Liv and Mim, the two halves that comprise NERVO have been making a name for themselves since they were 18 years old. Today, their residencies are in the hottest clubs from Vegas to Ibiza, but what’s dearest to their hearts? Their music, theirs fans and of course, each other. We sat down to catch up with the girls and chat about their newest album “Collateral”.
CM: You guys are sisters, and you’re born “Olivia” and “Miriam”, but known as “Liv” and “Mim”. What was a typical day like in your childhood?
Mim: I think our parents would say a typical day in our childhood was just busy. I think we were just…hyperactive. Mom said she couldn’t handle us, so she put us into every co-curricular activity possible.
Liv: Yeah, we were swimming, we were singing, we would
Mim: …just play …
Liv: Yeah, running around.
Mim: Tennis …
Liv: Breeding guinea pigs. We just wanted to do so much, all the time.
Mim: Because there were two of us, it was probably harder.
CM: Were there ever any mischievous acts, like “sister shenanigans”?
Liv: Oh yes! We have played a trick on a boy. We have actually! Because we used to look very identical– we had the same hairstyle. And we were about… 16? And we tried to play a trick on the boyfriends at the time, but we got too shy and chickened out in the end.
Mim: I remember her ex-boyfriend, whenever he used to come to the house to say “Hi”, the only way he could tell that I wasn’t Liv was, I wouldn’t go to kiss him. And so that happened for… a couple of years.
Liv: No, I hope it wasn’t a couple of years!
Mim: But yeah, we’ve done things like that, and we used to sneak out together. That was always good …
Liv: I think you’ve got more courage as a twin, because you’ve always got your sidekick. So maybe we were a little bit more mischievous than the average teenage girl. Sorry, Mom!
CM: Before you started your music career, you went into modeling– but always had music in mind. What was the inspiration behind that?
Liv: Music was the only thing that came naturally, and was the only thing we really really really loved. Everything else we’ve done in our career path has always been a stepping stone to get there, or at least it’s felt like that.
CM: A lot of your career has been spent co-writing and collaborating with other artists – such as the famed collaborations with David Guetta and Kelly Rowland. But then at some point you decided to be artists yourselves. What was the key factor in that?
Mim: I think we had a few lucky breaks as writers, and producers with other artists. And then we were lucky enough to be given a record deal, and then we released some records, and we haven’t looked back since. I remember in the beginning, we really were apprehensive of that…”do we want to do this?”. We just always loved being behind the scenes. Loved working in the studio eight days a week, killing ourselves.
Liv: But the way it happened was very organic.
Mim: We had a few people telling us, “Come on, just try it! Try it, try it, try it. See how it goes.”
Liv: And a few mentors, including David. So it’s nice when you have some people that you look up to give you that extra nudge of confidence.
CM: Let’s say percentage-wise, how many times do you get approached by an artist, vs. how many times do you reach out to an artist? And when they approach you, do you already have something in mind for them, or is it more like an organic collaboration.
Mim: I mean, it changes every time. We definitely have our hustle on. So we love to approach artists. For example, with Beth Ditto. So then we’ll email her management and be like “Hey, can you work with these (artists)…like Dolly Parton.” But then there’s been artists like Ke$ha, who reached out to us. She said, “Hey girls, I love this record that you’ve written called ‘Fuck him, he’s a DJ’. Can we work together?” And then she came and stayed with us in London, and we did a load of work. So it changes every time.
Liv: I’d say it’s a pretty equal split.
CM: Do you ever find yourself in a situation where Mim – you have an idea and (Liv) you’re just like “no”?
Liv: Oh yeah, constantly. We constantly bicker. We’re like every normal sister.
Mim: The funny thing is, that’s how we keep striving to get better and better. When we both are obsessed with and love an idea, I’ll generally be like, “Liv, Liv Liv! Record that! Record that!” And then she’ll do the same to me. That’s when we know we’re onto something really good.
Liv: I think that ability to be honest with each other also helps us in the creative environment, because I’ll tell Mim her idea sucks, and she’ll tell me she hates my idea– until we’re blue in the face. And then eventually we’ll like an idea of each others, and put it down.
CM: Are you looking to collaborate on the fashion side with designers?
Mim: Yeah, we actually, funny you should ask. This (points to her bag) is a collaboration with Erin Dana. And we call these “bum bags”, you guys call them “fanny packs”, and they’re just so handy when you’re traveling and all you need is a credit card and your passport and your phone.
Liv: So yeah, we have done a few collaborations– another one with Franklin & Marshall. And we’ve been a few brand ambassadors for a few companies now, so that’s definitely a part of our world that’s evolving, and it’s so much fun.
Mim: We love fashion, we love getting dressed up. I think the best thing about being a girl, is being able to dress up. And it’s a great part of what we do. And I think, now we get to reach out to designers, and we get to wear clothes that maybe other people wouldn’t get to wear because they’re in a corporate job, or something like that.
Liv: Yeah, we feel very lucky that we get to dress up for our job.
Mim: I think the problem with female DJ’s is, typically, if you ever Google …
Liv: “Female DJ” …
Mim: The instant thought was …
Liv: You’ll see a girl in a bikini …
Mim: Yeah, DJing, which is totally not us.
CM: What is the most amount of shows you’ve done in a particular year?
Liv: I think we did 160 shows last year.
Mim: But, we were speaking to some of our friends the other day and one DJ in particular said he did 300 shows last year.
Liv: Noooo…are you sure?
Mim: Dead positive! Because I was so godsmacked – we think we tour a lot!
CM: And document at all the shows! Looking at your Instagram, looks like you guys truly enjoy engaging with your audience and you’re just there because you love it.
Liv: I mean, I’m still on a high from last weekend’s gigs. We had such a great time, didn’t we? In South America. Our fans are amazing, but the energy and the time right now for dance music is just better than any other time. And we’re so lucky to be having our moment right now. We feel very lucky and we’re really enjoying ourselves.
Mim: I also feel like with social media these days, you can meet your fans before you see them at the gigs. So, we’ll be able to see what they’re doing, what they’re preparing for the gig…
Liv: What they’re making– like their signs …
Mim: And then we meet them at a meet-and-greet, and then we see them at the gig.
Liv: It feels familiar.
CM: So, spinning like 160 shows, traveling together, being in the studio together– how do you guys decompress off-stage and out of the studio?
Mim: It’s really funny. Because we are so hectic all the time, we do just the most boringest things to decompress.
Liv: Watch movies, eat …
Mim: Watch junk television …
Liv: Oh, I love the Kardashians.
Mim: Yeah, it’s really just no-brainer. Just see who’s awake somewhere around the world– whether it’s England, America, or Australia …
Liv: There’s always a friend awake to Skype.
CM: What are you guys working on for the future?
Liv: Well, we’ve just finished the album, so now we’re scheduling releases. We’re doing the artwork– which we need to go home and finish. So that’s our focus right now. And then we’re always working on new music, actually.
Mim: We have a really busy summer. We’re based in Ibiza, Spain.
Liv: We’ve got residencies at Omnia in Vegas. Residencies at Ushuaïa, Iniza so it’s go-go-go.
CM: And the name of the album?
Liv: The album’s name is “Collateral”. And we chose that word because we feel like everything that…
Mim: …happens in your life, happens for a reason …
Liv: It’s all collateral. Yeah, everything that’s happened in the last 10 years has brought us to where we are now.
CM: Last question – what would like be like without your sister?
Liv: I don’t want to think what life would be like without my sister!
Liv: Life would be so different, I can’t actually imagine it– I don’t want to imagine it.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY JOHN HONG & JOSEFHALEY
STYLING BY JORDAN GROSSMAN
MAKE UP ARTIST CAMPBELL RITCHIE AT ONE REPRESENTS using Bare Minerals Dermalogica
HAIR STYLIST ASHLEY LYNN HALL AT ONE REPRESENTS using Oribe Hair Care
INTERVIEW BY KATRINA FROLOV