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Bottlerock 2016, Festival Preview, Music

Interview: Atlas Genius talks pre-show rituals, music festivals, and favourite concert outfits

By: Josh Terzino 

Atlas Genius. (Photo: Paley Fairman)

Atlas Genius. (Photo: Paley Fairman)

Atlas Genius, which features brothers Keith and Michael Jeffery, are back with their new album, Inanimate Objects – the follow-up to their breakthrough debut, When It Was Now, which is out now.

Atlas Genius‘ 2013 full-length debut, When It Was Now, featured the Gold-certified hit single “Trojans”, and after first being discovered by a slew of blogs, the track gained momentum online and on radio, and have since propelled the duo to 18 months of non-stop touring, including two national headline tours, opening for Imagine Dragons and Silversun Pickups and playing festivals like Lollapalooza, Outside Lands, Sasquatch, Firefly and many others.

In a press conference held at the BottleRock Music Festival in Napa Valley, California yesterday, the band discussed their favourite music festivals, pre-show rituals, and more.  

How do you feel about performing at smaller club shows versus festivals?

Well typically if you’re doing a club tour that’s great. I think we enjoy doing that because it’s the closest we get to a 9-5 job as musicians you show up and there’s a schedule. Every festival is different and there’s so much going on. But you get a good festival like this where you’re playing to 10-20,000 people, nothing compares to that.

Do you have a favorite festival that you’ve played so far?

Well, I’m sure this one will be at the end. Osheaga in Montreal is beautiful. Lollapalooza was pretty incredible. Sasquatch is hard to beat for that backdrop. They’re all amazing. We were at Hangout in Alabama on the beach. That was beautiful.

I’m curious to know if, one, you’ve ever had a sign language interpreter interpret one of your sets and if not, what do you imagine it would be like if every band offered open access to music to deaf individuals by having  a sign language interpreter with them?

That’s a great idea. I don’t think we’ve ever had anyone do that at a show, but it seems like a great idea. It’d be pretty easy to do. I’ve never seen it. We support the idea.

What is your favorite outfit for performing?

Well you can beat a pair of black jeans in our line of work. We change it up with some designer tees. We’re pretty low-maintenance.

Some people are superstitious about what they wear on stage, do you guys have anything that you can’t play without?

Well I’ve had this (bracelet), which is a silver guitar pick for about ten years. And I’ve never played without it. Maybe it’s good luck, I don’t know.

What is your biggest musical influence?

Michael Jeffrey: As a drummer I’d say Dave Grohl.

Keith Jeffrey: Dave who?

Michael: Dave Grohl.

Keith: Well we were hugely influenced by Australian bands like Midnight Oil, INXS, Crowded House-well, they’re half New Zealand but we’ll claim them-Russell Crowe. And then a lot of other bands like Nirvana and The Beatles. There’s an Australian band called You Am I that’s still around, which is great.

Do you guys have any kind of ritual before you play a set?

A couple of guys in the band do push-ups. I haven’t started doing that yet because I try to conserve all energy for the show. He drinks half a beer.

Michael: I try to drink a whole one but then I get a bit too tipsy.

Keith: So he drinks, push-ups. I pace around. We have a bit of a huddle. And maybe a bit of a cuddle as well. For emotional stability you need 12 hugs a day and when you’re on the road and there’s no girlfriends around you hug the boys.

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