The Australian alternative group Atlas Genius returns to Chicago tonight to open for Imagine Dragons at the House of Blues. Brothers Keith and Michael Jeffrey called from the road last week to answer our burning questions for the band.
Where does the name Atlas Genius come from?
Keith Jeffrey: It comes from ancient Australian folklore. I can’t really go into it too much. We had a few reasons that we chose it for our band name.
What were the runner-up names?
Michael Jeffrey: I honestly can’t recall.
Keith: I can’t remember. We had a few, but I couldn’t tell you, which is probably a good sign that we chose the right one.
What is it like to play in a band with your brothers?
Keith: When you say that, it sounds like the Partridge Family. We’re all singing in the bus together, swaying side to side. No, what is it like? It’s not that different.
Michael: It’s good. Good in a way. No one holds a grudge or anything.
What song have you released that you’re proudest of?
Keith: Right now, I’m really satisfied with the song “Centred on You.”
Michael: “Centred on You” is my favorite track on the album. And “Back Seat”—that song was completed from start to finish in 25 hours.
Which venues are you most excited to play on your tour?
Keith: I haven’t honestly looked ahead. I love playing in Chicago, I love New York. At some point I’d love to play Red Rocks.
Which is the city you are most excited to visit?
Michael: Portland, Oregon. I like to drink coffee [there]. I wouldn’t mind doing some hiking.
What do you listen to in the van?
Keith: Quite often, we put our headphones in. Sometimes someone deejays in the front. Right now, I’ve got a couple of audiobooks. Are you familiar with the character Alan Partridge? The actor is Steve Coogan. He just put out an audiobook. Sometimes we have so much music, you just want to listen to an audiobook or something.
Michael: I’ve been watching a lot of American Dad on my iPad. As for music, a lot of radio. The alternative stations. Whoever is in the front deejays. It’s normally horrible 80s music. We’re pretty open. There are certain artists not allowed—Kenny G.
What are the must-haves in the van?
Keith: I’ve just discovered the White Noise Pro noise generator. That’s the most important thing to have on tour.
You’re playing with Imagine Dragons at House of Blues. What’s your favorite Imagine Dragons song?
Michael: The first song I heard of theirs was “It’s Time.” That’s my favorite. But after seeing them live, “Radioactive” is an amazing live track.
You have the choice of performing with any band in the world, living or dead (or broken up). Who is it? The Beatles don’t count.
Keith: This is going to sound cliché, but it’s gotta be the Beatles. But if we’ve already hung out with them, Death Cab for Cutie. I would not be upset if that came about.
Michael: We could play with Led Zeppelin, or the Stones maybe.
You are forced to cover a pop song. Whose music do you cover: Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, or Beyonce?
Keith: You know what? There was some really great songwriting that went into Britney’s early years. I’d choose Britney.
Michael: I would say Christina. And we would cover “Dirty.” We’d have to redo the film clip, with Keith in Christina’s role. It would be amazing.
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