ALI IN THE JUNGLE
Combining sharp wit with raw supercharged piano, post-punk, Brit-pop, glam, and jazz, indie innovators Ali In The Jungle have been swapping instruments, genres, and jumpers in front of live audiences since 2012. Finally having released their much anticipated debut EP Anyway in 2020, and following this release with a string of music videos, Ali In The Jungle have already received comparisons to their heroes such as Bob Dylan, David Bowie, and The Arctic Monkeys, and have recently supported popular ‘drunk folk’ artist Beans On Toast. They continue to push themselves in writing exciting, catchy, and meaningful indie music with a twist, and can’t wait to get back to entertaining and engaging amazing audiences.
About Ali In The Jungle
Who are the members of Ali In The Jungle?
Ali (drums), Chris (lead guitar), Sam (bass & acoustic), Tim (vox, keyboards, rhythm guitar)
How & When did Ali In The Jungle form?
Back in late 2012, while we were at school. Tim and Sam were in a band together called Euphoria, but Tim was fired as his voice didn’t suit the covers they were doing. Tim begun writing music and Sam left Euphoria to begin a new band with original material with Tim. They roped Chris in by telling him a pun that would be in one of the songs, but it was never used so the jokes on him. We then named the band after Ali who was the oldest and who we looked up to as cooler than the rest of us, and eventually he joined too!
Where was the first place Ali In The Jungle performed?
We all met at a youth group called Boys Brigade. There was an event for that at the local church where we met called Lovat Hall, and I think we played a seriously early version of ‘You Make Me Feel So Alive’, the final track on our Anyway ‘EP’.
Listen to Anyway EP: http://hyperurl.
What inspired each of you to start music?
Ali: Don’t think it’s anything in particular, just love listening/playing from since I can remember.
Chris: Listening to fantastically well-written music and thinking "I want to make music that gives other people the feelings I get when I listen to this”.
Sam: I was strongly encouraged(forced) by my parents to learn classical guitar after expressing interest in being able to playing the ‘Brighton Rock’ guitar solo by Queen.
Tim: One of my earliest memories was listening to my Dad play ‘The Entertainer’ by Scott Joplin, and thinking ‘this is the coolest thing I’ve ever heard’. It made me feel really cool and really emotional all at the same time, yet all I was doing was sitting on the floor and spinning round, so I guess that’s something that inspired me.
Latest Ali In The Jungle Album or Single release:
What’s the story behind the new song?
We’ve just released a music video for our track ‘I Don’t Even Know You’ from our Anyway EP. The song was eight years in the making. Sam and Tim wrote the first verse and chorus in a matter of minutes, late at night in our first year as a band, but we could never find anything satisfying after that. We had nothing else to add or enrich it. 8 years down the line we had a lot more experiences of relationships and friendships and sadder/more challenging aspects of these things. It was Tim’s last week of university, and absolutely shattered, he sat at his piano and wrote the rest of the vocal and lyrics in an evening. Once everyone was back from their studies we finished the piece off together and made the video sort of reflecting on our full return to Ali In The Jungle.
In the end we still kept the piece incredibly simple and bare, giving it vulnerability.
Watch “I Don’t Even Know You” here.
What inspired you to put together a your Anyway EP & what it is all about?
We’ve got so many songs we’ve been desperate to record but haven’t been in a place where we could do until the last year. We had all finally returned to our Milton Keynes homes after four years in separate locations around the UK, and wanted to get straight to sharing our music. The EP is our debut, so we chose four very different songs to represent the genre bending which is very central to what we do. You’ve got a glam/post-punk tune about the ups and downs of drinking; a 2011 pop-rock/indie banger about change/the-lack-of; an acoustic ballad which when you think about it sort of says you’re alone no matter what; a progressive blues song about mobsters and sin. The result is a cinema-scopic panoramic display of how it feels to live in Middle England, and the social hypocrisies that reside here… The EP begins with the destruction of drinking and ends with a ‘wise-guy waiting for the bar to close’; I like to think that shows the cyclical nature of the way people live (something also explored in ‘People Change’).
Will you be touring to support the new album? If so, when?
We begun a mini-EP tour with festivals and great London gigs but unfortunately it’s had to be cancelled or re-booked because of the COVID-19 pandemic. We played outside at our amazing local open mic last week, The Sunset Lounge, and it was so amazing to perform again. Tim did some live videos for them during lockdown, watch them here: https://www.youtube.com/
What is your song writing process?
We have a really collaborative process. Tim will write the lyrics and vocals, but we all contribute to each others instruments, the structures and arrangements. On our EP, Chris founded ‘People Change’ with the opening riff, and much of the rest of the song was composed over a series of jamming sessions around two chords. Sam meanwhile founded ‘I Don’t Even Know You’ with his classical guitar virtuosity. There’s no real rule of approach though, you do what works for each song, hence why everyone apart from Ali ended up playing bass on the EP, because we have to shift around instruments to suit each of our playing styles to the song at hand.
A lot of time is spent on the lyrics; we want no wasted moments. ‘You Make Me Feel So Alive’ was awesome to write the lyrics for, and Tim used it as an excuse to watch as many Mobster Movies as possible. The line about ‘a wise-guy waiting for the bar to close’ came to him while watching Donnie Brasco. There’s also a lot of biblical imagery in that song, in line with what Scorsese did in Mean Streets and Coppola in The Godfather. The song then packages these things in a blues setting, and relates the themes of tragedy and hubris (classic mobster flick themes) to the ambition of musicians. So there’s an idea of our writing process I guess…
What’s your first thoughts when you get up on stage?
Ali: “Where can I put my beer?”
Chris: “Where is my water? Where is my WATERR?”
Sam: “I hope the battery in my bass doesn’t die…”
Tim: “Get to the piano stool without falling over and the illusion of coolness will not shatter.”
Where was the first venue you played?
We played in some small local pubs, but I think the first proper venue we played in was The Craufurd Arms in our hometown Milton Keynes. They’re an incredibly supportive local venue and it’s a brilliant place to play. They get big names there too, more recently (pre-COVID 19) they had The Wombats and Circa Waves.
What is your most memorable moment from any live performances?
Ali: Hearing the crowd singing when we supported Beans On Toast.
Chris: That time we got flashed mid-song by that woman and we were all like 14!
Sam: Warming up for Beans On Toast generally to be honest. It was the last gig before lockdown, and therefore unforgettable.
Tim: I was also gonna say about getting flashed by that woman, because we were in the town square of a very posh town, full of middle aged people, and we’re not the roughest band about, so it was so unusual. It’s obviously been imprinted on our memories…
Describe the atmosphere when you’re performing
It’s really positive and upbeat; quite manic and a bit random. Some surprise removal of layers of jumpers. A lot of dancing on piano stools and wrestling with mic stands. Because we’re quite varied in genre and tone there’s something for everyone, and people latch onto our through line of lyrical humour and bouncy bass lines with post-punk guitar and elaborate piano, all put to pulsing drums.
What band would you like to perform with the most?
Ali: The Arctic Monkeys
Sam: The Beatles
Tim: Ali In The Jungle obviously…
Will you be touring in the United Kingdom any time soon?
We really don’t know. It’s unlikely with COVID 19 going on, but we hope so!
In the meantime watch support set for popular ‘drunk folk’ artist Beans On Toast at MK11: https://www.youtube.com/
Anyway EP: http://hyperurl.co/
‘I Don’t Even Know You’ (video): https://www.youtube.
‘Drunk Generation’ (video): https://www.youtube.