tough love

With their extensive collection of massive, gangster, dancefloor-filling tracks, it’s hard to believe that the Tough Love project (comprised of Alex Prinzivalli and Stefan O’Brien) started only a year ago. With impressive releases on Runnin’ Wild, Cream Couture Records, and Love Not Money, as well as a slew of banging tracks to be released in 2013, the duo has seriously turned some heads.

Bound to be a household name in the coming years, we had a chance to catch up with the rising deep house duo and ask a few questions about how they met, their upcoming releases, and their take on the deep house scene…

The Dankles: Hey guys, thanks for taking time to talk to us! Could you tell us a little about who you are?

Tough Love: Tough Love is a DJ/Production duo from London made up of Alex & Stef.

TD: How did you two meet and what made you decide to team up?

TL: We met playing the same circuit in London. We were both at a point where we were playing similar sounds and decided to knock heads together and get in to the studio. We had our first studio session together in late 2011 and we quickly realised that we had something in front of us that we both really enjoyed. I think that was the most important thing, we both really enjoy the music we play & create.

TD: Coming out of London, what are the biggest influences to your sound, both old and new?

TL: We come from quite different musical backgrounds, but grew up in musical households, so we’ve both got a really broad taste in music, anything from old blues right through to metal. That said I think its pretty safe to say we both spent most of our youth listening to RnB, Hip Hop and House/Garage, which I guess is why it heavily features in our work.

TD: If you could collaborate on a track with anyone dead or alive, who would it be?

TL: Damn that’s such a hard question. Aaliyah, Missy Elliot, MJ, Daft Punk, Jay Z, B.I.G, Marshall Jefferson, oh & Johnny Cash, the guy tells a story better than any other artist. I’m sure between us there’s a whole load more we’ve forgotten.

TD: Rapidly becoming a staple within the deep house community, what sets your genre apart from others under the electronic music umbrella? What is your personal appeal to the genre, and where do you see the genre in 10 years?

TL: We love deep house & house music in general because of how it makes people feel. Without going to hippy, it evokes emotion, its perfect for all kinds of occasions.

Deep house has always been there, it’s just exploded the last 18 months. The sound has come full circle & growing at such a rate now. Artists are slowly becoming a household names. There’s a lot of people out there saying people are watering it down, or making music to be commercial etc, they’re wrong, the scene has grown, you’ve got an audience coming to watch you and listening to your tracks that wouldn’t have even known the genre existed 18 months ago. In another 2 or so years you’ll find it at its peak. 10 years time, we would guess there’s some new sub-genre of house music that’s exploding in just the same way.

TD: When you two are DJing live or sitting down in the studio, what is the vibe you try to create for the listeners? What reaction are you hoping for?

TL: Before we ventured into production, we were DJ’s, and as DJ’s we always set out with a really clear goal, to make people dance and to enjoy themselves. It also can depend on what moods were trying to incorporate into the production. Sometimes we want a bubbly, big bass floor filler & other times something more melodic & meaningful.

Occasionally we start a session thinking one thing, but the track becomes something else.

TD: What do you think makes your sound unique?

TL: We definitely have energy in our music & the sounds we use are very distinctive. Our end product always has a big round sound but we do like to experiment with the genre. Tracks like “Cold Blood” “Can’t Find The Words” & “ Night Is Calling” are all very different but you can tell they are ours. More recently we’ve gone quite bass heavy with our tracks but you still know there ours because of the energy created within them.

TD: What has been the highlight of your young music careers so far?

TL: We have had a rollercoaster of a year since starting Tough Love. To receive support from some of the biggest names in the industry, to playing some of the best gigs in the world, and watching our tracks explode onto the scene has been amazing.

TD: Where do you hope to be in 5 years?

TL: Doing exactly what we’re doing now, on an even bigger scale but maybe based in a hotter part of the world though J. We enjoy making music & experimenting in the studio. We’ve always wanted to produce a soundtrack for a major motion picture, so that’s definitely something on the wish list for us.

TD: Outside of music, what else do you guys like to do?

TL: We rarely have time away from music, but when we do

It’s all about spending our time off with our loved ones, friends and family. We’re lucky we’ve got a really supportive group around us so it’s nice to have some quality time with them.

TD: Do you plan on playing any shows in the U.S. soon? If yes, when and where?

TL: There are plans to get over to the US later this year & we’d definitely love to do a US tour. We have both spent a lot of time states side so it’s something that’s right at the top of our list to do.

TD: The Fake Faces EP and Night Is Calling EP were hot! You guys have upcoming EP’s to be released on Lucid Dreaming and CUFF Records, could you tell us a little about those, and of any other releases to look out for?

TL: Our E.P for Lucid Dreaming is out at the end of February; it’s a filthy E.P we started work on right at the beginning of 2012. We wanted a balance of tracks that would fit well into our sets, big baselines & lots of sleaziness.

Our E.P for Amine Edge’s label CUFF will be out later this year, there’s a big hip hop influence track on there called “Run For Cover” & a track for the ravers called “The Fun Train To Reno” that is something a bit different from us, but always seems to get a great response.

We’ve got so much other stuff that we’re just signing off this year. Were collaborating on an E.P with our boys Amine Edge & Dance that’s almost finished.

There’s also a collaboration with Lee M Kelsall that will be coming out closer to summer, as well as a nice release alongside our buddy Sharam Jey on Bunny Tiger.

There’s a couple remix’s due out this year as well but everything else we’re keeping under wraps for now, we’re pretty excited with what we have coming up.

TD: Artists to look out for?

TL: If the E.P was anything to go by on Love Not Money then Electricano will catch the eye of many this year. We’ve heard some of the stuff coming out of the Bunny Tiger camp and there is no way Sharam Jey is going to let up, he’s got some monsters with the likes of Kolombo coming out. Friend Within looks set to make a huge impact with some big baselines and the backing of Dirtybird.

We’ve been playing out tracks by Taylor & Loud Minority relentlessly, they’re both carving a really distinct sound, expect a good run from both of them. Citizen has some really nice stuff due out later this year. As well as our good friends Adam Banks & Deep’art both have big EP’s dropping on Digital Delight this year.

We also have the first release on our own label Get Twisted Records, 4 heavy hitting tracks from 4 heavyweight artists.

The Dankles rapid-fire questions:

Go-to track to revive the dance floor:

Tough Love – The Night Is Calling

Track that been on repeat the most recently:

Amine Edge & Dance – Halfway Crooks

Song You Wish You Never Played:

HaHa, there’s been a couple but we wont go there

The best track of 2012:

Duke Dumont – The Giver

Favorite Tough Love Original or Remix:

The Night Is Calling

Last show you went to that you didn’t play at:

Deep’art


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About Johnny BeGood

Visual designer, music producer and lover of all things fresh. Los Angeles, CA. Twitter: @bearsohmy Instagram: @therealbearsohmy