Georgia Nott is usually one half of New Zealand brother-sister production duo Broods, but is currently leading up her all-female enterprise The Venus Project.
Georgia steps away from Broods and brother Caleb for The Venus Project in an effort to shine a spotlight on the undiscovered and under-appreciated women of the music industry.
She has led an all-female team of musicians, producers, engineers and more to complete the first offering 'The Venus Project: Vol. 1', which was released last week to coincide with International Women's Day (8 May).
We catch up with Georgia to discuss the project and the importance of female representation in Australian music.
What was the initial inspiration or motivation for 'The Venus Project'?
[Georgia] In the four years I’ve been in the industry, the amount of women I’ve encountered behind the scenes – in the studio or on tour – have been few and far between.
I’ve worked with a couple of female producers with Broods and encountered the occasional woman working on tour, but for the most part it’s just men.
What annoyed me was that every time I saw a woman I was surprised. I don’t want it to be surprising when I see a female engineer or producer or lighting director or drummer. I want those roles to be seen as a normal job for a woman one day.
So I decided to celebrate the ones who are already trying to start this change in the industry.
What was your creative vision for the group and the album?
I wanted to express myself as not just a woman, but as a human. I wanted to feel like I was free to be honest with this project.
I didn’t want to make something that I felt I should because of what other people think feminist expression looks like. It doesn’t have one form to me.
I thought the best way to fight in this feminist movement was to represent myself as myself and not feel a need to compensate for my femininity or emotion. Or to change them to something I thought people would want.
I wanted to express the way I feel as a human being at this time in my life and show that I believe what I have to give is of value in its most organic form.
Who else did you work with on the project?
I wrote and produced almost every song on the record with my friend Camila Mora. For the first single 'Won’t Hurt', however, I worked with another amazing writer/ producer, Ceci Gomez.
I worked with my friend Ashley Lukashevsky on the the album artwork. Her style is so striking and she uses her artwork to speak up for a lot of minorities in today’s society and to crush oppression on a day to day basis, which is something to celebrate about her.
Adrianne Gonzalez mixed the album, and it was an awesome experience working so closely with her. I’ve never had such an intimate experience with a mixing engineer. Emily Lazar mastered the record and mixed 'Won’t Hurt'. I was so pleased to have her on board. She’s a very inspiring woman.
One of my best friends, Catie Laffoon, did all the press shots for the project. That relationship made it so easy to experiment with more intimate press shots, which is something I haven’t had a chance to do very much in the past.
I collaborated with a young director Morgan Gruer on the 'Won’t Hurt' music video. She’s around my age and she’s smashing it so far in her career. This was another chance for me to have such a close collaboration which made it one of the most rewarding experiences on set. There was also almost a full crew of women on set that day too!
It’s been amazing to have included so many friends and made more through this project.
As one half of a brother-sister duo, you speak of often being 'the only women in a room'; have there been any particularly negative experiences with that dynamic?
I have never felt inferior to my brother. He has never made me feel that way or allowed anyone else to make me feel that either. He is my biggest fan, and my confidence and self belief has always been fed and lifted by him.
I have learnt a lot about myself from being the one of the only women on tour or in the studio.
Almost every tour I’ve been on with Broods we’ve had a female tour manager. She taught me a lot directly about being a boss lady and indirectly by the way the men she encountered reacted to a boss lady. I saw her grit her teeth through many situations where she was patronised or looked down on.
At times I wanted to scream at people on her behalf. She, however, had the self control and patience of a saint with the cunning powers of a bad-ass witch!
How can women in the music industry take a more visible, commanding role?
It’s so important that women encourage one another and lift each other up. For so long media has fed off feuds between women as entertainment. This is not the lesson we should be teaching young girls and women. We have to stand up for one another in times of oppression and rejoice in one another’s victories instead of competing.
It doesn’t just take women believing in one another though. It’s so much about teaching young men that respecting women is attractive and admirable and everyone should be viewed equally. That collaborating with women is valuable.
How was working with an all-female creative team different to working with Caleb in Broods?
I have always been actively empowered by my brother. But to realise through this project that I empower myself more than anyone else has been such an important life lesson. I have found myself through this project and gained a lot of respect for myself.
Apart from producing the record, what other work went on behind-the-scenes?
We weren’t just making an album in my eyes, we were building a community and starting a conversation.
It’s been so beneficial to have personal and creative relationships through the making of this record. A chance to share our stories and show ourselves through our work.
What is the significance of the album being released on 8 May, International Women’s' Day?
Every time I release music I see it as my gift to the world. It is the most valuable gift I can give and this project is so valuable to me. International Women’s Day is a celebration to me and this is the present I’m showing up to the party with.
When it comes to gender diversity in festival line-ups, do you believe quotas are a realistic way to address the imbalance?
As much as seeing a line-up to a festival hints at the imbalance of men and women in the industry, it goes much deeper than the artists and performers we listen to on the radio or see on stage at a festival. That is not the start and end of the music industry.
The imbalance is much more extreme when you look further into the entire world of the music industry. Take a look at the Grammy nominations this year. It’s depressing. Read the line-up of collaborators on almost any record and it will be an incredibly sad reality.
Do you have plans to perform the album live?
I would love to turn the record into a live show. It would be insane to see have it come to life and invite more amazing women to make that happen. I’m optimistic that I’ll find a way to do it.
Is Volume 2 in the works yet?
Not yet. I personally want to hand the reigns to another artist to create their version of The Venus Project for the next round. We shall see where this release takes us.
What advice to do give young women who are trying to get a leg up in the industry, whether as artists or other professionals?
Do not take 'that’s just the way it is' as an excuse. If you wanna do something that isn’t the 'usual career for a woman' you just bloody find a way to do it!