Jungle Interview - Eclectic Influences
We had a chat to Tom McFarland of the UK art rockers Jungle! Jungle have had two huge studio albums: Jungle in 2014 & For Ever in 2018. Having played worldwide from Falls Festival to Glastonbury, they have just finished a tour across Europe and are on the last leg of their American dates. In April, the world renown band are set to play a few shows around Australia.
Futuremag Music: Hey Tom, how has the tour in support of For Ever been so far?
Tom: It’s been really good. I think obviously once the album has time to sink into people’s subconscious and people get to know the album in a more intimate and more personal way, the shows get more vivid and more spectacular emotionally, which really drives us forward! The audiences have really taken the new songs to a new level and that gives us the energy to get up the next day and do it again.
Futuremag Music: What do you have in store for fans coming to a Jungle show?
Tom: I think a lot of energy; we never stop when we’re on stage. We’re so focused on enjoying ourselves and I think that rubs off on the audience, and I think if they see seven people up there having fun together, they lose their inhibitions and they think “I can have fun and I can get down and get loose.” None of us are great dancers but we still get down on stage. It’s that whole thing about dancing like no one is watching. It’s definitely an emotional experience as well.
Futuremag Music: Did the approach to writing and performing your newest record differ much from your debut?
Tom: I think you have to reach for the same aim which is to create without boundaries and without inhibitions and follow the idea which is the most natural. We didn’t make a conscious change but what naturally changed about making a second record was the emphasis on songs that were meaningful to us as people and to our story that we were trying to tell over the last couple of years of our lives.
That was the most significant change, kind of realising that our emotions were worth talking about and that our stories had validation with other people and we began to realise if we shared our stories with other people they could take it on board and make it their own stories. That’s ultimately what you want to do as a songwriter.
Futuremag Music: What are some of your favourite cities to tour?
Tom: South America is always pretty wild, so like Mexico City! It’s amazing and we always have a great time there. The fans in Australia are really wild too, and that’s great for us since we enjoy rowdy crowds. The noisier the better. I think places where people have slightly less self-conscious culturally, we tend to get on well with those crowds.
Futuremag Music: Speaking of Australia, you’re bringing along UK singer Georgia to tour with you. She also opened for you in Europe, are you fans of her music?
Tom: We love her to bits! We’ve known her for a long time through living in London and being in the music scene. When we worked out that she could make the tour, we were over the moon! I think it’s really important you have an artist with you on tour that you respect and love. It really sets the tone for what comes that evening.
Futuremag Music: Your records have such an eclectic combination of indie rock and electronica, what are some influences on your sound?
Tom: It’s difficult to pinpoint. In terms of production, we were definitely inspired by the hip-hop culture of sampling but what we tried to do was we tried to take influence from soul music in how we write and play parts, but we tried to chop it up and make it sound different like Daft Punk or J Dilla would. How MF Doom sounds in sampling, something that feels natural but is inherently kind of chopped up.
We’ve been listening to jazz, even Pearl Jam as well. There’s so much shit that we’ll digest on a daily and weekly basis. Even visually as well, photography has a massive influence on us; film, video games. The influences are everywhere you look.
Futuremag Music: Lastly to wrap things up, if the Jungle sound was a cocktail, what would be in it?
Tom: This is good! I used to work in a tequila bar so it would definitely be tequila based. So, served on the rocks: tequila, grapefruit juice, grapefruit soda like Ting – which is fucking great – some orange liquor and maybe some chili to spice it up a bit!
Futuremag Music: Well, next time I’m at a bar I think that’s what I want to order!
Tom: Calling it a Jungle might be easiest!
Futuremag Music: Thank you so much for your time today! Your records both have a personal and genuine feel to them so it was great to hear about them from you.
Tom: Thank you very much, I appreciate that!
Fri 19 April – Bad Friday Festival, Marrickville NSW
Tues 24 April – Enmore Theatre, Sydney
Fri 26 April – Tivoli, Brisbane
Sat 27 April – The Espy, Melbourne
Sun 28 April – Forum Theatre, Melbourne