Here’s my last month’s interview with LA JUNGLE – it was first published on American website 50THIRDAN3RD (my fellow music junkies over the ocean)
LA JUNGLE is a mind-twisting noise punk engine from Mons, Belgium. The pair create blazing psycho havoc that makes your head spin uncontrollably. Their volcanic electro-kraut-dance-punk outbursts activate all of your senses, on record and live. Drummer REGGIE has four arms with ten fingers on each hand. He’s a merciless lumberjack. Next to him, guitarist and keyboardist JIM acts like a mad man who just escaped out of his straitjacket. Together they’re an electrifying powerhouse having tons of fun pushing the decibels to insane heights. In their own words: “We produce distorted math/kraut/trans-rock. Utter frenzy accompanied by metallic riffs, huge waves of noise and storms of toms and cymbals all lead by a stroboscope.“.
It’s about time to meet this rowdy two-piece machine. Let’s start the acquaintance with some tremendous noise. Here’s scorching hammer (Technically Your Dead‘ from their newest LP…
I guess we’re all ready now to hear what they have to say. Bonjour JIM, hello Reggie…
What’s the story behind the band’s name?
REGGIE: “We started to play together in June 2013 in my parent’s garage. It was kinda hard to find a name. Orang-Outangs? No. I wanted ‘La Plage’. No again… another band already had that name. And finally, on the way to one of our very first gigs… to make a long story short, the thing is a rap band from Lyon (France) had the same name ‘La Jungle’. One year later they changed it to JNGL.”
JIM: “Something wild maybe…”
When did you know: ‘This is it, this is how we want to sound?’
REGGIE: “We had a great experience in Studios Davout in Paris six months ago. Maybe there? Not sure. Can’t remember the exact moment. Maybe it did not happened?”
JIM: “I always wanted my guitar to sound like a keyboard or a bass. And make something repetitive, trance and tribal. It was all in my mind…. then we practiced a lot to harmonize
Two melons, one vision…
Share an unforgettable anecdote with us about the first rehearsals…
REGGIE: ” I just remember the first riffs. REALLY BAAAAAAAAAD STUFFF!!”
JIM: ” The first name of the song ‘L’Enfer‘ (‘The Hell’ in English) was about the bloody
tears of the cathedral nuns’ or something like that…”
Opening track ‘Hahehiho’ from your second album is – to my ears – what LA JUNGLE is all about: electro-krautrock-punk with a mad dance twist. Do you agree or do you have another cracker in mind to introduce yourselves to America?
REGGIE: “Haters like to say ‘stupid repetitive music for Duracell rabbits‘.
That’s okay with me…”
JIM: “Sweat baby sweat! Then take a red wine shower.”
There’s some weird plant on the cover of the first album.
Looks like an arty weed plant to me. Is it?
REGGIE: “Those are palms. Because palms means… sun. And we are ginger.
Gingers love the sun… no, wait!”
Tell us about your relationship with watermelons…
REGGIE: “I prefer bananas, personally. But cheating on your favorite fruit can happen, sometimes…”
JIM: “We have watermelons on the cover of our second album. It’s just the fruits. And
a big blade. And blood, juice in fact. Vitamins. And seeds… for the next album… ”
What’s on the van’s stereo while driving to gigs?
REGGIE: “Sleaford Mods, Idles, France Culture broadcasts about health and planets,
Leonard Cohen, At The Drive-In, Blood Brothers, Joe Dassin, Annabel Lee, Animal Youth…”
JIM: “Poor stereo sound system, very quiet and melodic stuff please…”
Any rituals before going on stage?
REGGIE: “Let me talk about my new ritual after the gig: wash my spits. A sound engineer
told me to do that at an after party in Switzerland. You’re completely right, man. Thanks
for the advice!”
JIM: “A repetitive joke with Julien from Kuistax Booking.”
The energy you generate live is spectacular. Where does all the adrenalin come from?
REGGIE: “Physical effort I think. And the fact that the drum patters are really repetitive.
A mix of suffering and fun, haha!”
JIM: “I don’t do sports, maybe that’s why…”
The last few years the Belgian alternative scene is exploding. Any reason you experienced yourselves for this sonic eruption in our country?
REGGIE: “1st reason: something called buzz, like alwayyyyyys! 2nd reason: little, little,
little country, everybody know each other, especially in Wallonia and Flanders separately.”
JIM: “I thought it was the Belgian rap scene?!?”
Which ‘big name’ producer would you chose to remix one of your songs?
JIM: “Jackson and his computer band.”
Gesaffelstein = French techno DJ…
What genre of movie would you choose to visualize your music on
a big screen when playing a show?
REGGIE: “Western, definitely.”
JIM: “Anything with monkeys beating humans.”
The Prodigy or Nine Inch Nails?
REGGIE: “The Prodigy cause I can’t listen to Reznor‘s voice.”
JIM: “And why those two? Nine Inch Nails because one of the guitarists did ‘Short Bus’,
Filter‘s debut album. The Prodigy did a song with the Sleaford Mods singer. I don’t listen
to both of them anymore. Time…”
“Why don’t you like me, Reggie? I’m HURT.”
Can or Aphex Twin?
REGGIE: “Can for sure.”
JIM: ” Can we mix them?”
Vinyl, cassette or compact disc?
REGGIE: “Tapes because in three years, cassette will be the new vinyl.”
JIM: “Vinyl. I like big artworks.”
Your number one artist/band to tour around the world with?
REGGIE: “Zach Hill tchktchaktchik poudoum takaka tik…”
JIM: “HYPERCULTE. We ‘ve played once with them this summer. They are dance.”
Meet Hyperculte. I can see immediately why JIM wants to tour with them…
Social media: a blessing or a pain in the ass?
REGGIE: “A blessing if you learn to use it correctly and cleverly. But I have huge respect
for bands which don’t give a single fuck about social media, sincerely.”
JIM: “A good gig poster is a good gig poster. Glue it on the right wall.”
Best album you heard this year?
REGGIE: “Our friends from Mountain Bike released a really nice album last May,
called Too Sorry For Any Sorrow.”
JIM: “I really, really don’t know. Not my year I presume.
Hope for something new from Colin Langenus.”
Reggie doesn’t like Reznor, but he likes Mountainbike… and sheep I guess…
Any new material in the pipeline?
REGGIE: “Working on new stuff, planning new rehearsals sessions.
Hope to release something in 2018!
JIM: “A split with three other bands, and a new album as soon as possible.”
The band’s ultimate ambition?
REGGIE: “Smash new fruits!”
JIM: “Come to see you!”
Thank you for this cuckoo Q & A, LA JUNGLE! May the road rise with you…
I don’t know about you, brave readers, but I need some heavy beats (and a long drink)
right now, right here. Here’s LA JUNGLE‘s second album ‘II’…
“I’m still hurt, Reggie…”