Saturday was a big night for local band Elm & Olympia. The group was chosen to open for Parachute at the Rock Reactor, which was likely the largest crowd the Richland group ever performed for.

Elm & Olympia is one of the hardest-working bands in the Tri-Cities. It began three years ago when drummer Derrek Michael, bass-player Geoff Henry and guitarist J.J. Tagg joined forces. All three lived near the intersection of the roads in their band’s name.

Scott Stallings, a classically-trained pianist, and guitarist Bryce Appleby joined the band last fall.
“We just really all love playing. We’ve all been musicians our whole lives. We just love playing,” Michael said.
Elm & Olympia is working on its first album right now. If everything goes according to plan, it will be ready by spring.

Michael struggled to pick a single genre his band fits into.

“It’s soulful… kind of new-wave rock; there are a lot of different influences that come together,” he said.
Appleby was in a death metal band before joining Elm & Olympia but also is also adept at funk, blues and even hip hop.

“We try to emphasize groove and feel-good music,” he added.

But Elm & Olympia can also rock. Check out their Facebook page. The songs are clean, well-organized and expertly performed. The lyrics are passionate and emotive but you can still discern the well-written lyrics. After giving them a listen you’ll know why Michael has trouble describing it. You can detect their various influences, but it doesn’t fit snugly into any box. Several of the songs contain surprises as well. Transitions take the listener in a completely different direction – but in a good way that is consistent with the overall intent of the song.

Michael said the best thing Elm & Olympia have going for it is its chemistry.

“We’re all best friends… we really try to put on a high-energy show,” he said. “We’ve played on stage for a while and now we know how to play on stage.”