Stepping into a neon fantasy, Broods third studio album ‘Don’t Feed The Pop Monster’ is their most experimental and honest affair yet. Forever evolving and growing their sound, the New Zealand brother and sister duo have proved once again that they will never be a predictable indie-pop act. They’ve managed to create a pop record that not only represents them as artists but also drastically steps away from their tight alternative roots and dabbles in a bigger arena-ready sound. Opening with the pulsating synths of ‘Sucker’ they instantly transport you into a 80’s inspired wormhole that will have you grooving along to the likes of ‘Peach’, ‘Every Time You Go’, Hospitalised’ and ‘Everything Goes (Wow)’. With their massive Australian tour just announced for later this year, the duo plan to deliver these new songs in a even bigger and more captivating way.
I recently chatted to Broods lead vocalist Georgia Nott about the musical transition that occurred during the creation of this album, the emotionally vulnerable storylines and the personal roadblocks they both faced along the way. Check out the chat HERE;
TB: Reflecting on the creative processes between ‘Don’t Feed The Pop Monster’ and your previous two records, what would you say are the biggest things you’ve learnt about yourselves as artists?
GN: So so much! It’s been such a crazy experience doing this album compared to the last two because we basically wrote the whole thing whilst being independent. We got dropped by our label and didn’t really know what was going on for a while whilst we were still working on this album. So the whole time we didn’t have anyone telling us what to do or aggressively guiding us, which is a nice way to put it *laughs*. We had to fall back on our own opinions a lot and trust ourselves and each other a little bit more and I think that taught us a lot about what we actually want to make and what we actually want to say. I think when you are left to your own devices you do have to rely on yourself a little bit more and that was such an amazing lesson to learn because i think we we can all get a little complacent and get disconnected from what you’re doing. This time round we are so involved that the whole process of releasing it has become so much more personal and satisfying.
TB: Broods have always thrived themselves on vulnerability and honesty, so what would you say is the most vulnerable moment for you as a songwriter on the new record?
GN: There were actually quite a few on this record that standout. But I think the most emotional moment for me personally would’ve been recording ‘Too Proud’. We were in this beautiful studio on a writing trip and we were feeling like we didn’t have any walls up so we wrote this super personal and vulnerable song. So at the end of it Caleb was recording the vocals for the chorus on loop and I was sitting behind him listening to him sing these heartbreaking lyrics and hearing his voice breaking. And I was literally just behind him sobbing *laughs*
TB: *Laughs* That’s cute, like a proud sister I guess!
GN: *Laughs* Yes! I was a blubbering mess on the couch behind him breathing in so heavily, it was so funny *laughs*. But I think the fact we can feel like that writing songs says a lot about how far and how open we’ve become. I think that’s special and I think as you said before, we have always been a very open band with what we’ve gone through emotionally and how we feel about mental health and keeping that dialogue going. So I think our fans will connect with this album even more because it’s that next level of personal.
TB: Well I was actually going to ask you about ’Too Proud’ because it hears Caleb jumping on the mic for one of the albums most different and personal moments. So did you guys experiment with different structures to bring him into the spotlight again or was it a natural approach?
GN: There was no intentional experimentation as such, it was more about felling it all out. And that day we were playing with vocal line ideas and Caleb started singing the chorus and it just felt right. It felt right hearing that story come from him and it just felt like the right way to approach it. It’s such a special song to us both.
TB: One of my favourite tracks on the new record is ‘Every Time You Go’ and with lyrics like “Every time you go, oceans pouring from my eyes” it’s quite vulnerable and emotive and has me wanting to dance and cry at the same time. So what’s the story behind this track?
GN: That’s the sweet spot isn’t it, sad dancing *laughs*. I feel like this whole album is sad dancing to be honest. And just crying whilst dancing is such a good image, it should actually be a video we do for a song *laughs*. But this song is about how we are always all over the place and how we have to constantly say goodbye to people that mean so much to us. It’s like every time I have to leave my sister my heart just comes out of my chest, as if I just leave it with her *laughs*. It kinda just came from those sort of experiences and the idea of long distance relationships and having to leave the person. It weighs on your mind a bit sometimes *sighs*.
TB: Then you have the song ‘To Belong’, which is heartbreakingly beautiful whilst still having a funky beat. I interpreted it as a reflection of mental health and wanting to belong in a world that sometimes you don’t always feel apart of. is that where it sits for you?
GN: To be honest sometimes we write songs in a sub-conscious train of thought where we let it all come out. And I think for us this song happened like that. We had just got back from playing Coachella and our family came over and we did this road trip up to Phoenix and this beautiful small town called Sedona. They were these highly emotional experiences that made you feel like you were connected to something bigger. We also saw Bon Iver live who is one of my favourite artists ever so seeing him was like my own version of church because he’s so magical. Oh that man makes the whole heavens sing! So that song was all about that idea of feeling like you were apart of something that is connected to the universe and is meant to be something more.
TB: I feel like songs like that are so important right now more than ever before because it’s so easy to feel like your not apart of something with the way the world is currently.
GN: Oh it’s so easy to feel so disconnected! And it’s also so easy to keep yourself disconnected because it’s easier that way sometimes. But people CRAVE genuine deep emotions more than they realise. And I think the more you allow yourself to feel those things then the closer you will get to your truer self.
TB: I feel like this is also being represented so well at the moment in pop music with the likes of yourselves, Sasha Sloan, Lorde, Tove Lo, Sigrid and Ellie Goulding just writing from the heart and not holding back. We are seeing less metaphors being used to disguise emotions and just artists telling it how it really is which is so empowering and important. And it’s so great seeing listeners embracing that and relating to these songs in such a big way.
GN: I think by keeping it really open and honest you end up getting the most out of each other as human beings. There’s obviously an element of security and keeping yourself protective but to be honest I’ve been walking around without a shell for so long now that I feel like I don’t need one anymore *laughs*. I really do enjoy connecting with people and feeling that ache when you feel so deeply about something or someone. It obviously hurts but it’s such a beautiful pain.
TB: With songs like these two, did you ever have any roadblocks internally that played out as fear of what people would think if you were so honest?
GN: I think self doubt is apart of the process just like everything else. You just have to feel it and acknowledge that it’s one of those things but not let it have power over you. At the end of the day if you let it, you will never release of do anything *laughs*. I think because we wrote this whole record independently and we had to rely on ourselves a lot more, the self doubt this was a little more prevalent. And we really did have to help each other through those times because those feelings can become really toxic if they don’t realise their place in line. But you should never let your self doubt rule your decisions or of how worthy you feel. It’s just apart of the process and you’re going to have to accept it and move on *laughs*.
TB: Where did the idea of the title ‘Don’t Feed The Pop Monster’ come from? Because I feel like this record is definitely your most pop indicated record yet.
GN: It’s definitely a pop record but at the same time I don’t think it’s throw away pop music. I think it perfectly reflects the complexities of chasing expectations that other people have for you. Because then you become so worried about what you should be doing or what you should be for other people. And I think what helped us was the idea that you’re useless as anything but 100% yourself. You’re not useful to the world as anything but 100% authentic. That was something we learnt the hard way after releasing a record that we were obviously proud of but it had so much pulling, pushing and compromising with the label. It got to the point that they weren’t going to put it out if there wasn’t certain songs on it and it ended up not feeling like it came from us the way that this one does. And we didn’t totally realise that until we made this record and now we know that this is how it should feel.
TB: You’re going to be returning to Australia in May for a massive run of headline shows. These are going to be your biggest run of dates yet so what are you planning to do to bring this new live show to life?
GN: We want this whole record and experience to take people to another world. We don’t want to just get up and play some songs in a certain order. We want it to be something that is a cool live experience and is different to what you would get from just listening to the album on your phone or in the car.
TB: I expect a lot of glitter and disco balls!
GN: YES!! *laughs* We just have to wait to find out what we can afford and then we are going to go all out with balls to the wall *laughs*. I really do think this is going to be such an expressive live show because this album is so personal.
Don’t Feed The Pop Monster Australian Tour
Tue 21 May – The Forum, Melbourne (18+)
Wed 22 May – Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide (All Ages)
Tue 28 May – Enmore Theatre, Sydney (All Ages)
Thu 30 May – Eatons Hill Hotel, Brisbane (All Ages)
Sat 1 June – Metropolis Fremantle, Perth (18+)