XS ROCK: Tell me about the latest band news? Any new projects coming out, live shows, or announcements?
We’ve just released our music video for ‘I Don’t Even Know You’, a track from our new and debut EP Anyway.
Watch ‘I Don’t Even Know You’ – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YOzpOPxEkg&feature=youtu.be
Listen to Anyway – http://hyperurl.co/1t0nl7
XS ROCK: So how long has the band been together?
8 years now! We formed at school when we were 14/15/16 (there are 3 years between us all)
XS ROCK: What was your main motivation for originally starting or being in a band?
To have fun with my mates honestly, but then that’s also formed into a crusade to create something meaningful and exciting from our humble middle England town.
XS ROCK: What is your music background?
Hearing MIKA’s great and lavish pop album Life In Cartoon Motion was where I started taking playing piano seriously (aged 10)…. But as I began to write music (aged 14), I hugely discovered the post-punk revival genre (The Arctic Monkeys, The Strokes, Interpol, Franz Ferdinand, The Killers), and rediscovered the art-rock groups such as Radiohead and The Beatles, and Brit-Pop groups like Oasis who my Dad had played religiously on cassette in the car when I was a kid. In Ali In The Jungle, we fuse all these genres together and go for the genre-bending that we admire The Beatles so much for too.
XS ROCK: What image do you think your music conveys?
Greens and blues. It’s the gravely misunderstood meaning of life in middle England, put to rock genres from everywhere.
XS ROCK: What are your current music career goals?
Currently, we’ve got loads and loads of songs as well as music video ideas and we want to just keep making music and growing our fanbase. We’d love to get on a label, or at least get into a position where we can afford to commit more of our music to record.
XS ROCK: Which do you prefer? Writing new songs and recording or playing for a live audience?
I love both! They’re amazing for very different reasons. Writing and recording, you’re discovering something and then realizing a vision for yourself, but when you can enjoy it with an audience, playing live it’s really special for a different reason. Yeah, sorry I can’t answer that one!
XS ROCK: What are your songs’ lyrics about? (What specific themes do they cover?)
They’re about reflecting our point of view in society from a consciously juvenile perspective. I’m childish, and I’m laughing along, but I’m fully aware of that. Drunk Generation is probably a good example of this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rttATT20aak
XS ROCK: What is the single most important thing to you as a musician?
To give all of my possible love, emotional honesty, and effort to our music so that a listener can feel all of the love put into each song.
XS ROCK: Do you have any outrageous tour stories from the road? If so, please fill us in.
We don’t really haha. We ended up having breakfast with our local MP and his assistant once, and it was seriously weird and we don’t remember why we were there, but we enjoyed the full English nevertheless.
XS ROCK: What’s the strangest request that you’ve ever received from one of your fans?
Fans say really weird things. I’m pretty sure I remember people shouting about wanting us to take off our trousers or something… That was a strange beer festival…
XS ROCK: Are your friends and family supportive of your choice to play in a rock band?
Yeah, we’re really lucky to have such supportive friends and family, and a lot of our friends act as a screen for our new music when we have it. Many of them are very harsh music fans, so they’re opinions are always really useful. Also quite a few of our mates now work on our videos and branding with us, and they’re absolute legends.
XS ROCK: What advice do you have for new bands trying to get started?
To focus on finding their own sound. Covers are great for learning and for finding styles you’d like to apply to your own music, but the single most important thing for new bands is to carve their own identity. There’s no point in the same band existing twice; it’s a waste of everyone’s time…
XS ROCK: What are your favorite tracks to play live?
It’s always different, and after every gig, the highlights change. Having not gigged properly for ages because of COVID-19, I really miss playing ‘People Change’ (from our debut EP Anyway). It’s so upbeat and joyful and the whole piece feels like a constant trade-off between instruments in a way. Also, I like taking my jumpers off on stage. It really confuses people when there’s the same jumper underneath.
XS ROCK: Which band or artist inspired you to perform? Why?
Sam and I went to see Kaiser Chiefs, not long before we formed as Ali In The Jungle. Ricky Wilson climbed the balcony where we were and was generally great. It was the first gig I went to and just seeing the energy he exuded, I wanted to be like that.
XS ROCK: If you could design a dream tour for your band, who would be on the bill?
So we’d headline, but we’d be on the bill with The Strokes, The Velvet Underground, and David Bowie. That’d be such a weird tour.
XS ROCK: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment so far?
Supporting Beans on Toast at MK11 and Beans himself being impressed was pretty cool. We’d just released the Anyway EP too and were still getting a lot of buzz from that! You can watch the gig here on our YouTube: https://youtu.be/q9wN8kUfPpc
XS ROCK: If you weren’t performing in a band what kind of career do you think you would have?
I’d be a haberdasher or a failing film critic.
XS ROCK: What type of equipment do you use for live shows?
Pearl drum shells & Sabian cymbals; a Kawaii ES7 piano keyboard; a fender mustang electric; an Ibanez ART120 electric guitar; Fender Precision bass; Epiphone Les Paul-style electric.
We’re very analog with our sound and use a limited pedal deck. Chris uses an EHX Holy Grail reverb, ZVEX Distortron, & EHX Soul Food.
XS ROCK: What do you think of the current music scene?
It ain’t bad; I think it’s getting a lot better; we certainly have a great and growing music scene in Milton Keynes, but with regards to music as a whole. I’m hearing more indie music on the radio these days, and there’s so much great music out there, but not all the good stuff is getting the attention it deserves.
XS ROCK: For anyone that doesn’t know you, what would they be surprised to know about you?
But do they want to? I’m the goalkeeper in a football team called ‘Ali In The Football’… Is that surprising? I have a gigantic Doctor Who collection on DVD, including Classic Who too (apart from the lost episodes obviously), and cult spin offs such as Wartime.
XS ROCK: Is there anything that you’d like to promote or say to your fans out there?
Cheers to everyone who’s supporting us! If you haven’t yet, listen to our EP and watch our music videos, particularly ‘I Don’t Even Know You’ cos it’s new…
XS ROCK: Thanks again for taking the time to talk with us at XS ROCK!
Thank you kindly 🙂