2019 has already been a stellar year for New Zealand duo BROODS.
They've released a new album, toured internationally and performed on huge late night talk shows. Abby spoke with one half of the band, Caleb, about their high energy shows and what we can expect from their upcoming Australian tour.
How has the tour been so far? Has the US been treating you well?
It’s been great! It’s been awesome to reconnect with a lot of fans that we haven’t seen for a very long time – almost two and a half years – so it’s been really nice to play the new stuff. It’s been really fun.
What’s it been like playing those new songs from the new album? You put in such a labour of love and now it’s out in the world.
I think we’re just starting to now get really comfortable. It’s take a while to get in the groove of a whole new album again, and now we’re just polishing it up to come back to Australia with it.
The shows are looking super high energy. How do you keep up the stamina to go out and perform such massive shows night after night?
You’ve just gotta be careful and look after yourself. You need a lot of sleep and a lot of down time because you exert about a whole day’s worth of energy in an hour and a half.
Is your day before the show usually spent trying to get into that mental state and taking it easy?
It’s pretty chill. We eat food and hang out, go play the show, then go to bed. It’s rock and roll, you know!
What’s been your favourite song off the new record to play live?
A bunch of them… I love playing Hospitalized even though it’s the hardest one for me to play.
Is it rewarding being able to pull off the hardest song?
I don’t actually know if I’ve done that yet but I’m getting there! But I’m sure it’ll be ready to go for Australia.
Sounds good! Obviously you and Georgia tour a ton across the world – have you managed to form any weird traditions or routines while you’re on the road?
I don’t know about weird traditions or routines… The main thing we’re conscious of and need to have on tour is the people that we have with us. It’s so important to have likeminded people that all respect each other because otherwise it can just be the worst time ever.
Definitely. Have you been able to meet some of your fans in the US during the tour?
Yeah, we meet a lot of them after the shows. Some of them wait in the cold, so we try and get out to them. It’s nice because some are old fans that we haven’t seen for two and a half years and we get to talk to them again and see how they’re going. It’s been great.
Would you say that you prefer the touring and performing element of your work, or is it the writing and recording that you prefer?
We definitely enjoy both for different reasons because they’re completely different lifestyles. I love being in the studio because it’s very creative and whimsical and very personal at the same time. Touring on the other hand is you connecting with other people, and you don’t really get that in the studio. To connect with thousands of people at once is pretty special and to get to know them after shows is fantastic.
Do you ever miss home when you’re touring?
Not really. We get home to New Zealand a lot – multiple times a year – to see our family a lot. Right now we’ve got our sister on tour, our cousin plays drums, so we’ve already got a lot of family with us at all times. It’s pretty hard to get homesick!
I wanted to ask about the album more generally. It’s definitely a celebration of pop music and with a genre that’s often so undermined, I was wondering what your favourite thing about pop is and why it was such a focus for the record?
I don’t think we focused on it at all really - I think we just made music. I guess what makes our music ‘pop’ is the hooks. I love writing hooks and motifs and things that get stuck in people’s heads, then making them weird and exciting. Pop music can be intellectually… what an ironic moment I can’t even think what the word is… intellectually challenging! It doesn’t have to be simple. It can be as complicated or simple as you want and our record is a mix of both of that.
Was having that freedom and creativity an important part of the process?
We had no one telling us what to do and what we weren’t meant to do. We had only my opinion and Georgia’s opinion really to go off, so that’s how we came up with this album. There were no one else getting in there so it was really nice.
I had to ask specifically about the track Peach – I bloody adore it – which you’ve described as quite “chaotic”, and that’s definitely reflected in the music video. What was the inspiration behind the visuals?
It was directed by our friend Sam and we kinda just sat around one afternoon, drank a bunch of coffee and shot ideas at each other. The idea that we had was very loose, then we just shot it on the day and a lot of the ideas came on the spot on the day. We were just like “Should we do this?!”. Georgia wanted a lot of outfit changes, so she got a lot of outfit changes, and we just wanted it to reflect how crazy and hectic and confusing anxiety can feel. You finish that video and you don’t really know what happened. You think “that was fun, but I have no idea what the purpose was!”
You are touching down in Australia very soon for Vansfest in Forbes. Are you keen about regional NSW?
Yeah! I don’t think I’ve ever been to that part of Australia before so it’s going to be a new experience for us for sure. Our new Americans that we have with us, we’re keen to show them a bit of down under.
Is there anything about heading to Australia that you’re particularly excited about?
Mostly just to play in front of Australian crowds again. I think they give us some of the best energy that we get in the world. We are so well looked after by Australian radio and media and everything as a band, which we’re so grateful for. So we can’t wait to play in Australia again. It’s one of our favourite places to play.
What can Vansfest audiences expect from your upcoming show? I’m thinking maybe some Peaches Magenta-esque dance moves from Georgia…
The whole show will be that, for sure. There’s a lot of energy. It’s going to very colourful and we’re going to have a lot of fun.
The festival line-up is pretty stacked. Is there anyone you’re particularly keen on catching?
Pretty keen to see Methyl Ethel and Pnau is always a good time!
You’ve already released an album and are touring internationally, but are there any other things you and Georgia want to tick off the bucket list in 2019?
I think we’re just keen to make music, whether it be for us or other people. We’re keen to get back in the studio again as well – I think that’s where we’ll be.