"Broke Scene" (Jagjaguwar)

Contact Patrick Tilley about Gordi

Today, Gordi (aka Sophie Payten) presents her new single/video, “Broke Scene,” on Jagjaguwar. Co-produced with Ethan Gruska (Phoebe Bridgers, Bon Iver, Sky Ferreira), “Broke Scene” is expansive yet intimate, and boasts mixing credits from previous collaborator Jon Low (Gracie Abrams, Taylor Swift, The National).


Dubbing the track a product of a “yum cha fever dream,” Gordi explains that while working around the clock during a week-long writing residency at an inner-city Sydney studio last year, she abandoned the piano and laptop and meandered down to Chinatown for a late morning yum cha feast. After, Gordi opted for a nap, nestled up against the legs of the PH piano she was working at. As soon as she woke up, “Broke Scene” flowed out of her from start to finish, as she scrambled to capture it on tape in the moment.


Gordi elaborates on that hazy creative moment, “The Lazy Susan spun around the yum cha table as I drained the last of my Tsingtao. I had an afternoon of writing ahead of me, which was giving me ‘the Sunday feeling.’ I was in such a post lunch haze when I got back to the piano, that I thought I’d just lie down and close my eyes for a second. I woke up an hour later in a cold yum cha sweat. Almost robotically I picked up a guitar and started playing this riff, as if I’d been dreaming about it. I looped a drum part over the top that my friend Chris Messina had sent me. By the time the sun set, I had written ‘Broke Scene’.”


“Broke Scene” is a stunning track, laced with an uplifting arrangement anchored to a persistent pulse, with questions of resignation and internal restlessness: “Can you see, you’re burning your house down?” The accompanying “Broke Scene” video, directed by James Dryden, actualizes Gordi’s emotion-ladled, contagious fever dream.


Eliciting visions of internal conflict and fractured connection, Gordi expands on the serendipitous title and how it informed the building blocks of the arrangement, “I called it ‘Broke Scene’ because I was listening to Broken Social Scene that morning. I always thought I’d change the title but as the song unfolded it kind of painted this deteriorating story – a broken scene. I quickly recorded the guitar riff and some piano, added the drum machine and put the whole thing on loop while the words and melody arrived. I took the song to Ethan Gruska in LA, and we tracked some more guitars, synths, piano, banjo and bass. The bass is what makes the song for me. The way it keeps surprising you, changing tones, coming to the forefront and slinking into the background. The final mix is a beautiful one, by Jon Low.”


Gordi’s first single for 2023, “Broke Scene” coincides with Gordi’s Australian national tour with longtime friend and collaborator Bon Iver. The song also comes as Gordi commemorates World Pride, which will also be celebrated with a number of Sydney shows over the coming month. Payten’s last record, the ARIA and two-time triple j Award nominated Our Two Skins, documented her journey through self-discovery, identity, and sexuality.


In addition to her latest body of work, 2021’s Inhuman, Gordi has an impressive catalog and collaboration history behind her. Teaming up with Troye Sivan on “Wait” from the film Three Months, Gordi has also been collaborating with a host of impressive names, remixing Julien Baker as well as tracks with Ben Bohmer, The Blaze, Helado Negro, Loraine James, and Maggie Lindemann.


Payten also co-wrote the theme song to the Oscar-nominated animated feature film The Mitchells vs. The Machines, Netflix’s biggest animated release of all time. Post-lockdown, she has returned to the live stages around the world, making her Sydney Opera House debut for VIVID, and completing extensive tours of Europe with The Tallest Man On Earth and Gang of Youths.