This article first appeared on The AU Review
Olympic Ayres have accomplished a lot since 2011 in what has been a pretty sweet ride for the Sydney duo. In the past four years they’ve released three episodic EPs, claimed the hearts of gaming and football fans worldwide when their electro hit Magic featured on EA Sports FIFA 14 and lined up a Japanese album release on the label THISTIME. With an absolute cargo load of hype beaming behind them, the boys released the brilliant new Leisureplex EP a few weeks ago and we spoke to Kam and Nathan, the men who make up the unit, to find out about the new EP, habits on tour and their halloween plans.
Well I guess to start, congratulations on Leisureplex guys. It feels like it’s been a long time coming and it’s getting a lot of immediate buzz since the release a couple of weeks ago. How have you found the reaction so far?
K Yeah, it’s good to finally have something out. Have something that’s a bit more full bodied I suppose, where people can gauge a completed idea and have a bunch of songs to get down to again.
It’s an epic piece of fun with what sounds like a lot of contrasting inspirations. A bit indie, a bit funk, a bit disco, and some I can even really peg. What inspirations do you feel drove the songwriting process the most when making the EP?
N Well I think this time around we didn’t quite look to any specific bands as such, more sounds. Like, we knew we wanted to keep it analog this time. We knew we wanted to keep it out of the box, lots of live drumming and bass. For the first time we used a live drummer on every track, no programmed beats. That was kind of the box that we put ourselves in for the recording and for the making of the EP. We wanted to put limitations on what we can and can’t do and work within that.
K That’s how it came out. You know we’ve always been big fans of drums and bass and having that quite prominent, so that was always going to be a big part of it. But yeah, it kind of all just fell into place. With Leisureplex, we started to realise there was a theme running around it of escapism and we just started working around that.
N Yeah, and I guess in keeping it to that helped our consistency as well and that’s something we wanted to aim for. To have something that was seamless among all the tracks.
Your biggest hit to date, Magic was featured on the stellar FIFA 14 soundtrack and is almost up to 1 million plays on YouTube. Do you feel that kind of publicity behind the previous work puts any pressure on the Leisureplex release?
N Nah not at all.
K Yeah I didn’t feel any either.
N We were just excited by the amount of people that got down with the song and wanted to hear more. For us, it was more ambition to make more music. Because once your music gets heard on that type of platform people are going to want to know what’s going on next. If anything it amped us up to put more stuff out.
I also noticed on your Facebook there’s an album being released only in Japan, combining Leisureplex with some of the older songs. What made you decide to go with an EP rather than a full release in Australia?
N Well, we’d already released most of these tracks between 2011-13. We got an email from this Japanese label saying “Do you want to put them all together with some new tracks and make an album, and release it in Japan?” So we kind of gathered our old material and some new material and re-released it through this label.
K It’s mostly stuff that we have released and we just wanted to open the window to Japan. That’s a culture that we’re really interested in. It’s great to meet some amazing, like minded people that want to help out over there.
The tour in support of Leisureplex kicks off on Friday in Brissy. You’ve got a big few weeks of heading up and down (and back up) the coast of Australia. Do you have any old faithful tricks to keep you busy on the road?
K Candy Crush for me, and probably chess. Sounds like a bit of a wanky thing but on the plane I’ll whip out my laptop and get on chess and listen to Chilly Gonzales and challenge myself, ha ha.
N Ha, and I just watch Kam play chess.
Ha, sounds crazy. On that, what is the craziest thing that’s ever happened on an Olympic Ayres tour?
N It sounds really boring but nothings really coming to mind. This is only our second national tour so we’re pretty new at it. I think we’re going to have to do something, because we keep getting asked this question!
K Actually, there was that one time in I think it was Adelaide where Nathan got flashed, so that was pretty eventful. That’s gotta be one of the highlights.
N Oh yeah, but nobody else saw it…so um, can’t wait to get back to Adelaide.
The video for the lead track from Leisureplex, Control, seems a bit more relaxed and even a bit psychedelic, is that the vibe we should expect from the live show?
K It’s definitely a lot looser than what the recordings are. We’re still using electronic equipment and stuff but I guess we just wanted to relax a little bit with everything with the EP, so it’s live instrumentation. Those film clips just take a step back from all the rigid electronic kind of program stuff.
You’ll be playing the Ouija Beats at Luna Park in Sydney for Halloween later this month too. Have you guys sorted costumes yet?
N Ha, I thought about heaps of rolls of toilet paper and just wrapping myself up in toilet paper.
K Yeah, I better find a red leather jacket and maybe go as MJ or something. And like, I don’t know, maybe turn my afro into a jheri curl.
Some pretty wicked bands on that bill, Northeast Party House and Panama to name a few of my favourites. Looking forward to checking out anyone in particular?
N I would say those two as well.
K Yeah, it’s a solid line up. That’s one gig I’m definitely looking forward to. Cosmos Midnight too.
N Yeah Cosmos Midnight are awesome. I did some stuff with another duo called Polygraphia and Cosmos Midnight came in to help out with some synth and keys stuff, and the guy was a freak. I’ve never seen someone whip up keys that quickly and be that good. So it would be good to see those guys live and see what they’re up to.
Awesome guys, anything else ahead of the tour?
K We’re just super siked to get out there and play the shows in front of people. We love seeing peoples reactions to the new tracks and we’re just really looking forward to getting on the road again and getting these new tracks out.
Olympic Ayres kick off their national tour in support of Leisureplex this Friday, October the 3rd at Alhambra Lounge in Brisbane. Information on tickets available at: http://www.olympicayres.com/
The Leisureplex EP is out right now on iTunes and in stores around the country.