Dissecting the gear the sibling duo used to get to Space Island
Sunny California is a long way from New Zealand’s city of Nelson, but it’s a move that the sibling duo Caleb and Georgia Nott of BROODS have made with confidence after enjoying an astronomical rise from their humble beginnings on the South Island.
Georgia takes lead vocals in the musical duo while older brother and multi-instrumentalist Caleb takes on the production role and backing vocals in their whirlwind of electro and indie-pop goodness.
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Their fourth studio album Space Island is out now and was mostly worked on their own in their home studio in downtown Los Angeles, occasionally joining forces with friends and producers like Leroy Clampitt (Ashe, FLETCHER) and Stint (MØ, Gallant).
The album is described as “crystallised in a gorgeous constellation of sonic details – otherworldly beats, swooning guitar tones, and effervescent synth lines”.
With over a billion streams and 10 New Zealand Music awards, we know there’s plenty of love for the ever-burgeoning sibling duo, so Mixdown decided to chat with Caleb to dissect their rig setup for the new album.
Farfisa VIP 200
The album emerged from a period of unbridled experimentation that involved abundant use of Caleb’s newly purchased Farfisa organ.
“When I first saw the Farfisa it had just been dropped off at one of my favourite vintage music shops, Caveman Vintage in East LA. I fell in love with it instantly, they look like a 60s Italian sports car and sound just as nasty!
“My favourite feature is the ‘Slalom’ pedal that is basically a pitch bend but gives you the ability to have both hands on the keyboard too. Songs like ‘Distance and Drugs’ and ‘Like A Woman’ really showcase that bendy engine rev of the Farfisa.
“It really just sounds like a spaceship taking off and provided that slurring bite we needed in those songs.”
“Our go-to synths on the record were what we had at the studio which was a Juno 60, Prophet Rev2, Moog Voyager and a few more smaller fun machines like the Roland Bassline.
“The Prophet Rev2 (16 voice) by Dave smith has such great versatility and can basically do anything you need it too. And with 16 voices you can really develop that depth of tone.”
“We don’t usually have huge recording budgets or anything like that so a lot of the time we have to be creative in how we execute certain sounds. For string parts and things it can get really expensive and hard to get exactly what you’re hearing in your head.
“We will often go through a lot of orchestral samples and things and then re-harmonise them in Melodyne and chop different pieces over the top of each other. It gives the arrangement a slightly glitchy and warped feel almost like listening to a kaleidoscope.
“A lot of the horns in ‘Distance and Drugs’ are just stacks of myself doing my best trombone impression with my mouth haha.”
Manley Reference + Neve 1073 Preamp + UAD 1176 Compressor
“When we got to recording the final vocals for Space Island we were lucky enough to use Joel Little’s studio for a week.
“The chain we used for Georgia’s vocals on this record wasn’t too different to what we have used in the past, G always records on a Manley Reference, we’ve found that’s the best mic for her vocal timbre. Then we put that through a Neve 1073 (pre) into the classic UAD 1176 compressor.”