With her debut EP under the Brous moniker released this month, Melbourne singer-songwriter and multitalented woman about town Sophia Brous is in full swing. Yes, the acclaimed jazz performer and program director of the Melbourne International Jazz Festival decided she needed more on her plate and now has a fast-blossoming pop career to contend with.
The EP’s lead single, Streamers, was released in early July and pitched Brous as a hypnotic and sensual siren with an edge, akin to the cunningly dangerous singers who themed the Bond films of the 60s. And while Brous isn’t owning the reference, she admits that golden era soundtracks are an influence.
“I don’t ever seek to make my music sound like a certain thing, but there’s probably some music that has had such an indelible impact on me that it just expresses itself that way,” Brous says, laughing at the flurry of comparisons that came with the single’s release. “I definitely love 60s pop orchestras and I love soundtracks and I love the eeriness of… [Polish composer] Krzysztof Komeda’s Rosemary’s Baby soundtrack.
“In a way, that whole ‘la la la’ section in Streamers is meant to be almost this psychotic delirium; such a blissful place that it leads into some darkness.”
Brous utilised choirs and string sections to create what she terms “backdrops” and “scenic spaces” on the EP, while vocally – and as with her stage performances – there is a sense of theatricality at play (think of early Barbra Streisand).
But according to Brous, it’s the heart of the songs, not the overall drama, that is most important. “At the end of it all, I want there to be the foundation of an honest song,” she says. “I don’t just want to pile six thousand layers on top of each other and make a big omelette; I want there to be something when it’s stripped away.”
Brous co-produced the EP with Sydney producer Scott Horscroft and her band mate and long-time collaborator Shags Chamberlain – of Pikelet, Lost Animal, Ev & Shags and the DJ booth of just about decent bar in town.
“Shags is such a fastidious person,” Brous says. “He really knows his shit, and we really applied that to deciding exactly which organs we used and the different synths and the analogue equipment that we used for everything. And it’s so amazing having him in the band because he has such an encyclopaedic knowledge of sounds and of the recordings we both love. It’s a really good partnership.”
While only five tracks appear on the EP, as Brous reveals, nine tracks were recorded in all with more to come soon. Having signed to One Louder Recordings, the label arm of the management company that counts Sarah Blasko and Clare Bowditch amongst its artists, there’s no doubt we’ll be hearing a lot more of Brous in the very near future.
Brous is out through One Louder Recordings/Universal on September 23.