Olympia On Reclaiming Joy With New Single 'Try Be Good'

As one of Australia’s relentlessly original artists, Olympia has gained a steadfast reputation as a visceral live performer and a commanding vocalist, guitarist of rare taste, and an imaginative songwriter.

Olympia - Image © WILK

After some time away from the music scene, Olympia returns to fans (new and old) with her single, 'Try Be Good', the first in an upcoming EP release entitled, 'Love For One'.

When asked about the journey returning to music after a five-year hiatus, Olympia remarked, “I always bristle at the word 'cathartic' with art, but it’s just a personal thing. In writing, there’s a great terminology: write from the scar, not from the wound. I always think, ‘I do my housekeeping’, I process my emotions before I come to work in music. But it has had that impact, so I can’t bristle anymore!”

Olympia toured three headline performances in Europe, and followed by the pandemic, she equally endured the sudden loss of her father. Recounting the expense, the sacrifice, and the lack of joy during that period, Olympia remarked on how music had lost its spark. But even when enjoying the simple pleasure of beer gardens and times with friends, she was creating at home. “So, yeah. . . It’s been cathartic in how I’ve returned back to music.”

Olympia muses on the inspiration that came from Matthew Dickman’s poem, ‘Trouble’ where the poet lists famous suicides, using wit and a dark sense of tenderness, completing the poem with “In the morning I get out of bed, I brush my teeth, I wash my face, I get dressed in the clothes I like best. I want to be good to myself.”

From this passage, Olympia was galvanised towards a reclamation of joy, through her own renaissance of music, which birthed 'Try Be Good', a series of notes-to-self that scroll through anxiety, acceptance and resolution, in a spiral of Beck’s 'Odelay'-esque chaos-seeking order. Its chorus drills into your head like the last thought standing: an instinct to strive to overcome obstacles through simple, unadorned, absurd, and ineffable pleasure.

“I see a lot of humour in this song, and I wanted others to see that side of me. But joy is hard-won – I find things funny that other’s might not.”

Olympia speaks to the age-old statement; do we laugh or cry in the face of adversity? As artists, we pull from this adversity, and make a scar more of a patchwork to connect.

With the upcoming further release of the EP, 'Love For One', audiences can expect expansion on the themes shown in the single. “There’s an unhinged element to the song, there’s grief, there’s loss, and there’s humour. So, it really is a mixed bag. I’m really proud of the four songs.”

Olympia lyrics

Collaborating alongside Burke Reid (Courtney Barnett, Julia Jacklin), 'Love For One' is self-described as a “collection of songs about a woman discovering who she really is, drawing on explorations of female artists and the female gaze”. In her own unique conceptual universe, a world of candy floss and sticky carpets, 'Love For One' is an expansion of her sound – and a representation of her heartstrings.

'Try Be Good' is the debut release from Olympia’s own independent record label, Reach Around Records, a passion project of the artist: “Reach Around Records is a space where I can pool what I’ve learnt from being signed to major labels, as well as writing, creating and touring intentionally, where I can continue to create and share that knowledge with a vibrant community of other like-minded artists.”

'Try Be Good' is out now. You can catch Olympia live around the country as she sets to support Midnight Oil frontman, Peter Garrett, on his national tour this March. She hits the road in a handful of soon-to-be-announced headline shows later this year.