BROODS are stepping into a whole new world for their fourth studio album. In fact, they’ve actually created a whole new world for their fans to immerse themselves within. ‘Space Island’ was birthed through an exploration of grief and heartbreak that saw the New Zealand sibling duo acknowledging the importance of space during that transitional period. One of the most important things we can do in that moment is to allow ourselves to be sad and go through the motions. It’s all a part of healing, and sometimes you just need to lean into that feeling.
This album beautifully navigates through that process with an honest reflection of that deep emotion. It begins with a pulsating and chaotic energy that represents the frantic feelings of finding your world thrown completely upside down. Through the big pop production of ‘Piece Of My Mind’, ‘Distance And Drugs’, and ‘I Keep’, they steer into a lighter and calmed delivery that holds a raw tenderness for moments like ‘Gaslight’, ‘Days Are Passing’ and ‘Alien’. This record is very different to anything they’ve ever done before, and it also captures a maturity that has grown with them over time. It feels like a very retrospective outlook on the world in general the moment, as we all need to sort of escape and find that space to process our own thoughts.
I recently chatted to Georgia Nott and Caleb Nott from BROODS about the conceptual approach to their fourth studio album ‘Space Island’, and explored the mix of vulnerability and experimentation behind tracks like ‘Distance And Drugs’, ‘Heartbreak’, and ‘Days Passing’. Check it out BELOW:
THOMAS BLEACH: Your fourth studio album ‘Space Island’ is genuinely a new chapter in Broods’ story with its even more visual identity compared to ‘Don’t Feed The Pop Monster’. Where in the writing process were you when you realised you wanted the record to tell this conceptual story and theme?
GEORGIA NOTT: I think it was when the music started to show itself and have a bit of a cohesive narrative. We came up with the whole idea of ‘Space Island’ in the session where we made ‘If You Fall In Love’. It was a beautiful day of experimenting with all of these different instruments, and playing slide guitars, and then putting lasers in.
CALEB NOTT: It honestly just felt like sitting on an island in the middle of space. So we had this moment of, “oh this is Space Island”.
GN: Everything from that point onwards became “oh my god, that is SO Space Island” *laughs*. It became a whole adjective of describing things, and then we started building the world of Space Island and figuring out what sort of characters would live there, and what kind of aesthetic it would have.
CN: And what the resort would look like. What kind of activities you would do.
GN: It really took over all of our time when everything was so slow in the pandemic, and allowed us to dream about it, watch vintage sci-fi’s, and talk to our friends who were also in creative fields, and basically play pretend.
TB: When you look at the tracklist, are all the songs together in the way of where they sit thematically to you. Or are there two songs you think of like siblings that people may be surprised about?
GN: I think the tracklist of the album is very intentional because of the eclectic nature of the songs. There are a lot of different influences, and there are a lot of different feelings, which is what a lot of our favourite albums are like. There is a lot of contrasting emotion which takes you through many different landscapes. So we tracklisted the record in a very specific way to make sure people didn’t feel like they were teleporting to different parts of Space Island, and were instead on a nice ride around it that comes full circle.
CN: It starts off with a few loops within the first few songs, and then it starts to chill out in the second half when you start to go by a nice beach or something.
GN: It’s definitely a scenic drive!
TB: ‘Distance & Drugs’ is a track that immediately stands out on the record with its pulsating production that contrasts the emotional question of; “are you still in love?”. Can you explain the creative process behind this song?
CN: That one is my favourite too! There is a lot of humor in that song, and I love putting funny things in songs even if no one knows it’s meant to be funny *laughs*. It’s like, “why is there a goose sound?”, and I’m like “I dunno, it was funny to me”.
But I was having a session with another artist called Michl in LA, and he’s an incredible writer, and an amazing chordsmith. It was so nice to have him in the studio as we were just having fun and making whatever we wanted to for no reason other than hangout and catch up. And then the track came together pretty quickly, so I sent it across to Georgia.
GN: We were heading into the studio one day to finish the track and I was just having a day where I felt really triggered. So I was in an uber on the way to the studio writing furiously “are you still in love”.
CN: She comes into the studio for us to write the song, and she’s like “I’ve written it”, and I’m like “okay, let’s record it” *laughs*.
TB: I feel like there is an emotional angst in the lyrics too, and it definitely stood out to me straight away as I was like… I feel that *laughs*.
GN: Yes! I remember showing it to one of our friends and she was like “that is how it feels to be asking yourself that question!”. I think it’s just so fun to make music a visceral experience.
CN: It feels like you’re riding through a field of flowers, it’s very psychedelic.
GN: I feel like you’re driving along and then all of a sudden you get a text *sighs* and then you just eject from the seat *laughs*.
TB: ‘Days Are Passing’ has such a chilled out sonic that is still quite rhythmically charged. So what were your soncial references for that track specifically?
CN: Tony Allen, who is a West African drummer, actually passed away while we were making the album which was really sad as he is one of my favourite musicians. Anything he plays on you could immediately tell that it was Tony Allen playing drums. I don’t think our song sounds like Tony Allen, but it’s definitely inspired by him, and West African rhythms. We then wanted to take it somewhere that was our own.
GN: At the beginning it was actually called “Day 13”.
CN: We were in day 13 of lockdown, in the lounge, smoking big j’s, and having fun. It’s probably the most light hearted one on the album.
GN: Yeah, it’s really about feeling so overwhelmed that you feel nothing. I think that was a very real part of the start of the pandemic. You very much were like, “I don’t know what to feel”. We made a song about that to feel like you were walking down a street on a really cool day.
CN: The chorus is basically just a baseline. It has a healing groove.
TB: On ‘Heartbreak’ you honestly sing “feeling better now. Think I’ve found myself. Think I’m over feeling bad. But it never lasts long”. When you hear that lyric back now, where does it take you mentally and physically?
GN: It’s just a reminder of the impermanence of feeling like you are on top of your shit. It also is a reminder that all of the hard shit passes, like the days that feel like you are being dragged around and beaten up. That is something I had to be patient with. I remember one day I sent Caleb a meme of this guy holding a sign saying “I am sad”. And he was like “do you wanna come over?” and I went to his house and just burst into tears at his door like “I don’t know when this is going to stop” as I felt like it was just going on forever. So I feel like that song is about leaning into the feeling so it can be over as I feel like the more you resist, the longer you drag it out.
TB: In ‘Heartbreak” you also talk about the idea of needing an island to yourself to have the space to find yourself again. So do you think the analogy behind ‘Space Island’ is also about realising you need space to be able to grieve?
GN: Yeah! I feel like there is a reason that when you go through a huge loss that it feels like there is a big bubble around you. You feel like there is a force field that stops you from being involved with what’s around you. Sometimes that can feel really isolating, but it’s also a compass to what you need, which is to take up your space, and to feel like there is room for all of the things you are feeling.
CN: Sometimes you need that time alone to find that love for yourself again.
TB: From releasing and working on ‘Don’t Feed The Pop Monster’, what would you say was the portal song that welcomed you into this cinematic soundscape of ‘Space Island’ creatively?
GN: I feel like the portal song is ‘Goodbye World, Hello Space Island’.
CN: Basically we have a good friend who has a cousin that lives in Costa Rica and made this incredible instrumental. We heard it and we were like “can we write something over this as this really sounds like something you’d hear entering into the album we are making”.
GN: We put aside everything we were meant to do that day, and just worked on it. We added the vocals and drums to it, but the guitar and the whooshing portal sound was all him.
TB: The cinematic music videos compliments the visual identity so beautifully, and I specifically loved the ‘Heartbreak’ video as it contrasted animation and live action shots together, which felt very 80’s. What were your aesthetic references for doing that?
GN: Caleb was watching a lot of vintage sci-fi’s.
CN: And Georgia watches a lot of cartoons. We were both watching a lot of Midnight Gospel at the time actually.
GN: And Adventure Time! I think I’ve watched that shit three times now. But with the animation, what we loved is if you can think it then you can do it. There’s a lot of freedom there. Dr Foothead is a New Zealand filmmaker, and he killed it more than anything we could’ve prepared for. It all came together with so much hands off trust.
TB: Let’s play a quick game of rapid fire questions about the album. Are you ready?
CN: We are pretty slow at this game *laughs*.
TB: The emoji that best describes the album is…
GN: The heart with bandages wrapped around it.
CN: Or the upside down smiley face!
TB: The song that nearly didn’t make the album was…
CN: We had another song on there that was way too hectic and wasn’t aligned with ‘Space Island’ so we decided to switch it up.
TB: A lyric that still hits me deep in the chest is…
GN: “I know you best, I know what’s best for you. Baby, if you’re depressed, can’t leave it up to you” from Gaslight.
TB: The song I’m most excited to perform live would be…
CN: Definitely ‘Distance And Drugs’!
TB: If your friends haven’t heard any of our new music, the song you should play them first from the album should be…
CN: ‘Like A Woman’ as it has both sides of the album as it starts off calm and then gets really hectic at the end. That one is definitely an adventure.
‘Space Island’ is out now!
Broods 2022 Australian Tour
Tuesday 26 April – Metro Theatre, Sydney
Wednesday 27 April – The Triffid, Brisbane
Thursday 28 April – 170 Russell, Melbourne For all ticketing details visit HERE