Nova Twins

Nova Twins - pic Terry Tyldesley
Nova Twins
Nova Twins - pic Terry Tyldesley
Nova Twins - pic Terry Tyldesley
Nova Twins
Nova Twins - pic Terry Tyldesley
Gretsch Double Jet - Kitmonsters
Westone Thunder 1 Bass - Kitmonsters

New band Nova Twins are kicking up a storm with their Urban Punk sound that smashes together genres, riffs and killer bass lines to create something unique and thrilling. Their exhilarating live sets have been winning them plenty of fans and their first single ‘Bassline Bitch’ is due out soon. They play Standon Calling festival and support Radkey on 1st September in London. Nova Twins are Amy Love on guitar and vocals, Georgia South on bass, and Tim Nugent on drums. The Novas’ DIY approach extends from music through to video-making and designing clothes, and we talked to Amy and Georgia about songwriting and music gear.

Hometown:
London
Debut:
2014
Homepage:
www.novatwins.com
Twitter:
@NovaTwinsMusic

Nova Twins

Urban Punk

The Nova Twins’ sound is a fierce and fun genre-clash - so what goes into the music that they call urban punk? Bass player Georgia explains.

All different kinds of stuff, we listen to grime, listen to all different kinds of music. I think you can tell that we listen to so much different stuff because everyone always says that our sound is so unique, but we can’t help that because we’ve got all this information coming in our heads, we can’t just have one genre coming out, because we love too much different stuff at the moment. I think that you can tell that by our music and our clothes. Because we have ripped jeans and safety pins and then we’d have a beanie, or some nice Tarifa jewellery.

I think Urban Punk is a nice general name for it. Really you have elements of electronic music in there, like synthy pedals and wah pedals and stuff. I grew up listening to Stevie Wonder, Donnie Hathaway so maybe some of that has influenced the grooves and the basslines.

Singer and guitarist Amy gives us her take on it.

In Bad Bitches you have kind of a disco groove going on. We describe it as urban punk, so that’s obviously crossing genres. We might like Missy Elliot, Snoop, MC5, The Prodigy. It’s just really eclectic, because our taste is eclectic, the music’s eclectic, and obviously that’s not one thing. No one’s one thing, you’re constantly evolving as a person.

Home-made video and DIY culture

From their music and clothes to the self-made video that they shot on the spur of the moment on the way to the studio, Nova Twins are DIY culture in action.

We thought, we’d really like a little video to go with this demo, let’s go outside for a minute, just try to film a little clipette in one take. We were freezing cold, and it was really DIY. We went to a tyre place, we had some woman racking up the tyres and stuff and in the background it was ‘creak creak creak’ and we’re trying to be ‘work that bassline bitch’.

They say that their DIY approach is a very natural thing that comes out of current culture.

I think it’s very much a DIY culture because people are into more things. Maybe back in the day, people were more branded and in genres, the punks were the punks and the mods were the mods. But I think now because of the internet kids are immersed in all this amazing information, they can go, ‘actually I want to have a bit of that, I want to try a bit of that’, so it is definitely a DIY culture, and I guess this is a street culture too. You make do, you get by, and you put things together and you make it work, because you’ve got no choice, but actually it works out better.

We love making clothes and stuff, we’re always adding pins and sewing different fabrics on our clothes, and DIY sounds. We love mixing and matching our pedals and creating a new kind of vibe.

Nova Twins - pic Terry Tyldesley

Finding their sound and playing live

The band found their signature style quite quickly, and have been mentored by Georgia’s musician parents.

The sound was quite apparent from Day One because we’ve known each other for years, we were like a family but our band started last year, and the sound was just there. We’ve got the really hooky, massive basslines, we’ve got edgy vocals. We’ve got an amazing drummer, Tim Nugent, he plays live and in the studio, and he brings a cool hip hop feel and his own fire to the table.

You need to gig out as a band, that’s really important, I think. So we gigged out and then it just developed naturally and it got bigger naturally, it was like a snowball effect. We feel now we’re ready, this is what we want to portray, this is what we want to release. And we came out with ‘Bassline Bitch’.

Nova Twins - pic Terry Tyldesley

Songwriting

The Nova Twins’ close bond helps when it comes to songwriting says Amy.

We connect musically. Georgia comes up with something on the bass, and generally I think ‘this is perfect’. Sometimes in bands, because there’s so many different minds, you keep thinking ‘no I don’t want that, I don’t want that’, but with us it’s really slick, ‘we’re having it, let’s do it’.

Georgia reveals that there’s a lot of action and noise when they are writing.

It either works when you start with the bass or a topline, so either I get the bassline down, structure a song and then start adding the topline, but we have to shout it out in the room. If we’re feeling it then it will be the song. It’s very much a feeling. Of the time, in the moment.

Sometimes, we’ll come together to write a chorus and literally just shout down the house and be jumping around, trying to feel what the words should be, then Amy writes the lyrics and the verses.

Nova Twins - pic Terry Tyldesley

Shaping their sound

They have a strong concept of layering and designing sound, and write with their full music gear rather than an acoustic guitar says Amy.

We have to write on our pedals, because that’s what creates the sound. Sometimes if you think of a line or a riff, it might not necessarily work, you might be thinking, no, it’s not very good, but as soon as you put the the processed sounds on it and all the pedals it suddenly becomes something else.

What’s really important to Nova Twins is that we create all the sounds live. And that it’s not just your normal bass sound or guitar sound or vocal sound. We want to make textures and different little nuances with the instruments and everything, really, from head to toe.

Even vocals are like an instrument, because sometimes with vocals you think, that’s not going to work clean, I want to do something like distortion or I want it to go operatic. so it’s definitely about thinking ahead and then putting it into practice and making that sound come alive.

Nova Twins - pic Terry Tyldesley

“We want people to feel good”

Nova Twins are amazing live, and create an instant party, quickly getting the crowd moving. With song titles like ‘Bassline Bitch’, ‘Dirty Stop Out’ and Play Fair’, the lyrics describe growing up as young women in London and Essex says Amy.

It’s concepts of what we’re doing or how we’re feeling. The songs are edgy, they’re tongue-in-cheek and they’re about being young and enjoying life. Generally they are party bangers as well, we want people to feel good. We’ve got a track called ‘Let Your Hair Down’ and everything’s about not being put in a box and just feeling liberated. Any concept that can portray that, goes into our music.

It could be the simplest thing of going out, having fun and then suddenly having been on the piss somewhere. I don’t really talk about heartbreak. It’s more about anger, and there’s tension in the music, I don’t think Nova’s ever written a love song yet. There’ll be a good break-up/revenge song but there’s no love songs.

Nova Twins - pic Terry Tyldesley

Surprising the audience

They find time and time again that they surprise the audience, who don’t expect such a full-on guitar-laden sound.

People do stereotype us. We’re both mixed and we play guitars, so straight away we get, ‘oh you girls are going to be singing some R&B’ and it’s like ‘oh come on, educate yourself’! When we turn up to a gig, I think people expect something from us that we don’t ever give them. Which is nice. They’re pleasantly surprised.

It’s important to have your own ideas and how you want to portray yourself and have that already set so nobody can make it up for you.

There is that kind of thing where women are supposed to be the singer who the songs get written for, and then they go in front of the backing track. And that’s fine because there are some incredible vocalists out there who maybe don’t necessarily know where they want to take their voice, but when it becomes a stereotype and all of a sudden you’re branded, that’s when we think ‘well actually that’s not right, that’s not fair’.

Shouting louder

That stereotype can extend into the music industry too.

We’re women and yes we do have a voice. There’s been times where we’ve been talking to people - actually Björk had this interview and she had the same thing, where people - men - would gravitate to other men, totally miss us when we’re talking, pass us over. Then they’re shocked - do you write your own songs? Do you?

We’re not male-bashing here, because we play gigs with loads of guys, we’ve got loads of guy friends, but you do have to stand on your own two feet. And definitely, your voice has to be heard, and I think women sometimes have to shout a little bit louder than men. But there’s a movement and we’re constantly trying to push boundaries.

Nova Twins are all set to explode into the wider music scene, and have the potential to be huge. They have been working with some top people - recording with Pat Collier, (The Jesus and Mary Chain, X-Ray Spex, Primal Scream, Jakwob), and Adrian Hall (Goldfrapp, Du Blonde, Anna Calvi, Alicia Keys) has been mixing their music. They are fired up and can’t wait for their first official release and more gigging.

We’ve always dreamed of this tour lifestyle, and I think we’re ready for it, we love the party bangers and think it will be fun. And festivals definitely, we love festivals.

  • We’ve got videos and more in-depth interviews with Amy and Georgia talking about their music and kit.