Ali in the Jungle are coming of age, starting to throw out songs, videos and EPs. The perfect time to find out more about them…
Milton Keynes (UK)
How did you meet?
We met at a youth club, when we were all about 12, and went to school together too. We are Ali (drums), Chris (lead guitar), Sam (bass & acoustic), Tim (vocals, keyboards, rhythm guitar).
How long have you been playing as a band?
Since 2012, so eight years! We’ve only been seriously releasing music as of 2020.
Before you get sick of being asked… where does the band name come from?
Firstly, it was a ploy to get our drummer Ali to join the band. We met at school and he was a year older than us, and was cooler, but we really wanted him in the band, so thought if we named the band after him he’d have to join.
Secondly, it’s from a song of the same name by The Hours, that we heard on PS2 game FIFA 2008. The song’s about succeeding in the face of the odds, and that was a nice mantra to take on.
What are your influences?
The Beatles, Radiohead, Interpol, Franz Ferdinand, The Smiths, Keane, David Bowie, Lou Reed, The Arctic Monkeys, Fleet Foxes, Oasis, Vampire Weekend…
Describe your music. What makes you unique?
We’re rejuvenating the post-punk revival genre (Arctic Monkeys, Franz Ferdinand, Interpol), that we loved and was big when we were kids, swapping out a guitar for a piano and using this set up to push the genre further and into more varied territory. On our debut EP Anyway we push the genre include glam, acoustic ballads, and progressive rock.
Listen to our debut EP Anyway via all the usual online services!
Do you have any particular lyrical themes?
On our EP Anyway, we explore social and relational hypocrisies and paradoxes, as well as destructive lifestyles. For each song we delve into a concept, sometimes with as many relevant puns about that subject as possible. I guess we take on a point of considered pessimism, but display that pessimism through a medium of joy, with upbeat music and tongue in cheek lyrics. There’s always a lot of joy to be had, and may as well take some joy in exploring the bad things we’ve resigned ourselves to. That’s an outlook not often expressed in rock lyrics, but is an outlook many live by.
What’s your live show like? How many shows have you played?
It’s a really upbeat and physical performance. Ali’s an absolute athlete on the drums, while Chris and Sam are rabid on their guitars, and Tim dances on his piano stool. But we’ll take the mood down too. There’s so much variation in our set, from 1920s style jazz songs to Beach Boys style ballads; we love surprising the audience, but also giving them something to swoon and croon to.
We’ve played loads of gigs in the time we’ve been together, at notable local venues such as MK11, The Craufurd Arms and Bedford Esquires, as well as London venues O2 Academy Islington, The Garage, The Good Mixer, 229 The Venue, to name a few…
What’s the wildest thing you’ve seen or done at a live show?
There was a time where Sam was playing in the crowd while Tim took off three layers of stripy jumpers in “People Change”. I suppose having a stripper in our act is always a nice surprise up our sleeve.
Just before lockdown, we supported popular ‘drunk folk’ artist Beans On Toast at MK11 in our hometown. Watch our set on YouTube.
What kit do you use / guitars do you play / etc.?
Tim plays a Kawaii ES7 and a Les Paul style Epiphone. Sam plays a Fender Precision bass. Ali’s got a Pearl kit with Sabian cymbals. Chris plays an ART-120 Ibanez and a Fender Mustang.
We keep our sound quite raw pedal wise; Chris uses a EHX Holy Grail for reverb, a ZVex Distortron, and a EHX Soul Food overdrive pedal.
We’ve become a lot more interested in kit recently, but because we’re not made of money we’re more interested in spending that on finding an audience, recording our music, and making videos for now.
What are your plans for the next 12 months?
We’re releasing our music video for “I Don’t Even Know You” on 17th July, and have another video in the works for “People Change”. We’ve recently released a lyric video for our song “Drunk Generation” [which you can watch below]
We’re also recording music for a short film by Chloe Kennedy called Making Waves, to be shown on BBC iPlayer!
Otherwise a lot of our plans depend on what happens with COVID. We’d love to resume our EP mini-tour when we can. A new release is also in the pipeline for early next year we hope. What that is, you’ll just have to wait and see!
If you were second on a three-band bill, which band would you love to be supporting and which band would you choose to open for you? A chance to plug someone you’ve toured with, or a mate’s band we’ve not heard of before!
I think we’d be an awesome support for Vampire Weekend.
There’s an awesome Milton Keynes band who’ve played on the bill with us a few times called Little White Lights. They’d be a great opener. They play great covers, but their originals are just so good that whenever they do their official debut release we’ll be listening to it a lot for sure. Check them out!