Forgive Caleb Nott for being tired. The Broods co-founder had never been to the United States until last winter, and he's just now finishing up the fourth leg of a tour that has stretched across most of 2014. His exhaustion is understandable.
Caleb and his sister, Georgia Nott, share producer Joel Little with fellow New Zealand star Lorde, and their dark pop sound is reminiscient of the "Royals" songstress.
The duo's new album, Evergreen, hit shelves in August. The highlight is "Four Walls," a love song that Caleb says Georgia wrote in her bedroom one night. When we saw Broods play the historic Ryman Theater in Nashville two weeks ago, Georgia performed a stripped down version with simple keyboard cues and a voice that would take her deep into any one of America's patented singing competitions.
Music Times chatted with Caleb and had him break down the basics of New Zealand's hottest new export.
On the name "Broods":
"We kind of just needed a name quickly because we were about to release a song. Georgia and I came up with really stupid ones, so our manager actually suggested it — it's got ties to family and being really moody, because Georgia writes very moody melodies and stuff. The family tie is like... I think it's a "brood of ducks," or something [Note: a "brood" can also refer to groups of chickens, eagles, hawks, hens and... jellyfish]
On growing up in a musical household:
"My parents played a few different instruments, so there's a lot of guitars and things lying around the house. There were more guitars than people when I was growing up. My dad played. Every little boy wants to be just like his dad, so I've had this obsession with the guitar since I was about two."
On the siblings' decision to turn music into a full-time career:
"I think Georgia's always wanted to do this, and she probably can't see herself doing anything else. I kind of decided last year, when we started writing the EP and stuff. I made the decision when the opportunity came, really. I was full-time studying (industrial design) last year until the end of the year. I thought I may have to chip away and work my ass off for five years, and then maybe someone will listen to my music. But it kind of happened very quickly. And I'm now a university dropout."
On his experience touring the United States:
"His was our fourth trip here this year. We had never been to America until December of last year. That was our first trip, and it was to sign our record deal. It's been a bit of an adjustment, and I think I've lived in your country this year more than I've lived at home so far"
On a rigorous 2014:
"I'm a bit tired at the moment. We just finished two months here. I get to go home in a few days and just chill, take the dog for a walk or something. It'd be nice."
On the differences between America and New Zealand:
"People [in America] are really enthusiastic, which I really like. The fans are probably the best here. They make you feel the most special. They're really into it. Back home, people are just super chilled out. It's just different vibes everywhere around the world. It's really easy to play American crowds, because they give you so much back."
On fellow New Zealander Lorde, who shares producer Joel Little with Broods:
"She's a super talented young woman, and a really nice woman, too. It's awesome to be compared to such an inspiring young person."
On Sam Smith, who brought them along on tour:
"He's the biggest sweetheart you'll probably ever meet. He and his band were so welcoming from day one, and always open for us to come and hang out with them, which is quite rare on a support tour. Just from watching people, you learn so much. We've learned so much from every support tour. They've been doing it longer than we have, so no matter who it is, you're always going to learn something off someone."
On the songwriting process with his sister
"It's different every time. 'Four Walls' is just a love song that Georgia wrote in her bedroom. So I only worked on production for that one. But most of the songs on the album are from scratch in the studio, so it was a pretty equal collaboration of all three of us, including Joel [Little, the producer]."
On Broods' live show:
"I run everything through Ableton Live. I have about five different keyboards connected to my one keyboard. It changes every song, but I just do as much as I can with two hands. We don't run any loops. Ableton allows me to run backing vocals for Georgia, so those are actually coming through my computer.
On spending time with his sister on the road:
"She's probably the only person I can stand for that long. We never have any problems with hanging out so much, because we've been doing it for 20 years, so it's pretty easy."