Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Interview: Phillip Olympia of Never Nervous

As part of 37FLOOD's 10th Anniversary we have asked Louisville writers to talk about music, Louisville, culture, and what it's like writing about it all in the Derby City. We will be posting the interviews throughout the summer.

Phillip Olympia is the founder of the Louisville music & entertainment blog Never Nervous, which he began in 2011. He is also a musician and operator of Dunkenstien Records

37- What is the name of the publication you write for?

PO- Never Nervous, obviously named after Louisville Basketball legend Never Nervous Pervis Ellison.

37- How long has it been operating?

PO- I started Never Nervous in 2011 as a sort of excuse to keep in touch with music in Louisville. The band I was in at the time had just broken up, and considering there wasn’t another band for me on the horizon I figured this would be a good way to contribute to the “scene”.

37- How long have you been covering music in Louisville?

PO- I’ve only been “covering” music since 2011, but I’ve been personally documenting it since the late 90’s by purchasing tapes, CDs and records from countless bands thanks to likeminded friends that introduced me to bands like Bodyhammer, Elliott, Seaside Panel and By the Grace of God when I was a teenager.

37- What made you decide to cover music in Louisville?

PO- To start, Bryan Volz and Louisville Hardcore were a major inspiration behind Never Nervous. I loved what he did, I loved his passion, but wanted to expand beyond Louisville’s heavier side.

In short, I just fucking love this city and it’s weird collection of artists and musicians. I haven’t been actively playing music in a while, so as a spectator, how could I not? I’m never bored in Louisville as a fan of music, and I don’t see that ever changing.

37- What has been the most exciting or rewarding  post you have written?

PO- That’s an impossible question to answer. I’ve gotten all-the-way-hard writing about all sorts of things, whether it be reminiscing about Bodyhammer’s “Die Young Amplifiers” album, interviewing Will Oldham about his Merle Haggard covers record, or telling people how awesome Rec Bar was when they first opened. Just about every thing I post about is a boner for me, and if it wasn’t I wouldn’t write about it.

37- Has there been a scandalous situation you have been involved with during your time as a music writer?

PO- Shit, John.. I don’t think I’ve ever written anything scandalous or controversial, aside from a few record reviews that weren’t 100% positive where the band/artist put me/NN on blast for not falling in love with their project. But that’s not really news as a “music writer” right? Sometimes you love it, sometimes you don’t, but there’s almost always something to appreciate from a genuine artistic output, right? Yes, I’m right.

37- What Local music publications or writers do you keep up with?

PO- I mean, all of them? I guess? LEO still turns me on to some cool shit and rjmeads.com is a killer hip hop blog. I’ve actually been subscribed to the 37Flood e-mail list for years. But to be honest, I spend so much time in the Never Nervous e-mail inbox sorting through this and that figuring out what’s what that I don’t have much time to get to much else aside from clicking links on social media. The only blog that I anxiously comb through on a daily basis is Bloody Disgusting, because duh, it’s awesome.

37- What are some of your favorite events you have covered?

PO- Man, covering last year’s Days of the Dead horror convention was a fucking blast. Meeting the cast from Return of the Living Dead and a bunch of other horror icons (like Sid Haig!) was so much fun. I know that’s not related to music, but hot damn, that was a great time.

Aside from that, Poorcastle is always a blast, as is Forecastle. I also had a great time hanging out at last year’s Louisville Arcade Expo, especially when Bit Brigade performed their version of the soundtrack to Mega Man II as a speed runner blew through the game while remaining in sync with the band. It was nuts!

37- What do you see in the future for Louisville Music?

PO- In the near future I see Louisville’s hip hop scene continue to blossom as a unique community unlike any other. I feel like acts such as James Lindsey, Touch AC, 1200, Shadowpact, Goodbar & RMLLW2LLZ (to name a few) are so fucking brilliant; I’m proud to walk on some of the same dirt as those dudes for sure.

Aside from that, who the hell knows? I like being surprised, I prefer to not prognosticate. Every week something awesome arrives in our inbox, or something brilliant will surface on Bandcamp or Soundcloud (although Soundcloud sucks, I wish people would stop using it).

In closing, I love this god damned town, warts, farts and all. I love the noise, I love the food, I love the beer, I love the fun. Never stop being awesome, Louisville.

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