Welcome to the raw, industrial sounds of Tough Luck Records. In a project where Newcastle meets Leicester, Chris Cue, REBEL and Twon, aided by a a no-nonsense approach to releasing house and techno music have created their own luck by stomping their authority on the underground scene.
Tell us about the connection between Newcastle and Leicester, how did that come about?
"I guess when you think about it we're lucky we all got drawn to each other the way we did. Our tastes and ideas when it comes to music work really well together, I've always been massively into techno and over the last couple of years with Twon and Cue the passion I have for it has just exploded."
You mention the urge to create something with raw originality. Has the resurgence of vinyl records sales influenced the concept and infrastructure of Toughluck?
"I'd say it has. We're taking each release at a time, really putting lots of thought and energy into each piece of wax. So the music, design and release date are all taken into careful consideration. For us it's all about getting away from throw-away 'one drop' tunes that inspire a fist pump and not much else. It's all about heads down, dark sweaty rave music! I think sometimes when a label just goes down the digital route they give less of a fuck about what they put out. It kind of takes a bit of the magic away really."
You've enjoyed success with TLR001 featuring the likes of Jack Wickham, just one of a whole host of top-draw up-and-coming artists, is this part of the philosophy of ToughLuck, to build a strong network of artists?
"Yeah we want to have a core group of artists (mainly our friends). Getting Jack on board was a big buzz for us, his edits are out of this world and his music knowledge is so advanced for a lad that has just turned 20, 2014 is going to be a big year for Jack. it was also good to showcase the talent of our friend's music, people like Adrian Fairless and HoH."
After a sell-out first release, TLR002 came out mid-November 2013 on a unique translucent citrus-yellow vinyl, which has gained great support from the likes of Adam Shelton, Richy Ahmed, SLOK, Stacey Pullen and many more. We sat down with the artist's on the release to give us a walkthrough of each track.
Ocu's passion for deep analogue-sounding grooves is all consuming. His style takes roots from gloomy sounds and grooves along with ambient dub and techno, mixing musical genres more precisely to create something that maintains the flavour of hot and dirty old school. A perfect example of his vision and realisation is reflected in 'Moderat' - where pumping analog beats and bass combine with a dreamy chord and vocal shot. Basic elements to turn the dance-floor!
Freeman & Farrelly
"We went for an industrial feel for 'Never Came Home' to give it that warehouse reverb kind of sound. The track was built around the neck-snapping hi-hat which stays prominent throughout, giving it a heavy stomping groove. The spoken word vocal came later to give the track a story and character."
"When the guys at TLR asked me to make a track for the VA, I wanted it to stand out. With 'Satisfy' I wanted to create a peak time track with a big bassline and a solid groove. My inspiration for the track, as always, comes from the likes of Santé, Samu.l and Waff. I think Moon Harbour and One Records are the Labels that most inspire my music. Hopefully you will enjoy."
"With this track I just wanted a simple groove to keep the heads bouncing. I'm not one to write big floor anthems. I don't really plan what I'm going to write, I just get on with it. I think having no boundaries is a beautiful thing because you don’t have to restrict yourself to a particular style of sound. In addition to this, I believe less is more – hence the track is subconsciously absorbing. I really enjoyed producing this track, not too sure if my neighbours felt the same way!"
"Mr Dobolina is a track which came about after hearing a particular sample on my way to work... I always look for quirky or different samples and spend lots of time digging in charity shops for weird music. The track contains multiple tiny samples from lots of 90's era hip hop tracks. My favourite method of working is to cut tiny snippets of tracks which are all in the same key and splicing them together to make a kind of musical tapestry."
"My latest track Donna, on Tough Luck, is a deep and trippy minimal house tune with constant up-and-down motion throughout. Sound-wise, I've really been inspired by a lot of the Romanian guys and Anthea, OdD, Sylphe style plus a lot of what I hear on Maria's HDNSM show. Of course the deep and off-kilter vibes from my hometown of San Francisco colour a lot of what I do too. I try to bring it all together into a groove-oriented deep, bassy, minimal techno vibe with a touch of dub, then stamp it with my own feeling of space and place."
"For my addition to TLR002 I wanted to give the package something that is purely what I'm about, high energy, big kicks and swinging percussion, always leaning towards the techno side. 'FAVE' is the first track that ever produced where the title was named after someone, most of my other tracks are named while waiting for Ableton to export! A lot of the music I'm loving producing at the minute has been derived from inspiration in work be the likes of SHED, Underworld, Emmanuel and Bleak."
"I made Strange Lust about a year ago, it was a lot harder than most of the other stuff I was releasing at the time but it seemed to be really popular with my friends and when ever I played it. The hats are really driving and it's just got that pumping club vibe about it. Like all my current solo work it was made on Ableton Live with soft synths and a lot of sampling. I used a couple of chopped up vocals which I arranged to form the main body of the groove. The bass was done using Sub boom bass, I use it a lot for my sub bass and some percussive elements. It's still a really fun track to play out, the crazy synthesised transformer noise always seems to get peoples attention on the dance floor."