Dreams: Tough Love on Toolroom Records & UK House Influences

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This summer has been anything but rough for rising UK house duo Tough Love. Following the release of their single “Dreams” earlier this summer on Mark Knight’s Toolroom Records, the pair has teamed up with French G House team Amine Edge & DANCE for The Perfect Love EP, out today on Tough Love’s own Get Twisted Records imprint. Delving into styles ranging from modern house to the garage-inspired dance of yesteryear, the duo—comprised of Alex and Stefan—is making a name for itself from dance tastemakers and fans alike.

We caught up with Tough Love to discuss recent releases, sonic influences, and upcoming projects.

DJ Times: How did you two meet and begin making music together?
Tough Love: We first met around five or six years ago on the London circuit, but didn’t get into the studio together until late 2011. The first few sessions together were really productive; we began experimenting with sounds and ideas and there was a really good energy from the start. Within three weeks Tough Love was born.

DJ Times: Your single “Dreams” is your debut release for Toolroom Records. How did you catch their attention?
Tough Love: It actually first came about through Doorly. He’d been supporting a lot of our releases and invited us to play his party WAR in Ibiza last summer. We got talking about a track he said he’d like us to remix called “Rush.” It came out on Toolroom just after that summer and the response was great.  From that point on, there’s been a great relationship between Toolroom and us.

DJ Times: There are definite 90s R&B and garage references throughout the “Dreams.” What sort of sounds influenced the production of the track?
Tough Love: You pretty much hit the nail on the head. Most of our work is house based music with strong influences of 90s R&B and garage, as that’s what we grew up listening to. “Dreams” is no exception to this; we wanted a fun energetic track for the dance floor with a catchy vocal to fit around a summer-based release.

DJ Times: What hardware and software are your current must-haves when in the studio?
Tough Love: Our studio is pretty stripped back. We use an Apogee Duet 2 soundcard which is compact. We take it everywhere with us, which means if there’s an impulse studio session when we’re travelling we’re ready to go.  We used to use the Yamaha NS10’s as monitors until they blew. Unfortunately, they’ve have been discontinued, so we now use their HS range. Our choice of DAW is Logic, but we do still use Ableton for certain things. We’re always experimenting with sounds and synths so there’s never really a go-to plugin.

DJ Times: Is there a split of work between you both? Do you share both production and live/DJ duties evenly or do you each lean toward one?
Tough Love: We both do what has to be done really. We DJ together, produce together, and run the business, label, and brand together.

DJ Times: What are else is in the pipeline from Tough Love for the rest of 2014?
Tough Love: We’ve got a 5 track EP due out mid August on our label Get Twisted Records which is a collaboration between us & Amine Edge & DANCE.  Our follow-up single on Toolroom is out later this year, as well as various other projects with them which we’re really looking forward to getting our teeth into.  We’ve also been really busy on remix duties for the likes of Borgeous, Sigma, Ill Blu, Shift K3y and loads more.

Stream Tough Love’s collaborative The Perfect Love EP with Amine Edge & DANCE below.