Amy Love and Georgia South are Nova Twins, a South-London duo whose basslines hit as hard as their lyrics. Fusing elements of punk and grime with a lot of distortion, the pair have fought back against labels and stereotypes since they first stormed the scene in 2015. Their ever-evolving sound defies categorisation, and their look (and choice of DM’s boot) changes with it.
Following ground-shaking performances at this summer’s Hellfest and Download festivals (not to mention our own Boot Room), the pair are heading out for a six-date headline run this September. We sat down with Amy and Georgia to talk circle pits, alien Docs and empowering young girls to pick up an instrument.
How did growing up in South-East London influence your sound?
Georgia – Lewisham is so diverse and growing up around such a mix of different cultures was a gift and it is a beautiful thing to experience. It’s influenced a part of our sound as I’ve been immersed in grime, punk, rock, reggae, pop – loads of different music living in South East [London]! It gave me a broader way of thinking and made me want to experiment with the bass guitar and our sound and not stick to the norm of what was ‘trendy’ at the time
Your sound combines elements of punk, grime and hip-hop – have you always been open-minded with your music tastes?
Amy – I grew up in Essex, came to London at 16 and basically moved in with G! I discovered a lot of different types of music and resonated with the spirit of a lot of punk and rock bands that had an influence on me one way or another. I guess our mutual love for 90s hip-hop and R&B and everything else that we like on the opposite end of the spectrum is the make-up of our sound. We listen to all sorts of music; it just depends on our mood. We find ourselves moshing out to bands like Ho99o9 or Alien Weaponry, getting down to Kelis or Missy Elliott then chilling out to James Blake or Gregory Porter. There are no boundaries in what we listen to and that reflects in our genre-bending sound and style.
Do you find that being two strong female musicians empowers younger girls to follow their passions in music?
Amy – Yes, we want girls to feel that they don’t have to be what society has planned for them. There are a lot of harmful images and pressures out there for young girls and women in general. Maybe seeing us doing what we do/hearing our journey will show young girls that it’s OK to be yourself and it’s worth fighting for. We have been a band for a few years and had to find our own lane as we didn’t fit in and people didn’t know where to place us. While some saw it as a negative, we saw it as one of our strengths and eventually, it paid off! It doesn’t have to be music; it’s just about being able to see something in another light or be exposed to a different perspective and to encourage girls to think, “If they can do it, so can we.”
Georgia – I hope that we empower more women to pick up an instrument and express their feelings through music. Growing up I didn’t have a reflection of a woman doing the type of music that I was doing. I was lucky enough to see Beyoncé in concert when I was very young. She had an all-female, women of colour band who were absolutely shredding it! Since that day, I thought I could do this and would love to be on stage too! As cheesy as it may sound, if we can inspire someone to follow their dreams of doing something that they want to do, whether that’s starting a band or being an astronaut, then we’d feel happy that we’ve put something positive back in the world.
Which gig do you wish you’d attended?
Amy – We had to leave Hellfest before Kiss headlined as we had to catch our flight. I was pretty gutted to miss it. Apparently it’s their last tour in Europe EVER and I heard that they went all out. They are one of my guilty pleasures in life; the boots do something to me! Ha!
Georgia – N*E*R*D! When I was 13 I couldn’t go to their show in London as you had to be 14 to get in… but I should’ve just gone as they probably couldn’t have proven it otherwise, haha. I’ve never seen them since!
The stage or the studio – what’s the most rewarding, creating the music or playing it live?
Amy – Definitely live. We love playing shows. Although we had fun in the studio on this last record, there’s nothing quite like being on a stage and sharing music with the crowd. When everyone lets go and gets crazy together, it’s the best feeling ever. You feel a part of something bigger than just the music.
Georgia – The stage! We love recording in the studio but we’re a live band! There’s no better rush than playing a festival to thousands of people. The adrenaline you get is insane as it’s so amazing having a mental time with people you’ve just met, and we love travelling to new places!
Your shows have a real raw punk energy about them, what’s the wildest crowd you’ve experienced playing for?
Georgia – Our London shows are mad as it’s usually always in a super sweaty intimate space which is sick! I remember we did a show at the Dr Martens Boot Room in Camden, which was crazy! Also, festivals in France are always mental and we loved New York too!
Amy – There has been a few, but the most recent ones were Rock For People Fest in the Czech Republic which was an endless pit of fury and Hellfest as it was our biggest crowd to date. They were both so epic in different ways which blew our minds!
The music industry can be notoriously stuck in the past when it comes to sexism, do you feel it’s harder for independent females to make their mark?
Amy – A lot of amazing women in music get overlooked and promoters are still booking the same old male headliners. While I can see that things are getting better and it’s great to see a strong DIY community of females coming together creating their own scene, it’s still a problem in the mainstream. I think the industry has a responsibility to encourage promoters and radio to support these great bands that are out there and encourage new headliners to be able to keep music alive. A lot of the headliners are approaching 70: who will we have left?
Georgia – I think for women if you don’t fit into a certain look or sound, like a certain trend of the time, it is harder to make your mark. We’ve found that the industry doesn’t always want to take many risks on things that they haven’t heard before, so you see the same cookie-cutter sounds and looks coming through! The majority of festivals of the rock scene still need to open their minds and book more bands with females in them as we still find ourselves being one of like 2-7 females on rock festival bills.
Style-wise you both have a strong identity on and off stage – how would you describe your look?
Georgia – If a basketball player joined a circus…
Amy – We always say that we wear what our music looks like to us…if that makes sense? As the music and pedalboards evolve so do our clothes!
Do you customise and make your clothes yourselves?
Amy – Yes, we do. We often hand-stitch our stage clothes and casualwear. Over the years our collection built up and we got better at sewing, so we decided to make a small collection called Bad Stitches!
Georgia – Yeah! Our music inspired our look, the more crazy and heavy our music got the more eccentric we got with our look! When we write songs, we can see colours and themes of looks that go with the song, so we just take it from there and get creative. It’s a super cheap way to express yourselves, haha. We made ‘Bad Stitches’ so other people can wear some of our designs too!
How long have you been wearing DM’s, and what were your first pair?
Georgia – That’s a good question! I feel like we’ve always worn DM’s! Maybe when I was about 9 or 10! I think I got a metallic purple boot!
Amy – I remember those purple ones! We often wear them on stage as they are heavy duty and feel sturdy for stomping on our pedalboards! I don’t remember when exactly, but I think my first was a red pair that I tried to customise when I was younger and did a terrible job and ruined. I had to wait for another birthday before I could get another pair!
Tell us about your favourite pair of Docs and how it makes you feel to put them on…
Georgia – I live in the black Church boots! They’re so comfy and resemble the monkey boots which I used to wear to school (and got bullied for, haha!) I feel like it’s a massive F U to those people as I feel badass in them now! They’re just great for any occasion! On stage, smart, casual. I’ve even worn them in the sea once, although that probably wasn’t the best idea…
Amy – That’s a tough question as I built up a few different pairs over the years. I generally go for 8-eye boots or above! They are durable and tough, it’s a good way to feel!
If you could create your own pair of bespoke DM’s what would they look like?
Amy – Like an alien spaceship on your feet involving animal print or something like that.
Georgia – I’ve tried spray painting some once to look like they have a steel cap! So definitely the Church boot shape with a double sole and a steel cap and a buckle. And like a cool snakeskin print vibe!
What does Dr. Martens means to you?
Amy – Style, culture and good-looking feet!
Georgia – You can wear them being your 100% authentic self! There’s a pair that is for anyone from any background and lifestyle! They now unite people and that’s what’s special about them.
You recently stopped by the Dr. Martens pop-up at Hellfest, how was that weekend?
Georgia – It was a rush! It was the biggest and possibly hottest show to date as it was 33 degrees that day and we played to 22,000 people, which is just mad! We played at 11:45am and people were still up for a party. There was a massive circle pit and just great vibes all round we loved it and appreciated the energy they gave — especially at that time in the morning, haha!
Amy – It was the best weekend and such a highlight for us. The festival alone was built amazingly and the audience was incredible. It was one of our tick boxes, so we were so pleased to be playing mainstage for our first time there! Can’t wait to go back!
What’s next for the Nova Twins?
Georgia – We’re going to release new music soon and are so excited to be doing our own UK tour in September! We’re also supporting Prophets of Rage in August around Europe, and playing at more festivals too!
Amy – More new music, more shows! It’s an exciting time for all of us new bands in live music. Band music is making a comeback in a big way, and women in music are taking their seat at the table. I can’t wait to see what 2020 is going to bring!
Nova Twins pictured wearing the Alternative Collection.
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