London duo Jungle have been making music together since they were children, but it took an XL Recordings signing and a couple of hit videos, co- directed by the band themselves to see the pair explode online and start drawing big crowds to their gigs around London. Since then, they’ve been touring extensively around Europe and the US and will soon take the stage at Splendour in the Grass 2014, bringing with them their impressive seven-piece band. Jungle’s debut record has been one of the most highly anticipated of the year and the wait is nearly over, with the records release next month. I had a chat to one half of Jungle, Tom about international touring, their incredible videos and how their debut record came together.
How has your day been so far?
Yeah it’s been good. We’re just in Philadelphia, coming close to the end of our second US tour. Just hanging around waiting to play this evening.
How have the US shows been going?
They’ve been going really really well. It’s been nice to play to really responsive audiences which has happened really quickly. There have been a lot of people who have really connected with the music. It’s very humbling to play to lots of people before our album’s even out.
You guys have just come off a European tour as well, how were the shows
Yeah, again they were really cool. We’ve just been genuinely blown away by the response we’ve been getting and people connecting with the music. Feeling really lucky really.
Was there a standout show for you?
There was a festival show in Paris called We Love Green and that was the first time we’ve played on the main stage and it was to a lot of people. It was our first taste of playing on a main stage and connecting with a lot of people.
Your album’s out next month, how have people been responding to the new material?
Yeah they’ve been responding really well. We’ve put a new song in the set called ‘Accelerate’ which no one’s heard which seems to be going really well. We’ve also been playing our new single ‘Time’ as well which has been good. When we come back from America we’ll be going to the rehearsal studio and hopefully whack out a few more songs that we can play live from the album so we have a choice to play whatever we want from the album.
You guys just played Jimmy Kimmel the other day, which is huge. What was that experience like?
Yeah, it was pretty weird. Television’s always a weird thing and I guess we were pretty nervous. At the end, you have to think of it as a normal gig and forget that the cameras are there. It was great having a live audience there in the studio, that made us feel quite at home. It was a really good experience.
You guys are heading to Australia soon, have you been before?
No, I’ve never personally been but I’m really looking forward to it.
Is there anything you really want to do while you’re here?
I’m looking forward to experiencing the wildlife there because I’ve heard it’s amazing and meeting lots of people there. And the heat. Although it’s your winter there isn’t it, but it will still be a lot hotter than the old English summer.
So you guys recorded a decent amount of the album at home right?
Yeah, we literally recorded a lot of it in my room. Then, we did a bit more of it in the studio which was cool to move it to a different room and it definitely revamped the creative process a little bit. The majority of it was inspired by working a lot at home and it’s something we’ve been working on for a long time. We’ve been creating music together for a really really long time, we’ve known each other for a long time. When the label came on board it just made it a little bit more serious.
How did you guys meet?
In West London, just kind of met climbing over each others back walls when we were really young.
What’s the creative dynamic like between you guys? How does your music come together?
It’s kind of inspired by a lot of different things. There isn’t any particular process, it happens quite naturally. We’re inspired by other musicians, our surroundings, video games, films, all kinds of things. Songs just formulate in all sorts of different ways, there’s no set formula.
What kind of stuff did you listen to growing up?
Quite eclectic stuff. Lots of hip hop… we were actually just sitting down going through old videos of old bands and remembering them Mainly cut up sampled stuff, that’s where we’ve come from.
Have you guys have always had quite similar tastes?
Yeah, I guess so. We kind of just listen to new stuff online that we find.
I read something you’ve said about all of your songs having a visual element behind them – do you write with that in mind?
Yeah, I think sometimes that came first, and sometimes that came afterwards. We wanted the songs to create quite vivid pictures for people when they listen. It was almost like, we had an idea of what we wanted a song to sound like but sometimes it’s best not to necessarily say that because it can influence how a song makes you feel. If you find out what an artist exactly meant by it and you had a different perception of it, it can ruin the song for you. We want people to interpret our songs however they feel necessary and take from them what they want.
Your videos are always amazing, how involved are you with the concepts behind them?
Oh, thanks. I’m really involved in it. I do a lot of it with my friend Oliver Pearch and it’s always been us two coming up with as much of it as possible. We try to keep it as minimal as possible keep the ideas fresh and organic and bounce them back and forth between the two of us.
You always feature amazingly talented people in your videos, how does your casting come about?
It’s always been quite organic and friends of friends who have known people and right place at the right time sort of thing. It’s never been a forced thing, we’ve been really really lucky. Sometimes the concepts for the videos have been different and we had an idea of the talent that we wanted and we’ve had to diversify but it’s always turned out to be friends of friends knowing people and an amalgamation for lots of things coming together at the right time.
You’ve got Splendour coming up, what’s next for you guys after the US tour?
We’re doing lots of festivals this year around the world. Before we come to you, we’re heading to Japan which will be really cool. It will be the first time we’ve been there. We’re just doing a lot of festivals in the summer and then in the winter we’re going to do lots of UK and Europe. Then, 2015 we’ll be looking at going back out to Australia and doing some proper touring.
Jungle’s debut album is out July 11th via XL Recordings / Remote Control.