Melbourne indie-noir act, Broads are once again sweetly singing their way passed unhealthy and archaic social constructs.
The duo, comprised of Kelly Day and Jane Hendry, are regarded highly for their ability to sing in a way that is simultaneously delicate and decidedly fierce.
Their latest single, 'I Fed The Horse' (to be released 30 November), is a prime example of this, flicking from soft and lulling to intense and haunting. There's an often untapped mastery in the control these broads display.
'I Fed The Horse' comes from their upcoming 2019 album. It is the second single to be released from it, following on from its debut single 'Mirror' which was released in October.
Today, scenestr is pleased to share an exclusive stream of 'I Fed The Horse' ahead of the song's release on Friday. Enjoy.
Your second album is releasing early next year. How does it encapsulate the current Broads sound?
[Kelly] In a way, I think the album is really creating a new Broads sound. A lot of the songs were new to the band and have evolved as the recording process went on. There’s endless scope to experiment in the studio, so why wouldn’t you?
Does it have a title and a release date?
Ooh, the cat’s crawling out of the proverbial bag… The title is ‘Stay Connected’. If Broads turned corporate, that would be our slogan. Catchy, no? The album will be out in March, exact date casually pending.
How do you think it differs from your first album?
Speaking sonically, we went into our first album [2017's] ‘Vacancy’ as an acoustic duo and in the process formed a band and a new sound. It was very sparsely arranged, a lot of nylon string guitar and maybe only a few, full band tracks.
This time, we’ve entered as a full band and pushed it from there. We’ve still got a couple of acoustic arrangements, but most of the album is a lot more produced; there’s a spectrum of new sounds like synths and layers of electric guitars.
Writing with a band in mind really changed the feel of these songs too – there’s definitely some pop moments, like the first single ‘Mirror’. My mum will be so pleased, there’s at least one song she can tap her toes to. It’s all she ever wanted from her daughter.
Are there certain themes and ideals you are wanting to keep from previous Broads' releases?
There’s definitely a common thread in all of our songwriting. Everything stems from a personal place, but I’ll never write about my boohoo love life. It’s observational and critical, but I also don’t like presenting songs like we hold the answer to any profound questions.
Our last album explored falseness; how we’re taught to believe in and live out fantasies, which make us dishonest not just to others but to ourselves.
‘Stay Connected’, as the title suggests, explores our rapidly evolving culture of global connectivity. Not just a rant about technology, and not all negative. It’s really a peep into the thought process of an introverted over-thinker who’s read too much cerebral sci-fi.
I'm particularly partial to the darkness you seem to centre on. I think it's progressive and affirmative, and I like that it's something you invite in rather than ignore. But are you happy to move forward and develop a new sound as your music progresses?
Absolutely yes. As I mentioned, that’s the joy of writing and even more so of recording.
The songwriting and themes evolve as you process them, the sound evolves as you expand and reach for something new. There are a billion different things I want to write about and a billion sounds I’d like to experiment with, so hopefully I’ll be kicking on for years to write that many albums and keep pushing it somewhere new.
In October you released the first single from the album, 'Mirror', which you described as an 'acerbic reflection on our often obsessive hunger for self-affirmation through the saccharine veils of social media'. Why is that topic particularly important to you?
It’s important because it’s a daily struggle. It’s a real addiction.
These days if you’re a musician or anyone representing their own business, you’re definitely pushed to feel like maintaining a constant social media presence is a career necessity. I’ve seen the change it’s made to myself, to my friends, to how we relate and how we feel about ourselves and our music. Then you look around and see that that’s just the tip of a terrifying iceberg.
I tried to address some of that in ‘Mirror’ in a way that wasn’t judgemental or preachy, but hopefully with a bit of humour. Because you have to laugh. But if you laugh in the forest and no one catches it on camera did it even happen? We’ll never know.
Was there a certain event that triggered the idea for the song?
Not a specific event. I was housesitting out in the leafy 'burbs for a couple of weeks, taking some much needed time away from devices. I poked around the bookshelves instead and came across a book of Sylvia Plath poems. She wrote a poem called ‘Mirror’ about 70 years ago, which seemed so relevant to what I had been stewing on that I decided to write my own, modern take.
Have you always been so outspoken?
Haha. I wouldn’t say that. I’ve always been very strong minded and the older I get, the more I’ve felt I could voice my opinions. Songwriting for me is definitely a space that I feel fully liberated to be able to express my thoughts without worrying that someone will try to argue them down.
How do you think the reception has been for the track?
Good so far. I like that we’ve had a lot of feedback not just about what it sounds like, but what it represents. That’s important.
The second track to be released from album is 'I Fed The Horse'. You recently described it as a “dark dream-pop ballad” and a “dreamy epic slow-burn sexy '80s sci-fi noir ballad about family, morality and inherited personality”. Both wonderful, intriguing descriptions, but can you give us a little more to go on?
Well, this is one of those songs where there’s a big story behind it but really only shows a glimpse of it.
It’s about a young girl who’s trying to figure out who her parents might have been, based on what her and her brother have become. If they share signs of sociopathy, is that genetic? And is that an excuse or should you accept responsibility for your own personality?
There have been some personal events that made me think about these kind of things (no, I’m not sociopathic) and for some reason I had this bleak vision of this girl and her brother’s horse that played out the story.
Your music has been described as 'haunting, narcotic, and deceptively sweet'. I think that's an incredibly insightful summary. What do the two of you think of that?
It sounds about right. At the same time, it has connotations of classical sirens like we’re some sort of seductive lures that will lead a man to his inevitable doom. I don’t think anyone would describe a man’s music as sweet, even deceptively so.
You've got a number of upcoming shows; what is a Broads live experience like?
Hopefully a life changing one. Ha. We like to put on a show and with the full band we make a lot of noise… I definitely like to talk a lot too.
Maybe the siren comparison is appropriate, I’d like to think we suck you in to some sort of dream space while you’re there. And then shove you out onto the mean streets again.
Will you be performing many songs from the new album?
Yes, we play about half of the new album at the moment. So you’ll get a good taste of it, but we’ll leave some surprises for its release.
What can we expect from two broads such as yourself in the future. I know 2019 has an album, but is there anything else on the horizon we should keep an eye out for?
We’ll be out and about touring again once this is released, and looking forward to hitting the festivals. The plan is to get over to the States and Europe over the next couple of years, roll out the global 'Broad-band' shall we say. Stay connected.
Broads Tour DatesFri 30 Nov - The Old Bar (Melbourne)
Sat 15 Dec - Golden Age Cinema (Sydney)
Sun 16 Dec - Frank's Wild Years (Wollongong)