Q&A with The Olympics

The Olympics (band, not the event) is a five-piece group hailing from Iowa City consisting of Jeff Roalson, 22, (lead vocals/guitar); Dan Roalson, 20, (bass); Trevor Polk, 20, (Keys, Synths); Noel Nissen, 20, (Drums); and Lucas Adolphson, 21, (lead guitar/vocals). And lucky for you, they have a brand-spankin’-new album out today. If you need more convincing, some of their musical muses include Girls, Arctic Monkeys, Vampire Weekend, Smith Westerns, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Mutemath. What more could a music lover want?

I stole a few minutes of their time to get the lowdown on their new album, “Barefoot Blondes” (which you can listen to here), their favorite tour, and gettin’ down and creative at band practices.

Band Bombshell: Describe your sound in three words that all begin with a P.
The Olympics: Pulverizing prom pop!

BB: Tell me about your band practices. Do you guys have any kind of tradition or goofy habits?
TO: Every once in a while we’ll “jiggle” and practice in our underwear to get creative… or something like that.

BB: Where did you play your best show and who was it with?
TO: The first time we played with Free Energy was super fun and sweaty. It’s always fun to play with bigger acts and fit in well. Playing with local Iowan bands is great too. Every time with The Envy Corps is great and this past spring at Mission Creek Fest we played with Mumford’s and Oberhofer which was super fun as well. Anytime we’re able to headline shows and get a good crowd is also really encouraging.

BB: If you could tour with any musician in the world, who would it be and why?
TO: Playing or touring with any of the artists mentioned in our favorite bands/musical muses would be awesome just because they have all inspired us to do what we do. The more you learn about music and being in a band, the more respect you have for bands who have been able to stick it out and be successful while doing what they love.

BB: Do you have a favorite tour? What was it and why was it so flippin’ awesome?
TO: Our Midwest tour this past summer was so much fun. It was a good mix of getting back to some cities around the area and also test the waters in surrounding states. We were able to hang out with friends, swim in lakes and play music almost every night for two weeks. It was a blast.

BB: You just released “Barefoot Blondes”–your new album. Is there anything new listeners can expect?
TO: The main difference between the new album and our previous EP is the addition of Lucas on lead guitar. He brings in a new, rockier aspect to our jams as well as providing cool hooks that work well with everything else which makes the overall sound a little more interesting and full.

BB: Tell me a little bit about the production of your album.
TO: We recorded it in Cedar Rapids with our good friend, Ian Williams, (Soundhole Studios). We recorded it mostly live, (minus vocals and some lead parts) and got  all 10 songs done in just three days of recording, I believe. We got a final mix and sent it off to Phil Young in Des Moines who threw it to tape and mastered it. Our dudebro, Zach Kulish made the album and CD art and finally, another friend, Dr. Edmond created a rad remixed version of one of the songs as a special 11th song on the album.

Of course there are always little things you wish you would have done slightly different but on the whole, we’re all happy to have the album out so everyone who hasn’t been able to catch our shows can see what we’ve been up to this past year.

BB: What’s your favorite part of this album?
TO: One thing we all enjoy about it is that each of us was able to add his own, unique creativity to the music while still ending up with an album that makes sense. We wanted to set ourselves apart and have “our style” while still creating something that is easily digested and isn’t confusing or incongruous.

BB: What’s next?
TO: Coming off this release, our plan is to get back around the state and play some weekends around the Midwest, as well. We’ll start writing again soon and will be working on new material which is always exciting. Hopefully this coming summer we’ll be able to get back on the road again some more.

BB: Where do you think the best local music scene is?
TO: Of course we love Iowa City and all the local venues, bands, friends and fans but we also love Ames, Des Moines, and Fairfield. There are some really cool things happening in those cities due to some super enthusiastic and talented people who continue to push the local scene and collaborate their efforts and energy, making Iowa an awesome place to live and make music.


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