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Striking a Nervo: Half of DJ duo talks Kylie, martinis
NUNN ON ONE: MUSIC Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Jerry Nunn, Windy City Times
2012-12-26

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Nervo. Photo courtesy of EMI/Astralwerks


Miriam and Olivia Nervo are twin Australia DJs who go far beyond a novelty act. They signed with Sony at when they were only 18, penning the popular song "When Love Takes Over" for David Guetta and Kelly Rowland.

The duo has worked on records for Kylie Minogue and Britney Spears in the past, even DJing on the latter's tour. Their collaborations with Afrojack and Steve Aoki have yielded a number-one hit on the UK dance-club charts with "We're All No One."

Not only has the twins' music brought them around the world but this last month they were signed to Cover Girl as models.

Nunn on One caught up with Olivia in Paris to hear about the life of a blonde bombshell out on the road.

Windy City Times: Hi. How are you, Liv?

Olivia Nervo: Good—so excited to come back to Chicago!

WCT: I actually saw you open for Britney last summer.

Nervo: Oh my God! I love that. We played a club after that but I don't remember the name.

WCT: Maybe Enclave? I went to a gay bar after the show.

Nervo: [Laughs] Britney was amazing. Did you love Nicki Minaj as well?

WCT: I did. It was a rare opportunity to see her before she became a headliner herself.

Nervo: True.

WCT: Are you always traveling?

Nervo: Pretty much. We are in Paris now. We were in London yesterday and [are in] Stockholm tomorrow. We bounce around especially leading up to the holiday season now. Things are busy but we love it. We always have a good time.

WCT: Do you like traveling with your sister?

Nervo: Yeah, definitely. I don't really like traveling on my own. We see so many great places that it would be weird to not share it with somebody else. We check into these fancy hotels or have a lovely meal somewhere in a quaint little local restaurant. I'm glad to share that with someone.

WCT: Do you have a favorite drink when you are out and about?

Nervo: It depends on the kind of mood that I'm in. I love to drink cocktails because I normally don't drink them. I drink gin and tonics usually, or wine when I'm at a club. The other night I was drinking a rhubarb martini. It was amazing! I'm not going to be able to put that on my rider because that would sound like I'm difficult. They would ask, "Who is the diva?" [Both laugh.]

WCT: Did you both start in the modeling world?

Nervo: No, we didn't. We have always done music. Obviously when were sixteen years old we weren't making money from music. We were just in the studio trying to make it work. A family friend sent in a family photo to a modeling agency in Australia where we were up for twin modeling in books, but I can't say I graced any catwalks or anything. I was in school when the music took off and modeling just sort of disappeared. Now funnily enough I do quite a lot of modeling. We were just booked by Cover Girl so we had to put that hat back on.

WCT: Congrats on that. That's huge!

Nervo: Thanks. We are still pinching ourselves.

WCT: Do you enjoy looking different? Who has the long hair?

Nervo: I do. I have been thinking about it. Mim cut her hair when she was seventeen and she grew it a few times and cut it off again. It has been different colors and that kind of thing. It's not like we try to look different but it just ended up that way.

WCT: Do you finish each other's sentences?

Nervo: Yes, we do finish each other's sentences; sometimes we get tied up with that. [Laughs] I think we do that because we know what we are going to say to each other. We live the same lives because we are always around each other and tell the same stories. We are quite in sync when it comes to that.

WCT: So, personality-wise, you are very similar?

Nervo: Yeah, we are. We are quite loud, vivacious and like to party. We both love music and feel quite passionate about things. We are both Aquarians. We almost have the same birthday.

WCT: Who was born first?

Nervo: I was first.

WCT: What are your differences?

Nervo: She might be a little bolder than me.

WCT: You have worked with some major people. How did you wind up working with Kylie Minogue?

Nervo: I love Kylie. Honestly when it happened it was a huge moment for us. We had grown up listening to her all the time. We are from the same town of Melbourne, Australia.

Before our career took off, we were thinking about giving up, and writing or producing for other artists. We knew we wanted to make music. We weren't too sure if we wanted to be artists ourselves because we didn't know what we wanted to do but we always loved pop music. We would DJ, then go in the studio to write songs. On the weekends we would be out clubbing or DJing; somehow, the worlds collided and we wound up doing it for a living. Before all the DJing we were just writing for artists.

Kylie's label, Parlophone, we had been working on multiple projects with for many years. It just happened to be that Kylie liked one song that we pitched to her. We got to record it and it was really fast, which was another amazing experience. This was a person that we looked up to, you know? It was incredible. When you hear Kylie sing a song that you have cut together yourself the song takes on a whole new thing.

WCT: Which song are you referring to?

Nervo: [Sings] "Put Your Hands Up."

WCT: I know that one! How does it feel to move on to singing now?

Nervo: We have always sung so it doesn't feel like anything different. We have been in the studio singing for eight years now. We don't want to be singers. We love the whole being a DJ thing and the live aspect of it. We love that people sing on our records as well. It just adds a whole new texture and flavor.

The aim was never to be figures, but we have wound up singing on a few of our records and we really like it. It is great to get a reaction live from your audience—if they like your vocals, [it's] even better.

WCT: I just met Afrojack, who you have worked with, and he is so tall!

Nervo: He is so tall—6'5," I reckon. He's a nice guy, isn't he? He's a gentle giant.

WCT: He is. Are you still doing the radio show?

Nervo: Yes, I am. When I hang up with you I am going to finish my radio show, Nervo Nation. It airs first on Sirius Radio XM in America on Fridays. It is actually syndicated to 14 other radio stations around the world. It is a nice thing for us because we get to play music that we love. We start it off with house music, then more beat-friendly and finish with something quirky. It shows an array of music that we like to play. It is another creative outlet for us. We love deep-house records.

WCT: What's a song that you like to play currently?

Nervo: The Florence and the Machine remix with the line "Sometimes I feel like throwing my hands up in the air" gets a good reaction in our sets.

WCT: You just played in Ibiza, so that kind of music must be great in that setting.

Nervo: Oh, yeah. We have been playing there for four years. This year was incredible because we have a residency with our favorite club, Ushuaia. It's the big downtown club. It has a really good vibe. That place is just magical. Have you been?

WCT: No, but I would like to.

Nervo: You should. When you get time, check it out. Make sure you bring some friends because the club is just amazing. You will want to be with all of your buddies.

WCT: Well, I will bring some buddies to see you out at The Mid.

Nervo: Great; please do. Hopefully, I won't have a gig the next day and we can drink lots of rhubarb martinis.

Nervo spins twin turntables at The Mid, 306 N. Halsted St., on Friday, Dec. 29. Visit www.themidchicago.com for tickets and information.


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