IN the penultimate instalment of our Parklife 2016 countdown, Quays News reporter Nathan Salt caught up with DJ duo and Annie Mac favourite Tough Love ahead of their Heaton Park debut…
The guys behind ‘So Freakin’ Tight’ – yes that’s Tough Love – head to Manchester this Sunday for their debut Parklife festival and excited is an understatement.
“We absolutely can’t wait man,” Alex Unwin admiited.
“We have wanted to play it for so many years and Manchester is really good crack as well. We’ve played Sankeys like six or seven times and South too so we love the vibe up here.”
Unlike many acts in the house market, Tough Love have a number of key influencers championing their music and have been for many years.
But life on the road doesn’t allow for anything more than a catch-up over email so Love admitted Parklife 2016 provides the perfect opportunity to catch up with some old friends.
“It will be nice to see Hannah [Wants] because I haven’t seen her for a year or so. Festivals allow us all to catch up so yeah I can’t wait.
“We were lucky that Annie [Mac] started playing our music about two and a half years ago. The support she’s given us has been amazing and Danny Howard has been championing our new song ‘Touch’ most weeks on his show.”
‘Touch’ has already hit the ground running and has been hotly tipped by house music aficionados for a bright summer but those in Manchester on Sunday may be the first to hear some previously unheard mixes of the track.
“We have a couple of sneaky unheard edits of Touch to play this weekend,” he teased.
We always prepare for big festivals but we never know exactly what we are going to play. We might even test run a lot of new material given we have an EP out at the end of the month and we’ve just finished a Years and Years song but that’s a surprise!”
It was just too tempting to try and tease out which Years & Years track had been given the Tough Love makeover but Love remained coy.
“You’ll have to come and see the set to find out!”
Much like Dance Lady Dance that featured yesterday, Tough Love have brought a number of influences to the table with the duo going beyond just house and garage.
Unwin told us: “We grew up on house and garage for sure and that has heavily influenced us but we also have a major love-in with R&B and hip-hop.
“I’d go as far as saying we can listen to any genre because we are an open book; we can take bits and twist from loads of tracks.”
Their latest track ‘Touch’ was helped in part by the writing talents of Karen Harding and Becky Hill with the latter firmly in future plans with the boys.
“We’ve got a few things in the pipeline with Becky,” he admitted.
“We work really well together and there is a good chance something could come out together!”
Away from the UK the duo will also be making their debut across the pond with a tour of American in October and November, as well as returning to the European house scene.
“The summer is just so fun. From what I’ve heard America is at the start of the scene because they are making the moves away from EDM to deeper house.
“In Europe they are somewhat ahead of the UK. I love going to Germany and the Scandinavian countries because you can experiment a whole lot more; they turn up and are happy to hear any sound you play.
“We have played Germany about five or six times and it’s wicked. You always come back pretty inspired and the parties are pretty good when you finish work too!”
On a parting note it felt fitting to find out which of the duo has the better dance moves behind the decks and whether Manchester will get to witness any…
Alex said: “I definitely have better moves!
“Stefan is a dad, he’s a dad dancer, so he’ll back that up that I’m the better dancer.”
By Nathan Salt
Don’t forget to catch the final instalment of the ‘Countdown to Parklife’ series tomorrow when our reporter Misha Solanki caught up with Nicola Bear…
Day One – Blossoms
Day Two – Love Ssega
Day Three – Grace
Day Four – Izzy Bizu
Day Five – Dance Lady Dance