Tough Love Get Twisted
[dropcap]L[/dropcap]ondon based duo Tough Love have rapidly risen through the ranks of the house scene over the last few years. Their distinct productions together with energetic and bass-heavy DJ sets have created a cult following of hard-core fans across the UK and beyond.
Tough Love’s Alex & Stef have been championed for their remixing ability and their penchant to make fun, ’90s inspired house records. Support has already come in from the dance music tastemakers over at BBC Radio 1 – with the likes of Danny Howard and Annie Mac both labelling Tough Love as an act to look out for in the coming year.
With 2 UK National Top 40’s in ‘Pony’ & ‘So Freakin Tight’ which went silver in the UK and a string of underground hits that have topped the Beatport and Traxsource charts. Tough Love took some time out of their busy schedule to give us the lowdown on what’s happening right now for them and their ‘Get Twisted Records’ imprint.
Hi guys – thanks for talking to us. How’s the year treating you so far?
Yeah, really good thanks. We’ve been locked in the studio hammering out new records. This year is a bit of a fresh start for us as we’ve become less restricted musically and can really focus on the Tough Love sound. We also gave Get Twisted a facelift at the end of 2017 after 5 years & the label is shaping up really well for 2018.
As artists, you’re always seen to be extremely busy, and 2017 was no exception. What were some of your personal highlights?
It’s always really hard to pick out the stand out shows. La Solar Festival in Columbia was really good. It was our first time in the country so that was definitely a highlight.
Tell us about how you first found out about Label Worx. was it a random find, or did someone recommend us?
We were getting loads of promo’s & buying loads of records that were distributed via Label Worx. We had wanted to set up a label for a little while so we talked to Luke Pompey, who was running ‘Love Not Money’. He highly recommended Label Worx. It wasn’t long before we were on the phone to Dom & the team. Everything else fell into place nicely.
Which of Label Worx’s services do you currently use?
Most of them actually, we use Label Worx’s Accelerator services, as it frees up a bit more of our time to focus on the marketing of the release and strategy. We also use Royalty-Worx to make artists statements transparent & seamless.
What do you think is it them that sets them apart from other label services?
As with all good businesses, it’s the personal touch. Label Worx is super professional & organized, but more importantly, we know we can always pick up the phone and bounce ideas around, come up with new strategy & consolidate on releases.
What’s at the core of Get Twisted from an A&R point of view?
We’re just focused on putting out great house music. Records which are dynamic, work in the club, have a good energy about them. We don’t really follow trends, we build a catalogue that will stand the test of time.
Unlike a lot of electronic artists, your label is run by a major label. Does that change how the label operates, either from an A&R point of view or on the day to day running of the label?
We recently took the label back to its origins so every part of the label is now run in-house at Get Twisted. In the past we’ve had parts of the label run through Universal Music Group & Sony Music. When we were part of a major it had an effect on the music output in both positive and negative ways. As a label we were coming off the back of two top 40 records & various underground hits. When you’re part of a major its easy to slip into the pressure of your profit and loss, commercial viability & in doing so lose a bit of the ethos of the label. On the positive, it made us even more confident in our product & our knowledge of the market has grown.
As an independent label we’re really well set up to have success in the underground, to have crossover records, to have records that stream really well & to have chart success. But what we now have as an independent that we didn’t have the last few years, is far less red tape and far more flexibility, which is vital if you are going to be reactive & be successful as a label.
What are the biggest mistakes you think people make when setting up their own label?
Not investing in the label, not just financially but people fail to invest time into the label. To run a successful label you need to understand what sound you represent, who your market it, how you can capture the market, how to take a record to markets, get the radio play, club play and press support. There are far too many labels signing tracks & throwing them out there without and TLC. For us, that’s the biggest mistake labels make.
If you could have done one thing differently since setting up Get Twisted, what would that be?
Stay more focused on the sound we represent. After 2 years of conception, we we’re having some really big hits selling half a million records a year. The moment we had commercial success the pressure came on to continue this, but as the market moved we had to follow the market. When we look back we always signed quality records, but there was a period where these records didn’t truly represent what Get Twisted represents. The same can be said for Tough Love. 2018 is all about re-cementing the brands into the house scene. When you come to Get Twisted you know exactly what you’re going to get, quality house music with a good energy that sounds huge in the clubs.
What’s coming up from Tough Love and Get Twisted that we should be keeping an eye out for?
We’ve got a new record on the way called ‘One Love’ which is starting to really heat up. There’s new stuff coming from Roger Sanchez, Space Food, Linier, GAWP & Trutopia. Plus a UK tour again later in the year.
Thanks for taking the time to speak with us and we’ll catch you soon!
Head to any of your favourite music platforms and check out Tough Love and Get Twisted Records, if you haven’t already.
Words By Alex Powell