Australia’s The Jungle Giants have finally made it to the United States on their tour in support of “Love Signs,” their fourth full-length album.
“It’s been way too long so we are freaking out,” enthuses Sam Hales, the indie rock band’s frontman and primary songwriter.
The Jungle Giants released “Love Signs” in July 2021, and its #1 ARIA-certified status in Australia is another milestone for the group, which has landed platinum singles and a #11 slot for its previous album, “Quiet Ferocity.”
Ahead of the band’s Saturday, Nov. 12 show at Warsaw in Brooklyn (with support from Brooklyn-via-Oakland performer Tim Atlas), we chatted with Hales over email.
What goals did you hope to accomplish in making “Love Signs?”
I wanted to dig as deep as I could go, and see how far I could take the songs. The writing process was kinda built on a strict 9-5 routine, and I produced with really limited gear in my house while in lockdown. I kinda liked it. I just had to make well-considered choices with what I had. It was a really satisfying experience really. And I wanted to learn from it, and see how far I could go. I mean I went a little nuts, but hard work pays off.
Was it different from the process of making your previous albums?
The process of the writing was pretty similar to “Quiet Ferocity.” I stuck to my routine, and started every day with a new idea, had lunch, then worked on older ideas. It really works in building momentum. The main thing that changed was I produced solely from my studio and bedroom, which was such a deep experience but I love what came out of it. Think I needed to try it to see what I could do. Pushing yourself with the music is key to learning where you wanna go and what you wanna do.
How do you select singles?
They kinda choose themselves really. There’s always a couple where everyone goes, “yep, that’s the one.” Usually it’s a mixture of it being catchy, and also suggesting the timbre and feel of the rest of the record.
The album was #1 in Australia. How did you react to that news?
That was such an amazing moment. First thing that happened was my manager pulled out a bottle of champagne, then there was lots of yelling. I called my mum first.
What does commercial success mean to you and how has it helped or hurt the band?
I mean I think we have a long way to go before I consider us having proper commercial success, but we’re working on it. We’re one of the tightest bands I’ve ever met, and I really think we just get tighter with every new level. We all care so much about the band and we have so much history, everybody believes in it.
How would you describe your live show for someone who has never seen you before?
Sick songs, Great lights, Good sound, shit banter. Just kidding I’m funny as fuck.
Looking back on the 10 or so years the band has been together, what were some of the high points and memorable moments?
Getting in the triple J hottest 100 for the first time was a huge one. I was high on mushrooms at the time and my 18-year-old brain just kinda exploded. I also got kidnapped in Manila for about 1 hour 45 mins. Which was scary but also I won’t be forgetting that any time soon.
Was getting to tour in the US a major goal you talked about as a band?
Yeah absolutely, it was one of the first things we wanted to do once we found our manager. We love the states, and a massive percentage of our fans are there, so it’s a bit of a no-brainer. It’s been way too long so we are freaking out. We finally get to come back.
What did you expect of your first US tour? Did the tour live up to your expectations?
We honestly had no idea what to expect. The first time you’re just kinda wading into unknown territory. We had a great time though, and a good number of people came to the shows. We also played SXSW, which was just so much fun.
Is it difficult to adjust to playing to smaller audiences in the US compared to in Australia?
No, not at all. All we do is spend less money on lasers. We go hard on putting on a good show no matter where we are or what the venue is like.
What type of music did you listen to growing up?
First it was pop rock, then it was metal in high school. Then I went into jazz really hard. Now it’s kinda everything.
Who are some artists you’d like to work with?
Pnau, Hot Chip.
Are you working on new material?
Yep! I’ve been working on a bunch of songs. I’m really excited to show the band actually while we’re on the tour bus.
What are your plans for the rest of the year and the rest of the album cycle for “Love Signs?”
Once we get back from the states I’m entering new album mode. Recording, writing, artwork and video. Really excited for next year. It’s gunna be big.
Is there anything else you’d like to mention about the upcoming dates?
We are looking to review great food as we tour all around, so if anyone has suggestions on spots for us to try, please DM us on Insta!
Photo by Jesper Hede