Written by Patrick Sims
Alex, 31, is one half of British House duo, Tough Love with Stefan making up the other half. With almost 6 years of making music together, the duo are preparing to release their newest album, Past, Present, Future and continue the hype songs like So Freakin’ Tight and Dreams brought for them. We sat down with Alex to talk more about Tough Love, their new single Like A Drug and what more we can expect from them in 2017.
When did you first get into music?
Alex: “Well, I’ve always absolutely loved music. I started DJ-ing in my late teens at house parties. That was my first experience of performance. I took music as a subject at school. My parents worked in the industry as musicians & choreographer & dancers so it’s in the blood really. “
How did you two meet? Who brings what to the duo?
A: “We were DJ-ing the same circuit in London and we both had the same love for house music at the time before the bubble started for deep house. We had been talking about getting a studio for ages and ages and after about two years of talking about it we eventually did it and Tough Love was born pretty much that week. That’s coming up six years ago now, so it’s a little while & been a rollercoaster of a ride.”
Who and what would you say are your biggest influences in and outside of music?
A: “Oh man, that’s such a hard question. We’re both big fans of Soul, Funk, R&B, Jazz, on top of house music. So everyone from your standard guys like Michael Jackson, who we grew up on to guys like Jamiroquai. We listen to bands from the early 90’s like Todd Edwards and bands right across the board really. We’re very open minded when it comes to musical taste.”
Was there an artist/artists you listened to who made you realise that you wanted to be a DJ?
A: “Yeah, for me personally it was probably Roger Sanchez, he was definitely one of the ones for me. I saw him over in Ibiza most years in my early teens. I would go into the clubs and watch him play like, six hour sets. I remember the first time I watched him absolutely blew me away and that’s when I decided that I definitely wanted to get into the house game, it was a game changer for me. I know that Stefan was a massive Todd Edwards & EZ fan, he used to watch and DJ the same garage scene in his young teens.”
You host a show on KISS FM, how is that experience?
A: “Well we’ve been doing that for two years now. We did a lot of guest mixes for KISS and its one of our local stations who played a lot of our records. They invited us down after doing guest mixes. We host a show every Thursday at midnight. It’s a stable part of what we do that gives us the chance to play other people’s records that we don’t always get to play at out live shows. And we also do our own radio show called ‘GetTwisted Radio’ which is streamed all round the world, it has over a million listeners a week. That’s only ten weeks old as well, so that’s growing really, really fast. It plays in like America, Brazil, Italy, Germany, France, Ireland – it’s everywhere right now.”
Who are the best artists on your radar at the moment?
A: “There’s this guy called LiTek who we’ve been rolling with for a couple years now. We always knew he was going to be massive. He’s got a tune out at the minute called ‘Uber’ with Tom Zanetti which is absolutely blowing up. I think he’s going to have a huge future if I’m honest – so many people want to do tracks with him now so I think he’s going to be really, really big.”
Which would you like to collab with if you could?
A: “We’d love to work with Missy Elliot. She is one of the people we love who’s flow & sound is so unique. We think she would be amazing on a bumping house record.”
With big hits in the past what do you expect from your new singles now?
A: “Well our next new record called, ‘Like A Drug’ came out last week as the first new single off our ‘Past Present Future’ album. The music scene is moving so quickly, especially house music, so we have to adapt to the demand. We just want to put out music that we love and hopefully our fans will love it. We don’t put too much pressure or expectation on it, whatever happens happens. As long as we’re making music that we believe in then we’re happy.”
What do you want out of 2017?
A: “We’re just trying to expand our wings. We’re going over to Australia this year, we’re doing a lot more in Ibiza again. We’ll be going back to America; we did our debut tour there at the end of last year and we’ve got another tour coming up there.”
“We just want to work with loads of new, exciting artists. And also have fun, get back to having fun again. We’ve got some collaborations on the go with Man Without A Clue, Roger Sanchez, MDE, Litek, Alex Mills, AME and loads more so there is lots to look forward to.”
Will there be more new music in 2017?
A: Yeah there are loads. With the album dropping this year, we’re going to drop eight singles, one every four weeks this year and then probably a load of bonus records at the end of the year as well. You’re going to hear at least twelve new records from us this year and loads of remixes on top of that. There’s a lot of material. The first single, ‘Like A Drug’ is out now.”
If you were a cocktail what cocktail would you be?
A: “If it had to be a cocktail an Old Fashioned, something with enough kick to it but full of flavour. I’m more of a beer drinker though. If I was a beer I’d be something strong, an IPA locally brewed in London & shipped all around the world!”
You can find Tough Love at Spring Fest, Pier Jam and We Are Fstvl in the coming months and look out for more releases from the incredible duo.
Check out the lyric video for Like A Drug below.
Credit: Tough Love