INTERVIEW: The Jungle Giants

The Jungle Giants are a band who over the years have explored their sound with an experimentation of vibrancy that has exploded their live show into one of the most euphoric events of the year. Contrasting a seemingly euphoric electronic-pop production with some introspective and at-times vulnerable unravellings, the dynamic four-piece have ultimately hit the sweet spot. 

It’s been four years since they released their third studio album ‘Quiet Ferocity’, but now they’re officially back with their punchy fourth studio album ‘Love Signs’. This 10 track collection is their boldest body of work yet and hears them really defining their sound as a band. Led by the hit singles ‘Heavy Hearted’, ‘Treat You Right’, ‘In Her Eyes’ and ‘Sending Me Ur Loving’, this album has so much energy and euphoric hooks behind it that you’re already going to be on cloud nine when listening to it. But then you have the previously unreleased tracks which are just as strong as the singles, and will have you ready to be in the mosh pit of their upcoming Australian tour passionately singing along. 

I recently chatted to lead vocalist Sam Hales from The Jungle Giants about the vibrant energy that pulsates through their new album ‘Love Signs’, explore the creative process behind the tracks ‘Heartless’ and ‘Charge My Phone’, and discuss the ancient greek inspired artwork. Check it out BELOW;

THOMAS BLEACH: Your fourth studio album ‘Love Signs’ is a vibrant and seemingly euphoric collection of tracks. When you look back at the creative process was that vibrant and euphoric energy present, or are some of these songs contrasted with lighter production but cemented in harder reflections and harder studio sessions? 

SAM HALES: I always find that whatever mood I’m in, making a track makes me feel happy. It’ll often take me out of being sad. I made most of this record in lockdown in Melbourne, and sometimes it was really hard to feel excited and motivated, but once I got started, and focused on what I was doing, one song at a time and one day at a time, it became the thing that really made me the most happy.

TB: ‘Heartless’ is a song that immediately stands out with its bouncy production and lyrics about just needing to be on your own. Can you explain how this track creatively came together?

SH: I’d first came up with the opening synth line while I was swimming in a pool on holiday. I remember that specifically because I found it annoying to have to jump out, and find my phone so I could record the idea *laughs*. The lyrical idea came while I was just fleshing out the vowels and rhythm I was after for the vocal. It felt like a cool angle for the song. Felt cool to celebrate having the courage to be alone and figure yourself out.

TB: The pulsating production of ‘Charge My Phone’ is EVERYTHING, and going to be a track I can’t wait to see in your live show. So what was sonically inspiring you with this song, and what references did you have?

SH: You know, I wasn’t really following an outside reference with that one. I was mainly trying to make it sound like cousins with ‘Heavy Hearted’ *laughs*. I’d come up with a cool little trick, where I balanced an M1 synth pluck bass, with a korg minilogue sub. Then I recorded the bassline on an electric guitar, added some distortion and chorus and then used a pitch shifter to lower the octave. The combo of all of those elements made it super deep, bouncy and wonky.

TB: What was it about the title track ‘Love Signs’ that felt like it perfectly represented the whole album for you as a band that you decided to call the record after it? 

SH: It was a combination of how it was made, and the production sounds.The arrangement seemed to have elements of every single track on the record, which was really nice. It has really dancey moments, laid back moments, melodic moments. Some parts are heavy and some are soaring and pretty. I also made the track with my girlfriend late one night, and we just laughed and had margaritas all night until 5am and the track was done. It seemed like a fitting title track because it explained the album and the people who made it perfectly.

TB: Talking about ‘Love Signs’, what is your personal love language? And do you think they have an impact on your songwriting? 

SH: ‘Love Signs’ is all about those little messages we put out to each other. Some are spoken, some are just body language. I’m a big communicator and always have been. Whatever I’m feeling, I have to share it. I think that has a massive impact on how I write and produce. I always wanna be clear about what I’m intending.

TB: The artwork has an ancient greek statue and pillars with bubbles surrounding it. So what was the inspiration for the artwork? Were there other ideas you were playing around with? 

SH: We worked with a really amazing artist from Portland named Bijan Berahimi. He runs a company called FISK. We started off just kinda feeling each other out and working into each others style. I’m so happy with where we ended up. He’s so talented and easy to work with.

TB: When you finished the creative process and touring ‘Quiet Ferocity’, did you have a vivid idea of what this next record would sound and feel like? And did that alter much once you actually started to write and feel where it was going? 

SH: It took me a good while of writing after ‘Quiet Ferocity’ before I had any kinda of picture of where I wanted to take the new album. It was kinda like throwing all of the ideas at the wall and seeing what sticks. Eventually some themes started to show and I picked up momentum. I like that process, it’s a really amazing feeling when things start to take shape. 

TB: ‘Heavy Hearted’ had some huge success with being nominated for the 2020 ARIA Awards Song Of The Year as well as winning the Queensland Music Awards 2020 Song Of The Year, and placing #8 on the triple j Hottest 100. So where is the strangest or weirdest place you’ve heard the song playing? 

SH: Hmm, you know I once tried a pilates class with my girlfriend and randomly it came on. Not that weird but I already felt awkward enough because I was falling all over the place. One time I heard ‘She’s a Riot’ at a strip club. Made me realise it’s a really difficult song to strip to.

TB: To celebrate the release of the album you’re hitting the road in September for a huge national tour. What song from the album do you think will be the most challenging to bring into the live perspective? 

SH: I’m thinking ‘Something Got Between Us’ may be a little difficult, just because the vocal sound is super processed. Might have to figure out some cool toys to make that work. Other than that I think everything is gonna click into place luckily! The arrangements are pretty similar to the last record for us, except now I play much less guitar. More room for dancing *laughs*.

‘Love Signs’ is out now!

The Jungle Giants Australian Tour

Friday 3 September – The Goods Shed, Hobart  

Saturday 4 September – Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Melbourne

Friday 10 September – Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide

Saturday 11 September– Fremantle Arts Centre, Fremantle

Saturday 18 September – Riverstage, Brisbane

Friday 24 September – Hordern Pavilion, Sydney