The Atomics

The Atomics

The Atomics

Los Angeles, CA

Starlie (lead vocals) / Daisy Clementine (guitar) / Pyper America (bass) / Lucky Blue (drums)

“There's a level of loyalty and commitment that comes with being in a band with your siblings, because they can do anything and you’ll never give up on them. You'll never say, ‘This is too much’ or ‘You went too far,’ because you care about them so much,” says The Atomics’ Daisy Clementine Smith. “If we weren’t siblings, and we had the same personalities, who knows what would have happened to the band by now. But because we love each other so deeply, we're just in it forever.”

Spend five minutes in the company of the Smith siblings — musicians and models Starlie, 23, Daisy Clementine, 21, Pyper America, 19, and Lucky Blue, 18 — and their camaraderie is palpable. Constantly interrupting and finishing each other’s sentences, the four have the kind of companionable intimacy that comes from having lived together (at one point with their parents in a two-bedroom apartment in Hollywood where the four kids shared three beds in one room) and doing everything together their whole lives, including playing in a band, The Atomics. “It was always a given that if I was ever going to be in a band, it was going to be with my sisters,” Lucky says. “They are my best friends.”

Managed by Simon Fuller’s XIX Entertainment, The Atomics have been collaborating with songwriters/producers Tim James and Antonina Armato of Rock Mafia to create a harmony-laden, surf-guitar-inspired alternative-pop sound on songs like “Voulez Vous” that draws on such influences as Dick Dale, The Black Keys, The Beach Boys, and Tom Petty. “We like the idea of having a retro sound, but we also want it to be cool and modern,” says Pyper. “Rock Mafia have helped us with that. We knew we liked having a toughness to our music, but wanted it to be something you could dance and groove to.”

Starlie, Daisy, Pyper, and Lucky not only play in The Atomics, they are also highly sought-after models. The four got their first big break shooting with French fashion photographer and former YSL creative director Hedi Slimane for Vogue Hommes Japan and have since appeared together in campaigns for Aeropostale, GAP, and H&M. Pyper and Lucky shot a 2015 Moncler campaign in Iceland with Annie Leibovitz. Six-foot-four Lucky has walked for Tom Ford, Fendi, Roberto Cavalli, John Varvatos, and Jeremy Scott, and appeared in campaigns for Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, Phillip Plein, Levi’s, L’Oréal, among others. Millions of devoted fans, who call themselves “Lucky Charms,” follow his every move on social media. He and his sisters, together, boast more than 3.8 million Instagram followers.

Wielding that kind of influence is a long way from the siblings’ early years as a band. Though the Smiths say they can’t remember a time when they weren’t obsessed with music, you could say The Atomics formed in 2004, the year Starlie, Daisy, Pyper, and Lucky awoke on Christmas morning to find musical instruments under the tree, a gift from their musician father Dallon and former model mother Sheridan. “We came downstairs and everything was set up,” recalls Daisy. There was Lucky’s blue 5-piece Tama drum set, Daisy’s white-daisy bass, and Pyper’s red-heart guitar, plus amps, tuners, picks, and cords. Starlie was the natural choice to sing lead, being the oldest and given that she was obsessed with performing and being a star. “It was a fact,” she says. “That was what I was going to be. I got a guitar, but I didn’t want to play guitar. I wanted to be Britney Spears. Britney Spears does not play guitar. I just wanted to perform. I did not care how it happened.”

Dallon taught each of the kids to play music by ear. The first song they learned was the instrumental surf-rock song “Pipeline,” made famous by The Ventures. “My dad would take simple songs we thought were cool and we’d learn the chords and drumbeats as we learned the song,” recalls Lucky, who was seven at the time. “Roots music and blues progressions were something we all came to understand from the beginning.” The Atomics performed their first show on the steps of the city library, during a classic car show in Spanish Fork, Utah. “People would bring their hot rods out to the park,” recalls Pyper. “We played at, like, 11 am.” But Starlie eventually grew tired of playing instrumental music. “I said, ‘I’m done. I want to sing, so we have to do songs with vocals.’” “We decided to start writing our own songs, because we wanted to keep the surf-guitar influence in our music,” says Daisy.

In 2010, Daisy, then 14, was discovered at a casting call in Salt Lake City and the following year, the family drove out to Los Angeles in a 15-passenger 1994 Dodge Ram Van for a vacation and to meet the team at her new modeling agency, NEXT. The whole family tagged along to the meeting. All four siblings walked away with modeling contracts. In 2013, the family moved to L.A., where they shared a two-bedroom model’s apartment in Hollywood. “We went from having our own bedrooms to sharing three beds in one room,” Starlie says. “Lucky got the twin. If you got mad at someone, you’d go to your bed and put your headphones on. But we were all so excited and grateful that we didn’t mind sharing a bed for three years.” The family struggled with money during this time. “No one knew how we were going to pay for gas and groceries,” Daisy says. “We all became a team. Everyone contributed to the family’s survival, pooling our money from various jobs.”

Over the past few years, Lucky’s modeling career has skyrocketed, which has raised the family’s profile. Then in 2015, Simon Fuller caught The Atomics performing at the La Mer 50th Anniversary party in Hollywood. He signed on to manage them and introduced them to Rock Mafia, who are working with the band on their debut album. “I feel like a lot of our songs, like ‘Smash and Grab’ and ‘Things Are Looking Up’ are about believing in yourself,” Daisy says. “They’re very positive. ‘Pass You By’ and [cover song] ‘Live For Today’ are about living in the moment, while ‘Smash and Grab’ is saying, ‘I’m just going to take what I want. I’m going to make this happen for myself.’ That’s why I love the song because that's so how we are. When we moved to L.A., we were like, ‘Sell the house in Utah. Whatever. We're going to make it happen.’ We struggled, but now the music and the modeling are going so well. ‘Smash and Grab’ really shows that side of us.”

As for their goals for their music, Pyper wants people to feel carefree and have fun in the moment when they listen to the band’s songs. Daisy is hoping that if someone is having a rough day, the music will make them feel better. Echoes Lucky: “I want people to come to our shows and listen to the music and have that as an opportunity to escape from anything stressful that is going on in their lives, and just have fun watching a cool live show that has good energy.” And Starlie hopes that the music will help people learn to accept who they are. “I am obsessed with people loving themselves,” she says. “When you love yourself, you can love others, and love is just really the answer.”

 

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