They’ve been hyped as a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma, so when news came in that Tom (aka T, one half of the core duo behind the publicity-shy collective) called Forte Mag to dispel a few myths, jungle fever spread throughout the office.
Not to be confused with American hip hoppers Jungle Brothers, heavy metal rockers Jungle Rot, UK girl band Neon Jungle or Brisbane’s own indie four-piece The Jungle Giants, the London-based collaborative Jungle were noticed by all the right people at this year’s SXSW Festival, toured Europe and the UK with Haim and are now heading our way for Splendour in the Grass and a one-off Melbourne sideshow.
“Everybody says it’s a super cool festival – we’re just excited to get out there. Australia’s definitely somewhere I’ve always wanted to visit from what I’ve seen on TV or the movies, plus I watch a lot of sport so I’m very aware of Australia’s sporting endeavours,” T said with a smile. “Hopefully we’ll get a couple of hours to sit in the sun on a beach somewhere.”
Calling from the US in the throes of a relentless tour schedule, T seemed most excited about the free all-ages gig they’ve planned for the next day in NYC. “We want to connect with as many people as possible and the most important people to us are the ones that listen to our music and come to our shows, so the more we can give to them the better.
“But we’ve been really surprised by everything that’s happened here – by the crowds and by the people who’ve turned up to the shows. And we did the Jimmy Kimmel show, which was a brand new experience for us also. It was incredible.”
It seems the once elusive West Londoners are relishing their chance to connect with more lovers of their 1970s-style funk, but T assures me they’re about the music.
“It’s been crazy fun and it’s been hard work but I think that’s really rewarding. It’s a job at the end, you know at the end of the day, and we love working hard. The more hard work you do, the more it pays off.” Wise words from a man who has spent his adolescence idolising American indie-rock bands with a like-minded kid next door.
“J [or Josh to his friends – Jungle’s co-creator] and I grew up together in London. When we were fifteen or sixteen indie music was massive. The Strokes were a band we listened to a lot, and Kings of Leon – their first couple of albums were really mind-blowing to us. Those bands represented a world we’d never seen or experienced before and they played sounds we’d never heard before. They really captured our imagination.”
Soon the two best buds started making music of their own, but when they decided to work together with the idea of forming a larger group, that’s when things really came to life. “J and I only started writing and producing the songs for Jungle in January 2013. We just sat down in the studio together and started having some fun and everything happened pretty naturally. For us, creating music is a way of hanging out, it’s what our friendship is based around. It was really cool to find something that clicked and find something that we’re both really happy with and proud of.”
Today Jungle is a visually impressive six-piece, complete with full band and backing singers, and they’re about to release their debut self-titled album in mid-July. “We’re so eager to get the album out, and now it’s time to let it spread its wings and fly the nest!” Check out lead singles ‘Busy Earnin’’, ‘Time’ and ‘The Heat’ at junglejunglejungle.com
When&Where: The Corner – July 29
Written by Natalie Rogers