Interview: Nova Twins - The Lexington
In the last couple of years there has been a big focus on feminism, speaking up for what you believe in and the power of equality – most of all, for women in the music industry. Championing this movement is an organisation called Loud Women, who fully support the efforts of women who play music, and do not shy away from a bit of volume.
In the lead up to their Loud Women Festival – which is in its third year – the organisation put on a summer party, at The Lexington in Islington. Top of the bill was Nova Twins, who hail from South London. The mindboggling combination of heavy bass distortion, from Georgia South and Amy Love’s vocals that constantly teeter on the edge of razorblade raspiness and intoxicating baby doll, creates a raucous hard-hitting sound that is an amazing lovechild of punk and grime.
Support came from I, Doris who initiated the crowd into the “world of Doris” with a pledge that humorously celebrated the solidarity of woman; “I shall not covet another Doris’ bloke or another Doris’ Doris.” The four-piece are all about being feminist in a relatable and light-hearted way, whilst touching on what it’s like to be female in a male dominated world — “You can just ignore us, don’t need to know our name. Girls are all the same, birds are all the same chicks are all the same, Doris is our name.” At the end of the set, after singing a song about masturbation, I, Doris started throwing vibrators in the crowd — one which landed in the hands of a man standing front and centre, to everyone’s amusement.
Next up were Shitsick, who came on stage dressed as pigeons, singing about the filth of humanity and what it’s like to grow up in a fascist country. After stripping down into tartan and leather, Shitsick performed a set which was a sound that can only be described as ska/punk and the angst of “working for a dying wage”. They invited fans up to the stage towards the end of the set and created a community feel of feeling oppressed by the world that we live in and knowing that there isn’t much we can do about it. The band knew exactly how to get the crowd pumped for Nova Twins and I’m sure they gained some fans in the process.
After a few technical difficulties with the bass pedalboard, Nova Twins were ready to play. Donning the ‘escapees of a mental asylum’ outfits that can be seen in the video for their latest single ‘Lose Your Head’, Nova Twins wasted no time in creating a riot. Hits like ‘Mood Swings’, ‘Hit Girl’ and ‘Thelma and Louise’ got the crowd pumping, but it was snippets of new songs that really set the tone. Kicking off with a piercing metallic sound, like scraping a razorblade over glass, one of the new songs sounded like it had a bit of a garage influence; “you think that it will break ya, your last word will save ya” screamed Amy Love into her distorted microphone.
Packing as many songs as possible into their set, Nova Twins let the music do most of the talking, though always being thankful to the crowd; “It’s nice to be back in London, seeing so many familiar faces.” They’re off to play at Afropunk in New York, later in the week, so it’s nice to have the comforts of a home gig before flying so far away. With the high energy performance coming to an end, Amy jumped into the crowd and started a moshpit to their song ‘Wave’ whilst Georgia bounced away on the stage. With an unforgettable set that packed so much power for just a guitar, a bass and a drum kit, I had to ask Nova Twins a little bit more about themselves.
When you first started Nova Twins, was your punk/grime sound something that just came naturally or was it something that you deliberately tried to create?
Georgia: It just evolved naturally into what it is today... it got heavier and heavier as the pedal boards grew bigger and wider. The more shows we did the more we knew what felt good in our souls. And what feels good is thrashing tonnes of energy around the stage, playing gnarly riffs and getting people riled up with us.
Amy: It just happened! The first song we ever wrote was called Bad Bitches, G’s crunchy bassline met with my sharp vocals created the Nova sound and we were like, “This is it!” Let’s start a band and the rest was history.
You really capture the DIY essence of the punk scene, especially down to the styling and stitching of your own clothes. Has this always been something you’ve strived to do as a band?
A: That’s another thing that just “kind of happened”. It started one Halloween when we made our outfits and we liked how we felt in them! Now we make all of our stage clothes and now have our own brand called Bad Stitches, which is our own DIY range of jackets and T- Shirts that we customise.
G: We've always been into fashion and clothes, for as long as we can remember we've always stuck a safety pin here and there haha. But designing our clothes definitely escalated after we started gigging loads. We didn't feel like anything we bought in the shops felt right on stage and the stuff we really liked were like thousands of pounds! We feel like we wear what our music is, so our music 100% inspired our clothes.
No strangers to the touring scene and festival circuit, do you find that the live shows are a good way of gaining fans that wouldn’t normally listen to you?
G: Yeah for sure! Festivals are way up there on my list of fav things to do ever. You get such an adrenaline rush walking out in front of thousands of people and connecting with them in a way that I can't even explain. Having people who are strangers to each other coming together to mosh and dance to our music is so beautiful to see. It's always all love, diversity and unity at our shows, it's amazing to watch and be a part of.
A: I love festivals for that reason. People are up for discovering and listening to new music. It’s a different experience playing our headline shows where we feel comfortable as people have come out to specifically see us, at a festival you have to earn the audiences trust and attention, which is the best feeling when you do! We also get to play with bands that we have never heard of which is great as you often stumble across a few gems.
You’ve played a number of shows that support the talents of women in the music industry. How frustrating is it to constantly have to fight the battle to be equal and not be called a “female” musician?
A: It can be frustrating at times but we don’t let it hold us back. We will continue to push forward and break the boundaries. We have created our own world at our shows where we all come together as one and none of the bullshit exists for the night!
G: It's frustrating when someone assumes that we just sing and are flabbergasted that I play the bass guitar, but the worst part is when they then ask you if you're good... very frustrating and boring. But to be honest we don't get much of that and we always get so much respect from other musicians and the audiences we play to! We've had more positive experiences then bad. So girls please pick up an instrument and form a band immediately!
The latest single ‘Lose Your Head’ is an absolute monster of a track. Can you talk us through your general song writing process and where you get your inspiration from?
G:We don't really have a formula of how we write songs. I remember writing the chorus riff for this track on holiday in Wales in a cottage in the middle of nowhere. Just blasting out bass in a field annoying all the cows and lambs.
A: We mix it up! I remember G showed me the bassline for it and I loved it instantly and wrote a top line. Once we get rough ideas we tweak and change things until we are happy with it, and then take it to the rehearsal room where the fun begins.
I’m sure you must have people asking all the time, can you spill the beans on if you have any plans for another EP or full length album?
G: There may be something tad a bit longer than an EP in the pipeline... ;-)
A:What she said...
Interview by Tyler Damara Kelly