NERVO is back in the U.S., hitting the road with a slew of shows—17 gigs in three weeks—that’ll straddle a week of Miami madness. We’ll find the DJ/producer duo behind the decks March 24 at Ultra Music Fest, along with four other club dates in the 305.
Why the fuss? The Australian twins—aka Mim and Liv—co-wrote and handled vocals on the Tomorrowland Festival’s anthem, “The Way We See The World.” They also co-wrote David Guetta and Kelly Rowland’s smash, “When Love Takes Over.” They’ve collaborated with top DJ/producers Steve Aoki and Afrojack on their “We’re All No One” single. They’ve written and produced records for other major artists like Ke$ha, Britney Spears and the Pussycat Dolls. Enough for you?
DJ Times recently caught up with Mim and Liv Nervo, as they prepped for their latest American adventure.
DJ Times: What’s the dynamic of working together?
Liv: We’re like night and day. Mim and I do have our differences, but ultimately, I think we have the same kind of endpoint goals and tastes, which is really important when we are working together, especially creatively.
Mim: Don’t get her wrong, we fight like animals in the studio and people have been known to walk away as we fight it out. But then we’re always over it the next second and it’s always for the greater good of the song.
Liv: If we’re both loving something, we feel like it’s good and we go for it. We love working together. This business is crazy; there is a lot of traveling, a lot of moving parts that need to be looked at constantly and it’s just great to have your best friend, family, partner there with you that you can trust. So we’re very lucky. We wouldn’t do this if we weren’t with each other. Would you do it on your own, Mim?
Mim: No way.
DJ Times: You girls had a monster vocal with Afrojack, Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike on “The Way We See the World.” How did that one come together?
Mim: That was a really weird record for us. We did it in literally two weeks. We met the boys [Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike] and later sent some vocals and there were some chords under the vocals that were really cool—very simple, though. Then we sent it all across and they said Afrojack’s onboard.
DJ Times: What changed?
Mim: Afrojack gets these great hands on it and it turns into some other monster that it is today. Actually, there was a little bit of back and forth because [Afrojack] really liked the old chords as well, but he did that gnarly drop. When we got that back, it was just like, we salute. It was really interesting because some records you work on for like a year and you sweat over them, but I gotta say this one came together so easily.
DJ Times: Dance music seems to have a lack for a lot of vocal hooks. When you’re songwriting, what’s a good tip for some of the DJs who don’t really have it down yet?
Mim: We’re vocal girls. For us, it changes. Sometimes we start with a bassline; sometimes we start with a vocal. It’s just whatever talks to you. If you haven’t started from vocals or you’re not great with vocals, a great way to work them into your track is to get a cappellas and see how you can make great mash-ups.
Liv: I think there’s a lot of segregation between the two: “Oh, I do beats. Oh, I do chords. Oh, I do top line.” It’s like, if you feel melody, it doesn’t matter whether it’s in a vocal or a piano chord or a riff. Just go with it, have the confidence. Put it down, keep trying, and it will come. Just keep trying. Practice makes perfect.
– Joe Bermudez & Angela Bray