Tuff Love's Suse Bear on Outskirts Festival 2017

We chat to Tuff Love's Suse Bear about her collaboration with Errors' Steev Livingstone for this year's Outskirts festival in April

Feature by Tallah Brash | 05 Apr 2017

Blurring the boundaries between performance, music, art and film, Platform’s annual festival of cross art form experimentation and excellence is back for its 2017 outing this April.

An unexpected musical collaboration is set to take place between Errors’ Steev Livingstone and Tuff Love’s Suse Bear as part of the ongoing Easterhouse Conversations project, which has previously featured RM Hubbert & Drew Wright and Kathryn Joseph & The Twilight Sad’s James Graham among others. We caught up with Bear to find out more...

The Skinny: How did you become involved in the project?

Suse Bear: “Alun (Woodward) from Chemikal Underground / Platform asked us individually at the end of last year if we’d be into working on the project. We’d not met each other properly before although I’d seen Steev around a lot and seen Errors live a few times. I have an Errors tour poster in my studio from a gig I saw of theirs in 2010. I am a fan!”

Can you tell us a little bit more about the Easterhouse Conversations project itself?

“It’s a super-exciting project – I’ve never done anything like this before but it feels like a lot of responsibility.

“We’ve been chatting to a few different groups of people, talking to them about how they are connected to Platform or Easterhouse and about their lives in the area. We’d like to communicate their stories through the music we make. We’re trying to involve some of the interviewees in the performance, that would be nice.

“It would be great also if this project in some way helps to make people more aware of Platform and Easterhouse. The people we’ve chatted to have all been amazing and are involved in some really brilliant projects either in the surrounding area or hosted at Platform.”

Musically, Tuff Love and Errors are two very different things – how is this collaboration going to work?

“I guess I don’t exclusively make ‘fuzzy guitar music’; that's just a Tuff Love thing really. I like keyboards, synthesisers, electronic music, ambient stuff, etc, and have been making all sorts of different crap in my bedroom for years.

“We’re adapting round each other, I think we're both pretty versatile musically. We’re definitely fans of the same sorts of sounds, that’s been really nice, discovering what each other is into and having it matching with what you’re into.

“When I walked into Steev’s studio and saw all his synthesisers/keyboards and gear my head nearly exploded – it was very exciting. I am into that.”

How would you describe the combined sound of Tuff Love and Errors?

“It’s not really sounding like Tuff Love and Errors, more like Suse and Steev. I think I’d have to make a forced/concerted effort to bring the Tuff Love sound to this project, and that doesn’t feel super-natural for this. I think Steev would say the same. He does other musical projects too; not necessarily everything he does comes out sounding like Errors perhaps. It's not going to be concise three-minute-long pop songs!”

What has been your inspiration for the original music you’re creating for this?

“We’ve been taking inspiration from the interviews we’ve done, finding a starting point along the way by picking out words and themes. We had a woman sing for us during one of the interviews; it was really lovely. Little things are leading us down different musical paths.”

Can you describe the process for us? How are you going about the writing, etc?

“We’re working independently on ideas then coming together and working in Steev’s studio. I take bits of gear over to his and then we jam out, from whatever idea seed there was, recording and picking the best bits later.”

Are you planning to record and release the collaboration at all?

“The performance will be recorded live on 22 April – I’m not totally sure about it being released. That would be very nice though.”

What can people heading along to Outskirts festival expect on the day?

“Our performance will have lots of different instruments in it and hopefully feature some of the people we interviewed too. There’s loads of stuff going on. I’m excited about seeing Fallopé & The Tubes’ performance.”

Outskirts is at Platform, Easterhouse, 22 Apr http://www.platform-online.co.uk/