Broods Talk Life on the Road, Recording With Lorde and Getting 'S--- Done'
Broods aren’t short on talent, or ambition. Indeed, if airmiles were a measure of appetite for success, they’d be in a class of their own.
The New Zealand electro-pop outfit has seen the inside of than more aircraft cabins than many seasoned jetsetters twice their age.
The sibling act of Georgia Nott (22) and her brother Caleb (24) are back in the U.S. for their latest, headlining North America tour which kicks off tonight (Aug. 1) at Washington D.C.'s 9.30 Club. The pair now call L.A. home, but their instinct like many other Kiwis is to travel, work and explore.
“We’ve mainly been writing, not touring, in the first six months of the year so we’ve not done much flying. Maybe 10 long hauls," explains Georgia. "When we were living back in NZ, we’d do up to 60 a year.”
The journey is just getting started for Broods as they introduce their sophomore album, Conscious, to the world. Billboard caught up with the pair as they took time out from their recently-concluded Australasian trek in support of the LP, which opened at No. 2 the ARIA Album Chart (and at No. 1 on Australia’s digital albums chart), eclipsing the No. 5 peak of their debut 2014 album Evergreen.
The album is charged with energized pop tunes, shaped for sound systems capable of packing punch. Collaborators on the project include producers Alex Hope and Captain Cuts, while Tove Lo contributed vocals to the ballad “Freak of Nature.”
Joel Little, the award-winning New Zealand producer who has worked with the likes of Lorde, Sam Smith, Ellie Goulding (whom Broods supported on an April U.S. tour) and Daniel Johns, provides continuity between the two LPs. On Conscious, he served as executive producer. "There was about 100% more direction from us on this record than the last record, production-wise. Because I had two years under my belt and feeling a lot more confident not just about doing it but bringing my ideas to the table," explains Caleb.
Fellow Kiwi Lorde joined Little as a co-writer on “Heartlines,” the latest single and followup to “Free” (which Broods performed on The Late Late Show with James Corden) and “Couldn’t Believe”. The innovative video for “Heartlines," a collaboration with Microsoft, dropped on the eve of the North America tour and can be seen below. “It was an interesting process," recalls Caleb of the recording sessions with Lorde. “We work so differently to her, she works so differently to us.” Would Broods return the favor and contribute to Lorde’s next album? “If she asks, we’d definitely be up for it,” says Georgia with a smile. “I’d love to do some production for her,” adds Caleb, who recently completed some remix work with Troye Sivan. “I feel like my style of production would suit her style of working.”
Georgia and Caleb's style of working is like a slick, complementary machine. They think alike, but with different skillsets. They’re so tight, they tend to finish each others’ sentences in interviews. It’s a trait often associated with twins. “The only thing that makes us not twins is that we’re born two years apart,” Caleb laughs. “We grew up being encouraged by our parents to be best friends.” And do they always get on great? “Yeah,” says Georgia, “if we didn’t we wouldn’t be able to do as much in as little time. And we’re so driven by what we need to achieve together, there’s no room for friction. We’re both just so ambitious and ready to get shit done. Any issues become very small and unnecessary.”
In the creative process, the lines separating the brother and sister are blurred. On this tour, Caleb divides his time behind the keys and acoustic guitar, and Georgia leads from the front. Though both are involved in production and songwriting, and the shaping of hooks and melodies. “We wouldn’t write pop music separately. It would be totally different (music if we recorded) separately, but when we come together we write pop," explains Caleb.
“We’re very different people,” adds Georgia. “We’re opposite in our strengths and methods. But the fact is we’ve been raised on the same values and same priorities.” Caleb then notes, “You get to take someone else’s strengths as your own.” And Georgia completes, “Yeah and take credit for other people’s strengths.”
Broods will stick to the road. Europe is in their sights. And another trip to Asia is on the not-too-distant horizon. “We’ll keep touring and find more shows tours to do,” says Georgia. “We’re trying to get to as many new places and take this album further than the last. That’s all we hope for.”