Broods jump into the best job in the world

New Zealand brother-and-sister act Broods traded university for the life of a touring pop-music group
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Georgia Nott sounds off on the things that enquiring minds want to know.

On instant success: “We are very lucky that people are always looking for new music, and the next big thing, I guess. So we’ve kind of hit the jackpot, in a luck sense, that they have discovered us.”

On being a New Zealander: “Australia and New Zealand are like rivals, but as soon as it’s time to take on the world, we become sister countries. A typical example is, like, you’re in the World Cup for soccer and versing each other, so you’ll be really aggressively competitive. But as soon as one of you drops off the table, you end up going for either Australia or New Zealand with all your heart.”

On getting recognized at home: “Maybe if I left the house more often that would happen. When I’m in New Zealand, I’m quite a homebody. I tend to go to the studio, which is funnily enough a two-minute walk from our house, and then I go home, cook dinner, and go to sleep.”

There’s a sense of wonder in Georgia Nott’s voice when she’s reached in a New York City hotel on the eve of Broods’ first full tour of America. The singer admits that she’s marvelling at where she finds herself in 2014, and not just because she’s already accomplished more at age 19 than most folks will in their lives. What has the New Zealand native excited is that she’s about to embark on a dream adventure.

“We’re in New York right now, which is so amazing, because we never would have guessed that we’d be touring the States so soon in our careers,” Nott gushes. “We were willing to work 20 years before something like this happened. We thought that this was going to be so much harder.”

While she’s hanging out in a hotel room on the day she talks with the Straight, her schedule stateside hasn’t exactly been all rest and relaxation.

“We’ve been here for about a week now,” Nott says. “We just finished a video shoot in L.A., which was scary. It was our first experience creating a video for our music with all these expensive cameras all around. Then we took the night flight to New York, which is why I’ve spent most of this day sleeping.”

Downtime is a scarce commodity for Nott and her partner in Broods, Caleb Nott, who also happens to be her brother. The group has been flagged as a pick to click thanks in part to its music—think ethereal pop for summer-breezed chill-out tents—and partly because of the heavy-hitting company it keeps. On the latter front, the duo’s producer and chief sounding board is Joel Little, the man who’s received no shortage of credit for guiding Lorde to the top of the charts around the globe. The white-hot producer happened upon the Nott siblings a couple of years back, right after the two bailed out of the Peasants, an indie unit that imploded after some minor successes in New Zealand. Nott can’t say enough about Little, who not only oversaw the band’s eponymous debut EP but has also been busy working with Broods on a follow-up album due this summer.

“Working on the full-length was almost like a holiday for us,” the singer reports. “Being in the studio with Joel is kind of like being at home—it’s all very relaxed to where it feels like we’re in a completely natural environment. Because you are going to the same place and settling in each day, it’s kind of like having a real job. And I really love it. It’s not a tedious job because you are always being creative. It’s not like you are sitting there folding pieces of paper or typing out crap or something like that. It’s more like a fantastic outlet.”

The EP and its hit leadoff single, “Bridges”, landed Broods glowing coverage in respected publications like Billboard and Interview, as well as the usual blogosphere gushing. Even though she’s a couple of years short of drinking age in most American bars, the attention isn’t new for Nott—the singer and her brother had been in the spotlight with the Peasants, who blended driving folk with rootsy indie rock. Broods took a different direction right from the start, the chilled-out songs marked by richly layered synths and hazy dreamscaped vocals. From that foundation the group isn’t afraid to experiment, with the blissed-out “Never Gonna Change” incorporating new-age flutes and techno-glitch percussion, and “Sleep Baby Sleep” flooded with faux-classical strings.

Following the end of the Peasants, both Nott kids decided to make their parents happy by enrolling in college, Georgia studying music theory and her brother immersing himself in the world of design. That didn’t last long. Although Broods started as a post-Peasants side project it quickly blossomed into something more, with “Bridges” going Top 10 in New Zealand

“I gave up on college after three weeks because I didn’t like having to follow rules on things that I was really passionate about,” Nott says. “It was all about following the curriculum. For us, we figured that if you want to make it as an authentic artist, you have to go out and do it yourself, rather than sit in a classroom and hope that something good is going to come to you. But Caleb didn’t drop out of design because he didn’t like it—he dropped out because things started to get too busy for us.”

Today, university is no longer on the schedule. And, as one might expect, there’s zero regret about that in Nott’s voice, which is no great shocker considering that she’s getting paid to hang out in New York and see the rest of North America.

“This has all happened so fast, and it’s been kind of difficult to absorb, if that makes any sense,” Nott says. “But you have to just kind of go with it, rather than sitting down and overthinking it all. If you do overthink it, you’ll go nuts—either get way too excited or way too scared. You’ve got to do what you can and not stress about things that are out of your hands. I mean, we work our asses off to keep delivering, but we know we’re still super lucky to have everything that we have had happen.”

Broods plays the Media Club on Friday (May 9).

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