Hailing from Brisbane, The Jungle Giants are an upbeat and unstoppable foursome who have risen to fame over the last couple of years. Their first album, Learn to Exist, satisfied fans with its killer dance numbers and consistently happy vibes. Singles like ‘I Am What You Want Me to Be’ and ‘Every Kind of Way’ cemented the group as a pop-indie force that couldn’t be stopped from infiltrating the charts and getting fans bopping along all around Australia.
Their new album Speakerzoid was released on the 7th of August and was featured as album of the week on Triple J. Stand-out tracks like ‘Kooky Eyes’ and ‘Work it Out’ have satisfied those hungry for more material from the dynamic and intriguing quartet.
Clare Brunsdon was lucky enough to interview quirky and excitable frontman, Sam Hales, to ask about the pressure of the new album as well as his hopes for the future.
Clare: So the band has grown in popularity over the last few years, have you all noticed a significant change or is it work as usual?
Sam: I think we’re exactly the same. I guess one thing is it gives us an extra incentive to keep things going and build on things. Having people come to our shows and buy the records and all that kinda stuff definitely helps with the experience. Being able to play festivals, there are so many images that have imprinted in my mind like playing at Splendour and people going crazy and singing along. The experiences have definitely helped shape who we are and who we’re gunna be.
C: You’ve just released your second album Speakerzoid. Did you feel a lot of pressure following up on your first album?
S: I think you can safely assume that with your second record people are going to critique a lot harder because they heard your first thing and they have an opinion now. I was wary of that but I didn’t wanna let that affect me as a writer. I guess one thing I knew was we work with a certain formula, and for me, Speakerzoid was a fun chance to get that formula and play around with it. It’s kinda like making a soup; I had that first original recipe for the soup and Speakerzoid is adding more things to that soup or taking some things out and making a different soup but one that came with the same base recipe. I think we thought ‘fuck, we have all these ideas and things we wanna do let’s fucking do it’. Coz we’re completely independent, we don’t have a label breathing down our necks and telling us what to write.
C: Your first album is consistently upbeat while Speakerzoid has some experimental songs. Was this a conscious decision or a natural progression?
S: Yeah, it just kinda happened I guess. I’ve always been into writing a lot of different things. With Learn to Exist at the halfway point it kinda goes in this other direction so songs like ‘Devil’s in the Detail’ and ‘Home’, and I always loved those songs because they were like country ditties that were all just guitar and vocals. And they’re songs only people who bought the record would know coz we never really played it live. For me, if you buy a record that has lots of different flavours I feel like you get more value from it. It’s like a showbag; rather than getting just a piece of chocolate you get a bag filled with all different kinds of chocolate and for me that’s tastier.
C: The new album has been supported by Kobalt Label Services and has set up markets in Europe and North America. Does the band have big plans for international popularity in the near future?
S: Fuck yeah! For us it just kind of came together. But yeah, that’s the plan and it’s a step by step thing, we’re going to get our foot in the door. Having the support from Kobalt and we also just hooked up with a really good publicity team that are selling our songs over there; they’re the company that have done Block Party, Peter Bjorn, John and Phoenix and Tame Impala’s album Currents, so now they’re taking our songs to radio over in America. So yeah, it’s a good time and we’ve put together a plan for a tour in America so we’ll be over there in October.
By Clare Brunsdon