Aussie indie-pop outfit The Jungle Giants may have met in high school, but rather than peaking, they've only gone from strength to strength. With two studio albums and three EPs under their belt, their third effort, 2017's Quiet Ferocity has seen them explode on the alternative scene with some 70 million plays on Spotify. It's off the strength of this record that Jungle Giants are returning to Auckland to play Studio on October 19 and Canterbury University on October 20.
Sitting in my living room in the middle of a powercut with a howling storm lashing at the windows and a dodgy phone line connecting me to Jungle Giants lead guitarist Cesira Aitken, I ask her to reflect on how the band has developed since its inception..
“Cliché as it might be, I’m just not sure now, everyone’s tastes just kind of developed over time.” Aitken muses. “Like every time we record it seems like the obvious step is just in the direction we want to go in, I think right now on the record, we’ve just landed on a sound we’re really keen on exploring more, like – I think it was obvious to us that people connected more at first with this current record, and so did we.”
The sound that she is referring to is Jungle Giant's blend of electronica and guitar work.
"It didn’t feel like it was a conscious route to take, like here’s some electronic stuff, it felt like the colour the music needed. And part of that was the production as well, which Sam really nailed” says Aitken. “Production is something that's important to the band. Like watching it happen first. Sam [Hales, vocals/guitar] we're real lucky, he's really clued in and watches our sound. He's really quick and obviously the results speak for themselves in terms of his ideas of production in that we're sounding more and more like us.”
“I really like the guitar coming through” I respond. I feel like its a bit underrepresented in the alternative soundscape at the moment.”
“Yeah no definitely” Aitken agrees.
“Really good guitarists have idiosyncracies. You hear them play one note and you know its them. I'm thinking St Vincent, Jack White, people who have developed a truly original sound. What's your signature?” I ask.
"I don’t know, I’ve tried to do that. In terms of whenever I’m playing live, my mouth is always half-over the floor, I’m really drooling, I’m such a dope when I play” says Aitken before we both dissolve into laughter.
“I usually couch that in... it's damn rude of me, and I try not to close my mouth. Sometimes I do drool as well” she says still giggling.
“I like the idea of staying in your own lane, cause it kind of makes the music sound better, rather than if one person works at it, it sounds like embellishment rather than overplayed or confused.” says Aitken after gaining her composure. “I really like that idea for playing live and playing in the studio as well. Just like, picking a time and economising on maybe what’s not there, rather than putting stuff in to make it sound better.”
Gig goers can expect a high energy show, courtesy of the band's pre-show ritual of blasting Which Way to Go by Eddy Current Depression Ring for about ten minutes.
“It really amps us up” enthuses Aitken. “Its important for us to have high energy shows, because it never feels good coming off stage having not exerted ourselves. It always really suits what we’re doing what we have to do now after so long, and I think high-energy is like, where we play our best. The Eddy Current song gets us all in the spirit of it, you know? And it’s all four of us together as well, we have a bit of a laugh and be a bit stupid or whatever, get in the zone to do it all on stage together as well."
“And all the times when we do it, when someone walks in and is like, “what the fuck is going on in here?” And we’re like – “get out, it’s private” Aitken laughs. “It’s just the four of us, we’re doing our ridiculous thing that we need to do to get ready for the show tonight.”
“That's cool, I like it, it goes to show how matey you all are with each other- do you cover it?” I ask.
“No we don't it's too sacred at this point” she responds. “But people can expect a party line- we like to make sure that everyone has a boogie and can stick around rocking for an hour and a bit.”
The Jungle Giants will play 2 dates in New Zealand in October 2018.
Eccles Entertainment presents The Jungle Giants
Friday October 19 - Studio the Venue, Auckland
Tickets on sale Monday May 14 from TICKETMASTER
Also catch The Jungle Giants in Christchurch this October:
Saturday October 20 - Tea Party @ Ilam Fields, Christchurch
Tickets on sale in August via Eventbrite
Note: Tickets to the Tea Party are only available to University of Canterbury students.