Nova Twins took it up to 11 at their Afropunk Fest London debut. Just don’t call them a punk band…
It’s no mean feat for a new punk-influenced band to play at Afropunk‘s first UK outing in the birthplace of punk. While the festival’s foundations are in the US alternative rock scene, London is where the sound began. Nevertheless the Nova Twins rolled into Alexandra Palace, guitars amped up, and won over audiences with their full force audio attack.
The duo got things kicking with the emphatic Bassline Bitch. “You know what time it is, murder that bassline bitch, we’ll blow your mind with it,” singer Amy Love threatened on the mic. Then for track two - the equally thunderous Twitch – band mate Georgia South took Love’s words quite literally and fused the bass amp, much to the approval of the audience. “When I blew up that amp I got really pissed off about it,” she recalls. “But when I told everyone they all cheered and it made my day.” They finished their sharp set with Wave, a song about being bored by a less than satisfying sexual encounter.
“It’s nice to be part of something that celebrates uniqueness and allows everyone
to embrace their differences”
Both of them hail from musical families so after meeting on London’s gig scene, it was a natural progression to form the band. South’s father taught them how to play guitars. Love also attended the British Academy of New Music with former classmates Ed Sheeran and Rita Ora. Since their first single - the aforementioned Bassline Bitch - was released last September, the past 12 months has been a hectic blur of shows.
By their own admission, as women of colour with electric guitars, performing at Afropunk went beyond mere exposure. The festival’s code of creating a safe space for diversity hit a note. “I grew up in Essex where there wasn’t much diversity for me to reflect on,” says Love. “So it’s nice to be part of something that celebrates uniqueness and allows everyone to embrace their differences. Looking out to the audience while we were playing I remember thinking ‘Wow, where have all these people been hiding, everyone looks incredible.’ I’m so proud that we got to share our music with the Afropunk family.”
Nova Twins fuse rap with serious heavy metal bass, a hint of grime and some all-out punk spirit. Each song is a joy ride through multiple music genres. The Guardian recently claimed they were “bringing punk rock to a new audience,” - something the duo took offence to. “We’re not a punk band, I mean people will always try to categorise but when people listen to our music hopefully they will hear for themselves,” says South. “We have many influences and they are all different, which probably explains our mash up of sounds,” adds Love. Between them they cite everyone from Stevie Wonder and James Blake to Dizzee Rascal and Missy Elliott.
Having just dropped their self-titled EP, what can we expect from the girls in future? “We are all about playing with our guitars and hopefully just having fun with it,” says Love. “I love experimenting with different ways to create sounds on the bass, so more high-energy songs and new pedal tricks,” adds South. Ahead of them is a blistering set of shows across London, Leeds and Manchester before finishing the year at Rennes Trans Musicales Festival in France. “We are always going to continue to push musical boundaries and seeing what we come up with,” says Love. “We want to take it all the way.”
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