How did the band come to be?
The four of us used to go to the same youth group – Tim and Sam were already childhood friends, as were Chris and Ali. Ali was the eldest, and cooler than the rest of us, so we named the band after him in order to entice him into joining. It’s a good job he did join, otherwise the band name would’ve made even less sense!
Do you have any releases coming up in the new year?
Watch this space! We’ve had a great 2020 (coronavirus aside), having released our debut EP and 2 music videos, and we’ve still got the “People Change” music video to come (date TBC). Hopefully we will have something lined up for 2021 soon – we'd love to get back in the recording studio as soon as we can do it safely.
What is something you want listeners to take away from your music?
A sense of never having heard something quite like that before. I hope that’s not too much to expect of ourselves! We incorporate such a diverse range of genres into our music, as well as tempo changes, many different sections, and differing playing styles – we want listeners to take away something different from each song. AITJ are most predictable in being unpredictable!
With everything that is going on in our world what is one cause or organization that you are passionate about?
Runnymede (https://www.runnymedetrust.org/), which is a Trust/think tank that aims to make positive change to the lives of BAME people through research-based interventions. They conduct research and analysis which is used to inform policy-making and public debate. Runnymede recognises that one of the most effective ways to move towards racial equality is to ensure change on a bigger scale, by influencing policies and practices throughout Britain. They say, “in order to effectively overcome racial inequality in our society, we believe that our democratic dialogue, policy, and practice, should all be based on reliable evidence from rigorous research and thorough analysis.” The music industry is just one of many industries which suffers from endemic racial inequalities -- we need systemic change to address that.
What is your writing process like?
Hectic! A song can start off from anywhere; usually one band member brings a riff or chord sequence that we then jam over or combine with existing parts we’ve written independently. But our music is so varied that inspiration can come from anywhere: a film or video game soundtrack, a random whistled melody, a dream, or the fridge. Once we’ve got the first section down, we’ll try to start adding other instruments in – drums tend to come last because they’re rhythmic rather than melodic, but other than that, we can write the instrumental parts in any order. We’re four very different people so everyone’s got a natural musical voice; you can’t control that, only hone it in and push it in certain directions. If we hit a snag, our usual troubleshooting technique is “do the opposite”: think about what you’d expect to come next, then turn that on its head.
To follow up with the last question, what inspires your sound?
Because we’re such different individuals, there’s a whole raft of genres which feed into Ali In The Jungle’s music. Overall, we grew up with a radio dominated by upbeat and interesting rock music, and we’re trying to bring back a new innovative form of that! We write the music we wish we could hear everywhere on the radio: a mix of our post-punk revival influences, plus more retro influences such as classic jazz, glam rock, funk and disco, hip-hop, noughties piano-pop, and much, much more. We each bring our separate musical tastes together and try to fuse them into something cohesive and engaging.
Any tours coming up soon?
Hope so! All of our summer gigs – including many in London, and two festivals – have been cancelled or postponed, so keep an eye on our socials for updates on those. We had a mini tour of UK venues via video link for the #saveourvenues campaign; you can find those videos on our Facebook page, plus many other live videos on our YouTube. Again – watch this space!
Anything you would like to tell our readers?
You, reader, are a wonderful person. Honestly. Well done you.