Nimmo are a unique electronic five-piece whose nocturnal escapism can be traced back to a decade-long friendship. Lives lived in parallel lend their lyrics a confessional air, whilst the blend of unfaltering dance beats, punk roots and euphoric harmonies are the result of intimate, unguarded experimentation. If their pristine sportswear and tomboyish tailoring wasn’t an additional clue, Nimmo are far from your typical band.

Born and raised in North-WestLondon, co-vocalists Sarah Nimmo and Reva Gauntlett met on the first day of secondary school, when they were sat together by the teacher. “I clocked she had a nice gold chain on and told her I liked it,” Reva says. “She replied 'safe' and that was kind of it.” Though they bonded mischievously at the back of the class, their upbringings were remarkably alike: Reva, the youngest of four, grew up listening to her brother MC and her sister bang out Mariah Carey hits. Sarah – the only tomboy in a gaggle of sisters – was raised in an equally vibrant household, often struggling to get her voice heard. Their parents (both of whom also happen to be carers) became close almost as soon as the girls found each other. “We were both football-obsessed,” recalls Sarah, “and spent lunchtime kicking a ball around and listening to hip-hop.” 

Football and tracksuits dominated their early years – Reva even played for Arsenal, although it became too hard to get to training once her parents broke up. This transition, however, bled into the girls’ shared obsession with the early 00’s burgeoning garage scene, and their formative attempts in making music. “We hooked up a karaoke machine to a tape player, and had an Argos CD player with the Jungle is Massive album playing. So that would get picked up by the karaoke machine, and we’d rap along. Looking back it was kind of techie,” Sarah laughs. A naturally teenage progression into poetry ensued, with the pair’s cultural focus shifting from the urban underground to the acoustic guitar, and the grunge of Nirvana. Eventually they started playing open mic nights under the pretext of something to do after school. In the process of taking advantage of the rider, they accidentally fell in love with making music. 

Nimmo’s ambitions were bigger than just the friendship of Sarah and Reva. Before long they had roped in other friends from school - Josh Faull on bass, and Hannah Rose on keys (though they first heard her playing saxophone through the wall). The foursome went to the same university in the seaside town of Brighton, finding the missing piece of the puzzle (and an increased electronic element) with drummer/producer Jack Williams. As the student lifestyle kicked, so too did Nimmo begin to dig deeper into electronic music (“nothing was ever loud enough on guitar,” recalls Sarah. “It just didn’t satisfy us.”). Filtering the band’s shared childhood exposure to garage, Jungle, drum n’ bass and hip-hop, Nimmo immersed themselves not only with the sounds of the club culture, but also located the moods of aggression, energy and heartache within that which would add depth to their songwriting.

The first offering from their forthcoming debut album, ‘Dilute This’, encapsulates this blend of cutting-edge electronica with lyrical melancholy. Produced by one half of UNKLE and legendary DFA co-founder Tim Goldsworthy (who’s worked with the likes of Hercules & Love Affair, Massive Attack and Cut Copy), ‘Dilute This’ was written separately by Reva and Sarah, but befits time spent in each other’s pocket. “We both fell into this worry of something fresh and exciting becoming mundane and boring. Often similar themes tend to run through both our heads. Having the same job and friends and being so close inevitably means there's huge similarities in our life day to day, which I think is what makes this understanding and mutual feeling arise when writing.” 

Honing in on their sound, Nimmo began to be drawn closer to the pulsating 80s pop of Tears for Fears, the modern synth-work of Little Dragon, and the desire to capture the band’s natural live energy on tape, in the manner of someone like Talking Heads. Among the early results, ‘Dancing Makes Us Brave’ is described by Reva as a track about “living a lie in a relationship, and wanting to go out and feel something physically cathartic to get over it. The way we relax at the weekend is by clubbing, so it felt honest to write about how we would naturally try to move on.” There is, too, a refreshingly candid approach to gender threaded through Sarah and Reva’s lyrics. “Having so little to deal with in our teens in terms of our sexualities when coming out has definitely influenced our stance on sexuality now…which is that it’s ever-changing, and doesn’t really need to be scrutinised when understanding someone’s work. We don’t feel any anxiety or pressure to address our sexuality in Nimmo’s songs, because none of that was put on us when we were growing up.”

Some things, though, came easier to Nimmo than a comfort in their own skin. They were self-managed and self-promoted for seven years, which led to some character-building shows: ten minutes on the stage. Village fetes. Losing their bassist to a pimp at a party in the outskirts in Paris. What has blossomed, however, is an incredible, antagonistic on-stage energy, now the audiences are finally turning up (and quickly growing).

Having signed with Columbia Records and toured with Years & Years, Nimmo remain uncompromising - on their sound, their look, their message. “We want it to come across that we are tough. But we don’t want to be aggressive about it. We want people to identify with the songs and the subject matter – they should be a shared experience.” It’s this telepapthic bond that is also knotted through the band: from two disobedient schoolgirls (“she’s my bezie innit”) to a thick-as-thieves five-piece, there’s no one quite like Nimmo. 

Jason Edwards
Assisted by: Laura Green
Cris Hearn
Cris Assisted by: Cecilia Chan