Asked about what it takes to make it into a Nova Twins song, the heavy alt. rock renegades have a few words that spring to mind. “Power and fight” replies singer and guitarist Amy Love. “Imagination” adds bassist Georgia South. “We imagined this band because we didn’t have any one like us to look up to. That was the fun bit. There were no rules to who we can be.”
Nova Twins are the zeitgeist-capturing polymath pioneers that our times have been waiting for. Whether pushing the MOBO Awards to create a category for POC alt. acts, to teaming up with No Music On A Dead Planet and Oxfam to play for environmental change, working with Dr. Martens to raise money for The Black Curriculum or aiming to inspire a new wave of young, diverse talent, Amy Love and Georgia South are much more than one of the UK’s most exciting bands – they are changemakers.
Formed in London in 2014, the two childhood friends came together to create something that destroyed boundaries and defied expectations. A clash of ideas from the worlds of punk, rap, pop, hard rock and beyond, their sound is one that smashes genres but showcases the many facets of the duo and where they’re from. “Some of our favourite music is ‘00s R&B and hip-hop” says Love. “That guided us when we were younger and gave us some kind of stability. Then we wanted to venture out and were met with people saying, ‘you don’t belong here’.”
They have battled through the old guard of rock’s narrow-minded expectations. Their debut album ‘Who Are The Girls?’ planted their flag as outliers on a mission, when it dropped in 2020 to much critical acclaim. Name another act that could support Bring Me The Horizon and Wolf Alice but also Enter Shikari and Sleaford Mods? One of the UK’s premiere live bands and fiercest festival acts reach a very broad church, without diluting what they’re all about.
Rage Against The Machine icon Tom Morello dubbed them “an incredible band who deserve to be huge” as well as inviting them on tour with Prophets Of Rage. Bring Me The Horizon’s Oli Sykes called them one of his “favourite new bands” before having them collaborate on song ‘1x1’ from 2020’s UK No.1 album ‘POST HUMAN: SURVIVAL HORROR’. Furthermore, they’ve already scored the “bucket list” moment of appearing on the cover of NME, as “the band rewriting the rules of alternative music”. It’s true, rules are not in Nova Twins’ vocabulary, so don’t think about forcing them upon them.
“People just assume that women who dress colourfully can’t play” says South. “We want to change that – for everyone. We want to change the way that people look at heavy music.” Love agrees: “People say, ‘oh is that supposed to be punk?’ just based on our look and aesthetic. The New York Dolls and David Bowie can wear flamboyant clothes and be celebrated for it. When women do it, you get taken less seriously. Suddenly people think you’re posers, playing to a backing track. That makes us play into it more.”
Their attitude runs through everything they do – bursting out of their music and into the vision they have for their art-punk music videos and DIY outfits. They make their own clothes because nothing else feels quite ‘Nova’ enough. “Clothes are our armour” says Love. “They make us feel Nova. Fashion is just an extension of what you want to tell people.” South agrees: “As long as you feel like your most authentic self, that’s cool. We just happen to feel comfortable covered in spikes, fake fur and clown make-up.”
Now they too are advocates for diversity and those who might otherwise feel like they don’t fit the standard rock mould. Through their ‘Voices For The Unheard’ platform, they give a stage and a spotlight to marginalised talent, in order to help heavy music evolve. “The rock scene was regurgitating the same headliners over and over again, and in the same breath saying, ‘rock is dying’” says Love. “It’s like, ‘hang on a minute, have you not heard what’s going on over here?’ You need to make sure you’re nurturing a new generation, so that they can have the opportunity to fill those crucial spots one day. It’s a really interesting time for alternative music and I think it’s about to have its fucking heyday.”
There’s no band out there quite like Nova Twins. If more artists blazed a trail like this, we’d be celebrating a lot more difference, rather than craving what’s safe and similar. From being “shunned” when they arrived on the scene, now Nova Twins are leading a game all of their own. Now, there are no rules.