Jungle - the sound of 2014

VICKI ANDERSON
Last updated 05:00 11/07/2014
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WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE: The first album from British duo Jungle, who have been dubbed the most exciting band in the world, is released today.

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British duo Jungle quickly built up a fanbase without revealing their names or faces.

Two of their early singles swiftly went viral thanks to attention-grabbing, share-friendly videos made by the band and their mates.

Six-year-old break-dancer, a B-Girl named Terra, stars in the hit video for search-and-destroy-the-beats track Platoon, which has had more than four million plays, while The Heat includes impressive roller skating routines from the High Rollaz.

The British music press have dubbed Jungle "the most exciting band in the world" and pounced on Jungle's already impressive hype - the BBC Sound of 2014 nomination, the United States tour that sold out on the back of their SxSW appearance before Jungle even had an official record out in America.

Working from their home studio in Shepherd's Bush, Jungle are soulfully connecting 2014 with "seedy tribal funk" from 1974.

The core Jungle duo, West London neighbours initially known only as J and T, were cast as "mysterious" when they exploded from seemingly nowhere late last year.

The mystique was not intentional, Josh Lloyd-Watson tells The Press from London.

"Me and T [Tom McFarland] have been friends for about 15 years," he says. "We met when we were 10 years old. I moved in next to him, we were neighbours. I used to hang out on the wall behind our house.

"The mystery is something the media dreamed up really."

There were guitars "lying around" at home and the pair naturally gravitated towards music.

"It is for ourselves, we never really wanted to seek outside attention. We didn't really tell anyone."

The friends had been making music for six months in a bedroom when they released it online under just their initials, J and T, accompanied by a simple picture.

"It's been the maddest thing. We just thought we were putting the art out, as producers. but we've been dragged to the front of this project to be the people the press want us to be but it's never really been like that."

Jungle is about music and art. It's not about ego.

"There is no statue.

"Me and T are very close, nothing's really changed. We don't pay too much attention to it. Hype is hype."

Live, Jungle becomes a seven-member collective that command your feet to dance.

"People like seeing people. It's developed naturally and gone to a new level.

"Live it's about the now, being carefree, and finding the energy. Our crowds are getting bigger, the audience becomes the eighth member."

Jungle perform two sideshows for the Splendour in the Grass Festival in Australia this month. Their schedules don't permit a visit to New Zealand this time around but they hope to perform here later in the year.

Today marks the release of their self-titled debut album. It's personal.

"It's all based on personal experience, that's what makes the songs honest. They mean something. That's the place you start from."

He sounds genuinely delighted that someone on the other side of the world can recite lyrics he has written.

"Busy Earnin', that had 18 versions," he says.

"For The Heat. . . the beach. We immersed ourselves in location and imagination."

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Each track on the album is a mini-film, he says. Its lyrics are the script.

"Making music is symbiotic, it's something we do as mates just sitting around.

"We live together in that creative experience, we never get hung up, we don't think about the outcome, we think about the now."

Hit Platoon was off the cuff, arriving in two stages.

"The first half had a long time bubbling along, when the second part came it was a moment. We got super excited and started jumping around the room."

Jungle has been described as the most exciting band in the world right now, but he isn't dazzled by the hype.

"I just said to T, whether we are 45-years-old or just kids, sneaking over to each other's houses, it will still be the same, an honest simple place that we start from when we're writing and creating.

"We are just trying to write the best we can for the music, the art."

Their album is tipped to be one of the hottest releases of the year.

Welcome to the Jungle, J.

Jungle's self-titled album is released today.

- The Press

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