Jungle | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Redefining the Groove

Jul 09, 2014 Jungle Bookmark and Share

London duo Jungle kicked off 2014 as one of the hottest bands in the U.K. A placing on the BBC’s prestigious “Sound Of” listchosen by over 200 tastemakerswas all the more extraordinary considering the misinformation and mystery surrounding the band’s early press. A lack of photos confirming who Jungle was even left many assuming core members “J” and “T” might in fact be the talented roller-skating stars of the clip for second single “The Heat.”

It wasn’t a deliberate strategy, they explain, rather a means of allowing the music to speak for itself and play to the band’s own personalities and agenda. “We’re quite shy people,” says J (Josh) as we talk over a coffee in Shepherd’s Bush, the West London suburb where he and T (Tom) grew up together. J and T also prefer to go by their first initials and don’t want to give out their last names. “We’re not trying to hide anything…we just don’t want to put our faces on a Facebook profile, because what does that actually mean? I’d rather put somebody who can dance in a video, who’s much better at what they do in that field and looks better. The whole ‘J and T’ thing is part of that world we’ve created where we can be those people. It’s like a stage nameit helps us get into that persona.

“We do the music and we do that really well, hopefully…we let other people do the other stuff…it’s more interesting.”

Jungle’s sound manifests the shared histories and creative passions of the two childhood friends. A symbiotic pairing, J and T are attuned enough to finish each other’s sentences and eloquently echo the same earnest smarts on music-making. Their fresh take on disco-flecked R&B folded around a glitchy hip-hop beat brought XL Recordingshome of Adele and Radioheadbanging on their door. The behemoth indie label put out the duo’s last single “Busy Earnin’” in February ahead of a self-titled album due out July 15. It’s a shout-out to the daily grind and their very own “Get Lucky,” rippled with anthemic funk drops and a bass-driven pulse.

While the boys alone handle writing and recording, live shows see “mates we know, friends we love who we wanted to enjoy it with” added to the line-up. Jungle only has a handful of live appearances back home under its belt, but a breakout SXSW appearance in March was bookended by sell-out shows on both U.S. coasts. Praise has been unanimous, but the slow-build of pressure isn’t fazing them yet. “People anticipating what you’re going to do next is the best position to be in,” says T, “but the only thing you can really control is your creative output.”

“You just gotta keep it simple and tight,” J continues. “If people don’t like the next song, we don’t care-we’re trying to make it for us. I’m trying to impress Tom. If I can get that done then hopefully I can reach the next two people, and the next two…”

[Note: This article first appeared in Under the Radar’s June/July print issue (Issue 50).]


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