Credit: Catie Laffoon Photography
On a rainy night in November of 2014, I begged my friend to come to a performance with me in Sydney. She had just broken up with her boyfriend of 10 years and armed with the promise of a free ticket from a friend at Universal and a couple of gin and tonics, she begrudgingly shadowed me to X Studio on the city’s now not-so-Golden Mile. “It will be good to get out,” I told her. “It’ll make you forget everything even just momentarily. Just for tonight.”
Politely navigating our way to the front of the stage, Broods – the Kiwi brother/sister duo – began their anthemic hit Mother & Father. “Look at her,” my friend said pointing to lead singer Georgia Nott. “I wish I could dance like her. She hasn’t a care in the world.” But it was when the chorus began that we struck trouble. “I don’t want to wake up lonely/ I don’t want to just be fine/I don’t want to keep on hoping…” The lyrics weren’t only ringing out, they were ringing true. And there we were, front of stage, with my friend in very-visual tears.
“Oh my gosh!” Nott nervously gasps as I tell her of my first Broods experience. “I mean, that’s why we do it. It’s amazing when I hear somebody completely understand what I’ve sung about from a very personal place. It’s really therapeutic for me to put a song out and somebody say, ‘I know exactly what you mean’.
“It makes you feel like you’re connected to people you’ve never met. It’s pretty much the most magical thing since Harry Potter.”
But it’s her uneasy, girl’ish giggles that confuse me. For Nott, on the stage anyway, is nothing short of sure of herself and – at the risk of using an adjective fit to describe Beyoncé – fierce. Animalistic, even. Something FKA Twigs would enjoy. “When I speak to people on stage, I’m terrified,” she says. “When I sing, that’s when I feel most like me. Nothing else can compare, it’s genuine contentment. I just feel completely in the moment and I don’t see a problem in showing everybody how carefree I feel.” Case in point: Broods performing their single Free on The Late Late Show with James Corden in May 2016.
For Nott and her brother Caleb, they never dreamed of stepping out of school and leaping straight onto international stages. Well, I should say they didn’t expect it. Growing up in an open and creative family in New Zealand, Nott says the first lesson she and Caleb were ever taught was to take nothing and make it into something. Through this, she said their ride as musicians was never based on expectation but rather how they could turn something into something great. “If you expect something, you’re not going to really appreciate it when you get it,” she says. “If you don’t have any expectations or if you don’t feel entitled to anything, I think it kind of makes you more grateful.”
Nott’s mum taught her how to play the guitar, how to sing and even performed with her until she was brave enough to do so herself. Today, the Notts reside in Hollywood and are in between performances supporting Ellie Goulding on her US tour. I ask if Goulding is as self-deprecating in real life as she is in interviews. “That’s pretty much exactly what she’s like!” Nott laughs. “She’s just really chill. I mean, she works her arse off! She never has a bad show, she’s just ridiculously consistent with her performances.
“I’ve never seen Goulding make a mistake. She’s never pitchy and I guess, as a female singer and front-woman, that’s pretty amazing. Because I know how hard that is.”
Broods will tour their album Conscious at this year’s Falls Festival – their second since their debut Evergreen in 2014. “You want your second album to be a step-up from your last,” she says. “Caleb and I experimented a lot and came up with this big live show sound that’s pretty much driven by emotion. I think that is him and I, you know? That is who we are.”
An obvious deviation from Evergreen, their single Free showcases how far the duo’s production skills have come via intense layering and burbling synths. Joel Little, the Grammy-Award winning producer to Lorde, Ellie Goulding, Jarryd James and Sam Smith, is on board again too. “The track is very aggressive,” explains Nott. “The whole album is made to translate live. I’m ridiculously excited for that. I’ve been thinking about it so much.”
Credit: Universal Music/Renata Raksha
Two songs in particular stood out to me; Bedroom Door being the first. “I love that one too,” says Nott. “I’m not really a go-around-and-date-people type of person, I’m a one-man gal. I’m in, like, serious love. The song is pretty much about being able to rely on somebody when you have had a really shitty day. I feel like this song will resonate with people in long-term relationships.
“You do have days where you feel like you’re shit at life. You have days when you’re not on top of your game. If you don’t have somebody to remind you that you’re awesome, it can be hard. I think that’s what ‘Bedroom Door’ is about.”
The second stand-out is Heartlines, a song about Caleb (most are usually about Nott) and a girl he really liked who lived on the opposite side of the world. “He only really got to see her sometimes and it was one of those things where, it’s not going to work, but you can just pretend it will for a weekend.” The track was co-written by Lorde.
The subject matter is exactly what you’d expect from a 21-year-old. It’s not deep but the sound is incredible and the live show will be explosive. The proof is in my 34-year-old friend. She got back with her boyfriend in case you were wondering. And today, even sings the very lyrics of “Hallelujah, I’m free”.
New Zealand. Let’s strike a deal. You can have Russell Crowe back. And we’ll claim Broods as our own.
Credit: Universal Music