INTERVIEW

The mysterious duo that filmed a 6-year-old spinning on her head finally speak

jungle

“Well I’m T…”

“And I’m J.”

As introductions go, it certainly isn’t the most dazzling but sometimes the simplest questions uncover the most fundamental answers. In an increasingly anonymous age of burgeoning young bands, producers and artists propelled by a rabid, digital virality, these small details often get overlooked, social media accounts get forgotten, and shining a light on the people behind the music becomes an event in itself.

For T and J, aka Jungle, it’s just another result of being the latest producers summoned to the electronic forefront. Armed with the charm of first single, ‘Platoon’ – the video featured 6 year-old BGirl Terra breakdancing to the track – and an equally impressive follow up in the lazy, summer haze of ‘The Heat’, the growing interest has been accelerated, even if the revelations haven’t.

“It’s weird,” J begins, “we haven’t really done that or got around to making a Twitter or any of those things you’re supposed to put your name on. We just wanted to put the music up and names and locations didn’t really come into it. Then people are like, ‘Oh god, there’s nothing out there about them, there’s no Wikipedia page, and no profile picture!’ We just never got round to doing a photo, and with BGirl Terra on the video, she kind of became Jungle for us.”

That video was something of a catalyst, garnering Radio 1 airplay from the ever-excitable Zane Lowe and Huw Stephens, and also became the kind of workplace distraction that drops into your inbox and waterfalls down your Facebook news feed.

“It’s interesting when you make something, like a video or a song, because it can reach your family and your friends but then on the Internet, everything just gets passed on and it’s crazy to watch,” J enthuses, “but also it’s a 6 year old girl doing a head-spin, so…”

“It’s also about human emotion,” T continues. “You see so many bands do the anonymous thing and they put images of trees and skies as their visuals…we wanted to do something a bit more connected.”

It’s an outlook that’s helped inspire the summer jam of second single ‘The Heat’ and drives the playful approach J and T use to give the tracks the depth of feeling they want. Connection again plays a vital part but there’s also a flourishing sense of fun to counter the melancholy.

“It’s all about the visuals and the vivid imagery,” J tells me, “it’s fun to create the locations and characters with the music. For us ‘The Heat’ is a monkey on the beach with a Pina Colada and it’s just quite a fun image. The other one is a massive Where’s Wally beach scene in Miami where there’s a band playing, and people pulling up in cars, rollerblading, sharks in the ocean, people surfing. If we had the money, probably a couple of million, we’d do the video like that,” he laughs.

“That imagery is always the top layer of the track, and something you can get a sense of place and feeling for. The lyrics tend to be an outpouring of our subconscious, which is kind of hurt and thoughtful, I suppose, but I think there’s depth there that can also be taken at face value.”

Despite the positivity surrounding the first single, the duo isn’t prepared to let expectation cloud their judgement around the next release. To Jungle, the two singles are definitively different but more positive for it.

“They’re completely different tracks,” says T. “We can’t expect people to love both tracks equally because for us it’s a case of continuing to give people the opportunity to get involved and offer their opinions. We just want people to take these songs on board themselves and just have something to say about them.”

Even at this early stage in their story, there’s a thoughtfulness and depth to Jungle. So far, it’s manifested itself in two impressive singles but when, or even if, they approach their debut album, it feels like a track won’t just be a track – it’ll be part of an immaculately crafted journey.

“I think you get surprised by the little interludes between tracks, not just the singles,” J muses. “An album captures your imagination and transports you into the world of that artist and what they’ve tried to communicate to you as a listener. I think that’s what’s a bit lost at the moment and the shuffle generation’s a really good way of putting it: people just have a load of set songs on their iPod and there’s no journey in that.”

“With tracks like that,” T picks up, “you’ve got to give people an upfront, emotional response, but by writing songs that catch people immediately you also give yourself the opportunity to write things that are deeper, more meaningful, more ambiguous…”

“I think the catchy stuff can be ambiguous too,” J interjects, “it just depends what level. I think music has to be written on a variety of levels. There has to be that initial level that everyone can get into, everyone can move to, and everyone can respond to emotionally. Then there are the people who want to go deeper and connect with it, put onto their own lives, and use it as a kind of narration.”

So whether it’s a single, an album, or the soundtrack to your life, Jungle are determined to keep it interesting. They’ve been true to their word so far.

“I think you can only preserve your position as artists by creating great output,” J thoughtfully adds. “Look at Jai Paul for instance: he might be an artist who only ever releases two tracks and people love him because they’re still connected to that music. You can start with four or five great singles but if the album’s poor, it’s a let down. We don’t want to let anyone down, we want to keep surprising them.”

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