In the hallowed halls of NBC Studios at Rockefeller Center, the electro-pop duo Broods are gearing up for their North American TV debut on Late Night with Seth Meyers, yet another sign in a string of many that this brother and sister from New Zealand have broken out in America. Caleb and Georgia Nott, who are 22 and 21 respectively, hit it big last year with their gauzy anthem, “Bridges,” and they’ve been fighting off the Lorde comparisons ever since. You can see why. Besides the obvious New Zealand connection, the Notts share Lorde’s producer, Joel Little, who’s helped them craft the same kind of swirling and infectious pop morphine that made their a countrywoman a global phenomenon. Hours before they hit the Late Night stage to perform their latest single, “Mother and Father,” Caleb spoke with us from the show’s green room about the duo’s rising fame, their first time in the United States, and why he gets really drunk, really easily.
How are you feeling before your big American TV debut?
I’m not too sure. I usually feel nervous about 10 minutes beforehand, but that’s for anything. Even our own shows.
Broods is getting more recognition by the day. What’s it like?
It’s pretty nuts. I try to take it day by day or else I’d lose track of things. But it’s crazy.
What’s interesting is that Broods hooked up with Lorde’s producer, Joel Little, before any of you became popular. How did that happen?
We first met Joel during this Battle of the Bands competition in high school. Our band won and Joel was one of the judges. He got in touch with us and introduced us to his manager, who is now our manager. He’s been around for about three years now and kind of shaped us into who we are now.
When you saw Lorde blowing up, did you think, “Oh man, Broods could be next”?
When Joel first played me her first track, I was just like, ‘Fuck. This is pretty darn good, we need to step up our game!’ I couldn’t have imagined any of the success Lorde has, let alone us. It’s a pretty amazing thing that’s happened for New Zealand music.
When was the first time you came to America?
It was actually to sign our record deal (with Capitol Records), which was in December of last year. They flew us over in business class, where we had never been in our lives; we were like a couple of kids in a candy store. People were looking at us like, ‘Why are these kids so excited?’ From the airport we went straight to the Capitol Building, and it was fricking nuts recording in Studio A where Frank Sinatra recorded. When we first got to Los Angeles, we were like, ‘What is this place?’ It was so dirty to us because New Zealand is so incredibly clean, and full of wildlife and nature. A city like L.A. was pretty new to us. There was also a cold snap that first day, so we were told to put our jackets on. When I walked outside, I was like, ‘What the hell is this shit? It’s like summer!’ So I was walking around in a t-shirt and shorts.
Throughout everything that’s happened Broods in the past year or so, what has been the coolest experience so far? Has there been a moment where you’re like, “Damn, is this real?”
Yes. For me, it was playing a show in Studio B at Abbey Road Studios where the Beatles recorded all their albums. I was just kind of standing there in my own world, frozen.
Let’s backtrack for a bit. Tell me the Broods origin story. How did it come together? You were in New Zealand?
Georgia and I have been making music since we were kids. We started off just playing other people’s songs for years, just the two of us acoustically. When we got to high school we started writing because we had a great music teacher, and he would encourage you to write and perform on a regular basis. In the later years of high school we started playing in a band together, but it wasn’t until April 2013 when we started writing for this project.
How did you come up with the name Broods?
Our manager did. We were about to release something, and he was like, “You guys are going to need a fucking name now.” We couldn’t think of anything that was any good. And then he asked me, “What about Broods?” It sounded like a skin disease to me at first, but I thought about it after two weeks and it just works. There are a lot of meanings: brooding music and deep thinking; that’s how we write. Also a brood is a family of birds, which ties into the family thing.
Congrats on the latest single, “Mother & Father.” It’s really taking off now.
The song is kind of a different topic than what most people are writing about at the moment; it’s not a love song. It’s basically about leaving home and becoming indepdent on your own, and not just saying goodbye your parents, or your family. It’s about leaving everything that was familar to you growing up that you got used to, and kind of flipping that on its head.
Is it based on your own personal experiences leaving New Zealand to go on tour?
Not so much leaving New Zealand, but leaving our hometown. It’s more Georgia’s experience than mine. I’m not a homesick person, but Georgia is a severely homesick person.
The Broods debut album is coming out soon. Are these tracks you’ve been working on for years, or are they all new?
“Bridges” and “Never Gonna Change” are the only songs from the past on it. The rest, including “Mother & Father,” are fresh from scratch; we wrote and recorded the whole thing in five weeks. It’s all very new. We wrote the last four songs in the past five days.
Wow. That’s a pretty impressive output.
We don’t muck around.
What’s it like having someone like your sister Georgia to experience this with? Most singers just go at it alone, but you have your sister to you know exactly what she’s going through, and she knows exactly what you’re going through.
It’s fantatsic to have someone so familar to you with you on this journey. She’s someone I know inside and out, and I’m someone she knows inside and out. It’s like taking your best mate around the world for your job.
What do your friends and family think of Broods? They must be going crazy.
I think my parents do, but they don’t do it in front of us. As for my friends, I’m definitely getting a few messages from people who I don’t really talk to too much or haven’t talked to for years, and now all of the sudden they’re interested in hanging out. My friends who have been my mates throughout the years treat me exactly the same. If I ever became too big for my boots they’d probably slap me in the face. They’ll bring me back down to earth if I need to.
You recently turned 22, so happy belated birthday. Are you partying?
I don’t like to party on the road so I can be at the top of my game for these sort of interviews. It makes it really hard if you want to go drink, because the next morning you always have to get up early and travel somewhere. So I kind of stay off it, and then when I go home, I just get wasted because my tolerance for alcohol is zero since I turn into a lightweight while on tour. I can’t keep up with any friends when I start drinking again.