Australian pop-rockers, Atlas Genius, may be in over their hot little Aussie heads. Fairly new to the American-music scene, it hasn't taken long for their talents to reach the right ears and create a whole lot of buzz in the alt/indie-sphere.
With their debut album, When It Was Now, on the brink of its Tuesday, February 19, release, two nominations for this year's Sirius XM Alt Nation awards, including its win for "best in-studio performance" and runner-up for "Band of the Year," and their upcoming North American tour with chart-toppers Imagine Dragons, the band's perfect balance of approachable alternative and electronic sounds is on the verge of a breakout. And, did I mention hot?
We caught up with vocalist/guitarist, Keith Jeffery, to shoot the shit before setting off on tour.
Up On The Sun: First off, congratulations on all the recent buzz -- being nominated for two Alt Nation awards, and winning "Best In-Studio Performance" for your song "Trojans".
Keith Jeffery: Yeah, I was quite shocked about that. The funny thing about that performance was it was the first radio performance I've ever done, and it was a live radio performance, so I was nervous as all hell. I was like, "What? We won?"
How does it all feel? Sort of surreal? Odd maybe?
[Laughs] Yeah, I think it's one of those things where we'll look back, because of the amount of things were doing and focusing on. I'm probably guilty of not just sitting back and smelling the roses sometimes, but yeah, it does feel good.You're kicking off the Night Visions Tour with Imagine Dragons in Phoenix this Friday. Have you been to Phoenix?
You know that's a very good question, I think we have? Wait, I think we played a show in Tempe. Is it pronounced Tempe?
No, no you're right! Tempe/Phoenix -- same thing.
Okay, good. I assumed it was pronounced Tempe but all of my friends were like, "No, it's pronounced 'Tem-pay' or 'Tem-pre,'" and I was like, "No, I don't think it is."
A lot of people that aren't from here say it a little funny. But, you can call it whatever you want to call it.
I'm gonna call it, Tempe [hot Australian accent].
That was perfect. You just announced your first headling tour -- taking place after your tour with Imagine Dragons. I have to ask this because it's something I'm always curious about with musicians: Does touring the amount you've been touring totally blow?
90% of touring is great. You get to see the world, certain parts of it that you wouldn't get to see otherwise, which is definitely something I love about it. The only downside or when it gets pretty intense is when you get done playing a show and then you have to drive for hours after your show, then in the morning you get up and drive more hours. You know sometimes it gets to be a lot of work but that's pretty much any downside of it. Other than that, it's great. There really aren't any other complaints.
I'm sure you're probably sick of describing your sound so I'll move on to well, another common question, but might be something people would like to know: What do you feel separates Atlas Genius from other new indie rock bands coming out? Aside from, of course, being hot Aussie brothers--which definitely doesn't hurt. You're also, may I add, way hotter than the Kings of Leon brothers, in my personal opinion, anyway.
[Laughs] Well, thank you. Thank you. [Laughs]
It might be something we can never know. I guess what we try to do as musicians is focus on the music. I think the mistake you can make is try to sound like one band. In one song, we might be referencing a spawn of bands we love. Every band I like, I like for different reasons. Some bands I love the lyrics, some bands I love the rhythm, some bands I think have great guitar. When you go to create a song, a certain song, depending on the mood of the song, will dictate what you want to put in, and mentally you go back to well, I think this keyboard sound will work great here because it has that sense of revive from a song of another band.
That's kind of how we work, whether it's consciously or subconsciously. So I think, if you're focusing on that, just an air of it has been we're all different human beings, going through different standards of experience with different parts of music, nobody has ever been exactly the same band. So, if you kind of just use that as a guide that will separate you from other bands. If every band did that, every band would have their own sound. We also try to focus on each song individually, as well. Especially with this album, we didn't set about to make, you know, an "indie dance album" or an "acoustic folk album" or whatever. Every song was individually inspired.
One of your bios explained you were discovered on a music blog called, Neon Gold. How did you find out that you had been featured?
Actually it was Michael, the drummer, who found out. He came to me and said, "Ah, look this blog has written about our song." We actually didn't know anything about Neon Gold. We didn't really know they were actually bigger than your average blog. So we just thought it was cool that someone liked our song. Turns out, it was a pretty good blog to have like your song.
Favorite song on the album?
Um, I mean, it changes day by day but maybe the song I like the most is a song called "Centered On You".
What's it called?
"Centered on You." Spell it the Australian English way, "C-E-N-T-R-E-D," the way we would bastardize the American English way. Put it on you [laughs].
Alright, one more random question: Did you see Beyonce's Super Bowl performance? How hot is she?
I'm sorry to say I missed it.
I missed it. Should I go to YouTube?
You have to. It's the hottest thing you'll ever see.
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Alright. Well, if I have to, [laughs] we'll cut this interview short.
Atlas Genius is scheduled to perform Friday, February 8, at the Marquee Theatre in Tempe.