Put Your Hands Up: Interview with…NERVO!

As the scribes behind such colossal pop smashes as David Guetta and Kelly Rowland‘s “When Love Takes Over,” Ke$ha‘s “Fuck Him (He’s A DJ)” and Kylie Minogue‘s “Put Your Hands Up (If You Feel Love),” it’s safe to say that Liv and Mim Nervo–more commonly known as the Nervo Twins–know a thing or two about writing a hit.

The drop dead gorgeous Aussie-born duo have written for dozens of today’s most beloved pop and dance acts–from Armin van Buuren to Rachel Stevens to the Pussycat Dolls, rapidly becoming one of the music industry’s most consistent, unstoppable hit machines for the latter half of the past decade.

But penning smashes for some of today’s most beloved pop acts is only one of the components to Aussie duo’s recipes for success: The twins have just as quickly climbed their way to prominence within the dance community as a result of their frenetic, high energy live DJ sets, achieving the ultimate stamp of approval after being cast as one of the opening acts on Britney’s massively successful Femme Fatale Tour earlier this year.

Now, as their profile continues to grow between both the packed dance floors of the indie-dance community and the radio airwaves of the mainstream pop scene, the girls are now taking their first steps toward a debut in their own right with the release of their debut Astralwerks single on August 16: “We’re All No One,” featuring Dutch DJ Afrojack and indie-House titan, Steve Aoki.

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to speak with the ever-lovely Mim of the Nervo Twins just one day after the duo stepped down from their opening DJ duties on Britney’s wildly successful Femme Fatale Tour. Read on to see the full interview, including banter about being on tour with Britney, writing for the divine Miss Kylie (and nearly Cheryl Cole!), and all the latest on Nervo’s upcoming debut.

Hi, Mim! How are you?
Hi, Brad! Very well, thanks. How are you?

Doing great, thanks. Thank you so much for speaking with me today.
Oh cool. Thank you for having us!

You’ve just literally come off the Britney tour as of yesterday, right?
We did. Last night, yeah.

How was it? How was your last show?
Aww, it was…you know, the last show is always a bit sad because you form a real family on the tour. It was a great show. It was actually, I think, one of the best shows we’ve done! Nicki Minaj came up to perform with Britney and it was just the full shebang, so it was a great show. Again, I’m just sad to leave everyone!

Aww, of course. So how would you say the whole experience was for you? Was it like a whirlwind all around the country?
Absolutely life changing. It was an eye opener. I was just so thankful that we got that opportunity. It was just a great tour to be on! [There] was real girl power on the Femme Fatale Tour, and it was just a once in a lifetime experience and we’re really glad we did it.

Was there a favorite night for you particularly? Or any night that stood out for you where some crazy event happened?
Well, there were so many good nights. So many good nights! A lot of the time we shared a room with Nicki Minaj’s dancers. Yeah, it was a lot of fun. We helped support each other—they’d come and see our show, we’d go and see theirs.

And it really was interesting, the crowd were different. Sometimes you’d go and you’d play for a crowd and everyone would be standing up. Sometimes you’d be playing for a crowd and everyone’s screaming, so every place is special for its own reason. There were some where we had special people in the audience–like our dad flew up from Australia to be at one of the shows, you know—so yeah, it was just amazing. All amazing.

For readers who weren’t able to see you out on tour, how would you describe the show that you did? The tracks that you spun—what was your set?
Yeah, I would say we played it specifically for the Britney and Nicki Minaj audience, so it was definitely more on the commercial side of what we play. Because our set was so short compared to what we normally play, we did play a lot of our own material. People can always come and see us at our club gigs where we play for two hours or three hours and then we mix it up with our records and other people’s records, so they can still catch us! We’re about to go on an electronic tour around America, and again, I think we’re doing 29 cities or so…so we’ll be around! [Laughs]

Sounds like you’re not stopping at all!
No, we’re not! A new city every night. [Laughs]

Okay. Why don’t we take it back a few years: I’d say one of the first major breakthroughs for probably was when you wrote for Rachel Stevens, “Negotiate For Love”?
[Laughs] Oh my God, that was a long time ago wasn’t it?!

[Laughs] Yes, it was. I absolutely adore that song. How did that all come to be? Because that was pretty much, I think, the start of your breakthrough, right?
Yeah, well, you know, we’d just gotten to the UK and we come from a writing background, so we’ve always been behind the scenes. True, that was our first UK Top 10. And you know how it is, when you’re a writer you just chug along and you hope that bit by bit more people get to know your music and then, you know…here we are now! It’s all been part of the journey.

So now, moving forward, you’ve done “When Love Takes Over” (David Guetta/Kelly Rowland) and “Put Your Hands Up” by Kylie Minogue, which is an amazing track. How did that come to be with Kylie?

With Kylie…that was an interesting one! We just–a lot of the time–really idly just write and we don’t normally write with a particular artist in mind unless the artist is in the room. So, if we’re working with Ke$ha then we put our Ke$ha hat on. But, with that Kylie song, we just went into the session and we thought “Let’s just write something poppier” and we did and it turned out sounding a bit like a Kylie Minogue record. We’re signed to the same record label, so, they instantly—you know, it was an interesting one because Cheryl Cole recorded that song and so did Kylie Minogue, and Kylie wanted to release it as a single. We met Kylie, we recorded it, and c’est la vie! Here we are now!

Wow, I had no idea Cheryl recorded it as well?
Yeah. She recorded it and Kylie recorded it as well.

Wow. Very cool! Sam [Lansky], actually, he contributes to MuuMuse–I believe he hung out backstage with you in Washington and he said that at one point you were talking about how you like to take down phrases that people say and things like that that inspire you to write and things like that. I think he said something was “giving him life” and you wrote it down. [Laughs]

Yeah, we always do. We used to carry around little black books. I guess now our Blackberrys are our little black books in the notes section! If there’s anything that inspires a lyric or just something that can turn into a theme for a song, like any kind of inspiration, we put it in the black book part of our Blackberry. There’s also the voice recorder if we come up with any hooks or ideas. We just constantly turn that on, record it, and then email it to ourselves or download it to the computer.

That’s amazing. Now do you have any tracks coming down the pipeline for other artists that we should be looking out for?

Other artists—you know what, we’re being a little selfish with our time, I would say. We’re doing a lot for ourselves because now we have an amazing opportunity to release records under our own name. So, we’re releasing our first single with Astralwerks in two weeks…I think less than two weeks now, August 16th! Oh my God! So soon!

Right, that’s “We’re All No One” right?

Yes! Yes! We put together what we think is a really great mixed package because we really wanted it to be played in our club world. The club world varies, whether you’re playing at a festival or a club or anywhere, even radio shows…everything. So we did, we got a great selection of remixes, we got…oh my God, the Hook ‘N’ Sling remix blows my mind. When we play it. the reaction is incredible. The Dave Aude remix, the Jungle Fiction remix. And the record itself–the original form of the record–we’ve done with Steve Aoki and Afrojack and it’s like nothing we’ve ever done. I would call it MGMT-ish meets The Ting Tings, so it’s kind of totally like nothing you’d expect from our remix.

Sort of like left of center dance floor music. Indie meets..
It has an electronic heartbeat, but the thing that we really like about it is that it doesn’t have the Afrojack sound or the Steve Aoki sound. It’s got the indie Nervo sound…our sound. Yeah, we hope you like it. We love it!

That’s perfect! And as for the whole album itself, which I know you’re working on, how is that turning out right now?
That’s all a work in progress. What we want to do is release two EPs and see how it goes and see how people like it. The second EP, we’ve done one song with Avicii and then we’ve done another song with Danja who did “Maneater” (Nelly Furtado) and “Sexyback” (Justin Timberlake) and he did the Blackout album for Britney. It’s a really special team that merges club people and people that we really respect in the pop world as well. You know?

The first EP is “We’re All No One” with its amazing remix package. It’s got like six remixes–caters to everyone, hopefully. And the second EP is going to be two songs: One we’ve got with the big club guy Avicii, and then the other we’ve done with Danja, and that’s going to have remixes as well, but it’s going to be different. It’s exciting, you know?

Well that sounds really good. I’m very excited to hear what you’ve cooked up with Danja, especially.
Oh yeah. He’s just so talented, he’s great! We haven’t finished it yet, but it will be pretty soon…

Perfect! I’m so excited for all of the new music coming out! Thank you so much for speaking with me!

I hope you have a great day!
We will, you too!

Thanks, bye!

Transcription provided by bomb ass bitch RJ Kozain of 2020k.

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