Nova Twins: The Attitude-Laden Duo Reclaiming Rock as Black and Female

With streetwise themes and tongue-tripping rhythms, the maxim of representing the unrepresented lies at the very crux of salient London DIY punk duo, Nova Twins. Since charging onto the scene in late 2016, the dogged twosome have been tearing apart genre barriers with punk tenacity and pedalboards, which culminated in the February release of the salient studio debut, Who Are The Girls? Gemma Cockrell reflects on the brazen punks career thus far.

Nova Twins’ bright and vivid combination of attitude and caustic choruses, alongside a strong outspokenness about their experiences as women and People of Colour (POC) in music, has commanded much attention from fans and critics alike, who are, undeniably, witnessing the revival of punk with a unique twist. The irrefutably unapologetic London punk duo, consisting of Georgia South (bass) and Amy Love (vocals/guitar), were first introduced to each other as family friends. This is where their inspiration comes from – the strong, powerful independent women in their close families. Most notably, South’s parents are musicians themselves and encouraged the girls break away from the conformity of society and to make the music that they wanted to make.

Musically, the brazen twosome have been influenced by a multitude of divergent genres and artists, from the swagger of 90’s R&B and 70’s Glam Rock, with it’s figureheads of Missy Elliott, FKA twigs, Aaliyah, and N*E*R*D, to the contemporary icons, Skepta, Kanye West, and Destiny’s Child. The pair also reach into the more obscure sonics of the world surrounding them in order to further broaden and intensify their sound, and have replicated noises such as the breathy rev of a car engine using their instruments.

Who Are The Girls? conducts a furious, full-throttle attack on gender inequality, sexual harassment, and their audience’s listening capabilities.

Their breakout single, Bassline Bitch, released in 2015, was underpinned by an entirely DIY ethos, a method which has always been a mainstay in punk culture. When they started making music, the girls confess that they were unafraid yet naïve, innately curious about the endless possibilities posed by the world of music. Fast forward five years and February 2020 saw the release of their deadly debut record, Who Are The Girls?, produced by Jim Abbiss of Arctic Monkeys Mercury Music Prize winning debut album, Whatever People Say I Am, and Kasabian’s insatiable 1997 self-titled. A powerful and energised record, it conducts a furious, full-throttle attack on gender inequality, sexual harassment, and their audience’s listening capabilities. Simultaneously rowdy, raucous, and riotous, the debut is overflowing with uncontainable explosive energy and oozing fiery feminine attitude.

Their group name, with its reference to an astronomical nova that undergoes a cataclysmic eruption before increasing in brightness, is therefore gloriously fitting. The feral, mangled, and abrasive sound is constructed entirely of distorted guitar riffs and pounding bass – pure, unadulterated punk at its best, with no electronic synths sneaking into the mix. While listeners may strike comparison between Nova Twins and the prolific lists of sonic influences, such as The Prodigy and The New York Dolls, in reality, their sound cannot be compared to anything else that the music scene has seen past or present. They have crafted a sound that is truly and unapologetically unique to them.

Therefore, this leads to the placement of enormous value on ensuring a diverse and inclusive environment within their fanbase and live audiences, a refreshing change to see in a scene where mixed crowds haven’t always existed. For South, punk is a genre which captures the spirit of fearlessly being yourself, inclusivity, and confidence to speak your mind, whilst Love revels in its ability to create a safe space for people to embrace their authentic self without judgement. Their aim is to demonstrate to the generation of today that it is entirely possible to be a fan of rock, whilst simultaneously embracing your authentic self, regardless of gender or racial identity.

Written by: Gemma Cockrell

Edited by: Louise Dugan

Featured and article images courtesy of Nova Twins via Facebook.