Like many other bands, Jungle’s story begins in a teenager’s bedroom in London. But the resulting proposal is unique: an electronic duo, imbued with disco and hip-hop vibes, always pushing the limits of their sound further. We were able to chat with Tom McFarland, half of the London duo.
According to the press, between Josh and you, you would be the quietest, the most shy. Do you agree with that?
Rather agree yes, especially in interview! Josh always has a lot to say. Me too, but more calmly, in my own way. I think I communicate better than him, quite simply (laughter).
Almost ten years since the release from Jungle’s debut album. What has changed since?
A certain confidence in us. When you start in music, you sometimes have the impression that others are trying to find out what you’re doing wrong, to point out your mistakes, to criticize you. Especially in Britain. I felt like they were trying to corner us. It is also very different with the foreign press, especially in France. The French press has always been cool with us. So thank you, I hope it will continue (laughter). I really feel that over the years, we are more and more calm, more serene, confident in what we do.
Precisely, with the release of this new project volcanoyou feel that you have nothing more to prove?
It’s very easy to think that you have to impress people. Today we are old enough to realize that it is only a myth. The greatest satisfaction comes from your heart, from you, and not from others. What matters is what you do, what you accomplish and the fun you get out of it. What you manage to do with your life, with the cards you have been given.
You see, if I look at the last ten years, objectively… We are very lucky. Two guys spent ten years play their music around the worldwith his friends… I an awesome family. I bought a house. I’m feeling lucky.
On the contrary, during these ten years, what has absolutely not changed for Jungle?
Our love for music. The passion for “the game”. My love for Josh, although obviously he’s been tested a lot of times. I think sometimes you’re not necessarily in tune emotionally, even with people you’re very close to. You are at different times in your lives. And you can quickly say to yourself “shit, before we were so close, close”. But the bond between us will never fade.
Is it always easy to work with someone you’ve known for so long?
Yes, it’s actually even easier! With Joshua, we’ve known each other since we were kids, so that helps.
Because over time, it can become more and more difficult to surprise the other
Yes, and that’s also why we felt blocked at one point. Because we felt like we weren’t inspiring each other anymore. As soon as you lose this confidence to come up with new ideas, new compositions… It’s complicated. We had a long period like that, where we no longer had confidence in our ideas. Because it had become so easy to criticize yourself. So naturally, everyone hid their tricks: “no, I’m not going to show you that, because I know you and I know it’s not good enough”. But it wasn’t always like that. Before, when there was no notion of ego in the equation, we managed to share our ideas and to know how to say very quickly “yes/no/yes/no”. And then over time, as soon as one of us said “No”the other took it as a personal attack.
And today, you fixed that? You seem more liberated on the issue.
Now it’s settled! We’ve gotten to a point where we can be super critical of ourselves AND it is constructive. That’s the only reason I’m giving you my opinion: it’s for the good of the music we create together.
How did you work on your new album ? What was the guiding idea of the project?
Energy, speed. It’s certainly the shortest period we’ve had between two albums.
And yes, two years! Does a shorter period of time also prevent you from over-thinking when composing?
Exactly ! We even released two singles last year, which was new for us: “GOOD TIMES” And “PROBLEMZ”a title we kept for volcano.
We wanted to work faster, to avoid being too critical of ourselves. To try not to kill our ideas too quickly. Because it’s very easy to launch an idea, and edit-mix it too soon. Imagine that you are writing a book: you finish the first paragraph, and before writing the rest of the book, you start by going back to your first paragraph. It doesn’t work, you have to think it’s shit. So you delete what you did, and in the end you didn’t write anything. Whereas if you had continued to write to finish the book, to do a second reading, you could have improved your first draft. If you throw out your first paragraph right away, you don’t have a good foundation for your work.
So what we wanted to do in Volcano was to build the foundations fairly quickly. No editing, just creation. Creation, creation, creation. And then we got down three or four weeks in a studio to do all the editing in one block. Because we had the general idea, and all the titles in mind
One of the singles released before the album is the highly effective “I’ve been in love”. What exactly is the song about, what was the idea?
This song is simply joy! The first idea that came up was “I’ve been in love”(he sings). It’s just nostalgic, romantic. But it’s also “I’VE BEEN in love”: so “I was in love”, without context. There’s always that element of mystery about what it really means. I like it to be simple and complicated at the same time, in a few words.
Jungle has a strong connection with dance, whether in your clips Or yourself on stage. You worked a lot with the choreographer Nat Zangican we talk about it?
Of course with pleasure ! She worked with our Jungle group on the clips of the second album. And then she just came sing with us live, go on tour with us. She opened a lot of doors for us, made us meet those with whom we still work today. Now she’s a choreographer for big artists, she’s “movement director” to develop the scenic ease of artists on stage. She is truly amazing.
And why is Jungle so attached to dance?
It was so obvious to us: if you make music for people to dance to, then the most beautiful thing is to watch someone dance to it. For our clips, we didn’t want to create complicated stories. We wanted to find a style that was unique, that made us identifiable: dancers, a single sequence shot, no editing.
In fact, that’s how you promoted your album. You hadn’t shown your faces yet, some spectators even confused you with your dancers. The idea was that the listener only concentrates on the artistic side?
Very simply, yes! I think we also grew up with the fact that artists, before, kept a certain invincible, inaccessible side. It took a long time to find out who Daft Punk was. And even, we didn’t really know who David Bowie was, who are Justice, the Strokes etc. Because these groups rarely post on their Instagram account (if they have one), because they didn’t grow up in the era of social networks.
So you wanted to take inspiration from that, in a way?
For us, not knowing everything about the artists you like allows you to create an image of them in your head. And I think it creates a stronger bond with them. Like with books: when you read a novel, you don’t know what the characters are like. So you create an image of them. And somehow, you bond with them more emotionally than watching a movie. We wanted the public to be able to find that with Jungle.
Not everyone knows it, but you regularly play dj set, like at the Bois de Vincennes for the Music Festival For example. What kind of music do you play?
(He opens his computer and listen to the titles they played at Vincennes. We go from Kaytranada To Alan Dixon Passing by Tom Santa And bicep)
just stuff ‘fun’ : a bit of house, disco, garage house… A bit of Kaytranada, Bicep, some remixes of our titles… That’s really cool, for example: “Make Me” by Borai & Denham. In short, cool songs, between joy and excitement, which make you want to dance! That’s also Jungle.
With Josh, do you have the same references in terms of electronic music?
Finally, yes! We just like it when it sounds good, and we often agree on the same things. We obviously grew up listening to the French Touch. It was a huge part of my life. Everything that came out of Ed Banger. I loved cassius… It’s so easy to say Daft Punk and Justice! But they are amazing. I had the chance to see both bands live, and each time… (he mimics his head exploding) Incredible artists, who had THEIR stuff, and did things their own way. It was crazy living those moments as a kid, listening to their music with all my friends.
Quickly, what is a good song by peak time ?
Mmmmh… I’m going to say “I Wanna Be Your Lover from Prince”. Because it’s my favorite pop song.
And a very bad song, to empty the dancefloor?
It’s so subjective… But still, any composition by Louis Tomlinson or Zayn Malik (both ex-One Direction). The only good member of One Direction was Harry Styles! Today he is a king (laughter).
Reminder : volcanoJungle’s new album, is out this Friday, August 11.