‘Trojans’ band, Atlas Genius, releases album; slated for House of Blues
BY MATTHEW SCHWERHA March 1, 2013 4:28PM
Atlas Genius will be appearing at the House of Blues March 4 and 5. | Emily Shur photo
6 p.m., Monday and Tuesday
House of Blues, 329 N. Dearborn
(312) 923-2000; www.houseofblues.com
Updated: March 1, 2013 7:16PM
When Atlas Genius comes to Chicago for two shows at House of Blues next week, it won’t be the first time in town for the Australian group.
“We have played the Aragon Ballroom twice,” said Keith Jeffrey, lead singer of the band, who with his brothers Michael (drums) and Steven (bass), and Darren Sell (keyboard), make up Atlas Genius.
The group is still impressed by two Chicago marvels: Millennium Park and deep dish pizza.
“The first time we were there, we had a couple of days off and we went to Millennium Park,” Jeffrey recalled. “It was beautiful. The lake was more like an ocean. We had deep dish pizza. It was crazy. It was two inches deep. We ordered it and didn’t realize how deep it was going to be. It took us two days to finish it.”
Atlas Genius’ new album, “When It Was Now,” was released Feb. 19, and features the band’s hit single, “Trojans.”
The Jeffrey brothers developed their musical ear early on.
“It is one thing to listen to music and another to be able to deconstruct how a song is put together,” Jeffrey said. “I was 11 or 12 when I first played guitar. Took it up when I was 16. It was an organic thing. I liked music and knew it was something that interested me. It was something we definitely were all interested in.”
The group — that features members all in their late-20s — is based in Adelaide, Australia — the hometown for all the members except Sell.
That’s where the band took on a studio remodeling project that ended up being a bigger effort than they expected.
“It was a small, bedroom kind of studio in the garage,” Jeffrey said. “It was OK, but was too small to really function the way we wanted it to. We upgraded it by knocking down the dividing wall and used the space for a professional studio. It ended up taking us three years. We didn’t know how much we were embarking on.”
Now, the band has just begun a sold-out North American tour with Imagine Dragons that continues through June.
Their popularity comes from their ability to mix traditional musical sounds with new technology.
“I really like finding that balance between organic sounds like guitar and drums, and synthesized sounds,” Jeffrey said. “Not too organic. Not too ‘poppy.’ Finding that balance is really important.”
Despite their success, music wasn’t always a sure thing for the members of Atlas Genius.
“When you’re a musician, it’s a part of you,” Jeffrey said. “There’s this attitude that it’s a crazy idea to become a professional musician. What we are doing now is really a miracle. It’s nice to know you weren’t completely wasting your time.”
Follow Atlas Genius on Twitter https://twitter.com/atlasgenius