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Shane Johnson drums
Peter Tsouras guitar
Nick Barkley bass
Phil Williams vocals

There are dozens of cliches extolling the virtue of experience. Washington, D.C.'s Olympia is living proof that sometimes cliches are cliched for good reason. Born from the ashes of Fairweather and Brand New Disaster, Olympia draws on a vast reservoir of practice when it comes to making music and being in a band- a fact that shines through the foursome's debut album Emergencies.

After the demise of Fairweather, a beloved emo outfit signed to Equal Vision, in 2004, guitarist Peter Tsouras and drummer Shane Johnson connected with bassist Nick Barkley, who had toured with Fairweather and played in various bands around the D.C. area. At the suggestion of Fairweather's vocalist Jay Littleton, the trio recruited Phil Williams, formally of Brand New Disaster, to round out the band's driving rock sound. The four musicians recorded Olympia's first demo in January of 2006, following it with their premiere show in March.

Thanks to the connection of Fairweather, the group caught the attention of Equal Vision a few months after their inception and eventually officially signed with the label shortly after recording Emergencies in September and October of 2006 in Boston. With the aid of producer Matthew Ellard (Bear Vs Shark, Fear Before the March of Flames, Converge) Olympia culled the raw, hard-hitting rock songs they had been penning over the past eight months into 11 tracks that resound with the accumulated benefits of experience.

"We want to create a rock record," Williams says of making Emergencies. "So many bands right now are trying to do rock with a gimmick, but we wanted to just do straight forward rock music. Matthew had a really good rock background so we knew he could help us create a sound that transcended what was going on right now."

The record, which sheds all pretension of gimmick in favor of sincerity, returns to a sound Olympia feels has been missing in a music scene filled with an over-reliance on image and publicity tricks. Combining giant guitar riffs and thumping beats with hooky choruses, Olympia crafts dynamic, compelling rock songs that contain the vigor and memorability of Foo Fighters and the underground edge of Criteria. The group takes their music one step further, intensifying it with Tsouras' own artwork, influenced by his background as a visual and graphic artist.

They say there is no substitute for experience, that wisdom and knowledge come only from experience, and whoever they are, they are certainly correct when it comes to Olympia. For four skilled musicians being given something of a second chance, the fact that they can skip all the drama to focus solely on the music is priceless.

"We've already made all the really dumb mistakes that you do when you're young and when you're in a band with preconceived notions about what being in a band means," Williams says. "Our eyes are open to all that because we've already made all those mistakes so it's like going in with a cheat sheet that tells us what to expect. I think that's so valuable and such an advantage."

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Olympia on MySpace

Phil Williams
Equal Vision Records