Exclusive: Nervo Loves Being A 'Haute Mess'

A career in music – especially in the world of DJ-producers – is much like a video game. With each level comes a new set of challenges and rewards that work towards triumph – all the while remaining fun. Liv and Mim of electronic dance music duo NERVO‘s level one began when they hustled as waitresses before landing their first break in the industry. What started as a behind-the-scenes songwriting career evolved into the festival hopping, jet-setting life the NERVO sisters have now. All of that hard work has led up to this pivotal level: the release of their debut album Collateral, out July 2015 via Ultra Music. Mim says, “The real die-hard fans, they know that we’ve come out from behind-the-scenes from working with different artists. The new NERVO fans, they don’t know that. So when they hear this album, they may think, ‘Oh that sounds very different.’ I think as it rolls out, people will realized that we do an array of music. We don’t want to just release records that only work on the dance floor. We want to release records that work at somebody’s dinner party or someone’s bedroom or wherever. It doesn’t always have to be bangin’ at the club.”

“We always want to better what we’ve done previously. We start every idea by ourselves. Then what happens is we’ll bring someone in,“ Liv states. The NERVO version of ‘bringing someone in’ comes in a wide-ranging fashion. Artists featured on Collateral include Kylie Minogue from the pop realm, Kreayshawn’s rapid rapping skills, along with several others including the legendary Nile Rodgers.

Both Liv and Mim agree that Collateral “has an electronic heartbeat, but the flavors are quite eclectic.” Whether this album is an intro or reintroduction to NERVO, it certainly has enough layers and inspiration – from electro to disco – to suit the aural taste buds of a music lover. Milk Made spoke to NERVO about being a “haute mess” and the creation of Collateral.

I’m really excited about the latest single that you’ve dropped, “Haute Mess.” So, what’s the difference between a hot mess and an haute mess?

(Laughs) Well, a haute mess can let her hair down. She can have fun, but keep it together at the same time. It’s a fine line.

As the night progresses along you can teeter on the line of haute and hot mess.

Exactly. You’re exactly right. We like fun chicks, you know – fun, haute messes.

The music video is tons of fun. Coming up with the concept, was it pitched to you or did you both come up with it on your own?

We definitely came up with it on our own. We’ve shot a lot of music videos recently, but with this particular video we could not organize a shoot because our days were completely booked up. We’ve always really liked that collage. We’re even looking at that as a possibility for an album cover because it’s very Collateral. You’ve got pieces here and there that come together. And so we reached out to our very good friend who directed ‘Revolution’ and ‘Ready for the Weekend.’ He came up with the idea and really liked the collage-like look. He came up with the story line of Liv and I in a bit of a dance-off which is really funny because when we wrote the record it was about a guy – what the girl says to the guy in the club, but his interpretation of the lyrics was what Liv and I were saying to each other. So, we did it, and it was great.

Yeah, it definitely works. I can see how the ideas can go either way like you mentioned with the original thought being an exchange between a guy and a girl at the club.

It was quite easy for us. Normally a video shoot is a big deal for us. We got into so many changes and the director just took snap after snap and he put it all together. And the great thing about working with people that you know is that they know you so well. For instance, he knows we love pizza. He knows all these little NERVO things about us because we’ve been working together for many years. It’s really a great process.

So, ‘Collateral’ – let’s talk about that. I’m thrilled about the release of the album and I’m sure you both are too. You mentioned before that you get a bit nervous before festival performances, does that same emotion apply to the release of new music?

Yes, definitely. Well, yes and no because at the end of the day we love it so we can stand proud behind our body of work. One thing that we’re excited about is that we’ve been releasing so many singles over the years, but we’ve never released an album. But we do like to write these records that aren’t always club bangers. We like a range of music and I think that’s been the real doozy about putting together an album. It might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but we’re hoping it will show a different side of the work we do. We love it. We’ve written so many records. We had almost three albums worth of work…so we sat down and picked the top 15 songs. So, it was a really nice process. We’re just excited to get it out there.

I’m assuming this was a long time in the making or perhaps it fell together fairly quickly?

Yes, yes it’s definitely been a long time in the making. Some of the records on the album, you know, we started the initial ideas and held them four years ago. We’re constantly working on new ideas, whatever floats our boat. The key for us is we have a lot of 80% finished records on our hard drive and the great thing about the album is we do finish a lot of records. We do that last 20% which is exciting as well because the records that we revisited – that we wrote a while ago – we feel like we’ve revamped and really brought new life into them.

Check out NERVO’s website here

Photography by Dan Monick and Chloe Paul

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