JUNGLE – Interview

Foto-© St. Weicken

Das Debüt des damals noch mysteriösen Producer-Duos Jungle schlug 2014 ein wie eine Bombe! Pop mit Soul Einschlag, mit elektronischen Samples und Falsett-Stimme angereichert – Hits wie Busy Earnin, The Heat oder Time machten die Band zu den Newcomern des Jahres. Doch wie weitermachen, wenn dein Sound so prägnant und prägend ist? Josh “J” Lloyd-Watson und Tom “T” McFarland nahmen sich nach all dem Touren eine Auszeit, um sich neu zu finden und zu definieren. Und das Ergebnis gibt es ab Freitag in Form des neuen Albums For Ever zu hören! Wir trafen uns mit den beiden in Berlin um einige naheliegende und auch einige nicht so naheliegende Fragen zu klären – Jungle im Bedroomdisco Interview!

In a former interview, one of you said that you sometimes felt a little bit trapped by the success of the first record – why did you feel that way?
J: I think in some aspects yeah. Jungle became one thing. Obviously we toured for a long time and people just knew that one sound. You get known for certain things.

Also, you said the first record was very much conceptual in its emotion, on the other hand the new one was more based on real-world experiences…what does that mean?
J: The first record was basically us in a bedroom playing GTA 5. Now we are lucky to be empowered to see different places around the world. We played some amazing shows and met beautiful people. I think that fact let us write up those experiences – there are no longer imagined, there a now real life experiences.

House in LA seems to be kind of a turning point on this album – it seems to get more…
T: …reflective? Yes, for us the first half of the record is very much the experience and the energy of it and than House in LA is the reflection on the experience.

Why did you choose Los Angeles for working on your second album?
J: I think it’s more that LA choose us. I felt in love with somebody who lived in LA so I had this fascination to go to that place. It was like a escape – a real life escape. We were both in love over the periode of this record and we both broke up with people – or gone broken up with. This let us write about this circle of love and all stages in that.

What was the best and also maybe the worst moment during writing and production?
J: The worst moment was – we had a little fight – did we?
T: When? Which one?
T: I think definitely when my relationship ended. It was a pretty tough time for both of us – I mean everyone wants something with a good end.
J: At some points of the record you have no fucking clue what you are doing and you don’t really know if it’s worth it. You have to get through it. Especially when it’s an emotional album. But it’s funny how it completes himself when you accept it. So there were definitely low points in there. But also we had a great time, great experiences and we met amazing people along the way. It really opened up our eyes. Yeah, many highs. Also literally. (lacht)

You two met as young boys in your hometown Shepherds Bush, London, became friends, formed the band Jungle – what do you think means that long friendship for the band and also the success of the band?
T: I think it’s amazing we had each other all the time. I think people glamourise musicians and their lifes. From the outside it might seem like the best job in the world: parties, beaches and amazing hotels. But actually the reality is, that you are working fucking hard. Day by day. So we had each other to help out in the shit times.
J: And also there is no ego between us. When we criticizes ideas it is always because they are bad ideas. Not because I want my idea to be the one which is on the record. That is really important to us.

I see Jungle, besides the music, as a fusion of different arts – video, dance, style. How do you keep that spirit of creativity alive?
J: We’ve always been like that. It’s just the idea of creating, it’s in our blood, it’s with everything we do. I think with 14 years we thought: We have to do it – whatever it is. If it’s a record or a film, or a poster or to redesign a house. We always knew: if we want to go to the moon – and that sounds kind of big – we probably can start thinking about how to do it ourselves. It was always that desire to create and do something ourselves.

In the videos of your two new singles, you can also see the band itself – compare to the former videos: is it the idea to show up for the fans and give a glimpse into the spirit of the band and the collective Jungle?
J: Totally. It’s the opening of a new narrative for us. On the first album we had these amazing dancers. This will always continue with Jungle because for us that is fun. There is nothing better than people dance to music. But we wanted to introduce this other frame because this record is more autobiographical. We had to introduce those characters to people, so they can understand the story a little better. So House in LA and Happy Man might be a introduction to us and to the characters.

You guys are much into different kind of merchandise…are there gonna be new practical Jungle merch?
T: Yeah, we enjoy making things that our fans can collect. We wanna make toy cars, air fresheners. Just funny things, which are collectable and a little bit different than just a t-shirt with tourdates. We love designing things whatever it is. There will be some good stuff coming. We have some new socks as well – I am wearing these at the moment.

I guess you two are fans of the internet in general?
J: We or also U2? (lachen) The internet is for us a interesting one. Before the internet everyone had to remember stuff or write them in a book. Now we just search everything. If you need to find out how to make a album – just search it on Youtube. Somebody gonna tell you how to do it. In that way super positive. But I really don’t know what it’s doing to our psyche.

But how do you feel about Spotify and the situation to earn money as a musician?
T: We are not that kind of musicians who are complaining about Spotify. Because Spotify gives us the chance to sell tickets in Mexico. It spread our music so fast – it’s not longer that a kid in japan is waiting three weeks to get his export vinyl and pay way much money for it.
J: I think it is not the streaming which is to blame – it’s the music industry, which is corrupt. It is controlled by cooperations. It’s better led by artists: Frank Ocean or Chance the Rapper did it right. My advice to everybody who starts with music: just make a record and put it on Spotify. You don’t need the rest. You can go straight to market through it. When Spotify and Apple get behind you, it’s a direct to consumer-situation.
T: That was kind of a TED-talk.

What are your next plans? Can we look forward to some german or Europe shows with the new album?
T: 100 percent. We have a big tour in Europe in November. Three shows in Germany as well. We are really looking forward to!

Jungle Tour:
19.09. Reeperbahn Festival, Hamburg
15.11. Muffathalle, München
17.11. Kantine, Köln
19.11. Gibson, Frankfurt