If you’ve not heard of Nimmo, it’s about time you check their new video Do I Have to Learn It out. Infectious but not in an annoying way (ie. Justin Bieber’s Yummy), Nimmo identify musically as a pop duo but reject the heteronormative nature of the music industry. They even say themselves that the UK “has an unquenchable thirst for the boy next door with a big voice… maybe we can fill this ale without them even knowing!” METAL talks to the wonderful Sarah Nimmo and Reva Gauntlet about all things womxn.
I adore the video for Do I Have to Learn It that you’ve released recently; the positive energy you both emit feels like a genuine force to be reckoned with. How did you two meet?
We met at school! We bonded over music and tracksuits on day one. Nothing’s changed.
So Sarah, Nimmo is your surname. How did you decide on using this for the name of your band?
We used to go by both our surnames when making music together in our teens. People ended up abbreviating it to Nimmo, so we decided to keep it as it felt genuine.
Your lyrics are often grounded in dark subject matter, from musing about death and loss to the feeling of un-belonging and losing sense of who you are. Why is it do you think that artists so often find inspiration through sombre circumstances?
I think as artists it’s natural to look inside yourself and question the things that often make you feel uncomfortable. There’s a therapy in this for all artists, probably. Expressing feelings of joy or relaxation is easy. There's a lot of satisfaction that comes from making something out of a bad situation.
Would you say that turning pain into a dance track is a form of catharsis?
The skit at the beginning of the 2019 album, The Power really resonates with me, the gritty spoken word that details the loss of power one feels trying to make ends meet. Do you see yourselves as spokespeople for youth today?
(Laughs) That title feels very grand. We are definitely part of the youth speaking, speaking with them and for them as much for as possible. So yes, in some ways. That intro to the album was something written down in a notebook after a couple of months of getting misgendered by businessmen while serving coffee in order to make sure our rent was covered. We lost all sense of power and then went on to meet so many amazing collaborators in our community and create loads of new work out of that. Power regained!
When you were signed to Sony in 2015, Nimmo had five members, but now, you’ve slimmed down to two and are taking over the pop scene label-less! What happened there?
Nothing very dramatic, to be honest. We grew up and knew how we wanted the project to feel and sound, so naturally, we found our way to that spot. Sometimes, you have to change labels and switch up your outlook to get there. It felt great!
So you stepped away from the scene for a while but you came back with a colossal and wonderfully infectious fourteen-track album, The Power. Apparently, it took you two years to make. How come it took so long?
We knew half the album would have been songs we recorded with Sony, so we wanted the second half to have as much of our new outlook and energy in there as possible. To marry those two headspaces and bring together a team and project completely independently takes a bit of time, but it was very worth it.
It must’ve felt very freeing, being able to quit your day job and focus on your music, going in a direction that isn’t determined by labels and release dates. Would you say you’re a DIY duo at heart?
What song from The Power resonates with you the most and why?
It's Easier is still visually a very, very strong track for us. It's about the crazzzzy time we had throwing parties in our Dalston studio. We got evicted in the end because little did we know they had CCTV the whole time (laughs). That track transports us back to that time every time we sing it.
You support queer female artists with your series of London club nights Nimmo Curates. Would like to expand the Nimmo empire and hold nights across the United Kingdom? I live in Glasgow and I know your vision would be perfect for the clubbing scene!
Yeah, we love throwing curated club nights! We have another coming up on the 2nd of May at Superstore in London. It’s great feeling partying with like-minded womxn and bringing our fans into that world. We are in Glasgow this month on tour – maybe you can take us out? (Laughs)
The UK pop scene is essentially camp central, but is distinctly devoid of actual LGBTQ+ individuals in the limelight, as with many other music genres. Do you see this changing?
We do. We feel it’s changing rapidly at the moment, but even a huge feeling of change doesn’t always indicate that things have actually changed for good. This country still has an unquenchable thirst for the boy next door with a big voice… maybe we can fill this role without them knowing!