The Jungle Giants have come a long way since releasing their debut album Learn To Exist back in 2013. Many bands struggle with developing their sound while remaining true to their original selves, but The Jungle Giants always seem to deliver music that feels fresh, different, and organic.
So before they hit up Beyond The Valley this New Year’s, we caught up with Cesira Aitken to chat about the band’s evolution, keeping original, and what the new year might hold.
Before they take on Beyond The Valley this New Year’s, we chat with The Jungle Giants’ Cesira Aitken about the evolution of their sound and what’s in store for 2019.
HAPPY: It’s been over a year now since you dropped Quiet Ferocity… do you find you view a record differently after you’ve had some time to sit on it?
CESIRA: I feel like maybe with this one, it definitely is a more accurate representation of us… so I don’t think I view it as differently as I do the first two records. Because we grew from those faster than we wanted to, I suppose. Now, with this one, it’s really us. So we just see it as a part of the machine, rather than something to look back on.
HAPPY: I’m interested as to how this new album came together… because when you were making it you’d have these group listening parties, right?
HAPPY: Could you tell us a bit about these?
CESIRA: Yeah, so instead of doing huge blocks of recording, like going away for five or six weeks, and having the all the demos ready to be recorded, we would have these small listening parties where we would decide which ones we wanted to do and which ones we were excited about. So we’d do a three or four day block of recording where we’d get those songs done that we wanted to get done. So we’d do it like that until the record was ready to go.
HAPPY: How long did that process take in total?
CESIRA: I think four or five months all up. I can’t really remember, it’s been so long…
HAPPY: Yeah it definitely doesn’t feel like it’s been a year…
CESIRA: I know!
HAPPY: When you compare this new album to Learn To Exist – and you don’t really realise this until you listen to them right next to each other – but their completely different albums.
CESIRA: Yeah, totally…
HAPPY: But with your band, there’s never been a point where it’s been like “oh what the fuck? What is this?” It’s always felt natural.
CESIRA: Yeah definitely…
HAPPY: Has it always felt natural to you? Or was there a certain point where you sat down and decided to go in a different direction?
CESIRA: Yeah, I’m not sure. Sam gets all these demos and songs together, and all along the record he’s had a really clear idea of how they should sound. But he really honed in on the production of Quiet Ferocity, and that kind of set it apart from the rest. But it still felt super natural for us, and for him. This record just seemed totally right, and although it was new, it felt like the way we wanted to be doing stuff from now on.
HAPPY: Was there ever a point where he brought something to you, and you were like “woah, what is this?” Or did they always feel like Jungle Giants songs?
CESIRA: Yeah they always felt like Jungle Giants. We’ve got a really awesome relationship between the four of us… there’s nothing we can’t say to each other. We’ve all got an admiration for Sam, because he’s super talented.
HAPPY: How important is it for you and the band to keep things different and interesting? Because it always feels like you are evolving your sound… is that something you make a conscious effort of?
CESIRA: I’m not sure there’s a super conscious effort of it. I guess it’s just happened as we’ve gotten older, and there’s more life experience, and the band’s been together for seven, eight years now. So yeah, it’s not a super conscious effort, it’s just the way it flows on.
HAPPY: When you are experimenting with a slightly different sound, are there any concerns over how people are going to respond to it?
CESIRA: Oh yeah, definitely. We definitely think about that. I’ll always remember the weeks leading up to a release, how anxious we all are. Because you can’t change anything, you can’t do anything. So there’s definitely that anxiety, and also the anxiety of how it’ll be received is there as well.
HAPPY: How did it feel in the lead up to Feel The Way I Do? Because that was the first new taste of music we got from you guys for a two year period, and it was pretty different…
CESIRA: I think we were all just super excited… because it was the first one. We were just really excited to get it out. Because we didn’t have anything else attached to it… it was just the one single. That was just a really fun time and a really fun way to kick off that new period.
HAPPY: And then how did you feel once you realised everyone loved it?
CESIRA: [laughs] Yeah it was really nice. We don’t scour the internet for comments and stuff, but we generally got the feeling that people were liking it. It really helped feed into everything else that we were going to release on the album. It gave us confidence.
HAPPY: And while the new material and old material does feel quite different, they still sit really well together when performed live…
CESIRA: Yeah totally, they really do…
HAPPY: But when you’re performing live, a lot of the songs have a bit of a different vibe to them. Is that just something that I’m picking up? Or do you purposefully alter your tracks for the live show?
CESIRA: Yeah we definitely try to take it a level up from the recordings, and make it a bit bigger to suit live more. But we’ve never tried to change things to much, it’s definitely just the way it’s happened.
HAPPY: You’re live shows have just gotten so huge now. When you’re writing your songs, is the live performance a consideration that early in the process?
CESIRA: We really did for the second record, but it was really as much a focus on Quiet Ferocity. We’re pretty confident now that we can pull it together live, but it’s more a consideration now to make sure it sounds good on the record.
HAPPY: Over New Years this year, you’ll be playing at Beyond The Valley… and you have spent the past number of year really hitting the festival circuit quite hard. Do you find you approach festival slots differently to headline shows at all?
CESIRA: Kind of, yeah. We try and put a bit mroe emphasis on the production and the lighting of the show, and we try to make sure it’s a completely pumping set. But generally, I don’t think the festival sets and headline shows are too different. We always try to put on a full hoon, you know?
HAPPY: And as New Years approaches, do you have any idea what 2019 will hold for The Jungle Giants?
CESIRA: A few more shows, and hopefully some overseas stuff, and hopefully some recording. But at the moment, we’re really focusing on the end of this year.
Catch The Jungle Giants live at Beyond The Valley from December 28th, 2018 – January 1st, 2019. More info here.