Interview: Tough Love

Since the release of So Freaking Tight, London-based duo Tough Love comprised of Stefan O’Brien and Alex Unwin, have rapidly risen to the top of the house scene over the past year. Formed in 2011, their distinctive sounding productions together with energetic and bass-heavy DJ sets have created a cult following of fans across the UK and beyond. As if they weren’t busy enough, the pair also own their own record label, Twisted Records and present their own weekly radio show on KISS FM. Georgina Hall caught up with the boys while they were on the road before they embark on their nationwide Get Twisted Records tour.

How’s your year been so far?

Absolutely manic basically, we’ve been so busy with music releases, touring and our radio show, so it’s kind of been an emotional rollercoaster for us too. We’re looking forward to being able to close this year with our tour this winter.

Were you surprised by the success of ‘So Freaking Tight’?

It definitely caught us off guard; we’d had the track for ages and it was always popular in our club sets so it was amazing to see it have mainstream success. Best of all, it still gets an amazing reaction when we play it now.

Who came up with the amazing concept for the video?

The concept was the creation of our director, Craig Moore. He’s a pretty big name director so it was great to work with him. He basically came up with the key character, which was played by this South African comedian and we think he really made the video.

How did the collaboration with Ginuwine come about?

It was during promoting ‘So Freaking Tight,’ we’d released a white label bootleg of the track and we were checking the Shazam charts randomly one day we saw that it was in the Top 100. We tweeted about how great it was to have this track gain some success and Ginuwine replied in a matter of seconds congratulating us and within a few weeks we were sat in a studio in London recording.

How does it feel to have your music played in clubs all over the UK?

It feels amazing, we still pinch ourselves. We heard our music being played in Westfield Shopping Centre a few weeks ago, we’re used to hearing our music in clubs but we’re still getting used to hearing it out and about.

Have you enjoyed playing up and down the country for Freshers Week?

It’s been great, we’re just on our way back from Southampton now, it was a paint party last night so it got pretty messy. We’ve played so far in Oxford and Chester, we’ve also done two more in Ireland and there’s still a few lined up. Freshers is a good time to play, as the crowd tends to be really drunk and are always up for it.

What can we expect from the Get Twisted tour you’ve just embarked on?

You can pretty much expect the Tough Love sound alongside the acts that will be joining us, new and established. The label has been doing really well since it was rebranded, so there’s part 2 of the tour to look forward to in February.


What was the process for selecting the acts that will join you on tour?

It was down to availability a lot of the time and where they’re based as we tend to choose artists from where we’re playing that night. We’ve just signed Midnight City, a duo from Liverpool and they’ll be with us when we play there on 29th October. We still have a lot of acts to announce as well, like the ones for when we come to Sheffield.

Are you looking forward to your show here at Tank?

We love Tank. It’s up there for UK clubs and is one of highlights of the tour for us. It’s always heaving in there and has a great vibe so we’re really looking forward to playing Sheffield.

What can we expect from you guys in 2016?

We’ve got our new single ‘What You Need Is Me’ before the end of this year and we’re hoping to release lots of new original music next year. We’re really excited for 2016, we’ve got new EPs and loads more touring planned, and we’re hoping to expand into the US and Australia.

Catch the duo at Tank on 28th November. Visit Tank’s website here.

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