went to a packed George’s Majestic Lounge show and saw excellent sets from three of the best bands in Fayetteville – Modeling, The Phlegms and Olympics. They all have Fall shows coming soon.
Olympics have been making serious waves for a while now. Their live set is confident and crowd pleasing. Imagine a house party that only plays English new wave. Their sound is less nostalgia and more moving the 80s forward. They’re highly recommended.
And luckily, you’ve got a couple chances to see them soon. The band will perform Sunday, Aug. 21 at Smoke & Barrel Tavern with L.A.-based Dummy; and also on Thursday, Sept. 15 at George’s with Modeling, Mildenhall and Bootleg Royale.
I talked to Olympics’ Kevin Lujano, Daniel Warner, Charlie McGowan and Tim Robinson. Here it goes…
How would you describe Olympics to a stranger?
Kevin: I’d describe Olympics as a dreamy post-punk band.
Who are your bandmates and how did you meet? Is there a ‘Let’s Start A Band!’ moment or story you can share?
Kevin: Daniel (bass) and I (Kevin, guitar and vocals) had been making music since high school. We played together in many short-lived garage bands but never really took it too seriously. We eventually wanted to start a project where we actually recorded and played shows. I later ran into Charlie (drums) at a party and he told me he played drums. I hadn’t seen him in a long time before that but I knew him from when I was younger. We jammed once and Olympics happened. Tim is the newest addition to our band, and I knew him from my time working at Crystal Bridges. I thought he’d be perfect for our sound and he has been.
What bands made you want to write songs? Can you pinpoint your main influence? And why do you connect with them?
Daniel: Plenty of embarrassing bands to list from when I was younger. The least embarrassing being The Strokes. I definitely have some sentimental ties with them but also they were just one of the first groups that I listened to that I felt made the kind of music that I wish I could make. If I had to list some relatively newer groups that are heavyweights for me when I’m writing, I think I’d have to go with Wild Nothing, Triathalon, Chastity Belt, and No Vacation. All of these groups have great, accessible records with tasteful instrumentation. And then on a more personal level, there is something about each of these bands that I can throw on and when my brain is working overtime, I can feel alright for a while. Those are the kind of songs I’d be more than proud of to write.
Kevin: I’d say that John Frusciante made me want to write songs. My writing style became a bit more refined and influenced by The Smiths, The Cure, and The Chameleons.
Tell us about the first song you wrote. How does it compare to the first song you released in Olympics?
Kevin: The first song we wrote was an instrumental that we used to start our shows with. We never gave it an actual name, but the working title was ‘Banger’. It was okay. Our first single was “By the Wire” and it was more 80’s post-punk influenced. It was around the time our sound was going through a slight change.
Do you have any guilty pleasure bands that you have yet to tell anyone about? If so, Please share them here for the first time.
Tim: The Folklore and Evermore albums by Taylor Swift. No one deserves to catch me in that state!
You’ve played with a lot of great Arkansas bands over the last few months – what local bands should we check out?
Daniel: We’ve been incredibly lucky to meet such great people and to find great local talent along the way. I would kick myself if I didn’t mention Modeling. They’ve got a great following and I know a lot of people reading this will recognize them but there’s a reason they have the following that they do. Easily one of those bands that you would never know were local based off of the intensely unique, quality songs and production effort that they put into every single show. But beyond that, they are the sweetest and most welcoming group. Listen to everything they’ve got and see them any chance you can!
Do you have any pre-show rituals?
Charlie: The pre-show routine has changed a bit over the few years that the band has been together. We typically like to run through a few songs the day of a show, as close to the show time as possible. This helps us loosen up a little bit, discuss the set list, etc. Then most of the time we arrive way too early to the show and pace around nervously. Personally, I like to stretch my arms and warm up before we go on by drumming on some random object, usually a bar stool or wooden railing.
Are you a Dog or a Cat person? We’re attempting to settle the Dogs Vs Cats debate.
Daniel: Naturally a dog person but my girlfriend is slowly pushing me the other way.
Kevin: Dog. I’ve always thought I was a cat person until I got a dog; well, he’s the best.
Tim: Cat person. There’s something about earning their trust that yields a great sense of accomplishment.
What do Olympics have planned for the rest of 2022?
Kevin: We will be releasing a six-song EP within the next couple of months. This new EP is going to be a mix of old and new material. Right now it’s being mixed by Harry from Banzai Florist and it’s sounding great. It’s been a pleasure working with him. We’ll also be playing one or two shows each month.