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Interview: Tuff Love


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Hailing from Glasgow, Tuff Love provide a fresh take on the sound of the city whose vibrant music scene boasts the likes of Primal Scream, Franz Ferdinand and Chvrches.

The band have certainly felt the city’s influence.

Tuff Love

 “Glasgow is amazing for creative people. Also, it’s lovely being surrounded by people that inspire you.”

 The talented trio’s punchy album Resort, a compilation record made up of three EPs released by the band between 2014 and 2015 was self-engineered and self- produced in bass player Suse Bear's flat.

 “If we were somewhere that wasn't Glasgow, like London maybe we wouldn't have been able to afford for me to have enough room in my flat to record in, to rehearse weekly, to get together often because we might all have to work more if rent prices were way expensive etc.”

Tuff Love consist of Julie Eisenstein on guitar and vocals, Suse on bass and vocals, and live drummer Iain Stewart.

Even in 2016, a "female bassist" is still a talking point, but the band insist are not a new thing, with Suse following in the footsteps of “frikking loads” of legendary musicians including the Pixies Kim Deal, Hole’s Melissa Auf Der Mar and Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon.

Suse describes her own progression to bass: “I started playing piano when I was very young, then guitar and ended up playing bass because no-one else wanted to when I started my band before Tuff Love."

Then for Tuff Love I was kind of playing keyboard, extra guitar, drums and bass on the recordings but Julie was the guitar master so after deciding to be a three-piece band I thought might as well just do bass as my last band was a three piece too. I like the limitations/restrictions of being in a three piece with a minimal set up.” 

 In 2015, Tuff Love were personally invited to join shoegaze innovators Ride on their first UK tour in 20 years!

 “It was really cool, we really like them so it was lovely of them to ask. We were really shocked when we got told it was happening, like reaaallly shocked. Playing the Barrowlands with Ride is probably our most exciting gig to date.”

In an industry where females clearly struggle to make it onto festival bills and headline slots, do Tuff Love feel like they are taken less seriously?

 “That’s a big and complicated issue. I feel like if we ever felt we were taken less seriously anywhere because of our gender then we would cut ties with that person or promoter. It’s hard to tell if we’re taken less seriously though because you can’t see promoters/music business people talking about you/making decisions. We only get to see what people think of us through reviews, live bookings, social media, live audience and that all seems ok so far. So I guess I would say no.”

 “There’s this horribly outdated idea of the rockstar boy model that I feel like some people still go by, like all bands/rock bands have to be testosterone filled kinda stuff. I wonder if certain festivals thought that women didn’t fit into that image or something. Then young girls etc see festival line ups made of solely boy bands and see no role models in it for themselves and then it perpetuates the rock star boy model. Lots of festivals have great balanced line ups though, things are getting better.”

Last summer the band made a name for themselves playing at Glastonbury, Latitude and T in The Park to name just a few festivals and are soon to embark on a European tour to promote Resort.

 “I prefer smaller venues. [They are] less terrifying and more fun for the people watching/listening”

 As far as weird gig experiences go, the band are tame.

 “We’re kind of boring on tour. I (Suse) get ill every time we go on tour, it’s like this weird thing that happens every time. I wonder if it's stress related, but it's like on the first date of the tour I start to get the sniffles then I end up getting fully ill by the end. It's not very exciting. But I think that is weird...!” 

 Tuff Love will be playing at The Great Escape festival in May which has often been likened to South by Southwest, alongside Mystery Jets, Band of Skulls and Blossoms and many others.

 “It's good for exposure, it's good that you get one ticket and get to go to a bunch of different venues with it. That way you can wander about trying to discover stuff. It's like you can try different bands out with this one ticket. It's cool.”

The festival has hosted artists such as Courtney Barnett, Bombay Bicycle Club and Foals in the past who have all gone on to massive success. Where exactly do Tuff Love see themselves in five years?

 “Ideally still in music still making albums and songs etc. I can't even imagine what I'm going to be doing next month, let alone next year so five years down the line is a hard one! Hopefully I'll have a dog by then. I see myself throwing a ball for my dog in the park.”

Catch Tuff Love on their UK tour:

22nd February - Edinburgh

24th February - Hebden Bridge

25th February - London

12th March - Glasgow

And at The Great Escape Festival 19th May.

Tickets here:

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