A chat with Norwood
Norwood is the project of Melbourne based singer-songwriters Nathaniel Peacock and Olivia Bolmat, formed through a shared admiration for artists like Neil Young, Gillian Welch and The Dead Tongues. Inspired by the resonant sounds and stories of country and folk music, the pair have recently released a double single titled ‘Affairs / I Know It Looks Bad’.
Recorded in Melbourne during the early months of 2021,
both tracks dwell on themes of introspection and internal conflict, seeking catharsis through harmony laden crescendos and candid lyricism. Norwood kindly shared some insight with Forever West about the enchanting release.
Tell us all about your new double single ‘Affairs / I Know It Looks Bad’.
The double single is made up of two tracks that we’ve been playing live for nearly a year. One is about a hypothetical affair and the other is about 21st century cynicism - heavy stuff. We finally had the chance to record them in the summer after last year's long lockdown with our drummer and producer Connor Tuan at his studio Westend Recordings. We’re really lucky to have someone who has a studio local to where we live, so we could take our time and really mould the tracks into something more complex, especially compared to how we play them live as a duet.
Your vocals compliment each other ever so nicely, can you share how Norwood came to be?
Cheers! We actually met each other through Liv’s dad after Nathaniel served him drinks at a 50th birthday. After a slightly inebriated conversation they both discovered a common love of music and we ended up jamming together as a result. Thankfully we both had a similar taste in music and really enjoyed singing songs together.
How would you describe your sound?
We’d describe our sound as alternative folk with a hint of country as these are the genres we tend to draw on the most when writing. Our songs are usually written with an acoustic guitar - starting off with a simple arrangement means we can focus on melody before adding any other instrumentation. That being said, we do love to muck around with other instruments like banjo and the piano accordion (watch this space).
Following on from your debut EP, which dropped last year, how has your songwriting and style changed in ‘Affairs / I Know It Looks Bad’?
The EP was largely focused around Norwood being an acoustic act, whereas we found ourselves wanting to incorporate more of a full band sound in our latest recordings. We had a couple of opportunities to play with a full band before the latest lockdown which we really enjoyed and can’t wait to do again in the future. We also wanted to be a little more creative with the storytelling element of the song’s lyrics by narrowing in on particular themes.
Who would you consider to be the biggest influence on your music at this point in time and why?
Nathaniel’s been obsessed with Hovvdy at the moment, they just released a new album and the production and songwriting is gorgeous. Olivia’s really been enjoying Merpire’s new album as well as the latest EP from Jack Davies & The Bush Chooks, they were both two of the last acts that we saw live before heading back into lockdown this year.
Forever West highlights creatives based in Naarm/Melbourne’s West, what suburb does Norwood operate out of? And does location have an influence on how you create your music?
We operate out of Moonee Ponds and Flemington - Connor’s studio “Westend Recordings” is also in Moonee Ponds. We feel that Melbourne as a whole spurs us on to create music, the number of opportunities this city has for emerging musicians is amazing and there’s so many great venues to play at. We’re stoked to see how many bands are coming out of the West, being surrounded by talented and like-minded people continues to inspire us.
What’s next for the world of Norwood?
We just can’t wait to get back to playing live and hope to do as much of it as possible! We’re planning to get a tour together to celebrate the release of Affairs and I Know, It Looks Bad when we’re able to.
♫ Listen to ‘Affairs / I Know It Looks Bad’
Photos by Angus McGeehan