Olympus: Rising from Glasgow’s Indie Music Scene

There are four distinct characters in Glaswegian indie rock band Olympus:

  • Kieran Crossley – Lead guitarist: An out-and-out front-man who emanates the same self-aware cockiness symbolic of rockstars from Lou Reed to Kurt Cobain to Anthony Kiedis.
  • Neil Fleming – Rhythm guitarist: The band’s lively energy source who keeps everyone engaged and upbeat.
  • Rhys McCrossan – Drummer: The mysterious one at the back of the room always chiming in with something worth listening to when he does decide to speak.
  • Ewan McKay – Bass player: The goofball constantly bringing laughter and cheer when it’s needed.

This is Olympus, or ‘the most dysfunctional family of all time’ as Ewan puts it.

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Olympus playing at King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, April 14 2016 (Photo Credit: Stephen Deary)

Ewan joined the band soon after its formation in 2013. He told founding members Neil and Rhys that he could play bass guitar when he couldn’t.

He says: “I went and bought a £50 bass and just showed up to the studio one day.”

Ewan then proceeds to tell his friend Kieran about his new band at the park one night. Kieran gets just as excited and as he puts it in his own words: “Big me stoats in, lead guitarist, here we go.”

The rest, of course, is history; especially recently with a fresh EP release (Tried ‘N’ Tasted now available on Spotify) as well as a quadrupling of plays on their SoundCloud since last June.

 

It must be said that perhaps because of their production budget, Olympus’s live sound is not properly done justice through their recordings on the internet.

They’ve played staple Glasgow venues such as the Classic Grand, King Tut’s and the Oran Mor. Their headlines usually end with their song ‘Disco Boogie’ accompanied by a stage invasion from their fans.

But where do Olympus’s lyrics come from?

“Kieran’s heart,” Neil says.

“Right in the chest,” Kieran agrees. “Girls.”

Of Olympus’s songs, Twiddly Bits is the only one written specifically about a breakup. “That was when we were 15,” Kieran tells me, “My wee heart was broken.”

Its lyrics emotionally plead, ‘I wish I could, I never should with you’.

A certain trope exists around teenage boys in bands. To put it bluntly, does being in a band go a long way when it comes to impressing girls?

“Everyone knows that girls think guys in bands have some sort of mojo about them,” Kieran says.

“They think we’d be fly then they talk to me and I’m just daft,” Neil says. “So daft.”

“You can say you’re in a band, but every so often we’ll get that reminder that we’re just goons,” Ewan says. “We’re just absolute goons at the end of the day.”

A boost in social cred and something to impress the opposite sex with isn’t the only benefit of being a teenager in a band.

Olympus existing has helped the four musicians in many ways. Neil even put the link to their self-titled mixtape on his personal statement.

He says: “I’ve been put in so many social situations because of the band that it’s helped me develop confidence. It sounds a bit weepy but it has provided a lot of emotional help too, it’s a good outlet.”

Ewan adds: “I remember when I first met Neil he was surprisingly quiet. When we started playing and I heard what he had to say through his songs I was like ‘I get it now’.

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Lead Guitarist Kieran Crossley and rhythm guitarist Neil Fleming (Photo Credit: Stephen Deary)

 

To finish the interview, what one-sentence message would Olympus want to send to the world?

  • Kieran (in a squeaky voice): “Follow your dreams!”
  • Neil: “Leave your comfort zone.”
  • Rhys: “Don’t go cheap on your snare skins.”
  • Ewan (completely nonchalant and serious): “Never place any self-worth in yourself.”

After a predictably stunned reaction, Ewan finally pieces his words together. He says:

“Articulation is a gift I’ve yet to receive. Go for goals you think are not achievable. I’ve always wanted to be in a band, I didn’t think I’d ever be in one. I didn’t think I’d get into law in university and I got into that. Go for what you want and don’t worry about what other people say.”

Inspirational.

Olympus will be supporting Will Joseph Cook as he kicks of his UK tour May 2 at Stereo, Renfield Lane, Glasgow. Tickets can be bought here.

Olympus will also be headlining Stereo July 23.

Author: Callum Bell

Glaswegian student journalist

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