The Ascension of Nervo

Liv Nervo on super-collabs, the transition from songwriter to producer and life on the road with her sister/partner

Photo by Al Powers Upwardly mobile: From the Cosmopolitan’s center bar in 2010 to Hakkasan, Liv (left) and Mim Nervo have come a long way.

Photo by Al Powers | Upwardly mobile: From the Cosmopolitan’s center bar in 2010 to Hakkasan, Liv (left) and Mim Nervo have come a long way.

Liv’s five essential Nervo tracks

Aussie twins Liv and Mim Nervo form one of the hottest acts in house music. The songwriters turned Grammy Award-winning producers, Cover Girl spokesmodels and featured Hakkasan/Wet Republic DJs have an epic catalog of electro-bangers that may (or may not) be more awe-inspiring than their striking collective sexiness. Vegas Seven caught up with Liv in anticipation of the sisters’ appearances September 26 at Hakkasan and September 29 at Wet Republic.

You began your careers as songwriters. How did your production skills emerge?

We always played instruments; since we were 7 years old we’ve been playing the piano. So about five, six years ago we actually ended up doing a course in Logic Pro to get acquainted with that side of the music, and just started producing more and more. Then we had quite a bit of success with some DJs—writing songs for them—so we decided to get ourselves an agent and take it from there. Maybe about three years ago we got William Morris onboard, and I think that was the turning point of our career.

What changes did you experience during that transition from behind-the-scenes songwriters to international headliners?

It was a lot of fun changes! We get a lot more free stuff now. [Laughs.] We get sponsored, we’ll get clothes and makeup and stuff sent to us all the time, so that’s a massive perk. We travel a lot more now because of the DJing, but we’re still super busy; we were always busy in the studio, and now we’re busy in the studio and running around the world.

What’s the scene like in Australia?

Australia has such a great festival scene; we kind of grew up with that. We went to all the festivals from Big Day Out to Future to Stereosonic. The whole time we were growing up, kids would always save all their money and go and see, like, 20 DJs at once. Australians are quite open to music as well, so harder electro was really popular back home before it was in most places in the world. Australians are so open-minded with their music taste, especially in the electronic world, and all the Aussies love to rave.

Around Las Vegas we see Australian DJs including yourselves, Tommy Trash, Dirty South and Helena. Any other top Aussies we should know?

We really love Sneaky Sound System, too. It’s like an electronic-pop act. And we like Flume.

Describe the experience of being twin sisters and production/DJ partners.

We’re just always with each other. We have quite a good flair creatively. In the studio, certainly there will be moments where we’ll need space to develop something further. But we have a good understanding of that, and it comes from years of really growing up with each other and knowing when to push and when to stop. We just kind of have that click between us. That really helps in our work from the live aspect and also the studio aspect.

Who is better at what in the studio?

[Laughs] You’ve opened a can of worms there! Mim is better at vocal production and automation and stuff like that. Mim’s better at mixes, vocal mixes especially. I’m better at riffs, I think. But then, you know, Mim will surprise us and come out with the best riffs this week.

What’s been your experience as women in this male-centric scene, and who are your other favorite ladies?

We love it! We have so many great friends that we get to work with, and the guys are so supportive of us. We’re also so happy that the rest of the world is really excited about electronic music and this kind of rave culture. It’s just a great time to be working in it. We really love Rebecca and Fiona—they’re just great girls; they have such great music and great style, and they’re party animals. Maya Jane Coles—her records are just beautiful. Miss Kittin is another one; Annie Mac in the U.K.—she’s has great taste in music.

You’ve done a lot of collaborations with other producers, both via email and live. How does the process differ between online versus in-studio?

We always love to be in the studio, because there is an excitement born when everyone is in the room together, and that kind of energy is really useful in keeping everyone excited about the record. Sometimes when you send things over the Internet, an idea can get lost in translation a little bit, especially if they’re not completed. Having said that, we do a lot of work on the Internet, we’re constantly sending files and ideas across. Sometimes it just works; it can really freshen it as well. We do all we can get in the studio with people, but it’s because of the crazy schedules it doesn’t always really work that way.

We interviewed Nicky Romero at Electric Daisy Carnival, and he said that you are like his sisters. How did your “Like Home” collaboration happen?

We were always touring with each other. So for about two years we would see each other at gigs constantly. I think the very first gig we met was at Pasha Ibiza. We were both playing for David [Guetta]—we were opening, then David played and then Nicky closed. We were like, “Hey, we’re big fans,” and he said, “I’m big fans of you guys!” Then we just kind of became friends, and we were playing at a festival in Holland and Nicky said, “Why don’t you come to my studio and let’s finally get this done.” That was when “Like Home” was born, last summer.

How’s the debut album coming along?

Really well. We’re just chipping away. We keep finding new ideas, and now we’ve got so many ideas that we just need to narrow it down. It definitely has an electronic heartbeat, but they’re not all on the floor 130-beat-per-minute club-bangers. We’re shooting for some variety in there.

You signed on as Cover Girl spokesmodels last year. Give us some tips!

Beauty tip: Try to get eight hours of sleep a night—something we hardly ever get—drink water and moisturize. For a fashion tip, it would just be to be comfortable in what you’re wearing and feel confident.


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