Meet Tuff Cuff Records, the Ballarat label created by record collectors for record collectors

Subscribe to Forte Magazine


Meet Tuff Cuff Records, the Ballarat label created by record collectors for record collectors

For vinyl collectors that love Australian live music.

We a strong believers that the best Aussie record labels are the ones who are passionate about pushing artists that they themselves love and believe in, not just one’s wanting to make a quick buck or two in the industry!

Ballarat’s Tuff Cuff Records are the perfect example of an honest, passionate and musically-driven record label.

Coined a ‘Record Label by Record Collectors for Record Collectors’, the team at Tuff Cuff take the greatest live bands in Australia, dig through their archives and unearth gems to release for the very first time on vinyl. They’re all about featuring exclusive tracks you can’t find anywhere else – whether it be live, unreleased, and demo tracks to remixes and alternate versions, the list goes on.

We sit down with Matthias Barathoen O’Meara, founder and CEO of Tuff Cuff Records to find out more.

Congratulations on the very recent release of the Grindhouse 7″. What led to this release?
We’ve been wanting to work with Grindhouse since we first started Tuff Cuff Records over two years ago. We talked about ideas and plans on and off every few months. Finally the planets aligned and the opportunity arose for us all to make a sensational and unique release: A Kabana & cheese record that comes with a scratch & sniff sticker for a full 4D experience.

Why Grindhouse? Judging by the roster of previous releases, fair to say you like Rock N Roll of varying styles. Do you have a particular criteria when it comes to selecting bands to release?
We have two criteria – you have to be one of the greatest live acts in the country and we have to like you as people.

We’ve always loved Grindhouse’s wild sexy shows and we’ve had a few adventures with the band over the years so we know they’re a great bunch of individuals.

What is your favourite Tuff Cuff Records release this far? And which one has been the best received?
It’s like asking which child do you like best. It’s impossible to choose. For two guys that grew up in Ballarat obsessed with live music and records, every single time we release a new vinyl, we pinch ourselves and laugh.

Having the established Aussie bands get what we were trying to accomplish and give us their music and trust meant everything. To then take the opportunity, work out asses off and land release with international artists like Nick Oliveri, Svetlanas and The Quireboys (UK) has shown us we are on the right path.

Why vinyl? Have you been a collector over the years?
Vinyl is an experience, a connection, a tactile object and a ritual. It makes us part of the music as we have to perform a ceremony to conjure it up. The removal of the vinyl, the cleaning, the gentle application of the needle. You don’t get that with any other format. Vinyl is passion.

Who is up next for Tuff Cuff records next release?
We’ve just gone into production with Full Tone Generator and Nick Oliveri. We are blessed to work with Nick again and have thrown the proverbial kitchen sink at this release: it will be of the highest quality as always, look amazing and will come with an art photo print by renowned live music photographer Rag & Bone Photography.

We’ve been trying to find ways to support the arts community with every release and this time we get to showcase and support a fellow passionate live music supporter of the scene; Stephen Boxshall.

We have coming up in 2021 arguably the greatest live band of the last few years that has melted every face in the land. Then an international release that will drop jaws left and right, but that is another story for another time…

Visit Tuff Cuff Records for all the latest exclusive releases.