Atlas Genius on the Success of ‘Trojans,’ Challenges of Touring Australia + More
Indie rock bother duo Atlas Genius have created quite the buzz for themselves since releasing the hit single 'Trojans' in 2012. (Click here to watch our exclusive acoustic performance.) Hailing from South Australia, Keith and Michael Jeffery signed with Warner Bros. shortly after 'Trojans' broke, but success didn't come easy for the Jefferys. At one point, the pair hit some road blocks and contemplated giving up their musical aspirations and pursuing their educations.
But they toughed it out, and now, they play festivals like last weekend's Lollapalooza 2013, where Diffuser.fm talked to the brothers about keeping Atlas Genius alive, the unexpected attention they've received and more.
When things weren't working out so well, you considered giving up music and going back to school. How vindicated do you feel now that 'Trojans' is a hit?
KJ: The situation for us before 'Trojans' started taking off is that we'd spend a lot of time being in the studio and doing all these things. There's a lot of great bands out there, and getting your music noticed is a difficult thing, and it didn't seem viable. I think we had some friends and family that maybe thought we were a little bit nuts, so it's kind of nice.
You released the album 'When It Was Now' back in February, but you're are already talking about another record. Are you one of those bands that is constantly writing?
KJ: I feel like we go through phases. It's kind of like you have pent up creativity, where if you haven't written for a few months, as a musician or an artist, you need to get that out. We're definitely at the point now where we're working on some new stuff. It probably won't be for a few months until we find time to get into a studio again, but we're definitely working on the early stages.
'Back Seat' is one of our favorite songs from the record. How long did you work on the album before you were satisfied with the result?
KJ: 'Back Seat' is a great example. That was the one song that was the easiest. 'Back Seat' was written, recorded and almost mixed literally in one day. We've never done a song that quick. Normally, there's a whole process that goes into a song. Every so often, you feel inspired, and that came out quick. But the whole album took maybe a year or so. There were songs we were working on before 'Trojans' was released. They were close, so some of them didn't take too long to finish. And then there were songs that we wrote after the initial attention of 'Trojans.'
There's been a lot of great music coming out of your home country of Australia and nearby New Zealand within the last few years. However, it seems like few bands from elsewhere tour those countries. Is it a distance issue?
KJ: I think that's the thing, the distance is difficult.
MJ: Once you're there, there's not a huge amount of markets to play compared to the U.S.
KJ: We took a tour through Australia, and it took us two weeks. If you tour America, it takes a good couple of months, and that's just through the major markets. It would be great if all the bands went out there but I get that it's expensive to get out there.
Does the success of 'Trojans' put more pressure on you for the follow-up?
KJ: Yes and no. I think the good thing is when you're actually in the studio and you're really feeling it, all that kind of stuff really goes away. There is always that pressure, and every band has that. If you're Coldplay, and you have three or four massive albums, I'd still feel it as well. The best thing you can do is write music that you're 100 percent happy with rather than chase commercial success. It's kind of hard to know what radio is going to play or what the market is going to want.