Q&A: Atlas Genius
Hailing from South Australia, Atlas Genius is a band formed by the three Jeffery brothers – Keith, Michael and Steven – and their English friend Darren Sell. The alternative indie rock group gained international attention in 2011 upon the release of “Trojans.” Since then, Atlas Genius has released the “Through the Glass” EP, along with their debut album, “When It Was Now.”
While Atlas Genius headlines the “Ones To Watch” tour, The Eagle had the opportunity to chat with the band’s vocalist and guitarist Keith Jeffery.
Kara Avanceña: You and the other members of Atlas Genius were still in university when the band formed in November 2009. How did you decide to form the band while you were still in school?
Keith Jeffery: We had formed the band after we had been playing music for a number of years. After a while, we thought that music wasn’t really a sensible career path to support yourself with. It’s a struggle for most musicians, who are struggling to make it and are working for a minimum wage. It’s not [a struggle] in the sense of getting rich, just in the sense of being able to fund yourself. We never thought to put all our attention on our music. We put our attention on other things and ironically, that’s when our music took off.
KA: At what point did you decide that music would be a full-time commitment?
KJ: When “Trojans” was getting a lot of attention and we had a ton of labels contacting us about our music. Music has always been our No. 1 passion. It wasn’t hard to focus on music again because it’s our No. 1 thing. It wasn’t a situation where we could study and tour at the same time. Something had to go, and for us it was studying.
KA: Your debut album “When It Was Now” was released earlier this year. How did the band come up with the title for the album?
KJ: It sums up the album: There’s a bittersweet aspect to a lot of the lyrics. Musically and lyrically we try to find a balance between light and dark.
KA: There is a contrast between songs like “All These Girls” and the more promiscuous and seedy themed “Back Seat”. Where do you get the inspiration for that?
KJ: They’re all inspired from living in Adelaide, [Australia]. They can be personal or autobiographical, but other times they’re inspired by places we go.
KA: What song are you most excited to play for your audiences?
KJ: I really enjoy playing “On A Day”– it’s my favorite right now.
KA: You and your brothers are vegetarian or vegan. Is it hard to find food on the road?
KJ: It’s getting pretty easy these days. Most grocery stores cater to vegetarians. We tend to find a Whole Foods to stock up on frozen meals. We joke about Texas only having meat, but you can find [vegetarian] food there. Even then, there’s a long way to go.
KA: You’ve essentially been on tour since August 2012. Has the band been able to look toward making a second album?
KJ: We have. Just two nights ago, we were in the Midwest at 4 a.m. working on some music, but it’s not until we get to the studio that the songs become Atlas Genius songs. We’ll explore them as we go. We try to get as many different ideas [for songs] as we can.
Atlas Genius will be performing at The Fillmore on Oct. 13. Tickets are still on sale for $22.50.