One of the first names we put on our wish list for the Brightonsfinest Alternative Escape 2016 was Tuff Love. The three-piece, fronted by Suse and Julie, have long been on our radar after a string of fantastic EPs and their reputation for a thrilling live show. You are sure to love their lo-fi rock-pop and we could not be more excited to present them at One Church on Friday 20th. We put some questions to Suse from the band to find out more about Tuff Love.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Glasgow, Julie grew up in London.
Is there much of a music scene there?
Yeah – there's a good scene of decent musicians and artists who are supportive of each other (mostly) and loads of gigs/events on all the time, which is great if you're a music fan or a musician wanting to play gigs.
How do you think where you lived, or now live, has influenced your music and how?
I always wonder if I'd grown up somewhere else if I'd have met someone to make bands with sooner, like growing up in a more progressive city if there might have been more girls about to play with. I played with boys for ages, not that it really matters but I just wanted to find someone who was similar to me and to make music/play music with. I don't know why I think that's so important, but I do. I suppose it’s because the creative process can sometimes make you feel vulnerable, and if you’re sharing that process with someone who understands your life experiences that is good and it makes things nice instead of hard.
What kind of music were you brought up on?
I grew up listening to piano and classical’ish music my mum liked and the Beatles, then when I was a teenager guitar bands like Ash. I loved Abba from a very young age.
Can you remember the first album you owned?
What was the first instrument you played, and when? Do you have a favourite instrument?
I started playing piano when I was 4 years old, picked up guitar around 10, then bass (when no-one else wanted to play the bass) when I was like 19, also the drums a few years ago. I like the drums and the piano. Drums are so exciting. Bass is cool, but it's pretty restrictive sometimes, not as expressive as I want it to be.
What drives you to write music?
Just wanting to make things, writing music makes me feel better when I feel bad. I used to record every musical idea I ever had on my parent’s computer until it ran out of hard drive space. My mum didn't understand what had happened… woops. I still do that these days, but have more hard drive space.
How was Tuff Love formed?
Julie and I met at a party. I pestered her until she sat down in a room with me and played some music.
Is there a story behind the name?
I liked a band called The Unicorns when I was younger. They had a song called ‘Tuff Luff’. I liked the way that looked and how soft if sounded but how hard the meaning was.
How would you briefly describe your music and ethos?
Guitar-pop. Melancholy. Make stuff because you want to make it & be honest.
How do you approach the writing and recording process?
Hide away behind closed doors mostly. I sometimes write a song and take it to Julie, and vice versa, or we come up with something together in the same room. Then I'll either have a demo already recorded or I'll record a demo of the song and do demo drums on top, then maybe we use some of that record for the final recording. Iain drummed on a few of the newer songs. I find it quite hard to let go of the drum part and pass it on to somebody else, but he made it sound much more lively and exciting when he played.
Do you prefer writing music or performing live?
Writing music, performing live can be fun though, but I don't think either of us are natural performers.
If you could give a musical award of the year, who would you give it to and why?
Chastity Belt, their songs are amazing. They're so fun and so seriously good. Good vibes good songs.
Who would be in your perfect supergroup and what you call it?
Annie from Chastity Belt, Kate from The Organ and Alex G. They'd be called… eh…. Chorgan G… or probably something else.
What would be your perfect line-up of any three acts for a concert you are putting on and where would it be?
The Organ, Alex G, The Beatles. I would quite like them to come do a session in my flat or something, I'd invite some people round and then we could all hang out and chat afterwards.
If you could work with any artist, who would it be and what would they bring to Tuff Love?
I'm not sure really. There's a woman in Glasgow called WOLF who makes really expressive electronic music, with computer and viola. Her viola is so pure sounding, deep and.. I've run out of words to describe it. Check it out, it's great!
What music are you listening to at the moment?
Chastity Belt are very good, also Mitski.
Do you get to go to many gigs?
I don't get to many any more unfortunately.
What has been your happiest memory with music?
Jamming with my brother. He always wants to jam; he's a really talented musician.
What makes you happiest when you are not playing music?
I like drawing, recording other musicians and bands, making plans, and hanging out with my girlfriend.