Blood is thicker than water. And vodka. Or any drink found on a typical DJ rider. The starry-eyed songwriters-turned-DJ sisters Mim and Liv Nervo discovered their calling after inspiring summers spent vacationing in Ibiza, Spain, and years of writing pop songs in London. However unrecognized, the bubbly, blond duo produced numerous hits that fuse club and pop melodies. Their single “Irresistible” climbed to No. 1 on the U.K. charts in December, and their latest smash, “The Way We See the World” with Afrojack, Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike, remains in the Beatport Top 10. You can catch the DJs’ contagious energy at Wynn and Encore nightclubs beginning Aug. 17 at Surrender and Sept. 2 at Tryst, and at Identity Festival at Red Rock Amphitheater on Sept. 5.
You’ve been opening for Britney Spears on her Femme Fatale Tour. How does that differ from what you’re used to?
Liv: Well it’s a totally different thing. We’re on a big stage and opening [the show] so there’s still people coming in. It’s a different vibe than a club, which is the vibe that we die for. We play a pop-ier set, more girly. We open up with our next single with Afrojack and Steve Aoki, “We’re All No One,” and we’re singing on it, so that’s really a big change for us.
Wow! So when you’re DJing will you ever actually sing while performing?
Mim: I think sometimes we will, like it will be “Nervo Live” and “Nervo DJ,” and when we do Nervo Live we’ll mix it in with the remixes.
Liv: The singing thing is definitely an added bonus but it would be nice when we sing to have more of a band and distinguish the two, the DJ set and then the live band. I don’t think just getting a mic and singing in a club will do it justice. But we still really want to do the DJ thing.
Compared with other DJs, you moved backward, songwriting and producing, then learning to DJ.
Mim: We’ve been working in the studio for eight years. When we were like 17 or 18 we had the idea we wanted to be popstars, like everyone who writes music or who sings. By about 19 we got over it.
Liv: But we discovered writing and we loved the studio …
Mim: … The environment, the whole vibe around it, creative energy.
And since then you’d written for huge names like Kylie Minogue, Pussycat Dolls and Ke$ha.
Mim: Yeah, this all happened maybe five years ago. Ke$ha’s the most open, forward-thinking artist. She was in Nashville doing country songs, but she contacted us to record our song [“Fuck Him (He’s a DJ)”]. She came to London, stayed in our house and we just jammed out with how many ideas we had and collaborated heavily with U.K. underground DJs. We showed her our world.
Liv: We kind of introduced her to a more electronic sound. Then we came out with “Boys” and “VIP,” then she hooked up with Dr. Luke and the rest was history. So Ke$ha for us was a real exciting time because it merged two worlds.
Then you co-wrote the Grammy-nominated hit “When Love Takes Over” with Kelly Rowland and David Guetta, the king of combining the pop and club music genres.
Liv: Yeah, she’s really big in Europe and Australia. She’d been having a lovely summer in the south of France, and she met David. And she’s like, “I met this guy David Guetta, and the crowd went nuts for him.” And we’re like, “Oh my God!” She didn’t even know! And we were like, “Kelly, ‘Love Is Gone,’ ‘Let Me Go …’” She’d given us loads of tracks from other pop producers to write on and we blatantly picked the David Guetta. We were like, “I don’t even need to listen to it, let’s work on the David Guetta; it’s the coolest look for you, babe. He’s a French DJ [who is] really about to pop. He’s mega in the club world.”
Mim: And the first song we wrote was “When Love Takes Over” and we gave it to Kelly Rowland’s label, and they didn’t like it. They dropped her.
Liv: They hated it. We were like, “OK, it’s just another song that we love that people aren’t going to hear.” Then David Guetta called us three months later and goes, “Girls! I love what you’ve done!” And he wanted to release it.
And then David was the one who pushed you into DJing also?
Mim: Yeah, it’s because he kind of gave us the love and support and the confidence. We were just busy doing our thing, writing. It was really hard. And I think every writer gets to the point where they’re like, “What do I choose now? My love, or real life, because my love doesn’t pay the bills and I’m gonna go nuts.”
Liv: We just feel so lucky and honored and blessed and thankful. Now we’re managed by David’s manager, Caroline. She is unreal. She’s all about peace and love. I just love our family right now. We’re in a good place.