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Australian band The Jungle Giants is reading the love signs

Photography by Ted Min
Words by Tina Summers

The band’s new album explores love in the time of COVID.

Take it as a sign of good things to come – The Jungle Giants is back in a big way. One of Australia’s biggest and brightest musical exports, the foursome released its highly anticipated fourth studio album, Love Signs, earlier this month. The title track is all about “little messages we send each other,” according to frontman Sam Hales, including texts, tweets and tags, which couldn’t be more relevant considering the state of many of our love lives in the COVID era.

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The band has long explored love and life in all their myriad forms through its music, which is written and produced by Hales, and this album is no different. Love Signs’ first single ‘Heavy Hearted’ went ARIA-certified platinum, while it and follow-up ‘Sending Me Ur Loving’ and third single ‘In Her Eyes’ all placed in Triple J’s Hottest 100. Wowza! We spoke to the talented Monsieur Hales in the lead up to Love Signs’ release, mostly because we wanted to learn his secrets so that we can release our own groove-laden hit songs.

Can you tell us a bit about how your new album Love Signs came together, and some of the ideas you explore on it?I’ve been writing the record for years now really, and it’s been a really fun process that’s taught me so much. I was playing with a new writing routine that really gave me great results, and started releasing tracks before it was officially done. That definitely kept me on my toes. Most of what the album explores is all the different people we can be in different relationships at different times, and how we communicate.

Do you have a favourite track and why?

It changes all the time, but at the moment I think my favourite is the title track, ‘Love Signs’. I made it with my girlfriend late one night at home, and I really feel like it sums the record in so many ways. Production-wise and theme-wise.

You’ve had an insane career, filled with achievements. Which has meant the most to you?

Shaking Snoop Dogg’s hand backstage at Big Day Out was a big one. Also, I could say finishing this record is my most recent proud achievement. Felt like I really had to push through it to get it finished in lockdown, but I’m so happy I did.

Speaking of ‘love signs’, bands often have torturous histories of falling apart and getting back together and rotating lineups, etc, but The Jungle Giants don’t! For all young people out there trying to start a band, what are the signs you’ve found ‘the ones’?

We absolutely are best friends. Like a family but even more loving. I think you need to connect musically but also emotionally for it to really work. You need to know that you really share that dream and the responsibility.

Love seems to be an ongoing theme in your music – ‘Sending Me Ur Loving’, ‘Love Signs’, ‘Heavy Hearted’ – and I wondered why you think that is?

Yep! It’s a massive theme on this record, and it actually worked out that almost all the singles had the word ‘love’ in the title. Really liked how that worked out.

Do you follow any amazing relationship gurus like Esther Perel?

No not really! My biggest guru atm is Anthony Bourdain. RIP Tony.

I know you guys are super into fashion and visuals feel very key to your output. Who are your style heroes? What brands/artists/etc do you love?

I’m a huge fan of Ader, Aries, MSBHV at the moment. My girlfriend is Janet Planet from Confidence Man, and she’s an amazing designer and style icon of mine. I learn everything from her.

What do you hope your album says to the world?

That positivity is key. And it’s cool to work hard on things you love.

What’s next for you guys?

The album is coming out sooo soon and we finally get to tour it! We’re playing our biggest shows to date and I really can’t wait. Gunna take it all to the next level.

Any favourite new Australian acts we should have on our radar?

1300. They’re a really sick hip-hop group based out of Sydney. So good.

You can follow The Jungle Giants here and listen to their new album here.
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