Photo: Recording Academy
BROODS Talk Trippy "Peach" Video, Resurrecting Bob Marley & Finding Strength On "Too Proud" | Up Close & Personal
Sibling electro-pop duo BROODS, consisting of Georgia and Caleb Nott, love making music but don't take it too seriously. Growing up in New Zealand, their parents encouraged them to sing and learn instruments from a young age and, consequentially, music became, and remains, their lifeblood.
Back in 2013, they released their first (self-titled) EP, co-written by the duo and produced by fellow Kiwi Joel Little. (Little would go on to earn a GRAMMY win for his work with another rising New Zealand alt-pop artist that year: Lorde.) The next year, they followed up with their debut album, Evergreen, with the singles "Bridges" and "Mother & Father" charting in New Zealand, Australia and the U.S., launching a still-growing, global fan base.
Earlier this year, Georgia and Caleb dropped their third album, Don't Feed The Pop Monster, on Feb. 1. For the latest episode of the Recording Academy's Up Close & Personal, they spoke about their latest album, the creative process of it and why "Too Proud" was a big deal for them.
They also talked about the inspiration behind their wacky "Peach" music video, growing up with music as the driving force and who they'd want to perform with, dead or alive. You can watch a portion of the conversation above and read the full interview below. You can also visit on our YouTube page for a longer version of the video, as well as for other recent episodes.
So you guys released your third album, Don't Feed The Pop Monster, earlier this year. What was your original vision going into that and the overarching themes?
Georgia: When we were making this album, Don't Feed The Pop Monster, there wasn't really—
Caleb: —any kind of vision.
Georgia: We were just kind of in a position where we'd made a couple of albums and we'd been on a couple of labels and been dropped a couple of times. We had an opportunity to kind of just make whatever we wanted and kind of use our freedom to our advantage, rather than get down about being a little bit lonely and isolated.
Caleb: And having no label support or money, so we just did whatever we wanted as a result!
Georgia: I think the fact that we were in that position made the album what it is. The themes of the album are very in line with going through that experience of questioning yourself and, like every creative person, I think, goes through self-doubt.
Caleb: Imposter syndrome.
Georgia: And so it's a lot to do with that and trying to figure out how to be self-congratulatory and sustain yourself without having a clear, "This is what will happen if you release this album, This is what you'll get back," because there's never really anything like that. So you just gotta kind of do it for fun!
I love it. And on the album, you worked with Joel Little again, right?
Georgia: We did a couple of songs with Joel Little.
Can you talk about your creative process specific to this LP?
Georgia: With this album, we didn't work with one producer. In the past, we've worked with one producer for pretty much the whole album. This time we worked with—
Georgia: We did lots of co-writing as well. On the last records, we didn't really have other co-writers. But [for this album] we did this amazing writing trip in Nicaragua where we were working with different writers every day. I think the amount of collaboration that we did on this record was awesome, was definitely—
Caleb: Super fun!
Georgia: It taught us a lot about writing and how to, you know, be adaptable and kind of push yourself and experience with different kinds of music and different vibes, different themes.
What do you think was your favorite part about the collaborative process from that experience?
Caleb: I think collaborating with others is a key part of dodging creative block, number one, because you've got multiple minds working with you that can assist you and you're not just by yourself going, "Ugh, I have no idea what to do," and you can bounce off each other. I think the productivity of collaboration is awesome.
Georgia: Yeah. It kind of takes away a lot of the pressure as well.
Caleb: Especially if you like the people that you're working with, you know?
Georgia: Yeah. It also makes the experience of just making something with your friends and then getting to listen to it and show people and play it on stage. The whole process of this album was so fun and playing it on stage is so fun.
What have been your favorite songs this go around to perform live?
Caleb: I don't know, I feel like a surprising song to play on tour for us was "To Belong." We didn't really expect that crowd to respond to that one as much as a single or anything but they seem to know all the words. It's also the one six-minute song on the album.
Georgia: Yeah, we start our set with that song second and it's just all about vibes and pulling in the audience into our heads. And it's such a live album, if that makes sense. It's was so easy when we were writing it to imagine it live. And the way that it felt actually playing it live was just satisfying as hell.
I want to talk about the "Peach" video because there's a lot in there.
Georgia: It's very overstimulating, that video!
It's very '90s pop vibes, I love it. Can you speak to the story behind that song and video a bit?
Caleb: I think a lot of people expect there to be a lot more in-depth thought about the "Peach" video, or a lot more planning or writing that went with it, but it was just the right people on the right day, kind of. And we had an incredible director [Sam Kristofski], a friend of ours from back in New Zealand as well, that's based here and basically just let him go—
Georgia: Go crazy!
Caleb: —and do what he thought because we love everything he makes. And he's super funny.
Georgia: We kind of just had one initial idea that we wanted it to be kind of the show that we used to watch when we were kids called "Top of the Pops." Is that a thing here?
Caleb: I don't think it was.
Georgia: No, but it's basically just a music TV show where pop artists from that time would come and do a performance, lip syncing obviously, and it was just like amazing lights and super early-2000s/late '90s. So cringey but in the best way!
And we wanted to recreate that kind of vibe, that nostalgic music show thing but then just trip it out like crazy. And have six different costume changes, because I am obsessed with dressing up. Every time I clean my room it just turns into a big dress up party. And we basically just wanted to have as much fun making the video as we did making the song.
I love that. It does look like it was a lot of fun.
Caleb: It was the hottest day ever. It was 118 degrees that day in Burbank.
Georgia: I'm so glad that we chose to do the video in a studio, wow.
And then one of the other songs on the album, "Too Proud," is the first song Caleb also sings on, which is really cool. And it's such a powerful song. Caleb, what did it feel like for you to offer your voice, literally, to that track?
Caleb: I guess writing "Too Proud" and performing it is something that I had never done before. Singing in front of people scares, you know—can I say sh*t? Living sh*t out of me! And it took me quite a while to even figure out how I was gonna even do that on stage, to be honest.
Georgia: You did it on TV and everything though!
Caleb: It was the first time I sang in front of anybody was on national television.
Georgia: I was so scared for him, I was just trying to walk around and be like, "Keep his energy good everybody. He's about to sing for the first time!" [Laughs.]
Caleb: During the performance, my arms went completely numb and it was slowly going up my arms. And so I was singing and at the same time I was thinking, "You better not pass out on live television." I took my hand off the mic stand for one second and it went like this. [Shakes hand.] I had to put it back on the mic stand.
Georgia: It's scary! It's scary singing on TV.
Caleb: I guess, yeah, writing that song, there's a large stigma around men and mental health and that, you know, you gotta be tough and keep your feelings in. But it's actually really relieving to let out feelings and talk about them and, I guess, just trying to encourage that with more men and—
Caleb: —especially men, but everybody. Therapy's pretty awesome. [Chuckles.]
Growing up in New Zealand, it sounds like you guys had a pretty musical upbringing at home. When did you first start making music and then when did it maybe shift to, "Okay, I think I wanna be a musician"?
Georgia: I think music has just been the focal point of our lives, since day one really. Our parents have always, you know, made it such a huge part of—
Caleb: Just day-to-day life.
Georgia: Yeah, day-to-day life, like connecting with other people and just literally something to do if we needed something to do.
Caleb: It was entertainment for us, really. It was just instruments everywhere.
Georgia: We'd just get pushed up in front of, like, the piano.
Caleb: And we weren't allowed to watch any TV shows basically, just because they were like, "Well you can do something better with your time. Go play guitar or sing or something."
Georgia: Thanks mom and dad. [Laughs.] And we started writing music pretty young too. I think I started trying to write music after my dad told me, about my favorite singer, "You know, she writes all of her own music. You can do that too!" And I was like, "Oh, okay!" I just went into my room and started writing songs. I was, like 10 and then I didn't really get good until I was about 16, 17 and had something to sing about. I guess for us, we didn't really have a choice really. We've just always done music and always had music be the main event everywhere we go. Every relationship that we've had that's lasted has been brought together with music. And I think for us it's just such a necessity for our own survival and sanity. To be in a career now that we get to do this and share our music specifically with people is pretty amazing.
Were your parents also musicians or where did that influence come from them?
Caleb: I don't know. Our parents were musicians in a hobby way, not professionally.
Georgia: Yeah, mom taught me to play the guitar though.
Caleb: She didn't teach me. I had many guitar teachers but I only had a couple lessons with each one because I couldn't really handle it. I ended up teaching myself. I wasn't very good with direction as a child.
Georgia: Just a little bit too all over the place.
Georgia: But yeah, our parents sang a lot. They'd sing at weddings and church and my mom ran the choir at our elementary school.
Caleb: Which I was very upset about because she made me stay in it. Georgia wanted to be in it, didn't you?
Georgia: Well, she'd do this thing, where she goes—
Caleb: It was at recess, so you had to go and sing at choir during your break time.
Georgia: I kind of just wanted to play.
Caleb: I just wanted to kick balls around.
Georgia: My mom, wow, she'd do this thing. Every time I tried to quit the choir she'd be like, "Oh I thought you wanted to be a singer..." And I was like, "I do! I do want to be a singer, mum!" And she's like, "Well, you gotta take every opportunity then."
Caleb: I said, "Mom I don't want to be a singer. Why do I have to be here?"
Georgia: Well look at you now! I think our parents were huge in making us actually stick to all these comments about wanting to pursue music. They saw how much it was a part of us and I think they never forced it but they did tell us, "If you want to do it, then you're gonna have to work really, really hard and have to have really thick skin. And you're gonna have to be able to deal with disappointment and discipline." So I think that was really important.
Caleb: And I still can't handle any of those things.
Georgia: It's really hard. But it's also really worth it.
What was each of yours first CD and first concert you attended? Your early musical loves.
Caleb: I think we got cassette tapes, didn't we?
Caleb: No I got Ricky Martin, "Livin' La Vida Loca."
Georgia: And the first CD I ever bought myself was the single "Lucky" by Britney Spears.
Caleb: Mine was Bob Marley: Greatest Hits, the gold album.
Georgia: Yeah, that's definitely had more spins than the Britney Spears. Sorry Britney.
Caleb: "Toxic" though, many spins.
If you could perform with any artist dead or alive, who would it be?
Georgia: Probably Bob Marley. I don't think I'd want to perform with him though, I'd just want to watch him. I think that still makes me pretty sad sometimes when I know that I'm never gonna see him live. I just feel like it would complete me as a person.
Caleb: Yeah. I'd have to almost agree fully on that one. I think there were a couple years where I strictly listen to Bob and pretty much nobody else.
Georgia: Which meant that I strictly would listen to Bob.
Caleb: So I think that's where it came from. My big brother introduced me to Bob Marley when I was 13 and that was the end of it.
Georgia: I'm surprised that we're not a reggae band!
Caleb: Yeah. I feel like I'd want to see Blondie. Done. Like a king.
Georgia: You'd want to perform with Blondie? I'd want to perform with Blondie.
Caleb: Yeah I feel like that would be so fun.
Georgia: I feel like we'd be great together. Me and Debs. I kind of look like Debs in this sexy tank. Have you seen that picture of Debs in the sexy tank? It's a good one!
I love it. So we're gonna resurrect Bob Marley and see him perform. You'll open with Blondie for Bob Marley?
Georgia: We'll open with Debs. Yep.
Caleb: At Red Rocks.