In Conversation with Jungle Boy

In Conversation with Jungle Boy

I first started hanging out with Jacob Palmer (A.K.A. Jungle Boy) back in 2015. We hit it off straight away and soon started a band together with two other mutual friends. Since then, Jacob’s musical exploits have gone from strength to strength, developing his drumming to a fine art and finding his feet in solo piano and singing. His latest single, ‘Glass’, was rereleased by ZilDeep Records back in July and features CHA:DY on vocals, with Jacob taking on piano and backup vocal duties. Blending jazz, neo-soul and alternative music, it’s a track which oozes with emotion and feeling, but also with musical talent and and maturity. I caught up with Jacob over in France to discuss the man himself, the new project, and his upcoming plans.

G: Sup Jake.
J: What’s up my G.

G: Tell us a bit about yourself.
J: A bit about myself? I am Jungle Boy, a musician who’s been going for a while and doing band work for the last eight or so years probably. I’ve just started venturing into some of my solo work recently, doing things with the drums and with the keys and with the pianos.

G: Where are you from?
J: I’m from south, south west London. Suburbiton.

G: Your solo project is called Jungle Boy. Where does that name come from?
J: Erm… It’s a bit of a weird one. Me and an old friend of mine Sam were jamming about and we wanted to like … we were just really drunk in his basement making these jams, and we were like ‘we have to publish this’ kind of thing, ‘we have to record it and just put it out there’. We wanted to call it Jungle Boy for the both of us, and then absolutely nothing came from it. But when I started my solo stuff I thought about just calling it under my name, but I also thought I’d kinda like to separate it from that so I messaged him and said I might just steal that name. He said go for it.

G: Your band After London are on the rise. What do you make of the London music scene at the moment?
J: Yeah, I love it. It’s taken a while to go up the ranks a little bit and get to the higher tier venues. I’m nowhere near the top or anything don’t get me wrong, but at least I’m not quite at the bottom anymore. But yeah, I really enjoy it. It can seem a little closed at times for the higher venues. It’s not as simple as emailing them your band’s work and asking like, ‘can I put on a show here?’ They only talk to promoters and labels and stuff. But, yeah I’ve enjoyed going through it, and I’m still enjoying it.

G: As you say, you’ve played in bands for years in the past, but what made you want to solo work? What attracted you to it?
J: I’ve messed about with a lot of solo artists doing session work before and I really love band work and the relationship between everyone. But, I wanted to – well two reasons really – I wanted to try and see what it’s like where every creative decision was my own and I could really steer it into something that was completely original, down by me, every choice was mine – the artwork, the music, the image, everything. Secondly, it’s because I’ve been doing drums in bands for the last however many years, and I’ve been playing piano since I was three, and I wanted to use that ‘cause all my songwriting doesn’t really come on drums, it comes on piano. So I had all these ideas and I really wanted to release it into the world.

G: And who are some of the artists you’ve collaborated with on this solo project?
J: Yeah so the track I’ve just released is with CHA:DY, a really nice soulful jazz singer from Paris. And I’ve messed about with Santino Le Saint before. He’s doing really well, actually.
G: You seen he’s been out in LA at the moment?
J: Yeah he is, yeah. I’ve done a lot of drumming stuff for him, like I did the Mahogany Session with him on YouTube. We did actually jam about for some of my own original stuff before, which might go somewhere. It’s a bit open at the moment because the next thing I’m gonna record isn’t gonna be with him, but maybe at some point we’ll come together and have a little song together.

G: You’ve just rereleased the single under a label – how did that affiliation come about? And what was it like compared with producing it on your own?
J: I released it by my ones and it was a good process, and I enjoyed seeing my friends liking and sharing and that kind of thing, but I found a lot of the time I’ve done things, I’ve always wanted more from it for the amount of work I put in to go through this really long process. Even though it seems like you just record it and put it out there, there are so many bits in between – mixing, mastering, getting artwork, getting music videos, getting a release plan, photography – there are so many little bits and bobs. So I sent it off to a few people and this label ZilDeep, the one I released it with, said that they were really interested to rerelease it with me and I could see that going through them, my reach would be much, much bigger, which is what I really wanted – to get it out there and to start making a name for myself. And yeah, that’s what I did.

G: How many streams are you up to at the moment?
J: We’re at 100k at the moment after about 4 weeks.
G: Very nice.
J: It’s like, at the start it kinda did well and then it really dropped and I was like, ‘oh no, that’s a shame, I thought it was going to do well’. And then for the last couple of weeks or so it’s been firing up and going well.

G: What have you got coming up for us? Plans? The next project?
J: My next project? Well my next project is going to be done not featuring anyone, it’s going to be my own, completely. I’ve got loads of ideas and I’m going back into the studio when I get back from France, and what I will say is, there may be some cheeky saxophone sounds going in… We’re gonna try make it a bit fuller. So rather than piano, vocals and synth, maybe there’ll be some sax and some beats in there, a good bassline or two perhaps – make it a bit fuller. Plenty to expect.

G: Great, cheers man.
J: Pleasure. Thank you.

‘Glass’ is available now on all streaming platforms – Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube – and you can follow Jungle Boy on social media for updates on releases and live shows.

George Cooper