UO Live: Jungle
The next up in our newly-premiered UO Live series, Jungle takes a break from their first US tour to perform "Busy Earnin’" to an intimate audience. On the heels of a breakout TV appearance and releasing the much-anticipated self-titled album, Jungle’s T talks to us about the secrets behind the mysterious group’s process, working and touring with his best friends, and never taking any of it for granted.
Hi T, can you tell us about yourself?
I’m T, from Jungle. I guess there’s not much else to say, really (laughs).
You guys have known each other for a long time, right?
Yeah, I’ve known J since I was 10 years old.
What’s that like, to now be traveling the world and working and making music together?
It’s really good, it’s our relationship that keeps us grounded. It helps in the studio as well, because when we’re creating together I’m not afraid to tell him an idea is bad. We’ve known each other so long and we know each other so well that I’m not afraid of hurting his feelings and we’re always honest with each other like that, rather than spending three weeks working on an idea that isn’t good. We can immediately nip it in the bud.
Do you ever fight?
Yeah, of course! I think it’s actually a good thing that we do that, because then we can take our frustrations and our fears out on each other. We know that we don’t mean it and we know we can be there for each other and kind of be an emotional punching bag.
Your recent performance on Jimmy Kimmel was incredible. What was that experience like?
That was a really cool experience, it was a completely new experience. I think with the project, the great thing about it is that we take each day as it comes and I don’t think we’re scared of anything because we’re all in it together. There’s such a great team of people behind it. We’re so lucky to have been able to come to the United States in the first place that I think we’re not taking it for granted. We’re really focused and energized.
Had you been to the US before this tour?
I’ve been to New York once. Yeah, it’s a bit of a dream! When you get to LA and you see all those palm trees.. there are too many palm trees! And we’re touring with Beat Connection, which has been great. It’s been really special.
So now you’re traveling all over the States, seeing everything.
Yeah, that’s the beauty of it!
Are there any cities or shows on this tour that stand out to you?
The El Ray in LA was the first show, and that was pretty special because it was an amazing theatre. It was really full and everyone was really happy. I got all the nervous energy out of my system and I think that was a really great place to do it. Everyone has been really amazing, and the response in all the cities has been overwhelming and surprising.
Tell us about the new album.
I’m really excited about it. I think it’s been inside our heads for so long, it’s a really special thing to be able to release it and give it to people to make judgment on, to form their own opinions. It’s kind of beautiful; we have the control on the stage or in the studio, and it’s nice to now put it out there and not have any control whatsoever. You free yourself of that worry.
How long did you work on it?
It took about 12 months in total. A lot of that was interrupted by the early days of forming the live band. That took a lot of time. So maybe 3 months, solid focus, day in and day out.
When you first went into the studio to make the new album, did you go in with a clear idea of what you wanted it to sound like, or do you feel it out as you go?
I think with me and J, we literally just sat down, and our mantra was that whatever feels good, we go with. Whatever sounds cool and whatever sounds unique is where we start from, and then our influences and subconscious takes over a little bit. When you’re being so conscious about creating–being very focused on the task at hand and trying to create something new–you completely free your subconscious of negative thoughts. The what if, or why, when, how. That’s the really interesting thing about it, the whole record has kind of been a battle between our conscious and subconscious.
Jungle has been shrouded in mystery until recently–was this intentional?
Being mysterious was never the intention. I think the intention was to remove our egos from the process of creativity and the idea of a front man, someone who has to be the alpha. It’s quite a negative thing in my eyes. A shared experience that is more focused on a group mentality and a set of ideals rather than a set of individuals, that’s much more important to us. In a way, it’s sort of the old way of going about things. We’re not after Instagram or Facebook likes. People used to not know anything about musicians. We’ve chosen to communicate with the world through our music.
You’ve still cultivated a generous following, which is really refreshing in this technology age.
Yeah, I guess you don’t see it as a bigger picture. We don’t have that same sense of scale. Every night is a surprise, selling so many tickets. We don’t expect it, how popular we are, because we don’t tend to focus on that aspect of it.
You worked so hard to make the album, do you feel like you’re celebrating it over and over each night when you perform?
Yeah, I think what we really love is making the connection with audiences. Sharing that energy and experience with as many people as possible.
What’s it like to travel the world, live your dream, and experience so many things with a crew of your best friends?
It’s amazing! It’s a real privilege, I don’t think we’ll ever take it for granted. Each day is different; we’re in a different place, or on a different road, in different circumstances. It’s very exciting.