It’s been just over a year since Nova Twins dropped their debut full-length, Who Are The Girls?, and hit us full blast with their eclectic and empowering brand of thrashy punk rock. Now, in the first-ever official remix to grace their discography, “Undertaker” has been tackled by none other than alternative powerhouse FEVER 333.
Spearheaded by vocalist Jason Aalon Butler and producer Zach Jones, the collaboration offers a fresh spin on a track already so full of sonic variety that it refuses to go stale even after a year of nonstop spinning. The result is a masterful showcase of chaotic punk ferocity that one could only expect from two bands of such caliber.
The reworked track will appear on the forthcoming deluxe version of Who Are The Girls?, alongside a remix of “Bullet” by Dream Wife. This limited-edition anniversary vinyl is anticipated to release June 5 via Blood Records. Only 500 pressings are available—all signed and hand-numbered—so be sure to preorder your copy while they’re still in stock.
Nova Twins sat down with Alternative Press for an interview alongside the “Undertaker” remix premiere. Take a listen to the track below and read on to see what they have to say about the inspiration behind the collaboration, its stylistic nuances and the safe space they’ve found among FEVER 333 and the 333 WRECKORDS CREW.
How did this particular collaboration with FEVER 333 come about, and what influenced the decision to use “Undertaker” for the remix?
AMY LOVE: “Undertaker” is the heavier side of [Nova Twins]. We just thought that they match the energy. They’re literally the craziest band you’ll ever see live. We love this particular song live as well. We thought there was a synergy between us, so we asked [about the collaboration], and Jason was like, “Hell yeah, let’s do it.” And that was it.
SOUTH: It’s the energy. We love playing this song live because we feel super energized by it. The audience is like a full-on mosh pit. [We play it] at the end of the set, so it’s always super sweaty and messy. So, when we saw FEVER 333 live with their super-crazy shows, we just thought that we needed to give them our most energetic song to honor what they do. They’re so gnarly and energetic, so we thought it was a good match.
You’ve got a reputation for being extremely hands-on with your content, from music to music videos and beyond. How did it feel to hand off one of your tracks for another artist to leave their mark on?
SOUTH: We love their energy, so we were quite trusting when we handed over the song. We were just like, “Anything goes.”
LOVE: It is always scary when you have to hand over your stems, though. Obviously, we trust Jason 100%, so it didn’t really matter. Zach Jones also mixed our last album. We were thinking, “It’s family. It’s in good hands.” Usually, even with new demos, we get so crazy about sending stuff out. We’re like, “No! No one can hear this!” Sometimes even our management won’t hear it until it’s done. [Laughs.]
SOUTH: We’re crazy.
LOVE: We don’t collaborate. Who Are The Girls? had no collaborations whatsoever. It’s just not something we often do at all. We’ve done a lot of spot features, including [“1×1” with Bring Me The Horizon]. But up until then, we hadn’t collaborated too much. This has been in the cards for a little while. 333 WRECKORDS CREW is a collective. It puts us in the headspace of collaborating with other artists and having a community. We are quite protective [due to] some of the experiences we’ve had. Generally just being women in the industry, you have to be a bit more guarded. You feel like you do, anyway. We felt very comfortable letting Jason in, and he and Zach did a really amazing job. It was a really great collaboration. They did them, and we just received it.
SOUTH: And enjoyed it. [Laughs.]
LOVE: And enjoyed it. It was as simple as that. Sometimes that’s the best recipe. Sometimes Georgia and I can obsess over one line, and it can take us weeks. We’re crazy. But when someone else does it or we jump on someone else’s thing, we feel that pressure is completely different. So, it’s nice for us, if anything. It’s a great change.
So far, you’ve retained an impressively analog nature in your instrumentation, avoiding computer-based elements. This is obviously a contrasting approach to that of most remixes, which rely largely on samples and synthesizers. Did this particular remix carry on with such a traditional approach?
LOVE: They recycled it and chopped it up, but it was their interpretation of the remix. We don’t tell them what to do for their remixes. We’re like, “This is you.”
SOUTH: We don’t mind at all. If anything, it’s good because it takes [the song] into another realm. We can’t be like, “You’ve got to be analog on the remix!” [Laughs.] We’re just like, “Do what you would do.” And that’s what they did.
How do you feel that this track transcended your “normal” scope of style?
LOVE: Well, it is definitely a bit more electronic. Obviously, when we write, it’s only with drums, bass and guitar. All the sounds we’re trying to make are only coming from that. We don’t use synths and stuff. They can afford to be more experimental in terms of using other [elements]. It was just different and cool. The chorus is a completely different vibe from what we’ve done. Ours is heavy in terms of being bass-driven, but then they’ve emptied it out. It still sounds heavy, but it’s different. Jason’s obviously doing all the verses. He wrote some really cool lyrics and brought a completely different flavor. It’s a nice juxtaposition for us, really.
SOUTH: It’s in a different zone with more drums. It’s hard, but in a different way, which is interesting.
Do you think that it accomplishes anything unique, sonically or thematically?
SOUTH: It sounds like a different kind of energy. It’s dark in a different way. Our version was thrashy and gnarly, but this is more menacing and sinister. It’s building and sparse, but it doesn’t need to be thrashy because it’s got the big, fat drums underneath. The way they filled it is really cool.
LOVE: It’s emptying everything out in a really unique way. I think it’s the use of space that gave it a juxtaposition, really. Obviously, Jason’s added his flavor to the verses.
SOUTH: We love his energy. When he came in with his verse, it was sick. It sounds like a party song.
LOVE: Rhythmically, it’s definitely got a hip-hop, groovy top line.
Were you particularly surprised by any aspect of the final version?
SOUTH: The sparseness, the way that they emptied it out and took it into a whole new direction. We were like, “This is really cool.” It just sounds so dark, and we’re just grooving to it. It was unexpected because we didn’t [tell them] to go in any particular direction but how they felt they wanted to do it. So, it was a nice surprise.
One of the most intriguing aspects of your catalog is your propensity for genre-bending. How do you feel that this remix expands on your unique brand of eclecticism?
SOUTH: You’re mixing the hip-hop with gnarly vocals and a rock sound. It sounds really fresh, but it still captures that groove. And it is sparse, but it’s still heavy, which is really hard to achieve [when it’s] so empty.
LOVE: For us, genre-bending is who we are as creatives. You think of rock and where it originates from, [and that’s] blues. Black people helped pioneer the genre. You think of R&B and hip-hop, and, again, we pioneered those genres, too. It’s something that we do naturally. People perceive it as mixing genres because it’s like we’re bringing two sides together, but they’re actually just one thing. We just choose to do them all. People feel like hip-hop, rock, soul and R&B are so separate, but they all come from the blues, really.
I think it’s just this 21st-century take on what’s happening now. It’s really exciting for music, artists and diversity. We’re really excited for what’s next to come with new artists that are going to be coming out. We hope it’s going to be a new, ongoing relationship with different people being able to be themselves without feeling like they need to [be] pigeonholed into one genre.
Sometimes you have to create your own box. We didn’t fit in any of the boxes—we were forced to. If anything, it’s done us a great favor. We’re so glad that we took the long road to even understand what it was that we’re trying to do. There’s nowhere for people who are falling in the cracks. You have to create your own lane.
SOUTH: Although, now it feels like the people who were in the cracks are coming up to the top. People are discovering it’s all alternative sounds. It’s nice to see people getting recognition now for their crazy, inventive sound. People are like, “Oh, this is fresh!”
Which specific qualities of FEVER 333 do you feel propelled this remix?
LOVE: They’re unique as a band. There aren’t many bands that can really match that chaotic energy that they bring. It’s quite terrifying, actually, when you see them up there. [Laughs.]
SOUTH: It’s contagious as well. When you see them doing crazy stuff, you want to suddenly be reckless in the crowd. They’re an incredible band, and they definitely brought the energy onto the mix.
LOVE: When you think of FEVER 333, you think of high-speed energy.
SOUTH: Fitness, acrobatics… [Laughs.]
LOVE: Acrobatic energy… [Laughs]. Power and strength as well.
SOUTH: And unity. That’s important in their message and their name. It’s so important to us that they’re constantly fighting for diversity in the rock space and life. It was a great collab to have on the remix because we knew that both parties were coming from a really good place. We both stand for the same things.
To that point, what has it been like working under 333 WRECKORDS CREW in general?
LOVE: It’s given us a home. We felt quite isolated for a long time, especially in the U.K., where there are so many amazing alternative, POC artists who are doing their thing, but you never know or hear about them because they rarely get pushed to the front. It feels like there’s a bit more of a scene in America. Jason definitely believed in us quite early on as well and invited us to be a part of the collective. I don’t see it as a conventional label. It’s a safe space and community for like-minded artists to get together, grow together, spark ideas together and feel protected.
Sometimes, you don’t have anybody out there for you who gives a fuck, but Jason does really care. That’s what the collective has given to us. It makes us feel like a part of something, like we’re not going crazy out here by ourselves. There are other people who feel it, too. It’s so important. I think all artists in general need a place that they can call home. Yes, you have family, friends and people like that. But within the industry, more bands should band together and look out for one another because it’s a tough game.
SOUTH: To be fair, [throughout] the lockdown and pandemic, you do see more bands collaborating and reaching out to each other because they know that they’re all in the same boat. We can all relate to losing shows and revenue, not being able to travel and not seeing all the support.
AMY: Collabs are happening so much these days.
SOUTH: It’s amazing. So much new music is coming out that sounds so different. It’s changing course so quickly.
In your opinion, do you think that is going to continue even after the fact? Do you think this has just been the push that artists really need to come together and collaborate?
SOUTH: Definitely. Especially because people have collaborated during the pandemic. When they come out, they’ll collab on live shows or tour together. I think it’ll be a lot more unified. Not like, “We’re trying to make it to the top!”
LOVE: I feel like you know bands that you’ve never met even more now because we’ve had more time to spend online than we normally would. You research and listen to music more, find out more about bands and then you feel like you know them. If we were to see someone that we love listening to from America, Canada, Iceland or wherever, we’d be like, “Hey! How’s it going?” Like we’ve been best friends forever. Before, you’d be like, “Hi…” And that would be it. That might be very British of us. [Laughs.]
SOUTH: I remember we got into a lift once when we’d just gotten to America, and somebody said “Hi” to us. We didn’t know that they were [talking] to us because, in England, you just don’t say “Hi” to people in the lift. We were like, “This is so nice! People are so welcoming…”
In a broader sense, how does this collaboration reflect your progression as artists over the last few years?
LOVE: It’s helping us to open up.
SOUTH: Collaborate and trust people with our stems… [Laughs]. We’ve never actually had anyone do a remix of our [music].
LOVE: No, we haven’t. Jason was our first.
SOUTH: Yeah, no one’s ever remixed our songs. It was a good experience, and now we’re like, “Oh, we’d do that again!”
LOVE: We definitely hold our cards close to our chests a little bit when it comes to our songs. It was a good experience just to let people in.
SOUTH: And experience how the remix process even works. We had no idea. It was a good learning experience.
LOVE: We really didn’t know. [Laughs.]
SOUTH: No, we didn’t. We didn’t have remixes in our minds. We were just like, “We’ll do the album, and that’s it.” But now it’s like, “Oh, people can remix our songs? Great.”
LOVE: We’re really excited. It’s cool, very cool. I can say that! It sounds weird, like I’m saying that our song’s cool. But it’s Jason that sounds cool on it. [Laughs.]
Is there any potential for this remix or a variation of it to be performed live?
SOUTH AND LOVE [simultaneously]: Yeah.
LOVE: Definitely. That would be fun. We’d adapt it again for live, and it would probably be a whole new remix. That would be sick. Having everybody on that song doing it live would be so cool.
Do you have any other collaborations planned in the near future?
SOUTH: The other remix that we have planned for the [deluxe album] is one with Dream Wife. They did our song “Bullet.” They’re an all-female band from the U.K., so it was nice to have that female empowerment on a remix as well.
LOVE: We do have another collab, too.
SOUTH: It’s exciting. It’s very cool, but we’re not allowed to say [with who].
If there were any bands or artists who you could bring onto your tracks in the future, who would you choose?
LOVE: That would be amazing just because he’s so radical on his guitar and how he uses his vocals. I think everybody would be screaming and making crazy noises. [Laughs.]
SOUTH: Maybe a Timbaland remix. [Laughs.] Or someone like FKA twigs because she’s so different from what we do. That could be quite interesting just because we’re polar opposites. We’d do a video with warrior princesses doing crazy stuff. She’d out-trick us with her stunts. We’ll get a stunt double.
LOVE: We can’t dance. We really can’t dance.