Hammersmith & Fulham is a borough with a great musical history. And Mercury Prize-nominated Jungle are just the latest entry in that lineage.
The electronica duo consists of Josh Lloyd-Watson and Tom McFarland, two Shepherds Bush natives and childhood friends who formed the band in 2013.
“Josh and I grew up on the Goldhawk Road together,” explains Tom, in the middle of a four-night run at the Brixton Academy. “We met when we were 10 years old, when he moved in next door.”
Their self-titled debut record was shortlisted for the prestigious Mercury Prize in 2014, and that was followed by their sophomore effort For Ever in 2018. Jungle’s catchy, funky electronica has featured in video games included FIFA 19 and Forza Horizon 2, and on the hit US sitcom Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and they’ve played festivals around the world.
The band cite their West London upbring as a big influence on their music. “Growing up in Shepherds Bush, you are exposed to so many diverse cultures on your doorstep,” continues Tom. “Just walking down to Shepherds Bush Green, you hear Caribbean music, you hear Indian music. It’s just such a melting pot.”
“And we as artists, we really take that on board, and our work is a result of that. I think all musicians take the culture that’s around them and redigest it into something else.”
In 2014, they even headlined one of H&F’s most famous music venues.
“We’re very lucky we get to play venues like Shepherds Bush Empire that we’d walked past every day of our lives as kids, and that see your favourite bands’ names up in lights,” says Tom.
“To be able to experience that, and see that we’ve been a part of that musical history and culture was really, really special to us.”
Jungle’s third album Loving In Stereo was released last month, and was partially produced in Shepherds Bush. The duo have also recently moved back to the area – just in time to see giant a Jungle billboard go up outside Goldhawk Road Underground Station.
“It was amazing seeing the poster at Goldhawk Road. You get off the tube at that station every day for many years, and to see your name up there, it’s a really special experience,” says Tom.
“And I think the most important thing is mum and dad can walk past it and take a picture!”
Jungle play the Brixton Academy on Friday 3 and Saturday 4 September.
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