We sat down for a chat with Tom from Jungle..
How’s your day been?
Short so far, it’s only 9:15 am, I’ve only been up for about an hour, so yeah, hopefully it’s going to be a good one.
Where are you at the moment?
We’re in London luckily, we’ve had a week and a half off. We just finished a month long tour of the US and Mexico and we’re now gearing up for a big European headline tour. Starting in Oslo and we’ll be out till the 24th of November then pretty much off until the new year.
How do you prepare for each show and does the band have any pre show rituals?
I think the most important thing to do before shows is to make sure that we are all in the same room, because there are so many people on stage, you have to be quite connected in terms of your energy levels and in terms of the vibe between the band. It’s like playing soccer or football, you’ve got to step onto the pitch as a team rather than as an individual.
So making sure that we are all in the same room, relaxing, not getting too excited and letting your Adrenalin run away with you, because the shows are quite high octane events, so preserving as much as possible before you step on stage and giving it everything you’ve got for an hour and a half is really important. Just hanging out, making sure that you’ve had a good dinner. It’s not particularly glamorous but that’s the ritual really.
Do you get used to the whole pre show procedure or do you still get nerves before you need to go out and play?
It’s interesting, you think you get used to it, but you get caught by surprise, some times when you are getting ready for a show it does kinda all feel quite normal, the touring process can feel quite normalized at times, but then you get really beautiful moments that surprise you and audiences that are particularly vocal, loving or rowdy.
Some times when the lights drop before we are about to go on stage you kinda get this roar from some audiences that kinda wakes you up and shakes you into this feeling of something I wasn’t quite expecting and something different. Those are always the best gigs when the audience always gives you more than you expected of them and I think that’s great because it means that you are sort of incentiviced to give them everything that you’ve got back. Those are the best gigs when the energy level and the energy transmission between the audience and the band is at it’s peak.
Do you remember your first show as Jungle and what that experience was like and how things have changed from being where you’re at the moment?
The first show was in October of 2013 at a venue called the Roadhouse in Manchester which is unfortunately closed now. It was terrifying, we had all played gigs before but I think because this was our own project from top to bottom, that there was a bit more emotional pressure in there. It was very small, very intimate, there were probably 150 people there. And what’s changed, wow, we’ve got more lights, slightly nicer guitars, but ultimately it’s the same experience.
You’re getting up on stage to connect with the audience and to play them songs and see how they react to them and to share that moment and ultimately that’s a very beautiful thing no matter how big or small you are as a band, I think that everyone would agree that that’s what you do it for. You do it for the audience, you do it for the people that come to see you and to have that connection with you.
You have a sexy sounding setup, what equipment and instruments do you guys use on stage?
Various bits and pieces. Guitars, Gibson Thunderbird bass, kinda our signature bass, we’ve tried to play so many different basses in the past before and nothing has quite worked out so that’s a good one, but it’s a pain in the ass because they don’t make them anymore. A couple of synths, we’ve got a proper 8 on stage, our drummer has a beautiful Ludwig kit with a couple of lovely vintage snares and that’s kinda it really, keep it simple. Our percussionist has bongo’s, conga’s, shakers and cow bells and stuff like that but I don’t really know how that works so I leave that to him.
You’ll be hitting Australia in April of 2019, how do you find playing in Australia and Aussie fans as compared to other countries and fans in other parts of the world?
They’re really great, I think Australian fans are pretty wild in general, they’re not self conscious, they’re pretty vocal, kinda like the Aussie sports fans really which is great. It was a great party and I think that’s the best thing about going to a territory that you’ve been to before and you sort of know the ropes and you know the lay of the land then it makes it a much more comfortable experience and you can enjoy it a lot more and you can take in a lot more of the experience because you’re not kinda sitting there worrying about what’s around the corner.
Your new album ‘Forever’ is out now, it’s been 4 years in the making. Can you please tell us about the creation process for the album?
yeah well we came off the road full time in 2016 after finishing touring our first album I think that the really unexpected success of that first album meant that we could really tour it for a long time and that was really important for us to do. We had a little bit of time off which was really important to us, you know writing music is really as much about the experiences that you have to write about let alone the process of writing it. That was important to us to take some time out to take stock of what happened to us and have some time to lives out lives a little bit and gather those experiences that we needed to be able to write music again.
J moved to LA to live with his girlfriend at the time, I was living my girlfriend in the UK and unfortunately as these things do those relationships ended, but at the end of the day that just gave us the ammunition to get back in the studio and really knuckle down and get a record done.
It’s a much more biographical record than the first record was. Hopefully there are some stories in there and some lessons for every to take hold of and make their own. That’s the most important thing for us, as much as this is our journey, you write songs for yourself but you want to make sure that those songs and those ideas connect with other people, that they can embody them and take those forward and help them through tricky situations that they’ve come across or make them feel really good at house parties, that’s kind of our mantra.
Do you have a favorite track on the album and if so why?
Oh I think that’s almost asking someone who their favorite child is, I don’t know, I’ve always been a fan of the last song on the record, but I don’t if it because the last song always kinda signifies the beginning of the next record in a weird way, we are always looking forward, Pray and House are two on the record that really surprised us with what we could achieve production wise, they’re very cinematic and beautiful and it just feels like me made some real music for a change.
I think the first album is sonically very interesting and very complex, I think we’ve really dug down into some emotional layers within us as songwriters, I think that’s made a huge difference on this record.
How do you go about the ordering of the tracks on the record?
It’s sort of trial and error really, Listening to songs back to back in different orders. A lot of the time when you get to know the tracks on your record really well, when you listen to one song and it finishes you sort of have an immediate understanding of what song you want to hear next. A lot of the time it falls into place really easily, but actually when we were putting the song order together for this album we realized that we were one track short and needed something, so I dug up this really really old idea that we’d been working on since the beginning of the record and sort of shoved on a demo at the very very last minute, but it made sense to the whole thing and made the whole record feel really complete. So yeah, it’s a bit of trial and error and obviously from those experiments come new ideas and things that kinda catch you by surprise.
Who are you listening to at the moment?
A load of stuff really, I’ve been listening to a lot of Kamasi Washington, his latest record is unbelievable and it’s also very long so it takes you quite a while to get through it. A girl from California called Kadhja Bonet who’s kind of a neo disco soul singer, she’s got a great record out at the moment called Child Queen and yeah just the old classics, I always go back to listening to Crosby, Still & Nash, I love The Who, The Beatles, we actually just saw Paul McCartney playing at Austin City Limits Festival so that was a bit of a flash back, so yeah it was nice to hear some of the old hits.
What do you have planned for the remainder of 2018 going into 2019?
We’re going to go to Russia, Ukraine and Tokyo which is going to be fun and also very cold. We’ll be back to the states in March and then Australia in April and have a busy festival season, at the end of the day I’d rather be busy than sitting on my ass doing nothing. We’re super excited and comping back to Australia you know it’s such and exciting place to go and so far away from home that you kinda feel so free I guess and that’s that great thing about this, you can remove yourself from all the mundane stresses of daily life where you live in your home town and that’s a very liberating experience.
Do you have favorite location in Australia?
Oh man it’s so tough, I have a lot of love for Fremantle, because the both times that we’ve gone there to play we’ve done Falls Festival there and Laneway as well, those have sort of been end of the road, those are always quite emotional moments. Sydney is fantastic, Sydney is kind of picture postcard living of city/beach living in Australia, so your naturally kinda drawn there and yeah the last time I was in Sydney I actually went to a Test Match, I’ve got a lot of love for Sydney.
Your favorite food of all time and place to hangout?
Actually there is an amazing cafe, I’m actually looking at it out my window at the moment in East London called Pellicci’s it’s kind of an institution it’s been run by this Italian family for like 6 generations and you’ll just get the best fry up you’ve ever had there and I’m actually thinking about going and getting one as we speak.