Brisbane’s The Jungle Giants have found their feet in the music industry far more easily than most, and in their mere two years have quickly become one of Australia’s most loved indie pop bands.
Frontman Sam Hales has only one word to describe how he felt in the lead-up to the release of Learn To Exist: “Excited”. And it’s hardly surprising – the band’s debut album had been pre-ordered and streamed online by the thousands prior to its release. Now the album’s out, the buzz surrounding it has all but settled as the foursome gears up for its national tour next month. And if you’re looking forward, you and the Giants have that in common.
“It’s epic to be on tour. We love playing, we love going to different cities and crowd-surfing on people we’ve never met before … It’s funny, at first I didn’t know I loved performing. When we made the [self-titled debut] EP we’d never done a gig. It was just about writing songs and getting some songs out there. But since [starting] touring and since learning what it’s like to be on tour, it’s just epic, man.”
Any and all who’ve enjoyed their music – live or otherwise – can attest to Hales’ remarkable songwriting, and it seems he enjoys writing music as much as the fans dig hearing it. “I feel like if you want to do music, you’ve got to do music. You’ve got to work on your songwriting … It’s the main thing that gets me out of bed, I guess. It’s what I like doing and it makes me happy. I think if the band wasn’t together, I’d just have another band, you know, I’d just be writing songs. And if no-one was listening to it, I’d still be writing songs.”
Thanks to Learn To Exist producer Magoo (Regurgitator, Butterfingers), songwriting has become a pretty sweet gig for Hales, and the recording process was “one of the best things I’ve ever done.” The foursome recorded the album, rather fittingly, in the bush (jungle/bush, potato/potahto), at a cathedral-cum-recording studio one hour west of Brisbane. “That was the sickest, most liberating experience ever,” says Hales about the month they spent there. “We partied real hard, chilled, recorded, had a really good time and played heaps of Xbox.”
So far, “the response has been sick” to Learn To Exist, but after making triple j’s Hottest 100 of 2012 with their single ‘She’s A Riot’, expectations must certainly be high. “Getting into the Hottest 100 was so weird. We couldn’t believe it. We were at my house. Me and [Andrew] Dooris were on my living room floor getting kind of drunk listening to the Hottest 100, and then our song came on and we just freaked out. We just got up and danced. We just like ran around the kitchen skolling beer. We didn’t know what to do! That was the best feeling and if that could happen again then that would be sick, that would be a dream come true.”
With Hales joined by Dooris on bass and vocals, Cesira Aitken on guitar and Keelan Bijker on drums, The Jungle Giants are known for their energetic shows. “The tour is coming up real fast in October, the tickets are on sale now, it’s all-ages shows and we’re playing everywhere. It’s, like, the biggest tour we’ve ever done; we’re just excited and anyone who wants to come should just get a ticket. And the album’s out … so get that shit.” If Hales is as good a showman as he is a salesman, the gigs are sure to be wild.
BY RACHEL EDDIE
The Jungle Giants play with Northeast Party House and The Creases at the Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle (18+) on Friday October 11 and Metro Theatre, Sydney (all ages) on Saturday October 12. Learn To Exist out now.