Atlas Genius: Brothers Lead Next Wave of Badass Aussie Rock

Atlas Genius: Brothers Lead Next Wave of Badass Aussie Rock

The thing about Australian accents is that they're way awesome. They're even better on the phone chatting with Keith Jeffery, who just happens to be the front man for the indie-rock band known as Atlas Genius.

Does that name sound familiar? If it does, you might be onto something, because it's damn near everywhere at the moment. From Atlas' recent stints touring with bands like Silversun Pickups and Imagine Dragons, plus a new album and hit single, "Trojans," that has taken over mainstream airwaves, these guys are seeing the kind of massive success that takes years of groundwork to cultivate.

Atlas didn't quite follow that well-beaten path to fame, though. Besides Keith, the band's only other full-time member is his brother Michael Jeffery on drums. From the moment Atlas uploaded their first song to the Web in 2011, the duo has earned rave reviews across the blogosphere. Their synth-driven sound and breezy yet candid lyrics helped Atlas sell thousands of records before even signing to a label.

But sign to a label they did. The hype over the duo led to an all-out war between record labels for their affections -- and, of course -- the rights to their first album, When It Was Now, which was released this past February on Warner Bros

Don't let the Cinderella qualities of their story fool you into thinking that these guys aren't fully aware of just how lucky they've been, though. From building their own studio from the ground up to raving about the beauty of California, Keith made it clear that the whole "fly by the seat of your pants" fame hasn't touched those Aussie roots or altered the reason they set out on this journey in the first place -- to just make some good music.

Here's what you should know about the brothers and that lil ol' band, Atlas Genius.

Yes, they are a band of brothers, but the Gallagher brothers they are not.

You know, traveling and touring with Mike is pretty good. We're a close family, and it's been quite a change in a good way. It's been quite a ride. As brothers, we get along well. It's nothing like the Gallagher brothers, and we don't expect to take on that role.

Those classes they took in architecture are still coming in handy, even with the whole "world tour" thing.

We built this little home studio where we recorded our album. It took us about two years, and we played a couple of nights at local pubs to fund it while we built it. It's a nice retreat and there's a real comfort zone to it. It gets you away from touring for a bit.

It's not like you're always tied to it; with mobile devices and computers it's always simple to get the idea down, but not at a releasable level, obviously. It gives us a reason to go back home for a while.


They still get starry-eyed, even in the midst of the limelight.

You know, we'd love to collaborate with Prince, even though I know it would never happen. He's a legend of the industry, but that would be ideal. He's done so much to change the face of music, and he's got this diverse sound. He's just such a legend.

They have legit respect for their fellow Aussie artists.

Our main focus is to deliver the sound, and I think that would be different if we focused on trying to outdo other Aussie artists. We wouldn't consciously try to do that; we focus on how the wide rhythm and the vocals interact to create that song. That's how we approach it.

Nat King Cole's albums are in the tour-bus rotation, and not for the reasons you'd think.

You know, there's this mental catalog of songs that guides you through the writing process. There are so many different influences and so many artists that impact your style through the years. It's hard to just pinpoint who you draw from.

But when we're on the bus, and we need to get away, it's almost always jazz -- artists like Nat King Cole -- and just jazz, that give us that time.

Atlas Genius plays with The Neighbourhood Friday at Fitzgerald's, 2706 White Oak. Doors open at 8 p.m.

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2706 White Oak
Houston, TX 77007


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