FAQ: Keith Jeffery of Atlas Genius

FAQ: Keith Jeffery of Atlas Genius

Atlas Genius began in Adelaide, South Australia as the project of brothers Keith, Michael and Steven Jeffery, along with their friend Darren Sell. They had modest hopes for the band, and no one was more surprised than they were when the song “Trojans” became a hit in Sept. 2011. Now the band is on its U.S. tour and living the dream of humble musicians everywhere. The band plans to tour until Christmas, making a stop at the San Diego House of Blues on Nov. 3 along the way and then return to the studio to begin work on a new album.

Atlas Genius - Roger Kisby for iHeartRadio 8/6/2013

Guardian: You built your own studio back in 2009 when you first formed the band. What was the motivation behind taking this extra step — [something] that most bands don’t bother to do?

Keith Jeffery: We wanted to spend months and months on end writing and recording. When we’re working on songs […] it’s really that we’re experimenting, and we’re writing as we’re recording the song. I find that it’s just as important that some of the right sounds are found — if we were to rent a studio, we might only get one song done if we were writing as we were [recording].

 

G: At the time when “Trojans” became a hit, you guys were all attending your fall semester [at the University of South Australia]. Was it hard to decide to leave school and pursue the music?

KJ: It wasn’t hard to decide to postpone. What was hard, though, was timing. “Trojans” started to get a lot of attention right during exam period. We said to ourselves, “We have to focus on these exams, because it was too late to back out […] but those [college] careers were Plan B. Music has always been our passion, and it was what we were excited about.

 

G: “Trojans” was released in May 2011, but [it] became a worldwide hit that fall. Did the sudden attention and popularity take you by surprise?

KJ: Definitely. I think we had very, very humble aspirations for the band. It was like, “Let’s put some songs out. [We’ll] probably have a humble band at some point, [and] we can have our own show.” And it went from that kind of thought to our songs being played all over America. We counted 45,000 copies of [“Trojans”] before we even signed the record deal [with Warner Bros. Records]. We were very much surprised […] We spent absolutely no time marketing it […] and that was always our goal: to not spend any time telling people why they should listen to the music. [It’s] not about getting the music into the hands of the right people; it’s about getting the right music out there. And that really sells itself. You know there’s so much music out there that you’re not going to stand out unless you really focus on the song. So [the people liking our music] was vindication for us and for all that hard work.

 

G: How does the band go from the inspiration of a song to the recording?

KJ: The creative process is always a mysterious feeling to have. Because [with] some songs, you look back, and you don’t quite know how it goes to this point in the song … It could be something super simple, like a particular synthesizer on a particular day — that synthesizer strikes a part of your brain that really turns you, and you follow that and see what you can do with it. And you just don’t know how it’s going to happen […] you can’t get attached. It’s about serving the song.

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    Kabir Uddin AhmedNov 10, 2013 at 1:42 am

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