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Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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The Jungle Giants bring Australian charm to DC

Lead singer, songwriter and producer Sam Hales discusses the process of recording and touring

The Jungle Giants, an indie rock band from Brisbane, Australia, performed an exciting setlist of 13 songs at the Black Cat on Nov. 13. 

Before they began playing, lead guitarist Cesira Atiken fist-bumped audience members closest to her, setting the stage for an intimate show. 

The band began by playing fan favorites like “She’s a Riot” and “Feel the Way I Do,” with the audience chanting the lyrics right back at them. In honor of their most recent album released in 2021, “Love Signs,” the band then played “In Her Eyes” and “Heavy Hearted.” 

“‘Heavy Hearted’ was the lead single, and I bedroom-produced that, and the response was really good. So I was playing around with the idea of just doing the whole record by myself,” Hales said in an interview with The Eagle.

In light of the coronavirus pandemic, Hales decided to go ahead and produce the album on his own from home.

“I just grabbed all my stuff, and took it to my home studio and I was kind of forced into it,” Hales said.

The Jungle Giants are comprised of singer-songwriter-guitarist Sam Hales, lead guitarist Cesira Aitken, bassist Andrew Dooris and drummer Keelan Bijker. The venue provided the perfect showcase for the band’s fervent guitar strumming and impassioned vocals.

Hales certainly has the charisma and wit of a lead singer. As he and his band delivered performances of crowd favorites, Hales got the audience moving with his contagious energy and genial spirit. 

When discussing the tour, Hales emphasized the close bonds he shares with his bandmates.

“I just love it in the States, it's so fun, and we're all best friends so we have the best time,” Hales said. “I like the idea of working on the songs in the back of the bus while we're driving.”

In the middle of the concert, Hales gave a disposable film camera to the audience to be passed around and used for selfies as part of a scrapbook project they initiated at the start of their tour. This was one of many ways Hales and the band embraced performing in this intimate setting. The singer then jumped into the crowd, singing and dancing with fans as they took their disposable film photos. 

The crowd seemed to be a mix of loyal fans who knew every lyric and casual listeners out for a night of good music and dancing. 

Although the band has roots in indie-rock music, they have evolved through many genres over the course of their four studio albums.

“For ‘Love Signs,’ Hot Chip was a big [inspiration]. Also, I was listening to a lot of Ashanti at the time, so you're hearing a lot of the falsetto melodies, a little bit of an R&B twist,” he said.

Hales said he plans to work on more music on the road so the band can release new records at the beginning of next year.  

“I'm going to pick three songs to finish off in the bus and then when we get back home, I'm going to go mix it and then we'll have a couple of new tracks because we want to release some new music early next year,” Hales said. 

At the end of the night, Hales, along with the rest of the members of the band, gave fist bumps and high-fives all around, thanking the crowd for their support. Ending the night with the same welcoming energy they began the night with, the concert had the feel of a jam session amongst friends, clearly something fans enjoyed. 

The Jungle Giants concluded their North American tour on Nov. 20, and fans are eagerly anticipating their next big project. According to Hales’ projections, they won’t have to wait much longer.



rgillis@theeagleonline.com


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