Nova Twins curate new POC alternative compilation: “If people want rock to survive, they need to diversify”

The rock duo will be showcasing POC alt-talent through 'Voices For The Unheard'

Nova Twins have curated a new compilation to spotlight and showcase underrepresented POC artists from the rock and alternative scene.

Supported by Dr. Martens, ‘Nova Twins Presents Voices For The Unheard’ will be released on limited-edition vinyl with 100 per cent of the proceeds donated to The Black Curriculum – a social enterprise to improve the teaching of Black History throughout the UK.

Featuring artists including Big Joanie, Connie Constance, Oxymorrons, and many more, the new compilation is a continuation of singer and guitarist Amy Love and bassist Georgia South’s ‘Voices For The Unheard’ project, created in June 2020 as part of their efforts to further conversations around the Black Lives Matter movement – starting as a playlist before evolving into a conversation series and now an album.

“There’s a lack of representation and understanding of POC alternative artists, particularly in the UK,” Love told NME. “People are happy for black people to be in R&B and hip-hop because they feel like it’s safe and that’s the done thing. These are genres that black people have pioneered, but there’s a lack of education about how rock was also pioneered and helped to move forward by artists like Sister Rosetta Tharpe. The genre was carried by a lot of white men, but a lot of the POC artists got lost along the way.

“People don’t think we belong here. We get loads of stereotypes. People think that we’re R&B or dancers. We just want to create an eye-opening experience for the gatekeepers to  understand that this isn’t going anywhere and see what’s really going on out there. In pop music, the headliners at big festivals reflect what’s happening today. That doesn’t happen in rock music. If people want rock music and the live industry to survive then they need to diversify.”

Nova Twins announce the 'Voices For The Unheard' compilation. Credit: Press
Nova Twins announce the ‘Voices For The Unheard’ compilation. Credit: Press

This comes after last year saw the duo write an open letter to the MOBO Awards asking them to introduce a Rock/Alternative category in their 2021 awards, in order to “widen the representation that ourselves and so many others didn’t have growing up”.

“It’s important for us to inspire the new generation coming through, because the scene is very sparse in the UK,” South told NME. “If this inspires a lot of people to be creative, then that’s great. That’s why we pushed for the MOBOs to put on that category because a lot of young POC people watch it. If a rock band got to perform on there, then they might say, ‘Oh wow, I want to do that’.”

Bandmate Love agreed: “When we were young, we had to take the long route. We’d identify with women that looked like us, so we were listening to people like Destiny’s Child and Missy Elliot because we could identify with that, but no one else other than Skin [from Skunk Anansie] from our present day told us that we could be anything else. It would be nice if people didn’t have to go the long way round and say to themselves, ‘Where do I fit? I can’t have an emo fringe because I’ve got an afro’.”

Speaking of the importance of The Black Curriculum, the Bring Me The Horizon collaborators said it was important to provide education for people of all ages.

“There’s so much that we don’t know,” said South. “There are so many things that we were fed in school that were just pointless and not relevant to us as a culture. It’s the same all across the world. You start with the Roots documentary, then you learn about Martin Luther King, then you that basketball film Coach Carter. Everyone else has The Suffragettes, King Henry VIII, everything.”

“This goes across the board – you can be 10-years-old or 50-years-old and still learn from The Black Curriculum. It’s never too late to learn.”

Nova Twins
Nova Twins. CREDIT: Harry Lindley/Press

Remembering her own experiences at school, Love recalled: “I remember just being told, ‘Black people come from slaves and white people freed them’. I remember feeling really embarrassed and everyone just looking at me as the only black person in the class.”

“Beyond their struggle, you don’t really get to see how black people fit in this society or how they’ve contributed. We’re still learning ourselves and there’s still so much history to be unpicked, but we just thought it would be great to invest in a platform that’s trying to re-educate people.”

Through their efforts, Nova Twins said that they hoped to help would-be POC alternative artists feel “seen”, while continuing to push for greater equality in the rock and indie world.

“The good thing about now is that you can actually hold people to account,” South told NME. “You couldn’t really do that before. Ever since the #MeToo movement, you can ask festivals about gender equality on their bills. Now we need to look at the amount of POC people. We’ll be booked for a festival and we’ll be the only POC act on that day. This isn’t good enough. We want our people here!”

Love agreed, adding: “I’ve seen people who work in radio talking about implementing change, but then they’re still just regurgitating the same kind of acts. There’s no end of POC alt-bands and rock bands that you’ll like, but I don’t see them being put anywhere. We had to make this show and this vinyl for them. We can now give them a platform, because we don’t see it enough.”

The tracklist for Nova Twins presents ‘Voices For The Unheard’ is below. Pre-order the album here.

Nova Twins – ‘Taxi’
The OBGMs – ‘All My Friends’
Connie Constance – ‘Monty Python’
Unity TX – ‘Cross Me’
LustSickPuppy – ‘Goatmeal’
Death Tour – ‘Scared’
Loathe – ‘Aggressive Evolution’
Oxymorrons – ‘Green Vision’
Pussycat and The Dirty Johnsons – ‘Ain’t No Pussy’
Khx05 – ‘Trouble’
Zhariah – ‘Bitch Boy’
Big Joanie – ‘Fall Asleep’ (Live at Hermitage Works Studios)

To celebrate the vinyl launch, Nova Twins will sit down with Big Joanie, Connie Constance, Loathe and Death Tour for an exclusive live-streamed conversation tonight (Thursday February 4) at 7pm GMT here.

Advertisement
Advertisement