An Interview With Georgia Nott of BROODS
Gorgia Nott has a lot to be happy about. At 19, the New Zealand musician is half of BROODS, one of the quickest rising duos in electronic pop music at the moment.
Georgia Nott has a lot to be happy about. At 19, the New Zealand musician is one half of BROODS, one of the quickest rising duos in electronic pop music at the moment. Caleb Nott, her 21-year-old brother, is also her artistic partner in crime. The two come from a very close-knit family with three other siblings. When I spoke to her over the phone, she was quick to laugh and be honest about things that plague most teenagers, like hating school, and very abnormal ones, like watching her debut single “Bridges” rack up 500,000+ listens on Soundcloud.
The success of “Bridges” garnered them interest from labels, and they signed with Capitol in the US and Polydor in the UK last December. The pair’s debut self-titled EP that dropped on February 4 entered the Billboard Heatseeker charts at No. 5—and their success seems to be growing exponentially. Last week they debuted the surreal, flood of images that is the video for another track off the EP “Never Gonna Change” (above) and announced a slew of North American tour dates this spring. But all the attention doesn’t seem to have phased Georgia though, who is down to earth and enthusiastic to talk about everything from her quirky, musical family to the duo’s upcoming UK tour opening for Haim.
Noisey: When did you first begin making music?
Georgia Nott: Well, I earned to play guitar when I was eight. My mom taught me guitar but my parents couldn’t teach Caleb because he wouldn’t listen to them. [Laughs]
Your parents were musicians too, right? What did they do?
Yeah they kind of played music right before we were born. My mom sings and plays keyboard and guitar and flute, and my dad plays guitar. So it was something we always grew up around. I remember this time when we were in the car and my mom said “Okay now we’re going to sing rounds.” So all of us would be singing a different part at the same time. Looking back now I’m like “man we were weird!” But how could you not want to pursue music when it’s the thing that you grew up with loving?
How do your parents feel about your guys’ quick rise? We saw this a little bit with Lorde last year, how she rose to fame so quickly at such a young age and people were worried that it would be overwhelming.
My dad will be like “Have you mentally prepared yourself for what’s about to happen?” And then my mom’s like “Oh my god I’m so excited!” So it’s kind of a mix of them encouraging us and also making sure that we know how to handle it, and always making sure that we’re doing okay and making the most of it. But we have very very good parents so we’re incredibly lucky. We’ve never been worried too much because we know we’ve got such a good base behind us.
Are either of you guys going to college in addition to pursuing your career in music?
Caleb was going to Uni (Ed. Note: college) but he dropped out just because he couldn’t manage the workload with everything else we were doing. I went but I dropped out after like three weeks because I hated it.
Why did you hate it?
I hated to sit still and focus on things or follow rules! I mean, I was going to school for music and then I got this chance to pursue it outside of school so I wanted to take that instead.
What is your process for songwriting?
If I’m writing by myself I’ll usually just play my keyboard and record it using Garageband. It’s so simple and easy to use. With Caleb, we try to do things organically and it’s never quite the same every time. It’s always different and always changing. It used to be that I’d be more the lyrics girl and he’d do production, but now he’s getting more comfortable doing lyrics and I’m getting more comfortable picking out sounds to match.
As far as the name BROODS, I read that your manager came up with that name. But I love how it has multiple meanings, can you talk about what it means to you?
Yeah! The whole relevance of BROODS to us is quite strong, in it meaning family and kind of has that connection. Where it means like a brood of birds, in the same wat that you have like a litter of cats. It’s the same way. We’re the brood of birds, we’re the brood of Notts. Then it has that other side where it means that whole feeling of being broody and brooding about something. Because, we came to express all our broody moments through our music so it’s kind of relevant in that sense as well.
You recently signed with Capitol Records and Polydor. What has your experience been so far with your labels?
It’s been really cool! When we go to the Capitol building everybody kind of knows us and is really welcoming and friendly. It’s like another family over here, when we come over here we go and hang out with them, we go to dinner with them. We feel like we’ve got yeah, a little family over here and its something really cool to come back to the US all the time and have Capitol be our home in America. And we’ve been meeting with all the people from Polydor when we go to London and that’s our base there. It’s cool to have all these different connections and different homes.
What is the best thing about working with Joel Little? What is it like when you're in the studio?
He’s just incredible at what he does. He knows everything that he needs to know. We met him about three years ago when we met our manager, back when we were working with The Peasants, and after that group broke up and Caleb and I started making music again, we got back in touch.
Are people constantly asking you about Lorde? Is that frustrating?
Well, we respect her so much! She’s such an amazing woman and an incredible musician, so it feels good if that’s the way people know us, is through being grouped in with her. We’re obviously working to establish our own sound, but for now, it feels like a good way for people to get familiar with us.
What did it feel like to watch “Bridges” get the attention it did?
It was incredible we would sit on the couch and just be like “What the hell is happening?” We had to sit back and just try to treasure how special the moment was.
Has there been a moment that stuck out to you so far, that you felt the most excited or starstruck? Like a “wow this is really happening” thought?
I think, the most excited I’ve ever been in a while was after our first show in America. It was at Bardot in LA and I came off stage and then after that we had an encore actually, which was nuts! We weren’t expecting it! So we had an encore and then Caleb and I were just buzzing so much. I had a big feeling after that show, that moment. That people enjoyed it! It was really really cool and just such a good feeling. It was awesome.
I saw you tweeting about your time in the US, that you got into a car accident?? What happened?
It was when we were in LA! Yeah we were about 200 yards from the Capitol building and a car hit us. No one was hurt because we were in this big black SUV and we just got out and walked the rest of the way, but our driver was shaken up a bit. Everyone was like well now you’ve really experienced the real LA because you’ve been in a car accident.
What has been the best part of your US tour so far?
US audiences are just so much more receptive and they’ll sing along to the songs and aren’t afraid to get into it. It’s just so crazy that us, a little Kiwi band, could come to the US and sell out shows!
What are the plans right now for the full-length? Like how far along are you with the album?
We’ve had a couple of weeks in the studio actually. We’ve got about four tracks down and we’re kind of starting to refine them and finish them off. We don’t have a name yet for the album but we’re just kind of seeing where it goes first and then at the end we’ll kind of figure out what reflects it. But it’s exciting stuff and I’m really looking forward to it. The plan at this point is for it to come out in August. I don’t know well it will work but that is the plan!
If you guys could collaborate with anyone what would be your dream collaboration?
For me—Caleb would probably be different because he’s not as obsessed with this person as I am—but I have a very huge obsession with Bat For Lashes at the moment. Her music is incredible. Oh my goodness, I love all her songs and her way of songwriting is so unique. I think I’d love to even just watch her create and see how she does it. That would be my dream.
I interviewed her once and she was super nice too.
I can’t even imagine her being mean to anybody!
Who would you say are your main influences? Obviously you can’t speak for Caleb but for you personally?
I’m a huge fan of female musicians, especially of the electronic pop era. Again, Bat For Lashes. People like Imogen Heap, Lykke Li—I’ve listened to her album about a thousand times. And newer artists like Banks, she’s still relatively new but so incredible. I am in love with female vocalists and I get so inspired by how they write their songs and I love learning how and where they draw inspiration from, what they write about and how they think about it. I like to concentrate on that, I get very inspired by it.
So I live in New York and I hang out with my brother all the time. Whenever we’re out together people always assume that we’re dating. Does that ever happen to you guys?
Oh my God! [Laughs] It’s only happened a few times, it hasn’t really happened lately. Sometimes when we meet people we’ll be like “Hi I’m Caleb” or “Hi I’m Georgia” and then they’ll be like “oh is this your girlfriend” or “is this your boyfriend?” And we’ll be like “No, Ugh! No way!” But we haven’t had that problem in a while though thankfully.
I read that you’re opening for Haim for some UK dates, are you excited for that?
Yeah! Yeah, that got confirmed recently actually so we’re super stoked about that because we’re huge fans of them and love their music. We’ve seen them play live a couple of times as well, so we know that they put on an awesome show and it’s going to be really exciting to be a part of that, and go on tour with them. That’s one of the things we’re looking forward to the most about this trip.
It’s so funny, between you guys, Disclosure and HAIM, all these awesome sibling musical acts are emerging!
The funny thing is we all have the same lawyer,
Wait really? That’s hilarious!
[Laughs] He’s becoming a family band lawyer just on accident. His name is Mickey Stein.
North American Tour Dates:
04/24 - Larimer Lounge - Denver, CO
04/26 - Schubas Tavern - Chicago, IL
04/30 - Music Hall of Williamsburg - Brooklyn, NY
05/02 - U Street Music Hall - Washington, DC
05/03 - Kung Fu Necktie - Philadelphia, PA
05/04 - Great Scott - Allston, MA
05/06 - Il Motore - Montreal, QC
05/07 - Underground at The Drake - Toronto, ON
05/09 - The Media Club - Vancouver, BC
05/10 - Barboza - Seattle, WA
05/11 - Mississippi Studios - Portland, OR
05/13 - The Independent - San Francisco, CA
05/14 - Echo - Los Angeles, CA
05/15 - The Observatory - Santa Ana, CA
Caitlin White is not in a fast-rising sibling band and doesn’t have a lawyer. She’s on Twitter - @harmonicait