Photo por Lasse Bak Mejlvang for Vice.
We spoke with Josh Lloyd-Watson, from British duo Jungle. The band will release in August their third album, after their incredible debut in 2014 and a second record in 2018. For this LP, the band feels they’ve reached “what they wanted to be the whole time”. Also, a funny story with annoyed Eminem’s fans in Argentina.
When For Ever (2018) was released you said:
“The first record was based more on an aesthetic of sound. This time it’s about real emotion (…) We’re using the music to put our thoughts, feelings and fears into, rather than just thinking: «This has got to be a song that people like». We weren’t really doing that before.”
So then… What is this upcoming album based on?
JUNGLE: This album is based on a feeling of creativity and sort of running with whatever feels right; not thinking about shit much. Accepting the first idea that comes and not searching for something too hard, just letting go. The first two albums, especially the first one, had more to do with an anesthetic and the second with an emotion. This record is the antithesis of the previous one. Obviously, it has emotion in it, because, naturally, that is what music does, but I think that it’s focused on a feeling in the music. Does it feel good? Does it naturally happen? It’s a process of trying stuff out and just capturing that moment. Maybe the second record was about trying to apply to a specific emotion, heartbreak, and making that make sense to us [he touches his chest], as opposed to a feeling. Now it is about energy and a specific moment.
“Eventually, everything that we do is a remix”
Is there anything entirely new in it? Jungle-wise speaking
J: I think there is. When we make a record we try to keep things new and put something that inspires us. We don’t want to be doing the same things over and over again. For this third album, we brought a lot of people to The Church Studios in London and we did big group vocals (it’s the first time they bring new lead vocals for their songs). This record is the actual realization of what we wanted to be the whole time. It’s like an ascension we were aspiring to from the beginning, and we’ve finally arrived. For us this is amazing.
The new video clip was filmed in a single shot.
Do you get tired of something, musically speaking? Maybe the first songs don’t feel current, or there are certain elements you try to avoid?
J: I think that happens all the time. When we release something we obviously love it but then, six months later, we find this new tune from 1968, and it does this choir or we love the strings, so then we try to make our music sound just a little like this or like that. Eventually, everything we do is a remix, a giant combination of everything we hear and these new ideas, repackaged [he drinks some coconut water from the package].
Can you name some influences? But besides coming up with the first thing that flashes into your mind, which is great, I would like you to focus on something that people would be surprised at, for example… “Does Jungle love Metallica, or reggaeton?”
J: Rage Against the Machine, definitely. I wish I had been in RATM if I were supposed to start in any band. I like hip hop a lot as well, Jay Z is one of the best. And some pretty weird stuff, like David Axelrod. Ethiopia’s sound is a great one from Africa and the ‘60s. There is so much to learn, big inspirations that translate into the sound of Jungle. Obviously Daft Punk and bands like that played a major role. Beach Boys, J Dilla, Tame Impala, all of those are great for us.
And what about a new band, which would be the one you’d like to recommend and by doing so, maybe help them with their career?
J: A friend of mine plays in a band called Salt, they are doing massive things but they are also kind of new. He helped us understand some things about music. He can make a record in a week, I’d always want to do that but I cannot.
Any memories you have from Argentina?
J: I remember one of the times we played at Lollapalooza [a cheeky smile appears in his face] and that day Eminem was headlining, so the first five to six rows were of M’s fans, with the hat’s on, annoyed faces… and our fans were behind that, dancing. So we were playing to these really unresponsive first rows. (You can see J Lloyd-Watson answering this question here).
“I’d have Johnny Cash, Nicolas Jaar, Zac de la Rocha, and Fela Kuti”
So how did you come to the “Jungle” band and first record name, then For Ever and now Loving In Stereo?
J: About the band name, it just something that happened, it sounded kind of cool at the time and then we searched it and it wasn’t a thing. I like it because it’s very concise but it’s also a lot, so it’s like a metaphor for everything we do. The second (album name) is a play for us, because our social media accounts are jungle4eva, and it is also a reference to Wu-Tang Forever (1997), which we’d always like, so we adopted that. And for the new record, ‘Loving In Stereo’ came from a song that we wrote when we were 14. It’s one of the first songs we ever wrote together, it’s been almost 20 years now (17 to be more accurate), and we thought that was cool about it.
Your album covers are always the same, only changing the colour. What are you trying to say there?
J: That it’s all about the music.
Who’s an artist you would love to feature in a Jungle song?
J: Huff! J Dilla, Beach Boys, Jay Z, Tame Impala…That’s a hard question, any of those. [As I start my following question, he yells] Rihanna!
If you could assemble a band with any musician, alive or dead, who would you choose to go on tour?
J: [Surprisingly unhesitating] I’d have Johnny Cash, Nicolas Jaar, Zac de la Rocha, and Fela Kuti.
Loving In Stereo (release date August 13th) track listing:
- Dry Your Tears
- Keep Moving
- All Of The Time
- Romeo feat. Bas
- Lifting You
- Bonnie Hill
- Talk About It
- No Rules
- What D’You Know About Me
- Just Fly, Don’t Worry
- Goodbye My Love feat, Priya Ragu
- Can’t Stop The Stars