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By Charlie David Page
2nd March 2014

The Jungle Giants are one of the hardest-working bands on the Aussie music scene. In the past few years, they've made a hoard of fans and gained an esteemed reputation, thanks to their extensive touring and their well-received debut album, 'Learn To Exist'. As they get set to embark on other tour, I chatted to frontman Sam Hales.

The band has dubbed this the Tuss Tour - but what's with the name? "Every time we’re on tour or just kind of mucking about, we generally just mess with each other, physically and maybe even psychologically," Sam explains. "We call it tussing. And sometimes when we’re kind of halfway through a tour or getting close to the end, we all go a little bit nuts, just from not sleeping and playing heaps and getting on planes. So we generally start to tuss a lot more. And we figure it’d be just really fun to just call a tour Tuss Tour because it’s practically what we’re going to be doing the whole time."

All of their touring has been an educational experience for The Jungle Giants. "We all realised a crowd always wants to get really into it, and they’re never really going to get into it if the people on stage aren't having fun. So sometimes it’s just as simple as bopping along to the song you’re playing or actually getting into it as much as you want the crowd to get into it. And once you reach that point, when you’re just having fun on stage, the crowd just reacts in a certain way, they just have fun. So you've got to instigate that it’s okay to kind of go a bit crazy."


The Jungle Giants are a part of the hugely successful Brisbane scene - and Sam has a few theories about why the city is such a creative hotbed at the moment. "There might be something in the dumplings. We all seem to eat a lot of dumplings," he jokes. "I don’t know what started it, but everyone just kind of started trying to be really good and trying to get more gigs, trying to tour. There’s no real lazy musicians in this bunch of musicians coming out of Brisbane. There’s just a good kind of vibe in the city right now. Everyone’s hanging out and everyone’s doing tours with each other. It’s quite exciting."

The band is also set to head to Austin, Texas for the exemplary music and film festival, South By Southwest. "A couple of our friends from Brisbane bands like Hungry Kids of Hungary and Ball Park Music, they’ve already done the SXSW thing and we’ve spoken to them about it, and we’ve just been so keen to do it. I just can’t wait to go there. I can’t wait to see all the bands that are playing." But it's not just the music Sam is ready to experience. "I really, really want to eat some Taco Bell. I hear people say it’s quite cheap and crap, but I just need to know what it is. And cheese steaks. I wanna try that too."

Although they still have months of touring ahead - including a stint with Groovin The Moo - Sam is looking forward to working on some new music. "Since we actually recorded ‘Learn To Exist’, I’ve been building a studio in my back yard, in this little pool house, so I’ve kind of converted it with my housemate, and we’ve made a really nice space. I’ve been writing pretty relentlessly since, when we get home from a tour, I feel pretty inspired. There’s just a lot of stuff happening on tour, and you talk to a lot of bands, you see heaps of music, and by the time I get back, I have a million ideas I want to work on. I kind of just sing them into my voice recorder on my phone, and I just go through them when I get back. So after the touring finishes, we’ll definitely get down and make some stuff happen."

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BAND: The Jungle Giants
MEMBERS: Sam Hales - Vocals, Guitar
Cesira Aitken - Guitar
Andrew Dooris - Bass
Keelan Bijker - Drums
FORMED: 2011
FROM: Brisbane
SOUND: Indie Rock
FACEBOOK: thejunglegiants
TWITTER: @thejunglegiants
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