After a rough patch, Jungle are fighting sadness with upbeat tunes

In the world of music, four years is a lengthy break between albums. 

Some bands wait longer, but most release new stuff pretty regularly to satisfy listeners. However, when your debut was as popular as Jungle’s, you can afford to keep people waiting. 

The seven-piece finally unveiled their follow-up album For Ever last year, bursting with the same funky beats and catchy lyrics they did so well on their first. But this one has a bit more maturity to it, born from the group’s experiences over the past few years. 

“Real shit has happened to us,” begins founding member Tom McFarland. “Girlfriends breaking up with us, a few of our friends have passed away, you know, stuff that happens in the real world and happens to everybody.

“That’s kind of why the songs have a very positive feeling to them, because at the end of the day these songs are there to discuss these things, but also show people that there’s hope and there’s always something at the end of the tunnel.” 

Music has played a massive part in McFarland’s life for a long time now, way before Jungle was even in the works. He and fellow bandmate Josh Lloyd-Watson were childhood buds, who bonded over their mutual love of the artform. 

“Some people love surfing, some people play soccer, and we just sort of grew up playing music together,” he says. The duo spent their formative years honing and testing their skills, playing in other bands before cultivating their own.  

“It’s quite a learning process really, do you know what I mean? If you’re going to be a professional soccer player you don’t go straight to the top, you’ve gotta play for some shit clubs first,” laughs McFarland, recalling his musical journey. 

Well, the group aren’t too far from the top now. Jungle fever has made its way out of their native UK and spread across the globe, taking them on tours worldwide. This has been thrilling for McFarland, who thrives on the energy he gets from playing live shows. 

“Being on stage feels really natural to me,” he says. “I can completely sympathise with all those people who get stage fright, but for me generally I sort of revel in that, I guess.

“I love it because it gives me the energy to get up and do something every day, whereas I think if I was doing something else that didn’t give me that rush and didn’t give me that feeling of physical satisfaction, I don’t think I’d feel satisfied or comfortable.” 

Part of that rush comes from having a great crowd though, and McFarland admits they’ve been lucky enough to have some incredible audiences. 

“We just had a show in Mexico City to like 3,000 people,” he recalls excitedly. “The crowds in Latin and South America are so vocal and so passionate about their music and they give you so much love. It’s something that we’ve never really experienced before – that sort of level of crowd and how noisy and giving they are, literally just screaming every lyric of every fucking song relentlessly.

“You don’t get that in the UK or in Europe, even in America, it’s a very different culture. Those are moments where you go off stage after and you think ‘wow, that was pretty special’, because it doesn’t happen every day.” 

McFarland is right – being able to do what he does is pretty special, and it’s a fact that isn’t lost on him. 

“I think as soon as you take this for granted, then you may as well not be doing it,” he says. 

“Yeah, you have to make sacrifices and it can be difficult at times, but at the end of the day you’re out there with your best friends doing what you love, and nothing else beats that.” 

Catch Jungle at The Forum on Sunday April 28 supported by Georgia. Tickets available through Ticketmaster.