At the Women In Music Awards 2022, we celebrated the achievements of 12-game changing executives and artists as the industry came together to honour their work. Music Week has spoken to all 12 winners to tell their stories.
NOVA TWINS - NEW ARTIST AWARD (sponsored by PRS For Music and PRS Foundation)
Interview by Anna Fielding
When 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,” says singer and guitarist Amy Love.
“Imagination,” adds bassist Georgia South. “We imagined this band because we didn’t have anyone like us to look up to. That was the fun bit. There are no rules to who we can be.”
Nova Twins are the zeitgeist-capturing polymath pioneers that our times have been waiting for. Their debut album Who Are The Girls? planted their flag as outliers on a mission. The same fighting spirit is ingrained in their new, Mercury Shortlisted album Supernova, a piece of work that’s fearlessly itself – once again playing with genre and rich in different moods, textures and layers, all the while retaining that purity and simplicity of the essential elements: South, Love, bass, guitars, drums and a whole lot of energy.
A clash of ideas from the worlds of punk, rap, pop, rock and beyond, their sound is one that smashes genres and showcases the many facets of the duo, resulting in one of the scene's premiere live bands and fiercest festival acts. Nova Twins reach a very broad church, without diluting what they’re all about.
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 on their own. Read on for our interview with this year’s New Artist Award winners…
Congratulations on winning this year’s New Artist award. How do you feel?
Georgia South: “Really proud, actually. When we found out we were like ‘oh my God… incredible…’”
Amy Love: “Really honoured. It’s great to have a platform that celebrates all types of women.”
GS: “Exactly. There’s still a lot that needs to be pushed forward in terms of pay rates and pay gaps. So, more power to the women.”
AL: “It’s still not an even playing field. It would be great to say that we don’t need to have this conversation any more, but we’d be lying to ourselves. So on platforms like these, we can recognise all the women who are pushing things forward and all the amazing things they are doing right now.”
And what are you doing right now? How has 2022 been for you?
GS: “It’s been a whirlwind. Feels like we came out of the pandemic like a horse out of the stalls. Full steam ahead. It’s been a crazy journey, touring more than we ever have before – around the UK, in Europe, North America.”
What changed for you, during the pandemic?
AL: “Before the pandemic, I don’t think people were ready for a band like us. BLM hadn’t happened at that point and I think people were content with not having much diversity in rock, or diversity in the industry – unless it was somewhere that suited them like in hip hop or R&B. So, that’s a change not just for our band, but for many others too, to be let in and to feel included.
“At the same time, I feel that the work rate has changed – and that’s for all bands. Everyone is working so hard. There’s a lot of demand, but also a lot of saturation. Everyone I speak to is gigging so much, but at the same time the cost of everything has gone up. So everyone is just trying to find a way to make it all work, especially in the independent sector and the underground. But, you know, we’ve released a new record and we’re on the road and we have more of a platform to talk about things.”
GS: “We do feel really good. We’ve always taught ourselves to dream big, but also to be able to enjoy the moment. So when things come along, we still feel it’s a pinch-me moment and we will always be really grateful for any success that comes our way.”
BLM definitely achieved goals... Even in our rock scene there are more people of colour, more women of colour
You mentioned Black Lives Matter. What do you think the movement has achieved and how far is there still to go?
GS: “BLM definitely achieved goals. We can see the effect on the line-ups of the festivals we played this year. Even in our rock scene there are more people of colour, more women of colour. And, of course, there’s still further to go – just as we said about the Women In Music Awards, BLM is very much still necessary, but we are moving in the right direction.”
AL: “It’s important to keep lifting each other up. We wouldn’t be here without a lot of amazing people who believed in us. And we want to be able to pass the baton on, because that’s how you keep music thriving. Are we supposed to just have the same old headliners until they die?”
Is this how your Voices Of The Unheard playlist came about?
AL: “It started in lockdown, around the time of BLM, when we started reaching out to other POC artists to discuss their experiences in the music industry. From that, we created a playlist of artists from all around the world.”
GS: “We took it to Instagram so that we could share everything with our followers.”
AL: “And then we started working with Dr Martens and we were able to set up a TV show from our own sofa.”
GS: “And then we created vinyl and started a tour.”
AL: “It was amazing to see the effects. An artist in Toronto told us they got a publishing deal off the back of being on our playlist. That feels great. We knew all these artists just needed more eyes on them.”
At the Awards, you were joined onstage by Sophie K, who has also done a lot with the platform she has. What’s your relationship?
AL: “We owe a lot to Sophie K, she was there when nobody else was listening. She was such an advocate for us. And she’s such an amazing person. On her podcast you hear from women, non-binary people, people of colour in metal and rock, who really know what they’re talking about. Then to hear Sophie’s experiences in the industry… she knows probably more than anyone, but she’s still questioned, probably because of how she looks and her sex.”
GS: “She’s representing her field. That’s why we were so pleased Sophie is here at Women In Music because it’s important that she’s recognised for who she is and what she’s doing.”
Aside from the support from other artists and from DJs like Sophie, who else has been around for you this year?
GS: “We are very lucky to have an amazing independent team around us, who took a chance on us when no one else would. Emma Van Duyts, Hayley Codd, Rupert King.”
AL: “Public City PR are amazing. Blue Raincoat is such a great company. They should be getting management of the year!”
We aren’t the only awards you’ve been involved with this year. How do you feel about your Mercury nomination?
GS: “That was literally like a dream. We were actually out with my mum in an antiques store and we got this call from our management, ‘Oh you’ve been shortlisted for the Mercurys, don’t tell anyone’. So we couldn’t scream. It’s been a dream since childhood to be nominated for the Mercurys, because it’s not a numbers game, it’s all about the music.”