Atlas Genius Interview

Colorado Springs, USA: found here, against the backdrop of Pikes Peak and the Garden Of The Gods is Atlas Genius, an Adelaide band making it big. Sitting pretty on 1.2 million YouTube views for their single Trojans, the three Jeffrey brothers and English bandmate Darren Sell are enjoying success they never expected.

Keith, eldest of the brothers, had taken up architecture when their music took off.

“My thoughts were, I need to get real, and start something a bit more sensible,” he admits. But then Trojans began getting airplay in the USA, and now he and his youngest sibling Michael are touring North America.

If you haven’t heard of Atlas Genius, then don’t feel too out of the loop. The gentlemen have taken a roundabout trip to get recognised at home, with a lot of notice coming off the back of their overseas success.

“There’s always that thing, especially in Australia, that people don’t often take you seriously until another country has embraced you,” Keith says.

American labels were willing to “put their money where their mouth is” and support Atlas Genius’ indie alt-rock when Australian radio hadn’t even picked up the tunes. They snagged a worldwide deal with Warner for their debut album, When It Was Now. The record was released in the land of the free back in February, but Australians had to wait ‘til March and still have a while to go for a tour.

The wait will be worth it, though, if audiences across North America are reliable sources. Even though only half the band is performing (bass-playing bro Steven and drummer Sell both had commitments), they’ve been making an impression, including a remarkable eight appearances at SXSW.

“It’s a great experience,” Keith says, “but it’s so intense in that you do so many shows, so many interviews, all at once. And for us, the difficult thing was we were right in the middle of doing the Imagine Dragons tour, and so we were up in Canada and had to fly down and do three days in Austin. We went from -15 degrees in Canada to 28 or 30 degrees in Austin, on very little sleep. You’ve got to be prepared, mentally and physically, to do it. It’s almost like an endurance test.”

For all their American success, Keith is no stranger to homesickness, and feels that for Atlas Genius, “Adelaide will always be our home”. Responding with mock-horror at the thought of Flugelman’s Spheres being moved (“Not the Mall’s Balls!?”), you can tell his heart is still in the city famous for churches, murder and silly sculptures.

WHO: Atlas Genius
WHAT: When It Was Now (Warner)

Image: Frank Maddocks

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