To celebrate the release of their awesome fourth album Love Signs, The Jungle Giants are proud to unveil their biggest Australian tour to date which includes playing the iconic Thebarton Theatre in Adelaide. To ensure these shows will be the party of a lifetime, special guests Bag Raiders (DJ set) will be joining the line-up. Firmly established as Australian indie-rock royalty, The Jungle Giants have amassed more than 325 million streams, placed 7 consecutive songs in Triple J Hottest 100 countdowns (including coming in at number 18 with Love Signs on the 2021 Hottest 100), released 4 ARIA-certified Platinum singles and sold out shows around the world. Love Signs sees the four-piece are channelling hope, love and a dance-pop sensibility into their most irresistible and genre-defying work yet. Sam Hales speaks to Hi Fi Way about the album and tour.
You must be excited about finally getting the tour underway?
I’m maximum excited right now. I’m just trying not to have a beer today because I’ve got to save the beer for tomorrow. Do you know what I mean? I don’t want to peak too early. I woke up at like six this morning. I just couldn’t sleep because I was too excited.
With the challenges of the last eighteen months, did you ever lose faith or belief that you’d actually get there with this album? I would imagine the band living in Melbourne and Brisbane would make life difficult actually making an album.
Luckily this time around I produced and recorded everything. I’d been planning to do this for a little while and kind of my first tester of that was producing and playing everything with Heavy Hearted. The response we got from that was just so insane that I kind of in my head, I got this green light that I could do the album all by myself in my studio. So once lockdown hit, that was the plan all along anyway. I just moved everything into my studio, everything from my studio into my house and just carried on and did the record. So in one sense, it was a bit of luck that I was already prepared to do that. Then coming out of lockdown pretty much coincided with me finishing the record. So that was sick. I got to finish the record and then I could go to the pub with my friends.
Having the responsibility of producing as well, did you feel extra pressure or stress with that extra?
Yeah, a little, but it was different. I would kind of compartmentalise a little. So when I was writing, I would focus and not really worry about getting things perfect for the final product. Then when I’d move into the production phase of things, there was a little bit of stress, but it’s more that I believe that if I think it’s good and if I think it’s sounding great and it’s beneficial to the song, then that job is perfectly done. Do you know what I mean? Because all production is, is just amplifying the song and it has to be right for the song writing. So to me, I didn’t really stress about having it sound like the best fucking thing in the whole world. I was just thinking as long as it sounds like the best production for Jungle Giants songs, for my songs, then I’ve done my job, you know? So in that sense, I just focused on that and tried not to worry about anything else.
Quiet Ferocity is an excellent album but did you feel that pressure or expectation to exceed and take another step up with what you had done previously with Love Signs?
Well, not really. I mean, I’m super proud of Quiet Ferocity. Making that album was one of my first times that I’d ever had my own studio for an extended length of time. So I really think that the quality of the music that came out of that was directly related to that. I started doing a nine to five and I had a studio which I was able to create music. Then it all sounded like it was all from one room and I really think it benefited from that. So going into this record, I was of the attitude, I was like, “Well, I’m just going to do what I did last time. Like that really worked for me.” I didn’t feel like I wanted to change too much about the method.
It was just the songs that were different. So in that sense, I just had fun. I focused on getting things right. When it came to the production I focused on giving things enough time to nurture the sounds. With the song writing, I just made sure that I was feeling good. I was happy. I was taking care of myself and in that sense, I just did the same thing. I feel like in the future, I’ve kind of cracked the code for my brain at least of how I like to write music. Now I can tap into that each time I’m writing and yeah, I’ve got like a little routine that I stick to, it keeps me happy and it keeps me productive.
One thing that is very clear with Love Signs is the energy and positivity which shines right though.
Oh, thanks, man. It feels good. I feel like there’s a lot of happiness on the record and it is boppy, dancey. So hopefully it will be a little bit of a medicine for people.
Sonically, do you see much difference between the albums?
I think sonically probably the biggest difference from the song writing or anything was that I’m more curious about dance music this time around. Quiet Ferocity was my first ever attempt at doing anything even slightly dancey in my opinion. So watching and experiencing that record and playing that live was really fun. It got me more curious about stepping a little more into the dance world. So when I was making this record, I was open to more dancey sounds and that opened up this whole other world in production. I could really mess around with all kinds of different sounds, different drum machines. I feel like dance music for me at least is pretty exciting to work within because there’s just so many different influences, so many different toys, machines you can use. The production really took a level up, a couple of levels up I reckon.
Were there any particular bands or artists that were significant in influencing Love Signs?
Yeah. Timbaland, weirdly enough. I was listening to heaps of his music going into the record. I think his drum sounds when you hear a Timbaland song, you can almost instantly go, “Whoa, the drums in this are awesome” and then you can always tell it’s Timbaland. I’m really loving that he kept things organic sounding. It sounded like real elements of a drum kit, but it was just so dancey. So I tied that when I was making sounds, I was going for like a rim click. That’s like a big sound, a poignant sound on the record and that was inspired by Timbaland because he’s using all these drum elements, not just the usual drum kit. So yeah, that was a big inspiration for me. Going into it, I was like, “Oh, well, I want to have it sounding a percussive energy,” wanted to be like ’90s elements of Timbaland as well. Ashanti was another influence.
In terms of where Jungle Giants are now, do you ever get a moment where you pause and stop and reflect on how much the band’s achieved in a relatively short space of time?
I don’t really stop and smell the roses as much as I should I don’t think. But I do feel like I feel really stoked on our career path so far. One thing I’ve noticed that’s a common theme is the more of I focus on songs and the more I focus on bettering myself as an artist, that directly coincides with an upward trajectory and it’s been really inspiring, seeing more and more people enjoy the music and the more creative risks I take, it seems the more people that we bring to the party. It’s been really validating and I’m having the best time.
Have you had a moment when you listen to the album start to end taking off the producer lens and just being able to appreciate from a fan perspective?
A hundred percent. Yeah, I definitely have. I took off the producer hat almost as soon as it was done. When the record was done I was listening as a fan. When I listen to my music, I like dance to it just like any fan would. I had been sitting on the record for good couple of months playing it at parties and dancing to it with friends. I’m so stoked that it is out now for everyone to hear because I had been loving it in secret. So now it’s time for everybody to listen to it.
Was that ever hard to let it go and have its own life now without thinking what changes could be made?
No. I’m a big supporter of the idea of once you call it done, once you feel done at that time, then you call it done and then you enjoy it for what it is because in a year from now I’ll be finding things that I would like to change. That’s only because my influences will be different in a year from now. So this album is a combination of my influences now. So that’s why I’ve said it’s done and I can enjoy it. So in the future, when I’m looking at it, I’ll enjoy it for what it is. Do you know what I mean? Which is something I’m proud of.
Are there any thoughts as to what album five might be?
Yeah. I’m in that weird space right now where I’m like sponging up music because when I’m making a record, I don’t really listen to any music as I just listen to that music. Right now, I’m just rediscovering music right now, I guess. It is funny, I’m trying not to think about what album five would be, because there’s so much more discovering to do before I commit to that. But right now I’m just having fun listening to music and the prospect of going back and writing and just starting, it’s like starting a fresh every time. I’m pretty excited to get cracking again and just see what happens. I’ll just throw stuff at the wall and see what sticks.
Will the Love Signs be predominantly the album in full? Does the old and new hang together well from a live perspective?
I think the old and the new really do click, which is good. I think we’re going to be playing almost all of the songs on this one. But we will have to keep some of the old ones or else people will fucking hate us! But yeah, it’ll be a nice mix of the new and old, heavily weighted on the new.
Interview By Rob Lyon