One of the most refreshing discoveries of this year for Power of Pop has to be Glasgow-based indie band, Tuff Love.
Their new album Resort – a compilation of three previously released EPs is the perfect jumping on point for anybody who has not heard of this amazing band yet.
Best part of all this is that based on the answers from Julie and Suse, Tuff Love is as charming, witty and down to earth as their heartfelt music suggests. Enjoy!
What’s the meaning behind the title, Resort?
Suse: All the E.P covers looked like weird little islands so when we compiled them into an album it was like a resort made of little islands.
Julie: I wanted to call it Neapolitan (like the ice cream) but no one was into it. Then I tried to push for mind body spirit. We compromised and went for Resort. The settings on the EP covers are weird magical looking places that I would like to go to. In my mind they all belong to the same world. Resort is a funny word because it sounds like it describes something that is purpose built, so that kind of adds a sci-fi quality to it for me.
Why are most of your song titles only one word?
Suse: We like nice sounding appealing words. Don’t like song names that are lyrics to the song, it’s boring.
Julie: Yeah… Apart from That’s Right, but that’s a unique case. It’s kind of supposed to sound like a slogan, I think. To us the words sound like the songs. When we’re working on them, often the sound of the music will suggest a word to one of us and we’ll agree on something and then we get attached to the title. There are bits of Duke for example, some of the chords, that sound kind of pompous to me and I think that’s why “duke” came to mind.
What is your songwriting process like? Do you write together or separately?
Suse: We have 3 processes, either Julie comes up with a full idea and we work on it together, I come up with a full idea and we work on it together, or we are in the same room coming up with a song together from the beginning.
Julie: Often when I’m working on a demo, if I’m alone, I end up with loads and loads of bits I have to find a way to put together, or throw away. There’s a lot of throwing bits away. That’s fun though. It feels like sculpting.
How many songs have you written? Does songwriting come naturally to you? – Cuz it does sound like it does.
Suse: There’s another 10 or so finished Tuff Love songs sitting in my computer. So we’ve probably written like 25+ together. Sometimes it does come easily, sometimes it really doesn’t. Just depends on lots of factors.
Julie: Writing half songs comes naturally to me. But like Suse says, some songs come easier than others.
What does “aggressively melodic” mean to you?
Suse: Heh I dunno really. Melody over everything. MELODY OVER EVERYYYTTTHING!
What music were you listening to when you were younger?
Julie: I liked the Beatles.
Suse: I listened to a lot of punk/punk-pop like the Descendents, NoFX and stuff and The Anniversary and the Unicorns. Then more indie stuff like Ash. Then a lot of electronic stuff, like I used to love Italo disco.
What is your response to journalists comparing your music to the C86 movement? Do you agree?
Suse: It’s hard to label what you’re making when you’re making it. I don’t agree, we’d never heard of C86 till someone compared us to it, same goes for a lot of other stuff people compare us to. So the comparison doesn’t make sense to us, even when we listen to a C86 song and one of our songs side by side, it still doesn’t make sense. I think people based that comparison on one song, sweet discontent.
Julie: It feels easier not to think about it sometimes. It’s hard to tell from the inside. Comparisons like that are always kind of superficial, kind of shorthand to help people to figure out if something is worth bothering with. It’s okay.
What is the Glasgow music scene like? How has it been instrumental in the progress of your music?
Suse: Yeah it’s great, I love Glasgow. It’s nice and friendly, I’ve lived here my whole life. There’s a lot a lot of bands and creative people, and an amazing supportive creative scene. I think early on we got encouragement that we wouldn’t have got elsewhere maybe, which was nice and I sometimes wonder that if we lived somewhere else in the U.K, we probably wouldn’t be doing what we’re doing now. It’s also pretty cheap to live here, compared to lots of other cities with good arts scenes, that helps. I probably wouldn’t be able to have room in my flat to record if we lived somewhere like London cos rent prices for flats are so hiiiigghhh I’d have to get a really small one.
Your recordings have a very ‘live’ sound with minimal overdubs. What’s the reasoning behind that?
Suse: Ah thanks, We’ve never recorded live before, so that’s not how I hear them. It’s just done in my flat -recording and mixing, but I’ve tried to get them to sound as proper band/live as possible, especially towards the last 5 songs on Resort I wanted everything to sound more energetic and ‘real’, as opposed to ‘bedroom’ which is what the first 5 songs on the record sound like to me. We normally record the guitar and bass and vocals then drums go on top of it, then we put more stuff on top like more vocals, other bits etc. But it’s good it sounds live, so thanks!.
There’s probably more overdubs than you think if you listen closely, hidden in choruses to help push out a chorus harmony or something.
We wanted it to sound like a 3 piece, and for it not to sound like something’s missing when we play live. there’s little blending bits here and there, but just there to help make the song sound more like what i wanted it to sound like… if that makes sense. For example in That’s Right, there’s a guitar melody in the chorus doing a similar melody as my harmony vocal, and another guitar line doing a long sustain fuzzy harmonic etc to give the chorus a bit of a lift, plus the chords too.
What’s next for Tuff Love?
Suse: I would like to get a dog. we’re going on tour first though, U.K and Europe which is exciting. We’ve never done a proper European tour before so it’ll be great getting to go play places like Switerzland and Brussels!
Julie: I want to go to the beach. Europe will be fun and maybe there will be beaches and dogs there. Probably not beaches.
Check out our review of Resort here.