Nervo on the Next Generation of Female DJs: "It's About the Music, Not About the Looks"
The Australian sisters of Nervo come to LIV this Saturday.
Photo by Chloe Paul
The two sisters known as Nervo are the world's foremost female EDM personalities, reaching mainstream success as producers and pop acts. And their accomplishments have opened the door for other female acts to enter the EDM scene, whether Nervo is aware of that or not. "Before, you would Google female DJs and all that would come up is all these DJs in bikinis," Miriam Nervo says over the phone from Melbourne, Australia. "And now I think the music is starting to come first. There are a lot of female DJs who are coming up. It's about the music, not about the looks." Nervo, and many others before it, helped that happen. But the sexist and chaotic scene many people picture when they think of EDM is not the same reality Nervo shares. "We had a good experience coming up," Miriam explains. "We had good people around us who loved us and protected us and took care of us."
But the sisters did turn heads at first. "When we began DJing, people thought Nervo was a guy. They'd book us, and when we'd arrive, they had no idea we were women. They'd be really surprised," Miriam laughs.
The best EDM DJs have an expansive musical vocabulary, and the sisters are no exception. They mention their love of singer/songwriter Imogen Heap, an artist whose music couldn't be more opposite than theirs. There's also Nervo's 2015 track "The Other Boys," which features singer Kylie Minogue and, more interesting, Jake Shears of the band Scissor Sisters and Niles Rodgers. "We were listening to a bunch of Daft Punk's Random Access Memories at the time, and that really influenced that song," Miriam says.
Nervo's music is maximalist pop. It's Skrillex on pot with high heels. But although the sisters have reached these heights as EDM acts, their styles are much better suited to pop music. Miriam and her sister Olivia are aware of that fact and are leaning toward heading down that road. "Our new music is going to be more melodic," Olivia says, "some lower bpm with more vocals." The change from EDM to pop is one that should be seamless for the sisters considering their careers began as pop songwriters and producers. "Our background was always in pop, but we just found ourselves in clubs, with these dirty beats calling to us," Olivia remembers. "So we just went with it. But our background was always making pop music. We even worked with Hannah Montana before she was Miley Cyrus."
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