EXCLUSIVE Interview: NERVO Discuss Female Empowerment, Mental Health, & Motherhood

Few acts in modern dance music can boast the repertoire of NERVO. Liv and Mim, the twin sisters who originally hailed from Melbourne, have since toured the globe with towering mainstage shows at the likes of Tomorrowland, Creamfields, Ushuaia, EDC, Ultra and so many more, packing their infectious energy into their sets worldwide. Bonafide modern legends of the ‘EDM’ scene, the sisters initially cemented their prowess via songwriting skills for the likes of Kylie Minogue, Ke$ha, The Pussycat Dolls, Afrojack, Steve Aoki, and Armin Van Buuren, even receiving a Grammy Award for the iconic ‘When Love Takes Over’, written for David Guetta and Kelly Rowland in 2009.

Now, with a brand-new Ibiza residency at Eden for #NervoNation on the horizon for this Summer, dance music’s most famous female artists – ranked at number #18 in the latest edition of the DJ Mag Top 100 poll – are back at it, balancing their life as superstar DJs with the recent additions of motherhood for both women in 2019. With a hectic tour schedule running deep into the Summer, we caught up with NERVO in London, for their show at the legendary Ministry of Sound club, alongside special guest Kryder, fast-rising talent Mark Roma, and many more. Discussing their love of the U.K capital during the Queen‘s Jubilee weekend, the evolving sound of artists such as Swedish House Mafia and Hardwell, and the importance of DJs managing their workload wisely following Avicii‘s tragic death, this is what happened when CULTR spoke to NERVO…

Liv! Mim! Despite growing up in Australia, you’ve actually been living in London for some time now. What is it about London which makes it so special?

“London shaped us. We had just turned 19 when we arrived, like so many Aussies with hope in our hearts that we would be able to succeed in music. We were kids, and we learned a lot. We worked in bars and made friends. We lived the “struggling musician” story for years and it paid off. London is one of those places where dreams can become a reality. We will always have a soft spot for London in our hearts.”

Do you have any particular favourite places to visit here in London, or any tips or tricks you can pass on to fans and tourists looking to enjoy their time in the capital?

“Portabello Road is always a favourite for meandering around. As is Hyde Park. If you like food then Soho has everything you could ever wish for!”

Talking of the U.K, you’ve played here at Ministry of Sound on numerous occasions before. The venue has become a hugely important landmark in clubbing culture, so based on your own experiences here, why do you think that is?

“Ministry Of Sound is ICONIC. It has weathered the storms of recessions and pandemics. The place is alive, electric. It feels like home!”

And now, you’re both balancing motherhood with your careers. How have you found that, especially now that touring has opened up again following COVID. It must be trickier to navigate a life on the road now than it was before motherhood?

“Motherhood has definitely brought challenges to touring life, but then, it has positives too. We don’t seem to party as hard these days so we are more prepared to work the next day. We have live-in/travel nannies that allow us to do what we love!”

Knowing this industry inside out via your years of experience, what advice would you give to your children if they were looking to follow in your footsteps career-wise in future?

“If our kids wanted to do music then we would probably ask to be their managers. There are just so many mistakes we made that we wouldn’t want our kids to do the same.”

You were both a big part of that “EDM” boom at the start of the past decade, but now, in 2022, we’re seeing a lot of artists (e.g. Swedish House Mafia, Hardwell, David Guetta etc) favouring a ‘darker’ sound. Why do you think that is, and is that something we should expect from you in future too?

“I think everyone that came out of the “EDM” boom were dance music lovers, then it all turned a bit commercial, so many are going back to their roots. It’s all a balance I guess, making commercial music but also deeper grooves that satisfy our own artistic tastes.”

The conversation surrounding mental health has been much more prominent in the industry since Avicii’s death. You both always seem so happy and full of energy! How do you keep your spirits so high and are there any things in particular which help to lift your mood?

“We have spoken out a few times about our own struggles with mental health, and though we do appear to be bubbly online, and don’t get us wrong – We are extremely grateful (for many things) which does keep us content – But, like so many, we have had a few curve balls come our way and particularly in 2019, Liv struggled with a bit of a ‘wobble’, spurred from a huge deceit/betrayal. It is frightening to witness how fragile our mental health can be. It’s great that there is more discussion surrounding this. It will hopefully make people who need help reach out more easily. To stay positive, we think it’s so important to practice gratitude, surround yourself with as many safe, trusting people as possible and rid yourself of the people who are not aligned or trustworthy.”

We’re now seeing a bigger influx of female DJs headlining club nights or on festival main-stages than we ever have before! Do you see yourselves as pioneers in this regard, as you’ve been doing this for such a long time now that perhaps your impact has helped open the door to others and to change promoter’s attitudes in a healthy way!

“It really is awesome to see Women headliners more often these days. It was almost a novelty when we came out in the scene in 2011. We certainly think the ‘big-room’ space could do with some more strong women producer/artists, but techno has it down right now! Go Ladies, Go!”

Usually, talent is only sprinkled gently on the lucky few. In the case of these twin sisters, and now Mothers (and Aunties), it has been soaked through their very DNA, with NERVO enjoying stellar careers to date as musicians, record producers, composers, singers, songwriters, models and most notably, DJs. Inspiring all genders via their dedication, hard-work, and commitment to the cause, Liv & Mim (aka NERVO) will be delivering their radiant positivity to various stages around the World this Summer, making each destination feel ‘Like Home’ – Final tickets for the FUTURE presents NERVO: Ministry of Sound Club London event are available here.