When NERVO Takes Over

Words: Vanda Gyuris
Photo Above: Santi Fox

In the testosterone fuelled upper echelons of DJ-dom, the sisters of NERVO are rising to the top. Meet the songwriting duo with a mega-hit in their portfolio and David Guetta on speed-dial. 

Australian songwriter duo Miriam (“Mim”) and Olivia (“Liv”) Nervo, better known by their stage name NERVO, have set fire to the electronic dance music scene as the top-ranked female DJs in the world.

They’ve grown from teenagers in the middle of the mosh pit to writing songs for the likes of Kesha and Kylie Minogue, and collaborating on the Grammy-winning hit “When Love Takes Over” with David Guetta and Kelly Rowland, rated by Billboard Magazine as the number one dance pop collaboration of all time. They’ve opened for Britney Spears and played at the top festivals around the world with artists like Fatboy Slim and Afrojack.

The pair released their first single “Rise Early Morning” featuring Au Revoir Simone this year from their full debut album—Collateral—out in the spring.

THE RED BULLETIN: Writing “When Love Takes Over” was a turning point for you guys. How has that changed things?

NERVO: When [the song] won a Grammy for David Guetta we got a lot of attention. It was also because Kesha was blowing up in the U.S. and we had written a load of records for her, too. We were always DJing, but only for fun and at friends’ parties. It was David who convinced us to step out from behind the scenes and to start releasing records under our own name. We haven’t looked back since, but are grateful we had eight years in the studio before stepping out as artists.

You’ve collaborated with a variety of artists across several different projects. Which sticks out in your mind as significant above all?

They are all so special for their own reasons. It was fun to have girl talk with Kylie Minogue when we worked with her, it was fun to go out after the studio with Kesha and it’s always fun to hear your record played in the clubs like the ones we’ve done with Avicii, David Guetta and Armin Van Buuren.

Wildest festivals you’ve been to or played at?

The craziest are the ones that we can’t remember! Our top five would be Tomorrowland, EDC Vegas, Lollapalooza, Virgin Free Fest and Burning Man. And we love playing at Ushuaia in Ibiza.

You are always on the road. How do you keep a balance?

It is hard, but we’re getting more used to doing creative ideas on the plane. It’s almost a must because we tour a lot. We try to see our family at least twice a year, and we have a lot of friends in different places so we get to see them quite a bit. 

“Don’t worry, you don’t know it now, but it’s all collateral.”

Who are the artists and performers that have been your inspiration?

It ranges quite a lot, from artists like Fatboy Slim and The Bassment to Imogen Heap and Gorgon City. Our environment inspires us a lot too, so traveling is always great for inspiration. We often draw from real life stories or friends’ stories. And then we keep jamming until the song comes out.

How do you get in the mood to create?

Living in Ibiza is particularly inspiring for our writing and producing because we get to hear all our favorite DJs in one week. If we’re feeling melancholic then we probably won’t write a big club banger but instead write something more emotional. When it comes to melodies and lyrics we often draw inspiration from personal stories.

What inspired your new album Collateral?

A very good friend and mentor once said to us when we were having a low point in our career that it was all collateral and he kept telling us not to give up. He kept saying, “don’t worry, you don’t know it now, but it’s all collateral.”

I’ve heard you guys describe music that “feels very NERVO.” What is NERVO?

NERVO is living in the moment, having a great time and being true to yourself. Hopefully a little nuts, too.


© Chloe Paul

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