Only two years ago, Georgia Nott was at the University of Auckland in New Zealand. She was never one to put in time studying, like her older brother, Caleb. She preferred working on music. When the siblings decided to drop out and pursue their electronic music duo, Broods, full time, their musician parents were surprisingly supportive.
"University is expensive," Georgia Nott says. "We knew that we liked playing music and loved listening and singing, but I don't think we would have tried as hard as we did with writing and recording and getting better and performing if not for [our parents]. They're the ones who said, 'You can do this. You can write your own music if you want to. You're good enough to perform.'"
They've come a long way in a short time. These days, the duo is opening shows for Sam Smith, hanging out with Taylor Swift and touring the world in support of their debut album, Evergreen. They'll headline a show at the Visulite Theatre on March 28.
"It is really strange to think that this is now day-to-day life for us," Nott says. "Not long ago, it was a foreign concept — this whole being paid to do what we love type-thing and traveling to work and meeting all these people we've been listening to since before we even started. It's very surreal."
Nott, 20, says the turning point for them was when they signed their record deal with Capitol/Polydor Records. "That was the moment that we realized shit's about to get real," she says. They spent the next few months adjusting to the busy and hectic pace of life on the road.
Broods has struck the right chord with an electro-pop sound that revolves around honest lyrics and danceable beats. The opening song of Evergreen, "Mother & Father," revolves around an upbeat drum rhythm and somber synth tones. The lyrics seem to hint at that new life Broods is living as she sings, "And ever since I left my mother/it's much harder to know/how to make my own life here/how to make my own home."
Before their deal, they stuck to playing shows around town. Now, they're one of a handful of bands from New Zealand — including Lorde and The Naked and Famous — making waves on the music landscape.
"I think there's always been these amazing musicians that have come out of New Zealand and people have caught on to it around the world," Nott says. "There hasn't been this much of a spotlight on New Zealand since Crowded House. It's not so much of a pipe dream to be a musician [anymore]. If you're good and put yourself out there, it's not impossible to expect something to happen."
While the band is called Broods for the typically somber tones in its music, Nott notes that she and her brother are more optimistic these days. "Everything we write is pretty true to our own experiences and what we're going through personally," she says. "I think that's the only way to write — honestly — to take personal experiences and feelings or from those that are really close to you. So many people relate to the more honest songs. If you are saying everything exactly the way it is, people will feel more connected to it."
Nott says lyrics have always been the best way for her to convey emotions. In high school, she didn't know how to express her feelings well, so she would write songs for people, sit them down and sing to them. Looking back on it now, she says it's "cheesy," but it was the best way for her to communicate and music became a crutch to overcome personal obstacles — a necessity more than a hobby.
"We're both on the same page about [our music]," Nott says. "We don't want to play music that we don't feel proud of. At the end of the day, it's our music and it's very important and super personal, so it has to be something we believe in. When we're on stage, it has to be sung with conviction."
For now, Broods is focused on touring and writing new material whenever they can. Time constraints have forced the siblings to be a little more creative in their process — "we're not just writing in our rooms as kids." Nott says the challenges of being on the road have pushed their output into new directions, as well.
"We used to have to be in the mood to write," she says. "We're starting to play some songs that aren't on the album live and it's cool to see what people think. We don't write sad songs all the time anymore."