Golden Talk With Olympia
12th December 2018
We recently caught up with Australian songstress Olympia during her electric visit to London…
Your name is Olympia – let’s get punny – introduce the layers to your personality in Gold, Silzer and Bronze!
I’d actually never put together the Olympics with Olympia – maybe I should get the Olympic rings tattooed on my arm or something! So, all the winning elements: creativity (I approach everything I do quite laterally and with a sense of play); conceptually (I like to drill deep on ideas) and curiosity.
What makes a golden perfect life for Olympia the person and the artist?
Three (unrelated) things that are pretty golden (or could be) drinking Aperol Spritz in the sun, good mates, and a time machine.
If you were in the Olympics, what would you win in, and what would you fantastically lose at?
You’d have to be pretty disciplined to be in the Olympics…I wonder if I’d cut it. I quite like cake and whiskey, not really staples of the athletic – so maybe shooting clay discs? And I’d probably famously forget to attend the medal ceremony.
Your music videos are full of theatrical DRAMA – what’s the biggest drama you’ve had?
I like all my drama to be in my work. But then there is always family Christmas’.
You’ve got a rock n roll way about you – who are the other female front women (non-musical too) you look up to and why?
There are so many incredible artists that I’d admire or am excited by: Brittany Howard of the Alabama Shakes (this whole band take my breath away); Missy Elliot; ESG (for their playfulness, and also I’m a sucker for a tambourine); Sister Nancy and France Gall (strong singers – the voice is treated as an instrument) Marina Abramovic – performance artist, features in ‘The artist is present’. Her work is a constant source of inspiration for me. Conceptually rich and compelling. For those new to her work, there’s a lifetime of incredible ideas to discover. I’ve read Maggie Nelson’s ‘The Argonauts’ and Olivia Laing’s ‘The Lonely City’ this year and both have been transformative.
What’s the story of Star City? Talk us through the video too!
The whole album has been written as a body of work with an emotional arc – Star City is the Friday night in the world of the whole album. It’s brimming with the type of hubris you experience two drinks in, loudly singing along to songs in a bar, full of now, and spilling its drink. The video was directed by the incredible Alex Smith who we also made the Smoke Signals video with. Alex gets very involved in the conceptual ideas behind the songs, and then runs with them, bringing so much of himself into the videos. He custom built the little office that the clip is shot in, complete with fluro lights, and ceiling panelling. He picked up on the idea of creating a whole world. Although admittedly for those who work in offices, it is one of nightmares!
Most starstruck moment?
I’ve had some artists reach out to me about my work which has been pretty daunting. I tend to respond by deleting all the apps off my phone for a week or so rather than simply responding.
Your stage and video outfits are something to mesmerise at – how would explain your style persona?
I see the stage show as an extension of the artist – it’s another medium to deliver your vision. We like to work with projections, and lighting as well. I am really interested in the audience’s experience – and trying to create a different space. As part of that, I have a keen interest in design, and am interested in what would have impact on stage. Something a little larger than the everyday.
You recently visited Superdry at Regent Street, and we loved having you! What did you make of the brand, what did you pick out, and how is it going to play a part of your persona?
My Superdry coat saved me on my last trip to London! I was also really drawn to the athletic bodysuits, there’s so much play in them, and I love the retro design. I love the retro colours in the sportswear. Thanks to Superdry, I am the brightest person at yoga – kind of like a built-on aura.
Best things about London when you’re in town?
The Barbican, catching gigs at The Old Blue Last & Omeara, and everything East End.
What does 2019 have in store for Olympia?
We’ve had some really special shows in the UK, and am looking forward to touring London, the UK and Europe early 2019 with Julia Jacklin. As well as releasing the Sophomore release mid 2019.