Interview: Tough Love ‘we were told no on so many occasions, we decided to do everything ourselves’


Tough Love have become an integral part of the house scene over the last few years, after producing hit after hit. We caught up with Stefan and Alex to find out what advice they’d give people starting out in the industry, how they decide which tracks to remix and just how that collaboration with Karen Harding came about.

For those who haven’t heard of Tough Love, how would you describe your music?

Essentially our music is built for the clubs. We usually call it bumping house, house music with grit but a musical element and the occasional catchy vocal.

Tell us about your new single ‘Like I Can’, how the collaboration with Karen Harding came about and what it was like working with her?

We met Karen at a Brits after-party and got along from the off. We spoke about getting in & working on some material for some time after & eventually got a couple days in the studio together. We had to overcome some technology & studio hurdles the first day but we managed to lay something down that we all thought had great potential.

The song is about being second best to the person you want to be with and essentially giving them an ultimatum. The concept came from a joke we were having in the studio about a mate who is a bit of lad with the ladies. We won’t delve any further into that story but we always have a laugh & Karen is amazing. She is very easy & fun to work with.

You recently dropped another track called ‘Friday Night’, talk us through what would happen on your perfect Friday Night.

Haha, we wouldn’t mind actually getting some sleep on a Friday night! We’re always on the move so sleep becomes a myth. But we’d both agree if we’d have to party it’d be somewhere hot and preferably by the sea. An Ibiza beach party with our nearest and dearest would do the trick.

You’ve played some huge festivals this year so far including Parklife, do you notice a big difference performing at festivals compared to smaller gigs?

They both offer a different experience. The festivals offer an amazing energy and an overwhelming experience due to the sheer scale of them, but the vibe you get from a smaller more intimate surrounding have been some of our most memorable moments.

The sound we play probably reflects the environment we’re in, as we never plan our sets so we try and adapt to what we think suits the crowd in front of us.

Which festival has the best catering?

We haven’t had much of a chance to sample the fine festival delicacies recently but we were well looked after by the Nando’s team at Parklife, so we’d have to say they’re ahead at the moment. Gotta big up our tour manager Ashleigh for sorting that out though.

You’ve got your own label ‘Get Twisted’, a bi-monthly club night with the same name and a weekly show on Kiss FM – what advice would you give to people looking to get into the industry? Is there anything you wish you could tell your 18-year-old self?

Haha this could take a while.. Probably the best advice is do as much as possible yourself. It’s hard to rely on others to get things done and don’t take no for an answer. Everyone has an opinion in the industry so just because something didn’t work out in one situation doesn’t mean another opportunity won’t become available. Work hard and use your time to learn and improve.

Not many people know this but we were told ‘no’ on so many occasions that we just decided to do everything ourselves, from music to club nights, the label, visuals, artwork, we even sang vocals on a couple of our previous releases because we couldn’t get the right features. Luckily the records did quite well!

Tough Love

You’ve remixed some massive names from Sigala and John Newman to Meghan Trainor – Is there something specific you look for in a track before you remix it?

A few factors come into play when remixing, firstly we have to like the record or an element of the original which we think we can work with or add our own twist to it. Occasionally it could be to open up our brand to a different market. Or it could be a situation where were genuinely a fan of their music, for example, we were recently asked to remix the latest Jamiroquai release which we were buzzing for people to hear.

You’re doing an exclusive set at Tinie Tempah’s pool party in Ibiza, for people who haven’t had the Ibiza experience yet, what advice can you give them?

Enjoy the island, it offers a lot more than just the party, it’s absolutely beautiful. Some people get off the plane and the rest of their time there is a blur. Every time we’re there we try to see another part of the island or experience a different scene.

Any surprises in store while you’re there?

It wouldn’t be a surprise if we told you. We always have a surprise or two up our sleeve so you’ll have to come to find out.

What can we expect from you in the future?

We’ve got a ridiculous catalogue of music waiting to get unleashed so you can expect more frequent releases & some tasty collaborations ready to go. Maybe an album on the way. 🙂 We’ve got some great shows to announce & an American tour on the cards which were buzzing for. Not forgetting the label which is going from strength to strength as well as the acts associated with it.

Download Tough Love’s ‘Like I Can’ on iTunes, here.

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