Jungle have returned with new single ‘Candle Flame’, and announced details of their fourth album ‘Volcano’. Watch the video for the new track below, alongside our chat with one half of the duo.
The funk and soul/dance group – comprising Josh Lloyd-Watson and Tom McFarland – released their third album ‘Loving In Stereo’ back in 2021. Last year saw the pair return with two new tracks – ‘Good Times’ and ‘Problemz’ – and reveal that they’d started work on their next record.
The first taster of the LP comes with ‘Candle Flame’ – featuring Jungle’s trademark energy and a backdrop of disco and soul, accompanied by the distinctive rhymes of Erick The Architect.
“I think the single is amazing and it’s one of the best things we’ve ever made,” Jungle’s Josh Lloyd-Watson told NME. “You get a taste of the more subtle approach or the more aggressive approach, and I’d love to just drop the whole thing so everyone can hear that in context.”
On the collaboration with Erick The Architect, he noted: “He’s a friend of ours. We were looking for a feature and Lydia [Kitto], a close collaborator of the band, had his number. We sent him the track and he sent it back so quickly. He’s a really lovely guy and just someone who’s very quick and fluid. He brought a whole new sort of rhythm to it.
“I think we’d always had an idea for a rapped verse, or more of a narrative verse but he just brought this pace to it, almost like early Snoop Dogg or something. It was really exciting to hear.”
The accompanying music video sees Jungle once again make use of the dancers that have become central characters in the overall storyline of their videos. “Without giving it all away, we wrote a script for this one,” Lloyd-Watson explained. “We did a whole bunch of videos for the last record, but we were just learning in the process and with this one, we’ve got an actual script and we’re telling the story essentially of Will West, who’s the star of ‘Casio’ who disappeared for a while in the last season, ‘Loving in Stereo’.”
‘Volcano’, which is set for release on August 11, takes Jungle into new territory, with the duo building on the soulfulness and intricacies of their sound.
“I think for Jungle, it’s actually really the most honest record we’ve made,” Lloyd-Watson told NME. “In my head, I see us as like Daft Punk or Chemical Brothers – that sort of duo that makes electronic music. But we’ve always had this soul side and this love for soul music, so it’s always been a little bit more song-based. The new record is just an extension of that journey.”
Much of the album was written on tour before Lloyd-Watson and McFarland got together to start recording while in LA. It was then completed a little later back in London at their favourite location, Studio B at Metropolis Studios.
“It’s always good looking at the last piece of work you did and thinking, what did I like about it? What did I not like about it?” Lloyd-Watson said of Jungle’s progression in this record. “You’re always learning and developing so for us, it’s like a freedom in the sound.
“Jungle has always been fun, but it’s now getting to this place where it sounds freer, and more off the cuff than it’s ever done. I think it’s getting better and better, which is really good for us, because it feels like the albums are progressively getting better too.”
As has become customary for Jungle, ‘Volcano’ will arrive with a strong visual identity, with these dancers or ‘characters’ playing out an extended narrative that takes place within this Jungle cinematic universe.
“Ultimately, they’re dance music videos but we’re contextualising them in a way, with us being the producers within. At the end [of ‘Candle Flame’], you see the control room, and you see the fact that there are cameras. It’s a kind of comment on the idea that we’re all performing to people and then we eventually come off stage. It’s like a fourth wall break.
“They’re all just amazing, choreographed music videos, but we’ve tried to put some more context in there and drop some Easter eggs for the fans.”
Although ‘Candle Flame’ is the first single, it’s not the official first taste of the album as last year’s ‘Problemz’ has made it onto the tracklist. It’s twin single ‘Good Times’, however has been left off, which Lloyd-Watson told NME was purposeful.
“I think the songs on this new record just started to develop in a way that left [‘Good Times’] behind. It was almost like that was a beta version of what this new sound is. We tried to put it in there a few times, and it just didn’t feel right, whereas ‘Problemz’ did feel right.”
The album came together from a number of different sessions, with Jungle taking contributions from various voices and previous recordings. As well as Erick The Architect, ‘Volcano’ includes guest appearances from Bas, Roots Manuva, Channel Tres and JNR Williams.
Speaking of this collage-like approach, Lloyd-Watson said that it “added to this remixed vibe of the album that was making it feel so free”. For example, they collaborated with Channel Tres on a song previously, from which they ended up taking the vocals for use on ‘Volcano’ track ‘I’ve Been In Love’.
“You’re just creating on one thing, and then jamming it together with another,” Lloyd-Watson said. “The same happened with Roots Manuva. He came to our studio and almost did some freestyle beat poetry over some tracks and walked out. He was in and out. Then we started messing around with it and it really worked for the vibe of ‘You Ain’t No Celebrity’ and that was amazing.”
Across 14 tracks, Jungle portray a sense of ease and that aforementioned freedom, which Lloyd-Watson told NME was a big change from the duo’s early years, when they would write together in a bedroom with no equipment.
“This new album, it’s got this energy to it that is very quick and explosive and not so tame,” said Lloyd-Watson. “That’s part of our personalities, but we’d always struggled to really get that onto the records. With this record, we’ve not been constrained by what we think we should be.
“It can be anything and it can constantly change, and I think that’s the beauty of Jungle that we can kind of disappear within it. That’s why I love it so much – it’s an escape, it’s a place where we can get into the artwork, we can get into the videos, and I can lose myself in it in a way that frees me.”
He added: “The main thing with this record is that we loved it. There’s not really a song I would skip on it, which is a good thing.”
Jungle release ‘Volcano’ on August 11. Check out the tracklist below:
‘Us Against The World’
‘Candle Flame’ feat Erick the Architect
‘I’ve Been In Love’ feat. Channel Tres
‘Back On 74’
‘You Ain’t No Celebrity’ feat. Roots Manuva
‘Don’t Play’ feat. Mood Talk
‘Good At Breaking Hearts’ feat. JNR Williams & 33.3
‘Pretty Little Thing’ feat. Bas
> ALL POINTS EAST IS ON SALE NOW https://t.co/bWgXMSzH6t pic.twitter.com/6R0PYMOZLk
— Jungle (@jungle4eva) March 21, 2023
Earlier this month, Jungle were announced as the latest headliners for this year’s All Points East festival in London. The duo play Victoria Park on Saturday, August 26, with Erykah Badu, Folamour, BADBADNOTGOOD, 070 Shake, Tobe Nwigwe, Charlotte Day Wilson, Lil Silva, Ragz Originale and Pretty Girl also on the line-up. You can find tickets here.
Speaking of the upcoming headline slot, Lloyd-Watson said: “We’re excited. It’s a bit kind of surreal in some way. But it’s what we wanted to do and I think we’re just about focusing on creating a new show that is, again, stepped up from the last one in terms of its intensity. I’ve always had this vision of Jungle being Daft Punk meets the Supremes, or this weird crossover that’s like Soulwax and Temptations, on the same stage.”
The band will also head out on a major North American and European headline tour later this year. Tickets go on sale at 10am local time on March 31. You can see the full dates below and find tickets here.
6 – Santa Barbara, Bowl
7 – Los Angeles, The Forum
9 – San Francisco, Bill Graham Civic Auditorium
13 – Vancouver, PNE Forum
14 – Portland, Edgefield
15 – Seattle, Wamu
18 – Madison, The Sylvee
19 – Chicago, Aragon
21 – Toronto, Echo Beach
23 – Montreal, Place Bell
26 – Boston, Roadrunner
27 – Philadelphia, Franklin Music Hall
28 – Washington DC, Anthem
30 – New York, Forest Hills
24 – Paris, Le 104
25 – Paris, Le 104
27 – Barcelona, Razzmatazz
28 – Madrid, La Riviera
29 – Lisbon, Campo Pequeno
31 – Toulouse, Le Bikini
1 – Nimes, La Paloma
2 – Milan, Alcatraz
4 – Zurich, Halle 622
5 – Munich, TonHalle
6 – Berlin, Verti Music Hall
8 – Stockholm, Cirkus
9 – Oslo, Sentrum Scene
10 – Copenhagen, KB Hallen
11 – Aarhus, Train
13 – Hamburg, Sporthalle
14 – Cologne, Palladium
15 – Amsterdam, AFAS Live
16 – Antwerp, Lotto Arena