Pin It
Nimmo
Reva Gauntlett and Sarah NimmoPhotography Louie Banks

Nimmo left their label and found themselves

The London-based band chat to Dazed about working with Maya Jane Coles and making their most infectious music to date

Three years ago, dance-pop band Nimmo were recording their debut album for Sony. The London born-and-bred duo had a hugely popular support slot on tour with Years & Years, a couple of hook-filled, disco-tinged singles, and seemed poised to fill a gap for visible queer women in the UK pop scene. And then, before their debut album campaign ever really got started, it was over. The pair, childhood friends Sarah Nimmo and Reva Gauntlett, backed quietly out of their deal.

In the intervening years, they took bar jobs and DJ gigs as they worked out their next steps – until, earlier this year, they began dropping new songs, each one more magnetic than the last (and featuring production from their friend, house producer Maya Jane Coles). “It’s Easier”, premiering below, is the latest from the pair. Sparse, romantic, and impossible to get out of your head, it’s a downbeat banger about staying at the after party a little too long, and comes with a naturalistic video they produced themselves.

Ahead of the release of their new EP, Songs From the Credits, the band chatted to Dazed about finding independence, and the freedom to make more dancefloor-oriented music that reflects their real lives.

When I interviewed you in 2015, you were actually in the studio making your debut for Sony. What’s happened to the album you made?

Sarah Nimmo: In theory we still have that album. We got all our music back from Sony, the end was very amicable and peace-making. At the time (of making it), we were in a massive studio, making songs that... I guess, in our hearts, we didn’t particularly feel we were ready.

Reva Gauntlett: We were partially writing for someone else, with something else in mind.

Sarah Nimmo: When you’re a young artist and you sign a deal like that, you feel like the path that’s set up for you is the right one because you don’t know anything else – so you’re like, “OK, this is the right thing to do. We're in a big beautiful studio, let’s just record these songs, and maybe that's our album.” But actually, that wasn't our album. It was part of our journey, it wasn’t the end product.

What piece of advice do you wish someone had told you before you signed your first deal?

Sarah Nimmo: I actually don’t think (there’s) anything. I know it sounds a bit silly, but I really wholly believe that the process we had, we had to have, to get here. Also, there was something nice about the naivety – getting signed straight out of uni, there was something so special about that and no one could’ve taken that away at that point.

One thing I would say is, wholeheartedly trust your gut, because that's all you have in that scenario. You don’t have the experience, you don’t have the terminology, you don’t have the connections, all you have is your gut instinct. Trust that feeling forever.

Reva Gauntlett: Yeah – it’s you you that's gonna put the music out, it’s you that's gonna be on the face of it all. Art lasts forever, at the end of the day, once it’s out there it’s out there.

You’re hands on with all your visuals now – what’s that experience been like?

Sarah Nimmo: It’s one of those funny things, but when you’ve got all the budget, and you’ve got all the possibilities, it’s harder to make something true to yourself. Me and Reva always make the best stuff when we’ve got the least resources, so that’s been really great. In the video for “It's Easier”... There’s a scene that’s at a party in a house, and my mum went away to her boyfriend’s, (so) I behaved like a fucking teenager basically. I told my mum, “We’re just gonna do a couple of shots in the house while you're away”. We cleared out the whole house, put loads of rave lighting in it, got all of our friends round and just got them absolutely wasted. 

Could you tell me more about what the song’s about?

Sarah Nimmo: There was a time when we left Sony when we were maybe a little bit lost, and we were definitely going out a lot. I started working at The Glory, the drag pub. We had a studio in Dalston, and we basically started doing parties in there. I was like, “I just feel so fucking free and so fucking happy”... and then I was like, “I'm a bit out of control”.

The lyrics seem to describe that point of the night where you’re like, “Oh shit, maybe I should be at home”.

Sarah Nimmo: Yes, it's about a specific actual moment, when we had all these blue LED lights in (the studio), so it got this really horrible tint, and I was lying on my back in there, and I realised at five in the morning that I didn’t know anybody that was in there. I think I had found two random strangers in Dalston Superstore and brought them back. I was like, “I just need to go home”.

Are you still working towards an album?

Reva Gauntlett: It’s weird, because on Sony, we were so focused on the album release date… We want that body of work to exist, but I just wanna be at a point where that makes sense. There’s no rush.

“We've gone back to being really spontaneous, and not having too much much of a plan. It’s nice to go off instinct” – Sarah Nimmo

It’s cool to see you guys being free of the usual label release strategy and releasing things as and when you want to, now.

Sarah Nimmo: Yeah, it’s really nice. It's just me and Reva running the whole thing, we’ve kept it bare minimum. We quit our day jobs, and we’re able to live off it again, so we just dedicate every single day to managing the project, as well as writing the music… it means we can do what we want, it’s so glorious.

Reva Gauntlett: Especially because it’s the complete other end of the spectrum to the experience we’ve had over the last few years. We’re trying to just really bring it back to a place where the identity is just wholly us.

Do you feel like you're reconnecting with where you started?

Sarah Nimmo: Yeah definitely, ‘cause the way we used to make all of our art was so DIY. It all just became a little bit convoluted, with how many discussions we had to have about everything – from the time you come up with an idea to the time you execute it, it has sort of died a little bit, or lost its truth. We've gone back to being really spontaneous, and not having too much much of a plan. It’s nice to go off instinct.

Reva Gauntlett: Yeah, rather than setting these standards, and then (feeling) like your world collapses if something doesn't hit the target. It’s so counterproductive to being creative.

Is that how you felt on Sony?

Sarah Nimmo: Yeah. They’ve got such high ambitions and hope for their artists, and that’s fair – they invest that into you, they give you all that time and money. But I think that just wasn’t right really for us at the time, and wasn’t the journey that we needed to be taking.

Nimmo’s Songs From The Credits EP is out this month