The Jungle Giants on their upcoming tour, the Hottest 100 and aux cords
What do The Jungle Giants and Kendrick Lamar have in common?
It’s been a whirlwind few months for The Jungle Giants. Shortly after destroying the stage at Falls Festival in January, the Brisbane four-piece promptly sold out half the dates of their upcoming Used To Be In Love tour within one week of its announcement. But what may be their most exciting milestone to date is nabbing four spots in triple j’s Hottest 100, an achievement shared with only Kendrick Lamar and Gang of Youths.
On being triple j VIPs
“Actually it’s pretty funny,” says lead guitarist Cesira Aitken of how the band spent that hallowed day. “We were in San Remo in regional Victoria because we had a show that day. We were really nervous for the countdown; we were being really antisocial in the car with our big Bluetooth speaker, listening silently to the radio. We ended up tailgating the van out in the carpark with some beers and listening to the countdown and dancing… It was really fun.”
After their first entry of ‘Used To Be In Love’ at #59, Cesira, Sam, Andrew and Keelan succumbed to sheer relief and excitement, which gradually evolved into hysteria as more and more songs made appearances.
“We had no expectations at all; we were obviously just hoping for one song. We’re really stoked to get four in, but we would have been happy with just one. We’re very, very lucky.”
As for Cesira’s #1 vote in the Hottest 100? None other than ‘The Man’ by The Killers, a track that initially divided the band. “I’m pretty sure none of us liked it - like at all - when it got released. Then all of a sudden, we were like ‘Guys… This song is amazing.’ That was a group realisation. I was like, ‘It’s actually friggin sweet and I love that song so much and I voted for it as my #1.”
On their upcoming ‘Used To Be In Love’ tour
The Jungle Giants are getting into gear for their 16-date tour in April with a host of production meetings, given the dance-electronica tendencies that their most recent studio album Quiet Ferocity possesses. “Not that there wasn’t much planning going into shows beforehand, but [there’ll be] a lot of planning and a long rehearsal schedule, which is exciting.”
New releases by The Killers aside, The Jungle Giants are typically on the same wavelength, whether it’s general musical preferences or organising their upcoming tour setlist, a process that can stump musicians for weeks.
“We’ve all been writing our own ideas for setlist stuff - usually a lot of our ideas will line up, so it’s not too difficult,” says Cesira of how the four friends approach fleshing out their setlist. “After playing it through a few times, you can tell what’s working and what’s not. It’s totally different to arranging the order of an album; a live set is just so different. But we’ll rock it I promise!”
Quiet Ferocity: 8 months later
The Jungle Giants’ third album Quiet Ferocity was released in July last year, which the band quickly followed with a national tour. Add to that their recent Falls Festival run and that’s already a lot of time and energy they’ve spent touring this record, which houses Triple j crowd pleasers such as ‘On Your Way Down’ and ‘Feel the Way I Do’.
“I remember when we were listening to all the mixes and masters, everyone’s favourite would change, which is cool,” says Cesira when I ask how her relationship with the album has changed over the past eight months. “It keeps it interesting for yourself while you’re playing and listening to these songs over and over again. There’s something else you like maybe a year after you released it.”
This dynamic relationship with their music translates to a live setting as well. “When we’re in rehearsals and Keelan [Bijker, drummer] changes something - I like that stuff, especially in the live setting. It’s fun. If it comes together onstage without it being rehearsed, everyone’s in their lane - I like that stuff.”
On their famous live shows
Being the band’s most dance-infused offering to date, Quiet Ferocity has allowed The Jungle Giants’ loyal listeners to embrace their inner groove. “People are far more willing to get down to this stuff; it caters to that, which is cool,” says Cesira on concertgoers’ response to Quiet Ferocity. “Reflecting on our last tour, we thought people were definitely more into the new record than they were into the old records - which is awesome! That’s what you want with your most recent releases.”
If anything, The Jungle Giants are currently in the midst of their peak in terms of live performances. “Honestly, we’ve kind of ‘hit our stride’ for our playing at the moment,” says Cesira with mock seriousness. “We feel like we’re tying some decent shows together.”
As for her personal favourites to perform? “I love playing Quiet Ferocity; that’s a good song. Feel The Way I Do is always so fun.”
On aux cords
Being harbingers of indie pop-rock music, it’s unsurprising The Jungle Giants are self-proclaimed fiends of the humble aux cord. The band members are renowned for commandeering speakers and car radios to educate each other (and mates) on their favourite new tracks.
“I’m so bad with the aux. We just force music on each other at ridiculous volumes because we’re just super excited. It’s a pain in the ass when we’re hanging out with people, because I’m like ‘... Can I put music on? I’m happy to take the reigns.’”
Currently, Cesira has Harvey Sutherland and The War On Drugs on rotation. And in case you were wondering, her go-to party starter is none other than Prince’s ‘I Wanna Be Your Lover’.
Don’t miss the dance party that is The Jungle Giants’ gig at Astor Theatre on Tuesday 24 April. Grab your tickets here.