We had the pleasure to discuss with the twins duo NERVO before the closing party of their NERVO NATION residency at Ushuaïa in Ibiza & talk about a serious topic that mean a lot for them : Sexism in electronic music industry.
You’ve recently released “People Grinnin’” ft The Child of Lov back in July with two remix packages in August & September, so let’s talk about this track! It’s not another anthem because this track and the video clip are talking about something really important that – I think – you wanna share with the world; The problem of stereotyping in the industry.
NERVO : We love what we do & we are very proud of the work we produce. We are often asked :”Why are there not as many women in the industry?“ We think that there are some women who DJ that have probably given women a bad name in our industry. Some girls are DJing in bikinis, or posting pictures of their butts or their boobs – just all that kind of stuff. By doing this, they are taking away the fact that we can be credible musicians, artists and producers.
“You don’t see guys DJing in a G string, right?!”
We worked so hard in the studio for over a decade – we have done engineering courses – we’re happy to be where we are and hopefully speak to other women who want to enter this world. Now they can enter it without having to focus on their looks or gender or sexiness. We are all for women empowerment. I love it when a woman feels sexy and maybe that means showing off her curves but we don’t think it should be the main focus. You don’t see guys DJing in a G string, right?! If you google images « Female DJs » the only thing that comes up are women in bikinis and that is a problem.
Electronic music industry faces several female artist who – unlike you – have neither your writing skills, production or even DJing skills but headline major club & festival lineups. To be clear, women are used like an entertainment tool. Do you think this is a bad influence on the vision that the Electronic music industry has for women?!
NERVO : I think it is as much the responsibility of the artist herself as the promoter who booked her. There are some serious festival promoters who are booking women DJs and using their sexuality to promote a business more than the music, and that’s sad! These girls have followers – sex sells, always has and always will – but we don’t want to focus on that because that’s not what NERVO is about.
Don’t get us wrong, we love to be sexy, but it shouldn’t be what drives our reputation or sells our records. There are so many role models; Look at Maya Jane Coles ! What an incredible female electronic artist. Annie Mac from UK – a true tastemaker. Annie breaks records and artists, you don’t see her in bikini ! She worked hard for so many years to prove that she’s good and she doesn’t compromise her integrity.
I think some people look at us and they think we’re blonde and bubbly and they probably think we are sell outs. To the really underground people we’re probably a sell out because we write a lot of pop music. But we can stand behind our studio work. It will be nice to see more girls just make music and not focus so much on the sex-symbolism.
English DJ & producer Maya Jane Coles with BBC Radio host Annie Mac. 2016 – Credits : BBC Radio One
Do you feel that you always have to do more to be considered by men as artists in the industry?!
Yes ! I think we were very lucky to have been supported by few key men in the business, some we worked with & wrote songs for before we were NERVO. David Guetta was one, Armin Van Buuren was another one, Afrojack too and we were lucky to have them support our music. When we started, there was a lot of hate, there’s still a lot of hate and there will always be hatred. We just have to keep believing on what we do because haters gonna hate !
The question of stereotypes and especially sexism is a real problem in a 7 Billions $ Electronic music market of which 45% of Fans are women. However, Women represent only 6% of the bill in the North American market. How can you explain that and what are your thoughts on the topic?!
Because women haven’t been quite involved in the technical side of the things, the recording and production things you know. We’ve been working with Pop-stars for a long time like The Pussycat Dolls, Kylie Minogue, Miley Cyrus and I think girls just like to be glamorous.
The studio is not very glamorous, you are sitting behind a computer for twelve hours and you are editing – Literally that’s what you’re doing ! You look ugly, you are wearing ugly clothes and I think that’s maybe why there is not as many women in this industry.
— NERVO (@nervomusic) 9 septembre 2016
We love it ! We have always loved it, but lots of girls we worked with they are glamorous – they come in, record and leave. When we did our sound engineering courses, we were the only girls in the class, even if it was a small class, we think it means something. It’s like when we did this campaign to promote women in engineering with Made By Me for People Grinnin’, hopefully women can see that engineering is sexy, it’s a great career and we can help show women that anyone can do it.
“It will be nice to see more girls just make music and not focus so much on the sex-symbolism.”
I’ve had the chance to see you on many parties & festivals these last few years since you’re playing in Europe at all the major events and I’ve been amazed with the numbers of girls that are attending your shows! Do you think it’s also an identification phenomenon? Like huge female artists such as the Spice Girls, Beyonce or Miley Cyrus?! Do you feel that love and feel like an inspiration for the new generation of women?!
If we’re inspiring it’s a great thing. I do not think we nearly influence people as much as the artists you mentioned though! We loved the Spice Girls! If we can inspire a girl out there to follow her dream in music then that is a true honour.
You are international DJs & producers, you are traveling all over the world. I know that you are already thankful for this life & totally aware of the chance to live this life, and deserve it because you are working hard for it. If you take some time to think about all the countries and culture you’ve seen and experienced, can you tell me how this has changed your perception of the world??
Wow, so much ! It’s one of the best thing about our job, we’re the lucky few and you really see it when you’re touring ; for example in Peru, people have saved for all year to go to Creamfields festival and that means alot to us to have those kind of fans.
There is a lot of poverty in many parts of the world, and I think that really makes us humble and put things in perspective. We can’t take it for granted & I think that’s has been one of the points we’ve learned a lot as humans and artists.