The Venus Project: Relatable, Heartbreaking, and Empowering
An all-female music project doesn’t just put women’s issues in the spotlight, it highlights the importance of women working backstage, too, writes Holly Tippler.
I didn’t cry in The Notebook, had no tears during Romeo and Juliet and did not even well up while watching Titanic. Naturally, I assumed my cultural tear ducts were broken. However, after listening to Volume 1 of The Venus Project album, I found those ducts to be working just fine.
Listening to Georgia Nott’s newest musical venture The Venus Project felt like stepping into a well-curated film soundtrack. Georgia’s lyrics are relatable and heartbreaking, nostalgic and melancholic and although based around personal subjects, they include the listener to feel part of each experience.
The lead singer of New Zealand brother-sister duo, Broods, has taken on a new musical endeavour; an all female project. Georgia realised just how few women worked behind the scenes in music, so instead of accepting that and always feeling like the odd one out, she started looking for an all girl team of capable and talented musicians, producers, sound engineers and every other cog needed in the musical wheel of producing an incredible album.
Speaking to Georgia made it all the more evident how passionate and driven she is about creating Volume 1.
“The fact that I have been surrounded by so many active feminists since being in this industry definitely inspired me. It took me a while to figure out how I could contribute to this cause I felt so strongly about. There are so many ways to be a feminist and for me, expressing myself through my music is the only way I have ever known how to make an impact.”
The album begins with an eerie, synth-led track, Moon to Moon. The vocals float above as the instrumental backing track slowly builds. The song is kept minimalistic and finishes with harmonies and a crescendo of strings. Moon to Moon introduces the overall vibe of the album as a raw and stripped back display of emotions and stories. This mood is complemented as the album progresses, with a strong focus on acoustic accompaniments, harmonies, and gradual additions of instruments to help each song grow.
Her song Need A Man questions the role that men can play in a women’s world as a protector from other men that are considered a threat in certain situations.
“You say I need a man, to protect me. Can’t you see the irony? You say I need a man, to protect me. I don’t see how the problem is me.”
These lyrics are strong and relevant in a society where walking alone at night or only with women is considered dangerous for women. The strength of these lyrics is enhanced by the simplicity and openness of the music.
“Women should not have to hide their emotions in fear of being ‘weak’, says Georgia.
“Being empathetic and expressive is what makes women so strong. The general idea that showing deep emotions is a sign of weakness is the biggest load of bullshit I’ve ever heard.”
Georgia kept demo recordings on the album to capture the vulnerability and emotions of the music she wrote. As well as these stripped back recordings she also included two voice messages from a close friend of hers and then her response. At the end of her track Go Easy/Hey Love (Pt. 1) the first of these recordings play; and if the song itself with the acoustic guitar, orchestral strings, and emotional lyrics didn’t already have you welling up, the relatable and touching message from her friend is bound to tug at your heartstrings.
“Going into making this album I wondered if I was being to ‘depressing’ or if I needed to make it more of an empowerment anthem compilation. But, to tell the truth, I don’t really write like that and I decided not to alter my art form to compensate or fulfil some expectation.”
The message captures feelings that I think we have all had at so many times in our lives. The difficulty of dealing with bad days that feel unmanageable on our own is captured in her tone of voice, and the openness of the recording.
Track six brings us her single, Won’t Hurt. With a slightly more upbeat drum, synth, and bass section the song shows off the production side of the album as well as displaying Georgia’s range and vocal abilities.
The production throughout this project shows off various skills. From the ability to construct a polished and professional track, to the bold decision to take a step back, allowing the raw demo works to shine on their own.
Georgia says she also found herself falling into a lot of new roles and experienced a new vibe working with a fully female team.
“I felt a lot more responsible for the project. I had to wear a lot of hats throughout the process. It was really liberating and a bit terrifying too. There were a lot of times that I felt the obstacles were greater than the reward. Trying to find a team of women that had the time to be a part of it…I relied a lot on their passion to keep the project going. But in the end that made it so much more satisfying to finish.”
This album presents ten songs showing Georgia’s versatility and passion to her art. This is 34 minutes of raw, stripped back music, combining elements of studio production with the vulnerability of demo recordings. And an insight into a world filled with perfectly phrased sentiments and effortlessly executed musicality.
“I hold the whole album very close to my heart. It’s hard to pick a favourite because they’re all so undeniably personal. From start to finish, the idea behind it was to make every song a part of the last and the next. It feels like one long song to me”