Loving In Stereo

Jungle

Loving In Stereo

“This is the antithesis to our last record—where that was about heartbreak, this album is about freedom, picking yourself up and moving forward,” Jungle producer and multi-instrumentalist Josh Lloyd-Watson tells Apple Music. “It’s an album made for bringing people together; upbeat tunes to set people free.” Lloyd-Watson is one half of Jungle, the London-based production duo, with childhood friend Tom McFarland. Coming to prominence with their Mercury Prize-nominated self-titled debut album in 2014 (and, specifically, its ubiquitous single “Busy Earnin’”), the producers went on to establish themselves as hook-writing maestros, giving the warm mahogany feel of 1960s and ’70s soul a chrome polish with their seven-piece live band performances and intricate arrangements.
Their third album, Loving in Stereo (succeeding 2018’s For Ever), takes their melodies squarely to the dance floor, featuring the thumping drum breakbeats of “Talk About It,” the driving disco-funk of “Keep Moving,” and collaborations from rapper Bas (“Romeo”) and singer Priya Ragu on the jazz-influenced “Goodbye My Love.” Read on for Lloyd-Watson’s thoughts on the album, track by track.
“Dry Your Tears” “This was originally a middle-eight of a B-side called ‘Don't You Cry Now.’ It was one of the last pieces to go on the record, and it’s an overture about not feeling sorry for yourself. The vocals on it are quite airy and dreamlike, as if you're waking up from a bad dream, and the strings then ease you into the album but also make you question exactly what it is we're about to listen to.”
“Keep Moving” “Those strings crescendo into ‘Keep Moving,’ which is an archetypal Jungle track. It's a song that we've been trying to make ever since ‘Busy Earnin’,’ and it's almost like the older sibling to that song. It's about moving on and moving through hard times; a mantra to not worry about stuff too much but to be hopeful instead.”
“All of the Time” “We always envisioned this track as what it would sound like if a band from the 1960s or ’70s had heard future garage rhythms but were playing them on acoustic instruments. It feels like a sample but it's not a sample, since we've always been obsessed with things that sound old but are new. It's supposed to be a super uplifting track, with this gospel feeling in the chorus, which is just like pure euphoria.”
“Romeo” (feat. Bas) “We met Bas at a festival on Coney Island a few years ago. He came backstage with such amazing energy and we got talking. We're all about features that are personal and that happen because they're meant to happen. We were at The Church Studios in Crouch End and he texted that he was in London, so he came through. We make a lot of hip-hop and we've got so many of those sorts of beats, it's really great for people to hear that element to us.”
“Lifting You” “This was a beat that I had made and it wasn't really supposed to be on the album. I remember sending it out to a load of artists and they really liked it but nothing happened with it. I sat down one day and wrote a vocal and we sang on it, and it just had a really carefree feeling to it. It's inspired by bits of KAYTRANADA, with this Moog One bassline that gives it a slightly clubbier feel. There’s also psychedelic influences and an uplifting vocal chorus, which takes it to a different dimension.”
“Bonnie Hill” “‘Bonnie Hill’ is the oldest track on the record; it was one that was written during the second album at Bonnie Hill, a place in the hills in Los Angeles. We just had this beat for a while and it came together with this other melody we had lying around. At The Church Studios we had this 12-piece strings and brass section, and we added jazz flute, as well as a saxophone—that set the track alight. We don't have many solos in Jungle songs, so this was really exciting.”
“Fire” “This was one of the first tracks to signify the direction of the album. It's this free-flowing piece that was very quick to make, in only around an hour. It's more of a sonic experimentation, where we'd just gotten this new profiling amplifier and started putting loads of synthesizers through it, blurring that line between electronics and a band sound. We like to set our music to things, and this feels like it could soundtrack a car chase or heist in a film. It's a bit chaotic, and that's what we love about it.”
“Talk About It” “The producer Inflo was in town when we were recording in LA and we just started jamming and came up with this. The drums have a sense of [The Jam’s] 'Town Called Malice' or The Stone Roses to them. It's another one of those songs that feels like it's taken something from different eras and then pieced them all together. We wanted to hold on to the drum breakbeat that started it off and we just wouldn't let go of it until it was finished, not tweaking it or changing it but allowing it to sit in its original form.”
“No Rules” “It's something that came about that wasn't supposed to be on the album, just again a track that got made for the fun of making music. It's like a synth odyssey, but it's also got this power. It's a rebellion against government control and surveillance and the ever-evolving world of 1984 that we're living in.”
“Truth” “This is the most leftfield thing from what Jungle is. We were following the train of thought that you accept whatever happens in the studio, and it came very quickly. We used to listen to a lot of the indie rock that was dominating the charts in the mid-2000s, things like The Thrills and The Strokes and Kings of Leon, and there's an element of that to it, which is really nostalgic to us. It's a song about realizing that you love somebody and getting over those trust issues in the beginning of a relationship to ultimately realize that you only want to be with them.”
“What D'You Know About Me?” “This is ESG-inspired and it's the fastest track we've ever done. It embodies the anger and passion that this record has—it’s got a darkness to it that ‘No Rules’ also has, again being about surveillance and people knowing too much about you. We're playfully asking, ‘What do you know about me?’ It's got this stark swagger to it.”
“Just Fly, Don't Worry” “The previous two tracks are quite intense, so we wanted this to segue you down into the end of the album. This was originally a lot longer, but it plays now like a palate cleanser, just giving you the bits that you need. It's got a mixture between dub and funk in the groove and feel. We're making this music for the fun of it, and what we liked and what we connected with went on the record, rather than songs that we thought other people would know.”
“Goodbye My Love” (feat. Priya Ragu) “We had been writing all day on this other song at Guy Chambers' studio in London, where he has some amazing equipment like a vintage harpsichord and vibraphone. Our time was coming up and we challenged ourselves to see if we could get these sounds down for something new. Priya's got such a fantastic voice with such a pure tone, and we wanted to get her melody down in a free flow of consciousness. It wasn't intended to be a Jungle track, it was just made for us, but then we felt like it was supposed to be on the record.”
“Can't Stop the Stars” “We try to close with something quite cinematic on our records. I remember hearing these strings back in the studio and they are so overwhelming—even to this day, that last 16 or 32 bars of music is so emotional and it takes us back to this feeling of wanting to be young and free. It's about someone in your life telling you you don't need to worry about everything, because you can't stop the stars from moving, so you can't control everything in this life. The more you let go, the more free you'll actually be.”

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