Australian indie-rock band Atlas Genius are in the midst of a North American tour in support of their first album, When It Was Now, and are growing accustomed to the grind of the road on a tour bus — but for the followup to their breakout debut, they’ve been drawing inspiration from the many places they’ve encountered along the way.
“I just finished a new song a couple days ago,” frontman Keith Jeffery tells Rolling Stone. “I don’t want to tell you too much in case it doesn’t make it onto the album, but I’ve spent a lot of time in New York over the last year, so there’s a lot of being in New York coming through. Whereas before a lot of what I wrote was relationship-inspired, I’m now writing about places.”
Atlas Genius formed in 2009, with Jeffery and his brothers, Michael and Steven, clearing out their parents’ garage to build a home studio. In 2011, the band released their debut single “Trojans,” which became a hit with bloggers and on Sirius XM’s Alt Nation channel. In 2012, the band signed to Warner Bros. where they began touring with the likes of Silversun Pickups and Imagine Dragons.
This past February, the released their debut album When It Was Now, which yielded the second single, “If So.”
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Jeffrey says he’s also evolving as a writer, and not just paying attention to the times he felt “inspired” — a sentiment that he hints guided the band’s first album. “I’m a big believer in just forcing yourself to sit down, even if the situation isn’t ideal and just write,” He says. “There’s a book called The War of Art and it says that there’s always going to be distractions, and you’ll always give yourself reasons why you can’t create, which is true.”
“I really don’t want to get in a rut where you start to find yourself being predictable, but at the same time not forcing it. I’m trying to find different angles,” Jeffery said. ” I’ve been trying to find new metaphors for the songs we’ve been working on.”