Every so often a small band finds themselves lucky enough to have a supercharged start in the recording and touring world. The story behind South Australia’s Atlas Genius takes a similar path, but not without at least a couple years of under-the-radar hard work. Before labels were banging down their door the three Jeffery brothers (Keith, Michael, and Steven) that make up the majority of Atlas Genius spent a couple years building a studio with their father, a man with experience in the audio engineering world. That home studio is where the Through The Glass EP and the soon-to-be-announced full-length were recorded. Around the time that the hit single “Trojans” was composed (and consequently highly praised) the Jeffery boys brought on Darren Sell (the cool friend from England) to play keys. They currently stand as a highly blogged-about newcomer quartet touring with successful bands like Animal Kingdom and Silversun Pickups.
These guys make super rad music.
MFR spoke with Keith Jeffery (guitar, vocals) of Atlas Genius in anticipation of their slot supporting Silversun Pickups tonight at the State Theatre. Jeffery talked about the home studio, passing time in the van, and the nearly-done debut full-length. Check it out below.
This year you are spending time in the US for the first time ever— have we been nice to you?
Ahh yes, everyone has been great.
Have you noticed any differences between the American music scenes you have briefly come across and the music scene specific to your hometown in Adelaide, South Australia?
Yes, I do. I was actually talking with someone about this the other day. The thing about the Australian music scene is that our cities are far apart, so where we are from, [Adelaide] it’s a capital city [South Australia]. It’s got a great little scene. Then you’ve got a long way before you get to the next big city, so you get more of these specific scenes happening. Rather than in America where the cities are a lot closer together. I think that it is probably going to be a little more unique in each of those cities [in Australia] just because of distance between.
How do you personally pass time traveling in the van while on tour?
A lot of interviews, album work. We’ve actually got a recording set-up in the van so we can work on some tracks while we’re in the van, which is great. I, also, the downtime for me is normally watching movies or something like that.
You have a mini studio in the van?!
We do. We took part of our studio from Australia and we are able to do some of that work, which is great.
You released the EP after you recorded in a home studio that you built. I read that your father has a background in music engineering. Did he play a role in engineering/producing the EP or were you guys in charge of all that?
He didn’t play a role in the actual producing. He was really a big part of the design of the studio; we built that with him. He played music when he was younger and then he also has done a lot of engineering work so we spent a lot of time designing the studio and he was instrumental in that. We worked together closely on the construction of the studio.
So Through The Glass was completely home brew, or did you bring any outside help in?
No, we did everything ourselves. Recorded, mixed, everything was done in-house.
Now you signed with Warner Bros. Records. You just finished up your full-length?
Yeah, I’d say it is 98% finished. All the tracks are done it’s just the final tweaks, we’ll work over the next few weeks to complete it. It’s basically finished.
Was that again a band project, or did the label bring someone in to assist on that?
No that was the same as the EP. We did everything for that, so it’s just a continuation of what we’ve been doing the last couple of years.
Atlas Genius started as you and your two brothers (Michael and Steven), but you’re not quite a family band now.
Nope, we’ve got a keyboard player [Darren] from England. He’s basically like family, we adopted him.
How did Darren come into play? Did you know you wanted a fourth member, or was it more just a result of recording “Trojans”?
Well, we basically became friends at the same time as we started writing. We met each other shortly after (I think a week and a half) he moved to Australia from England. We were all in the same place and started writing and hanging out. It all clicked really quickly.
Silversun Pickups— you are on tour with them currently. Have the bands ever met in the past or is this new territory?
That was sorted out by the booking agents. It worked out well, I’m a big fan.
If you could tour with anybody, who is your dream band?
Does it have to be a living band?
Whatever you prefer.
I’ll go with a current band. I would love to tour with Phoenix. That would be fun.
Catch Atlas Genius in Minneapolis tonight at the State Theatre with Silversun Pickups and School of Seven Bells.
Interview by Laura Yurich
Silversun Pickups w/School of Seven Bells & Atlas Genius
Thursday, September 20 2012
7pm // $30 // All ages
Posted 8 months ago