Interview: The Jungle Giants’ Sam Hales: A Major Life Remix & His Livestreaming Show

Cancelled gigs, social distancing and a deeper focus on technology are the reality of many artists right now. We had a chat with Sam Hales from The Jungle Giants about life after COVID-19 and his recent live streaming show.

The Jungle Giants are known for their tours: it feels like there’s always another one around the corner. Yet the virus has resulted in them being unable to tour at all. Their response? Buckling down with their music.

“I’m getting the record finished,” reports Sam. “It’s weird having a sense of uncertainty, not knowing what gigs will be like when they’re back, but it’s been really good working on the record.”. In fact – it’s been better than life before the virus. Sam has been connecting with Konstantin Kersting, their sound engineer, in the same way we’ve been connecting to work and friends: through Zoom. They’ve been setting up screen shares and Zooming, which, according to Sam, works significantly better than when he would fly to Brisbane to work with Konstantin. “We’re no longer struggling to get things done – we aren’t wasting time; we aren’t looking at memes. It all gets done by the afternoon.”

That isn’t the only adaption The Jungle Giants have made. On Thursday May 28, they had their first acoustic show in 10 years. It was powered entirely by smartphone manufacturer OPPO, who provided their Find X2 Pros to film the show. “They set up five phones all around me in my studio, like a fort, I stood in the middle with fairy-lights. The production team were very capable people. All the footage looked amazing.”

At a time when live gigs are unavailable, live streams provide an opportunity for fans to get away from reality and engage with their favourite musicians in an intimate and personal way. To stop things from getting awkward for the artist, who is, after all, performing alone, the streams are hosted by triple J’s Linda Marigliano. “It was great having Linda there” says Sam, and would he do it again? “Definitely. It was a comfortable, fun way to reconnect with our fans. We’ve been off the radar, which feels unnatural,” noted Sam, “But fans reacted well” and that’s a big thumbs-up in all books.

The Under the Covers series will be made available on Oppo’s YouTube Channel, curating a line-up that aims to connect with fans over the next coming weeks. That isn’t the only thing we have to look forward to. As well as having a new Jungle Giants record on the way, there is also a new track which will be released soon. Keep your phones plugged in and your headphones nearby – it’ll be worth waiting for.

Daniela Koulikov

At the age of three, Daniela Koulikov picked up a pen, and hasn’t put it down since. She loves live music, interviewing artists and reviewing events in Melbourne. When she's not out and about in the live music scene, she's walking her dog or taking her friends with her on a hike.

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