TWO years ago, Sam Hales panicked over Jungle Giants fans’ reaction to their single With a heavy heart.
It was a bold new direction for the Brisbane quartet, which started life in 2011 singing indie-rock tracks like Polite gentleman and She is a riot filled with jangly guitar and conventional rock drums.
Heavy heart was a full 180 degree turn. No more guitars, replaced by synths, drum machines, Hales’ falsetto and a tribal beat more reminiscent of Pnau.
“I was pretty scared that night before I released this,” Hales said. “I thought maybe some people might be like ‘what the heck, I saw you and you were indie rock’.
“It’s been such a slow progression to suddenly jump in there aren’t any guitars on this one. People weren’t bored and people weren’t panicking. People really supported.”
Jungle Giants fans were more than supportive. Heavy heart attracted 29.6 million streams on Spotify and placed eighth in the 2019 Triple J Hottest 100. Then last year the track won Pop Song and Song of the Year at the Queensland Music Awards.
The Jungle Giants continued their transition to an electronic dance group on their next singles Send me your love, In his eyes, Treat me well and Signs of love. Each has a minimum of guitar and Send me your love (eighth) and In his eyes (89th) interviewed in the 2020 triple j countdown.
It is understandable that Hales is confident that Jungle Giants fourth album Signs of love will find a receptive audience.
Giants of the Jungle – Heavy Heart
“It’s been a phenomenal response with our Spotify stats,” he says. “Abroad these songs connected better than anything we’ve had before, which is really exciting and really makes me feel good because this is the first record that I have officially produced, designed and written. in a studio by myself.
“It was kind of forced because it was half locked, but on the other side, I really wanted to do it with this record and really push myself and it was in contact with people, so it’s really exciting and that boosts the ego for sure. “
Jungle Giants started their shift to an electronic dance sound on their 2017 album Quiet ferocity run by singles Used to be in love, Feel like i do and On your way down.
It was during the Jungle Giants tour for Quiet ferocity that Hales realized that his enthusiasm for moving the band in a new direction was shared by their audience. The dancer numbers provided the barnstorming moments on stage.
“Fans will follow you as long as you come properly and informed every time you make a change to your sound,” he says. “As long as you are looking for the sound you are looking for, really experience it until it looks like you and if you believe it yourself people will follow.”
However, what about Hales’s Jungle Giants bandmates Cesira Aitken (guitar), Andrew Dooris (keyboards) and Keelan Bijker (drums)? Did they approve of the abandonment of independent rock?
“Luckily the guys are so supportive,” Hales says. “I’m pretty sure they’ll follow me around dark corners wherever I go, which is amazing.”
The Jungle Giants Album Signs of love came out on Friday.