From songwriters to artists and super-fans to superstars, electronic dance music’s first sisters – Mim and Liv Nervo of NERVO – have staged a miraculous climb onto the international stage, straight from the pit in front of it. These multi-talented DJ dynamos are the all-time, top-ranking female DJs in the world, voted by their legions of fans to No. 16 on DJ Magazine’s influential “Top 100 DJs” poll, while continuing to rank as the top female DJ’s in the world today.
In-demand and beloved across the globe, their nonstop schedule takes them from the shimmering beaches of Ibiza, to their studio in their home-away-from-hometowns of London and Los Angeles, to the towering main stages of the biggest festivals in the world, including Tomorrowland, Lollapalooza, Creamfields, Balaton Sound, EDC, Electric Zoo, ULTRA and many more. Everywhere they go, their infectious energy, fearless personal style, and deep love and understanding for the music precedes them. Be sure to have a listen to their latest track, ‘What Would You Do for Love,’ embedded below.
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SunCity Paradise: Let’s kick it off with your hometown of Melbourne, Australia. What really stands out and makes the city special to you? Where would you send a first-time visitor to get a real sense of the area?
Nervo: Melbourne is one of those cities that you need to know someone to find the magic spots. It’s less immediate than Sydney, but when you get to know Melbourne you will love her. We have a gorgeous bay which surrounds the city and is well worth a road trip. We love Sorrento, but also The Great Ocean Road is very popular for seeing The Twelve Apostles (rock formations). As far as the city goes, Melbourne is famous for delicious food – especially brunches. Hot spots/suburbs to visit are Richmond, Fitzroy, St Kilda. There’s great Vietnamese food on Victoria street. Great Italian on Lygon Street. For after hours clubbing – Revolver. Beware, the coffee in Melbourne is super strong! We’ve been away for too long, so we tend to ask for weak cafe latte’s.
SCP: Now to where you’re currently located – is this in London? What about the city made you want to be based there past or present? Did you settle in immediately? Or, was there some time needed to adjust?
N: We say we live in London, but we really spread our time between four places. We are real-life gypsies (or gypsetters as our folks like to refer to us as). We spend about three months a year in the United States (mainly Los Angeles), three months in London, three months in Australia and then three months in Ibiza and Madrid, where Mim’s boyfriend lives and where we have our residency in Ibiza. I think ideally one day we would love to end up in LA and also maybe Spain full-time. There are so many great places to live that it’s hard to choose. We guess we are spoiled for choice!
We first moved from Melbourne to London about 13 or 14 years ago. Time flies! The move to London definitely wasn’t an easy one. We had a cushy life in Oz and the sun shined a lot more there, which was a big adjustment for us. London is a great city because it’s so close to the rest of Europe and the English have the best sense of humor. But, it’s not an easy city to live in with very little money. We hustled hard for many years for a good stint in London.
SCP: What was your first real exposure to music? How did you get inspired to create your own and eventually pursue it as a career?
N: How early do you want to go back? Us jamming out to Michael Jackson as kids, when we wrote our first tune at around 14 years old, or the first festival we went to? Music was always central to our being. We loved it, played piano and sang from a very early age. We wrote our first song when we were around 14 years old. We didn’t realize we were writing songs. We were more just having fun at the piano. Our first major festival (that we attended) was The Big Day Out – we saw The Prodigy. That was a life-changing experience. We were super inspired by the sounds, the scene – everything really.
We moved to the United Kingdom the week we turned 19 years old and have been hustling ever since. We started out as songwriters (and waitresses), ended up having a few songs with other artists and DJs, pinned a Grammy for a tune we wrote for David Guetta and finally learned to DJ (mainly at house parties). Our summer trips to Ibiza were also a massive influence in our musical lives, direction and tastes. We became tired of crafting pop tunes and craved crunchier, dirtier beats and longer grooves. We’ve made a lot of really bad songs, but some good ones too. These days we’ve come full circle and are making mainly dance/pop music.
SCP: To create music, and traveling to promote it, must be such a feeling. What’s the most impactful and meaningful part you cherish about it? Does the travel help inspirationally?
N: Our careers have taken so many twists and turns, so we’re just really happy to be working in music. One of the best things about being a DJ (unlike pop stars) is we can play our tunes, but we can also play other people’s tunes. This gives us so much variety and freedom – no set is the same. We try and vibe off the crowd the best we can, which can be different from each city, to country, to stage we play. At the end of the day, we just want to give people the most from every set we play and we want everyone to have a great, great time! We feed off the raver’s energy, so the louder and more energetic the crowd is, the better we feel about the show.
SCP: Your latest single, ‘What Would You Do for Love,’ just dropped. What was your thought process behind this release? Describe your excitement to share it with your fans.
N: We flew to Nashville last November and worked with an incredibly talented singer songwriter Davis Naish. We spent four days bouncing around different studios working with a heap of artists. It was a very inspiring time for us and reminded us of the times when we used to be full-time songwriters. We have a few other ideas that came out of that week that we are desperate to finish too. It’s just tricky finding time away from touring.
SCP: What’s one stark difference between traveling as an artist versus personal travel?
N: The best part is being together. We share the highs and the lows. We are never lonely. There’s a lot of pressure in this business, so having someone there to share the load is the biggest blessing. We also both love to travel. We love to try different foods. We love culture. So, we have a lot of great mini breaks together. Being stuck in Vietnam or Moscow can be a lot of fun!
SCP: When searching for a personal getaway, are you looking for a serene beach or after a more active, adventurous getaway? Why?
N: Definitely a serene beach! Our tour life is active and adventurous enough. The last holiday Liv went on was to Tulum in Mexico with her boyfriend, and Mim is headed to Santorini this summer with her boyfriend. We also have a few great breaks planned around shows in Marbella, the South of France and Greece.
SCP: Everyone has a list of places that they still have to hit. What are three destinations, either work or pleasure, that you need to see? Why?
N: Our pleasure list would be, get ready for it, Zanzibar – for ocean exploring and diving. Thailand – to visit the Tiger Temple and the islands, of course. Congo – to see the Silverbacks. Ithaca and the Greek Islands – we hear it’s gorgeous! The Archipelagos in Norway and other parts of Scandinavia for the fresh air and whale watching. Jordon – to see the antiquities. Capri – we hear it’s just stunning and also a lot of fun, plus the food would be amazing!
Oh, and island hopping around the Caribbean on a boat would be a pretty epic holiday, starting with Belize and heading all the way to Jamaica and beyond. There are around 30 islands right? That would take at least four months. For work, we’d still love to play more of Africa. We have played parts of North Africa and South Africa, but the continent is so huge, so there must be other places which want to rave.
SCP: One of our core objectives at SCP is to bring people together while traveling, not only to influence people to see and appreciate our beautiful world, but to also minimize cross-cultural divides. What effect does traveling, specifically surrounding dance music, have on humans in this regard? How has it broadened your perspective of the world?
N: Traveling has got to be one of the greatest things to open people’s minds. For example, it wasn’t until we traveled and lived in other places that we realized how great our lifestyle in Australia was. Or, how great a job our parents did at saving their pennies and then providing for us. Living in West London opened our eyes to the Caribbean, something we didn’t even realize existed. We lived in Notting Hill, which has a vibrant West Indian community living there. This opened our minds to music, food … etc. The Notting Hill Carnival is a must see too by the way.
We have friends from nearly every corner of the globe and from all different demographics. And, for this, we feel incredibly privileged. While we understand the need for supervised immigration, it’s very concerning to see what is happening in the world today with the millions of displaced people. It’s yet another reminder of how lucky we are. We really shouldn’t ever take this for granted. It’s been wonderful to play our music from India to Colombia, and it’s just brilliant to see how, through streaming platforms, music can reach so many people!
SCP: When you’re relaxing on a beach or just have some downtime are you listening to music? Do you like to switch up the genre you listen to? If so, to what?
N: We spend so much time making, listening, analyzing music that it’s nice to have silence sometimes. If we do listen to switch off, we love to listen to something like Jack Johnson or Air.
SCP: Lastly, with festival season upon us, what else do the next couple of months have in store for you?
N: Right now we’re thick in tour mode. We’re playing around four shows per week for the next three months. We have our residencies in Ibiza (NERVONation at Ushuaia and Cream at Hï) and Las Vegas (at Omnia), and a bunch of festivals which were super stoked about playing. On a personal level, we’re trying to take a few days off in between gigs to enjoy the places we visit. We have some holidays booked in Spain, Greece and France. We’ll get back into the studio routine the second summer finishes. We normally aim to do about three full days a week in the studio. There are so many ideas we need to finish!