Nervo: A Double Douse Of House Beats

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Aussie twin sisters Mim and Liv are blonde beauties who double as talented musical vixens. They might have started out as models, but their passion for music has led them to international fame.

They can sing, write songs, mix beats like no one’s business and are tearing up dancefloors from Ibiza all the way to Sin City. Already hit pop songwriters, the feisty tag-team have rocked Lollapalooza, Tokyo, and more, providing infectious electro-house tunes wherever they go. Earlier this summer, the vibrant twins shared the stage with Spears and Nicki Minaj for their Femme Fatale tour and will be hitting major US cities with the highly anticipated and just underway IDentity Festival. We caught up with Liv to get the scoop on the dynamic duo’s musical journey. Get ready America, Nervo’s bold and sassy, in-your-face beats will make them irresistible.

I think the lifestyle of a DJ isn’t conducive to a lot of women…sometimes it works against us being girls and sometimes I actually think it works for us.

How did you guys get interested in music?
We’ve always been interested in music. Since a very young age we’ve been doing musical things. Then we just started working and writing with producers and started singing for them when we got a bit older. After a few songs, we got a bit of attention and went off from there.

How did Nervo become your moniker?
Our last name is Nervo. We release our songs under our own names, so when it was time to come up with our DJ name, we decided to keep our last name since that’s what people in the songwriting world already knew us as. Mim and I have been collaborating together since we first started, so it just makes sense that we’re known in both the DJ and production world as the same thing.

Do you guys ever work on separate things without each other?
We literally do everything together and are always bouncing ideas off each other. If I start something on my own or pick up on something then I’ll fly it over to Mim and she’ll add her take on it and vice versa. We don’t always start projects at the same time, but somewhere along the line we definitely come together.

What genre of music do you guys specialize in?
When we started DJing a few years ago, we wanted to take it quite seriously. We focused quite a lot on making things a lot clubbier. But, at the same time, we’ve always had a foot in the pop world, too, because that’s where we came from and do a lot of production work. But our passions are a bit harder and more in the dance realm of things. We really love house and club music. However, we do write a good fusion of the two; not straight up pop or too club. But when we’re working with certain artists in the studio, we try to work with what fits them best musically.

What type of music do you listen to when you need to feel inspired?
We listen to all kinds of music because we DJ, so it’s sort of our job to make sure we know what’s hot in the music world. I, personally, love house music and listen to a lot if, so that’s more my passion. I’m a bit lucky since I get to collaborate with a lot of artists that do house music, as well as get to listen to the freshest stuff that comes out, so that’s a plus! In terms of bands, I love La Roux, MGMT, the Presets, Empire of the Sun and tons more.

You girls do it all: sing, write songs, DJ, model… How did the transition from each one happen?
We were models when younger, but music has always been what we love doing above all other things. So, really, songwriting and producing always came first. A lot of people, when they DJ they start very young like 17 or 18, when they can get into the clubs. It’s later that they start getting into music production. Mim and I did it the opposite way. We were first studio rats then decided after working practically all week at the studio, why not make something under our own name and get it out there in the clubs. Doing both has really helped our career. Since we’ve been more out there in the club circuit, we’ve been able to test out new music. It’s actually even helped our pop production since the more we work on our club projects, after a while we’re itching to start something that’s more pop-based and that’s when the creativity starts to flow.

What would you say was the pinpoint moment when you guys became well known within the dance scene?
I guess when David Guetta had the song we wrote from him, “When Love Takes Over” with Kelly Rowland, go #1 in, like, every single dance chart around the world. It actually won a Grammy for “Best [Non-Classical], Remixed Recording,” which was very flattering to us. When that happened, the club world took us a lot more seriously. We got a lot of request to start working on more stuff. We really felt that transition after that one song took off.

How do you guys approach your creativity?
I think a lot about being a creative type is giving yourself the time to really focus on something so that the creative flow just comes to you. We take our studio time very seriously, and we go in there with no distractions and are really focused on the task on hand. It’s just us in a room or studio, a computer, speakers and a whole lot of coffee and hopefully ideas start flowing. Sometimes it can start off from a loop or a riff, while other times it starts from a lyric or a melody. So we just try to keep it as free and open as possible. We really enjoy it still after eight years. If we are away from the studio for more than two weeks, then we start to get a bit anxious and want to go back in.

Being sisters, do sisterly fights ever get in the way of your music making?
Yeah of course! We do fight in the studio sometimes because we’re brutally honest with each other. If I don’t like something that Mim started I’ll let her know right away. When you’re sisters you can cut to the chase a bit more, although it might seem to outsiders like we’re being rude to each other. But then we get over it and move on…that’s it!

What’s it like as females in an arena that’s usually dominated by guys?
We get asked that question a lot. I think the lifestyle of a DJ isn’t conducive to a lot of women, especially since we’re always out traveling and it gets lonely. A lot of late nights, traveling and clubs make up the lifestyle. For Mim and I, it’s like we’re each other’s sidekicks, so it’s a lot less lonely. But we try not to think about it and just move on. I think sometimes it works against us being girls and sometimes I actually think it works for us.

What are the pros and cons of what you do?
The pros are that I get to see the world and hang out with such brilliant people who have talent that is borderline intimidating. Oh, and, of course, I get to go to fun events! I guess a bad thing about it all is that I’m away from home a lot, but at this point it doesn’t bother me as much because I’m having way to much fun on the road right now!

What’s it like to have joined the Femme Fatal tour?
It’s our second, ever, tour in America. For the first one, we only did the East Coast, so now we’re doing both coasts. This tour is huge in terms of the production. The last one we did was more of a club tour with Paul Oakenfold and Chuckie, which was very different from this one. The amount of people involved in the crew is insane, and it really makes you feel as if you’re part of a big machine.

How did you guys score a residency in Vegas?
Vegas is incredible! The first time we ever went to Vegas we played in December of last year. The residency is just amazing; the people love house music and the promoters are so encouraging of it. All of Vegas is really feeling house music and the people really understand it. It’s amazing to be a part of a new movement in Sin City!

You guys are also touring with the IDentity Festival this summer. What are you most looking forward to while on the tour?
I’m so excited about this tour! It’s a whole bunch of electronic artists traveling across America. The schedule is pretty grueling since we’re, like, in a new city practically every day. But it’ll be fun sharing a bus with other artists and being able to play more than the 25 minutes we do on the Femme Fatal tour. Plus it’s always great to tour with our friends and looking forward to checking out Steve Aoki. He’s a good friend and collaborator of ours. We always bump into him at airports and have been to each other’s gigs, but have never toured together, so I’ll be good times!

What has been your most memorable moment in terms of DJing?
There’s so many, but one that I’ll never forget and always love was when we played Space in Ibiza a year ago. We’ve been going to Ibiza for a couple of years now, but just as spectators or supporters for our DJ friends. But last summer, we go the chance to play the opening of Space for the summer and had a really good time slot. It was really nerve-wracking since we were still sort of new to DJing. There were lots of people there to support us and it was a great night.

What do you guys hope to achieve with your music career?
Woe, we have so many goal and plans for the future. It would be really exciting to play peak times at huge festivals like Ultra and be on main stages. On the music front of things, we’d like to have more success under our own name since we worked for so many years behind other people. The next challenge for Mim and I is recording our own vocals for our tracks, which can be quite daunting and exciting at the same time. Ultimately, we’d like to be known as having the ability to do it all!

“Irresistible” feat. Ollie James