Gimme Your Answers: An Interview w/ Atlas Genius

Atlas Genius
Australia’s Atlas Genius are taking the indie rock scene into their own hands. With their album When It Was Now released last week, we couldn’t have been more delighted to interview this brilliant band. So while on tour with Imagine Dragons, Atlas Genius’ lead vocalist Keith Jeffery graciously took the time to speak with us over the phone. So check out this new interview where we spoke not only about When It Was Now, but also about favourite Australian bands, their tour with Imagine Dragons, new laws, and kangaroos!

AMBY: Your album When It Was Now was recently released last week! Which tracks are your favourite off of it?

Atlas Genius: There’s a song called Centred On You which is a favourite of mine. But I like them all for different reasons; when it’s something that you’ve created, every song is special to you I think. Centred On You is a song that I’m really proud of. I don’t mind that Trojans song! And I think I’ll always have a soft spot for Back Seat because it was such a quick process. It was such an enjoyable thing where we would write and record that song within the space of 24 hours. Some songs you’ll work on for months, if not years sometimes, and sometimes you have a song that just comes out really quickly. So I think I enjoyed that more than any other song, purely because it was such a cool process.

AMBY: And you mentioned Trojans there! The success of that song has been fantastic. So what’s your response to the success that it’s gathered?

Atlas Genius: I’m really thankful that the song has gotten such great reception. It was really just the first song that we put out there and we had no expectations that anybody was going to react like this. So it’s really surprising in a great way.

AMBY: Yeah, it’s a stellar track.

Atlas Genius: Thank you.

No problem! We’ve been wondering what’s it like having three brothers in the band? It is chaotic? Make things a little easier? How’s the dynamic?

Atlas Genius: Generally it’s a really good thing. You can be pretty honest with each other and you don’t have to go around anything so overall it’s a really positive thing.

AMBY: Great. And as of right now you’re on tour with Imagine Dragons and you’re set to play Sound Academy in Toronto tomorrow night! How’s the tour been going so far?

Atlas Genius: The shows just keep getting better, and I honestly mean that. We did a show in Boston, and a couple nights ago we did New York and the crowds have actually been great. It’s an Imagine Dragons crowd, but they’ve treated us really well and it’s been really enjoyable for us.

AMBY: This summer also you’ll be coming back to Toronto, are you planning on going back into the studio afterwards?

Atlas Genius: Yeah, you know what, I mean the album only just came out a week ago but we’re already talking about songs and stuff for the next album. I think whenever we get the chance, whenever we get a week or two, we’ll get back to writing. We record stuff in Australia so we’re not going to get a whole lot of time back there this year. Probably not much at all. But when it comes to writing I like to start the process, or even continue it because I’ve done songs close to being finished. We’ll get it over the next year or so I’d like to get close to getting the next album finished.

AMBY: Fantastic! And outside of music, what do you like to do for fun?

Atlas Genius: As far as stress release goes, I generally like to go for a run. A good long run, which doesn’t sound very rock and roll! But I know that clears my head like nothing else. But as far as fun, I enjoy trying to keep a whole bunch of movies on my iPad. So if I have any spare time I’ll try to catch up on good movies.

AMBY: Speaking of fun! We’ve noticed some photos off your Instagram feed, such as the recent Empire State Building one. And it looks like the band has been having a ton of fun on tour so far. What’s one of your most memorable moments?

Atlas Genius: One of the great things, or probably the best thing about touring, is that you get to see so much, a lot of countries. Last year when we got to go to the Grand Canyon for instance, that just blew my mind. I was so surprised at how huge that was. But that was great to see. And sometimes we get into a city, play the show, and don’t do much at all. Other times, when we get a day off –places like Portland Oregon and places like that— and where you spend a few days and get really familiar. So just getting to see these great cities and towns, that would be something that I really love.

AMBY: You just mentioned touring the world, so what part of the world would you like to play that you haven’t had the chance to yet?

Atlas Genius: Well, we get to go to Japan later this year. I’ve always wanted to go, so that’s at the top of my list right now.

AMBY: And we’ve noticed that there’s a massive wave of some fantastic Australian bands lately! Who are some of your favourites?

Atlas Genius: You know what? I love the Empire of the Sun album when that came out. I think they’re bringing out a new one, so they’re right up there. Temper Trap’s great. There’s a few bands like Hungry Kids of Hungary, which I don’t really know if they’ve gotten much of a presence out here but in Australia they do quite well. There’s some of my favourite Australian bands.

AMBY: If you could create a law that everyone would have to follow, what would it be and why?

Atlas Genius: It would be… Treat all animals the way you’d like to be treated yourself. As a vegetarian, that would be my law, and I would bring that in.

AMBY: Okay, great! And who were the last couple of artists that you listened to?

Atlas Genius: Last couple? Uhmmm… You know, I could listen to a song and the next bit I’ve forgotten what I listened to. Well we’ve heard a lot of Imagine Dragons lately, I’ll tell you that!

AMBY: Yeah, for sure!

Atlas Genius: Their song Amsterdam, I love that song. Who else? Mike, who have we been listening to in the van the last couple of days? Actually, you know what we were just listening to? We were in the lobby of the hotel in Boston and they were playing Frank Sinatra. It was the perfect atmosphere for this really old, kind of 1920s hotel. They had Frank Sinatra playing, and it just felt so- It felt like we were in a movie set. So Frank Sinatra, there you go!

AMBY: Alright! You so far have been playing a ton of concerts so far on this tour, so what’s one of your favourite concerts that you’ve been to?

Atlas Genius: I have to think about this. My favourite concert that I can think of is… A few years ago when Rage Against the Machine reformed and they toured Australia, for me when I was growing up I was always such a big Rage Against the Machine fan. So seeing them play live was kind of like The Beatles reforming for me that was a pretty great concert.

AMBY: And if you had the opportunity to collaborate with anybody, who would you choose?

Atlas Genius: Right now I’d say maybe Justin Meldal-Johnsen who plays bass for Beck and produced the M83 album and stuff. He seems like a good guy, and I haven’t met him but I think he’d be good to work with.

AMBY: Great. So on this tour so far, what’s your favourite track to play live?

Atlas Genius: That’s a good question! I really enjoy playing Don’t Make A Scene. The song itself is only about three minutes on the album, but we extend it out to probably about six minutes or something. So that’s just a fun song for me to play.

AMBY: If Atlas Genius could go anywhere, where would you travel in a time machine?

Atlas Genius: 1960s, early 1960s. Actually, mid-1960s in London.

AMBY: Very nice choice, I would have to agree!  Well, what has you excited for 2013?

Atlas Genius: Now that the album is out it’s really exciting to know that more and more people at shows are going to be singing. So I’m looking forward to the tour that’s coming up and that’s what I’m really excited for.

AMBY: Now we’re at our last question! Lastly, what’s something about Atlas Genius that nobody knows yet?

Atlas Genius: You ask cool questions. Ahh… We used to ride kangaroos to school!


I’d like to send out a massive thanks once again to Keith from Atlas Genius for taking the time to do this phone interview! And everyone in Toronto, be sure to head downtown tomorrow night- Atlas Genius are to play the Sound Academy with Imagine Dragons! So for now, have a listen to Centred On You, a stellar tune off their latest album When It Was Now.

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Alicia Atout

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