New shoe gazers; Paolo Nutini's mad for Scotland's hottest young band Tuff Love THE MAIN EVENT Paolo saw us at our worst.. he must've been drunk Scots duo's nightmare gig led to biggest ever concert after making a famous fan.
By Rick Fulton SCOTLAND'S hottest new act Tuff Love reckoned Paolo Nutini must have been tipsy when he signed them up to play his huge Bellahouston gig in Glasgow last year.
The August gig saw Scotland's biggest solo singer pick his own line-up including pals The View, 80s superstar Grace Jones and BBC Music Sound of 2015 nominee Soak - a singer/songwriter from Derry.
But Tuff Love? It would be fair to say they were something of an unknown quantity.
New Shoes singer Paolo was bang on the money, though, as the duo - Julie Eisenstein and Suse Bear - enthralled the crowd.
After appearances at Glastonbury and Wickerman and three fantastic Turn to Page 40 From Page 39 EPs, their star is definitely on the rise. Next Friday they release the EPs as their debut album, Resort and it's the most exciting Scottish musical offering since Glasvegas's first album in 2008.
But the pair - who use drummer Iain Stewart from The Phantom Band when they play live - are still shocked that they have such a superstar fan.
Bassist Suse, 27, from Glasgow, said: "Apparently he saw us play at the Scottish Album of the Year Awards which was probably our worst ever gig."
Julie, 31, the singer and guitarist, added: "After the soundcheck we weren't allowed to go on stage and it made us really nervous. Then we got panicked because we were told once we went on stage we had to play straight away.
"But my stuff hadn't been set up correctly. I should have taken a second to sort it but I just started playing."
Suse jumped in, joking: "He must have been very drunk."
Anyone who has listened to their debut EP, 2014's Junk, would disagree. Their sublime lo-fi slacker pop mixes the highs of The Beach Boys with the introverted lows of the 90s shoegazing scene.
The pair's fanbase has grown with the release of subsequent EPs Dross and Dregs. And then Paolo came calling.
On the day of the Bellahouston gig, Paolo offered his support to everyone backstage. Julie said: "He was chatty, laidback and really approachable."
Suse added: "He's super-famous - and when you get that famous you don't expect them to be a person because you've heard so much about him.
"He came into the canteen where we all where. We thought we should go over and speak to him but he came over to us, which was really nice.
"He sounded so passionate about everyone, including the artists who were doing the live projections for the gig. He'd picked them as well."
After being hand-picked by Paolo to support him on one of the biggest gigs of the year, the reaction of his fans to a band they'd probably never heard of might have been a concern.
But Julie said: "I think they thought we were teenage boys. Someone screamed: 'I fancy the drummer,' which is fair enough as Iain is super-handsome."
They falter when they describe how the gig went. Suse said: "I had ear monitors in for the first time. I couldn't hear anything apart from myself. But people were clapping and no one ran away."
Julie was also thrilled to get a glimpse of controversial star Grace Jones. She said: "There was a crowd of people backstage waiting for her to come out.
"She was escorted out in a golf cart, growling at every one as she passed."
Despite the success of the gig, fans have no need to worry - their biggest gig to date hasn't given them a taste for stadium rock.
Suse said: "We are never going to be ready for that. Playing live for me was always a secondary thing. I just wanted to make songs first.
"Maybe at some point we will switch and we'll think maybe we need to make a song that's great live. But at the moment my primary desire for our music is for people to enjoy it at home."
The seeds of the band were planted six years ago when Julie arrived in Glasgow from London to do a creative writing course. She said: "I've always played guitar but never been in bands because it never worked out.
"But I'd been writing and wanted to be in one. I was shy, too."
Five years ago they met at a party in Glasgow's Charing Cross and found out they lived opposite each other.
Suse said: "I DJed at some club and was giving out mixes to everyone so I gave her a CD."
The story makes Julie jump in: "That makes you sound quite confident but you were quite quiet."
The pair still exude shyness. It's only later in our chat and when they are talking about their music that they sound as assured as some of the music they play.
Suse was in a band when they met, Vendor Defender but was frustrated by it because the rest of the group wanted to play live and take long breaks and she projections' wanted to write songs.
After meeting Julie, the pair started making songs and didn't even talk about playing live.
Their first project was Motherless Daughters, with Julie's songs being fleshed out on keyboards by Suse. The name is poignant. Suse lost her mother when she was 21, Julie when she was 15.
Julie said: "I'd go round to Suse's and she'd layer loads of stuff on my songs. She had a deaf neighbour living upstairs and a cafe downstairs so it was no problem."
With their first project going nowhere, the duo decided to get a bit heavier.
Suse said: "We felt if we didn't push ourselves to do it, we'd never do it."
On Suse's side there was a love of Ash and Weezer. On Julie's it was The Beach Boys, The Beatles and sad folk songs. Their style was set: "Sadness framed in happiness".
Suse came up with the name.
Julie, who writes the lyrics, said: "I think it sounds like a boyband. It's a bit kitsch and trashy."
Their first gig was at Nice'N'Sleazy in Glasgow in August 2012.
It was Julie's first ever live show. She said: "I was terrified." Her second gig came the next day - this time in Berlin, Germany, for LaDIYfest. It meant the duo and their friend Lucy, who was drumming for them, had to drive for 24 hours to get there.
Suse said: "I really wanted a trip to Berlin so I thought I might as well send our songs - Flamingo, Ostrich, Wild Cat, Poncho.
"I didn't expect anything but they said yes - but that we would have to make our own way there. The only way we could was to drive.
so "Getting there was okay but we were exhausted on the way back. The Autobahn was like the rainbow road in Mario Kart."
about including who the Suse was also playing in another Glasgow band, Monoganon, who were releasing records on Lost Map - the label run by Johnny Lynch of Fence Records and The Pictish Trail fame.
The girls aren't sure how he heard them but reckons he probably listened to their SoundCloud when they posted the Junk EP.
Since then they have been championed by some of radio's biggest names including Lauren Laverne, Steve Lamacq and Rob Da Bank.
Tuff Love have been travelling fast in the last 12 months. In 2015, as well as Paolo asking them to support him, shoegazing favorites Ride asked them on their first UK tour in 20 years.
This year is shaping up to be even bigger with the debut album release, a new album being written and a tour starting at Summerhall in Edinburgh on February 22.
Suse said: "We can't really believe how quick it's happening. When we started making music it was poppier than I expected and I wondered if more people - other than other people in Glasgow bands - might like it."
We do. ? Tuff Love's debut album Resort is out on Friday, January 29. They launch it at the Stereo Cafe Bar, Glasgow on February 5.
SCOTLAND'S ULTIMATE ENTERTAINMENT SECTION
RISING FAST Julie and Suse
ALL-STAR CAST Paolo Nutini invited top names including legendary Grace Jones to Glasgow show
IN DEMAND Guitarist Julie and bass player Suse