Planetary Group took some time to get to know Brooke Singer from the band French For Rabbits, a New Zealand-based group with a penchant for soothing indie tones.
Planetary Group: Tell us about your latest release. How did you come to create it?
Brooke: Our new record is called The Overflow, and we came to create it early in 2020. It had been a wee while since our last record that we made, The Weight of Melted Snow, which was actually recorded way back in like 2016… I think around then. And so, yeah, it’s been a while since we made something and we’d written all these songs and I feel like we had a like collection that was making sense together.
PG: Share a bit about your musical journey, from when you first started making music until now.
Brooke: I wrote my first song when I was five or six about my cat, Monty, who had passed away, sadly. It was in my second house I’d ever lived in. I had a piano, not this one here. I’ve got another piano in the South Island that I grew up playing and on the wood, it looks like a witch is carved into the wood. Well, the shape of the wood knots have created this witchy face. And I used to always have to have music in front of it. So I didn’t see the face because it was a little bit scary, yet I loved playing the piano.
I played the piano and I always loved writing songs with my friends. And then in high school, I met a couple of vocalists, Anita and Laura, and, started doing music with them. And then I went to university, and now I actually do some teaching at a university. So I’ve just always been surrounded by music.
PG: Let’s talk about the music that you love. Pick one album for each category below & tell us a bit about it!
- An album you grew up listening to:
Brooke: Well, an album I grew up listening to was, um, the Cats musical soundtrack, which is quite embarrassing actually, but it was the first musical I went to see. And I remember it vividly because in Christchurch, there was this amazing place called Science Alive, and it had a vertical slide and it had just opened… Anyway, it was the same day that my school was going near there [that] I was also booked in to go to see the Cats musical in a theater with my mom. And so I didn’t get to go on the vertical slide that day, but I did go to the musical and it was incredible. So emotional and a little bit scary, you know, cause I was quite small. But yeah, loved it.
- An album that inspires you as an artist (I’m sure there are many, but pick one of your choosing):
Brooke: Radiohead’s In Rainbows. Prior to hearing that record, I hadn’t sort of found a fandom of Radiohead. But with that record, I really loved everything about it. I thought the songs were really interesting, the production is so good. It’s music that surprises you and it doesn’t fall into cliches. I remember going to the concert, in Ireland actually. And a double rainbow came out in the sky, above the stage next to a castle, and it was magical.
- The album you currently have on repeat:
Brooke: Thank Your Lucky Stars by Beach House. I really, really love this record. Our song Poetry Girl on a new album is kind of like a tribute to this band that I really love. I’ve only seen them play once and I thought they were a little bit scary to be honest, but I just think their music is really, really nice to listen to.
PG: What do you want people to take away from your music?
Brooke: I just want our music to be enriching in some way, or calming. I love getting messages from people who tell me that the albums I’ve created have helped them figure out a problem or help them go to sleep or help them calm down.
I find it to be really nice to know that our music has this positive impact on people’s lives. I’d love it also if people can delve into the lyrics and perhaps think about a problem or an idea in a different way. Cause I’m often talking about politics, or just things that are happening in this day and age.
PG: What’s next up for you?
Brooke: I always find the question of “what’s next” concerning when you’re releasing a record, because it is basically the culmination of all your hard work over a few years. Normally after you release a record, you hope to have a little holiday, perhaps. But yeah, we’ll probably play some shows with the record and hopefully get back overseas.
I’m going to work on a solo record and we’ve also got about an EP’s worth of songs, which are like billowy piano songs. They’re all going to have violins in them. And so that’s probably what’s next.