Brother and sister of Broods dishes on what it's like to make music with family

Brother and sister of Broods dishes on what it's like to make music with family

It can be difficult working with a family member, but somehow Caleb and Georgia Nott take all that sibling rivalry and turn it into beautiful music

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Broods (from left) Caleb and Georgia Nott get homesick for their native New Zealand.

Broods - siblings Caleb and Georgia Nott - know how to bring synthpop to life. The breezy melody, pulsing beats, friendly reverbs and catchy chorus made their first single Bridges an immediate hit. The pair had uploaded the song on October 2013 to Soundcloud so their family and friends could listen to it, but it was soon featured by various music blogs and earned more than 200,000 streams in a week. It also helped that the song was produced by fellow New Zealander Joel Little (who co-wrote and mixed Lorde's massive hit Royals), who met the siblings at a local band competition.

The pair soon got signed to Capitol records. Two years later, they've supported huge pop acts like Sam Smith and Ellie Goulding, and released their debut album Evergreen, which snagged Album of the Year at the 2015 New Zealand Music Awards. They headlined their own North American tour; and a month ago, they stopped by Hong Kong to play a gig at Clockenflap. Thousands of screaming people flocked to see their show, cheering extra loudly when Georgia hit the high notes. It was a pleasant surprise for the duo.

"I didn't even know if anyone knew who we are," Caleb, 23, told Young Post after their show.

"Every time we have a first show in a city it's really scary," chimes in Georgia, 21. "Those people out there were just so awesome and supportive and they were so into it I was just like, 'Man, I want to be doing a way better job!' You're always your own worst critic, though."

"Every time we do a support show - or have a support [act], even - sometimes they'll outdo us, and we'll be like, 'Man, I wanna do that!'" says Caleb.

The two finish each other's sentences so often it was hard to know who said what, but their personalities couldn't be more different. Caleb, who does production and backing vocals, is a drifter, always living in the moment and never dwelling on anything.

Georgia, on lead vocals and keyboards, is very emotional and overthinks things all the time. Perhaps it's their mix of personalities that make their music instantly appealing, yet still deep and soulful.

"We've always balanced each other out. We've always been able to lean on one another to make up for what we lack," says Georgia. Sometimes she gets an idea, and Caleb helps her work it out on the instruments.

The pair grew up in a musical family. Their parents - huge Abba fans - were part of a tribute band, and brought their children along to their performances. Soon the teenage Broods were winning local talent competitions.

For Georgia, a real homebody, a great way to deal with homesickness when on tour is to sing Abba at karaoke. One day, she says, she'll do a spooky cover of Lay All Your Love on Me, with a lot of sad singing and minor chords.

Her homesickness also gave way to Broods hit Mother & Father. "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," goes the stomping piece. "My mum cried when she heart it for the first time. And then she heard 'Ever since I left my mother' and she was like, 'that's me!'," laughs Georgia.

"Dad just stood there silently and smiled for hours," says Caleb.

"He's the smiliest person on Earth," puts in Georgia. "That's why we miss them so much - they're awesome!"

When actor and singer Troye Sivan invited them to work on a song with him, they realised that he was also massively homesick.

"It's hard, because the thing that you love doing the most also makes you really, really miss home, and it's hard to balance it. Troye was going through the same thing, starting to travel heaps, and he's like, 'Oh, it's funny my mum always talks to me on the phone, asks me what I've eaten that day, stuff like that.' So we just started talking about how we feel when we're on the road. What we miss and what we love," recalls Georgia.

That conversation gave birth to Ease, the first project Broods were fully in charge of, and it used a beat Caleb wrote during their flight to the United States. "Troye was like, that's the one," says Caleb. "It was the first thing I showed him and he loved it."

Georgia still gets homesick, but she also loves touring. "It does make it a lot easier when you are on the road for a long amount of time and you have people that you love," adds Georgia. "That's why we've got our cousin drumming for us - because we love him!"

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Family in harmony

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