Tuff Love were hands-down one of my favorite acts at this year’s Iceland Airwaves, and I was lucky enough to catch up with the band after they played to a jam-packed Loft Hostel on Bankastræti (which I am still not entirely sure how to pronounce // sorry, Iceland). They were only in Reykjavik for a short time before jetting off to other European cities on tour, and they’re set to crank out one more in France in mid-December before they’ll get back to working on a full-length in their home base of Glasgow. In the meantime, they’ve just released a rad new EP (their third, entitled DREGS) which you should totally download via Lost Map here, and then OBVIOUSLY feel free to internet-eavesdrop on our conversation in which we covered such crucial topics as the secret to a good band marriage, Enya, the Loch Ness monster, etc. (Also be sure to follow Julie and Suse on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest updates.) HERE WE GO:
So tell me about the EP you’ve got coming out tomorrow; it’s a little different from the previous two, so what was that conversation like when you set out to kind of get this one in the works? I mean, did a “conversation” even happen?
Suse: I think we had a conversation after we recorded it and were like, “Oh, this is how it sounds!” But I suppose because we’ve done these EPs quite quickly, we’ve not really discussed them too much; we’ve done the writing and the recording for a period of three or four months, so it’s not like we’ve recorded in a batch and written in a batch, it’s just been all over the place. So we haven’t really had that conversation, but maybe we will later. [Laughs]
Right. And what does the writing process usually look like for you guys, then? Do you have to be in the same room, or do you send things back and forth to each other?
Julie: A combination of the two. Sometimes one of us will come up with a more or less complete idea and we’ll fill it out together and structure it, and sometimes we’ll just sit together and play something and see where it goes.
Suse: I suppose there are a lot of different processes, but a lot of the time it’s like she’s got a finished song or I’ve got a finished song, or we just start something together. That was a confusing answer. [Laughs]
Totally fine; confusing answers are always welcome! Now, tell me about that video you did for “Duke”, because from what I understand, that was a LONG process, right? Something like eight hours that you were lying down?
Suse: Well, it wasn’t quite in a lying down position, it was more of a wee crunch. They made the things to put our heads through too high or something, but they had to be that high, otherwise we wouldn’t have been able to get underneath them.
Julie: It wasn’t too high, it was just too high for our comfort. [Laughs] But it was really fun; it induced that kind of hysteria, because it was so fun but so painful.
Suse: And it was mania, to listen to your own song a hundred times and sing it back. We didn’t actually know what the video was going to be like until we turned up on the day and we were like, “Oh!”
Well it turned out really well! And tell me about how Iceland Airwaves has been going for you so far; did you get here today, or…?
And have you been able to do anything fun in the meantime?
Julie: It’s been a HORRIBLE TIME. [Laughs] Everything we’ve done has been fun, but we haven’t seen anything amazingly Icelandic yet.
It’s too bad you didn’t get here the night before; the lady who lives upstairs at my Airbnb came down and was like, “You should go outside right now and look at the Northern Lights!” And they were ridiculous.
Suse: You’re joking! Last night?!
Julie: No, the night before.
Suse: I Googled “Northern Lights” yesterday hoping to find out where we could see them, and a news article came up that said you were basically going to be able to see them in Britain the days we would be here in Iceland. And it’s too overcast to see them here!
And you’re leaving tomorrow I’m assuming?
God, that’s so fast! What a bummer!
Suse: I know.
But at least it’s not like you’re just going back home, you know? You’re going to be touring all over! Like, how many decent-length tours have you guys been on at this point as a band?
Suse: I think this’ll be our third kind of two-weekish tour.
So have you kind of gotten the hang of it by now? Have you started picking up on any crucial survival strategies?
Suse: Yeah, giving each other personal space is really important.
Julie: I think it’s more to take personal space for yourself. When you see an opportunity, grab it.
Right, absolutely. Now, tell me how you both got started doing music in the first place…was this kind of a childhood hobby that progressed to this point, or was it something you picked up later on?
Suse: I’ve been in bands since I was fourteen or fifteen, and they all failed for some reason or another. And then I met Julie!
And so then how did YOU get into music, Julie?
Julie: I got a guitar when I was thirteen or something and sat alone writing and singing songs to myself, and I was really shy for years and years and years, but then I met Suse and it really worked out; we were compatible musically.
So what’s the secret to having a good band marriage? Is it that natural musical compatibility plus personal space, or is there something more to it?
Julie: Couples counseling. [Laughs] I don’t know, really…
Suse: Just be honest, and space when you can, because you do spend a lot of time together. Sometimes it’s nice to not see each other for a little bit. [Laughs]
And you’re not flatmates, right? I imagine that could be another crucial factor for preserving sanity.
Suse: Right, no.
Good, good. Now, on your Facebook page you guys list Enya as the sole other artist you like, and I mean, that’s exactly as it should be; Enya is boss. But if Enya were to cover one of your songs, which do you think would have the best results?
Suse: I love Enya! I think she would do a good cover of “Doberman” (that’s the first song on our second EP); it’s atmospheric-ish, and I can imagine her voice in that. Does she even still play?
Yeah, actually, I think she’s about to put out a new record! Like she just put out a new track or something, and I think it’s to hype the album.
Suse: You should facilitate this!
Okay, yeah, I’ll get in touch FOR SURE. And now, because I feel like you’re the authority on Scottish things, Suse, I have to ask…what do you think would happen if they put the Loch Ness monster in the Bermuda Triangle?
Suse: It would break it apart. No more Bermuda Triangle. It’d be gone. Supposedly it’s just this massive catfish, though. I read this thing recently that said it was just a huge catfish.
We’re being catfished by a catfish, essentially. Alright, so after this tour when you get back to the land of ye olde Loch Ness catfish, what will you do? Any foreseeable plans?
Julie: Well, we’re writing at the moment. Working on a full-length album.
Suse: Yeah, a full-length. We’re just not trying to push ourselves too hard with the writing, because things don’t come out well when you’re under that kind of pressure. (Or maybe for some people they do, but not for us.)