Interview with Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (http://petesrocknewsandviews.com)
PD: What type of artist are you?
AITJ: The second-quickest answer to that question is innovative indie with a sprinkling of jazz, blues rock, funk, folk, piano pop, and more. An even quicker answer is: a bit of almost everything.
PD: Tell us a brief history of yourself.
AITJ: We’ve been making music together since 2012, but it’s only in the last year or so that we’ve really tried to make a go of it. We met at a youth group when we were all teenagers, and formed a band on the strength of the name alone (always a good reason). In the past year we’ve released a debut EP and are about to release our second, developing our sound in all kinds of genres from piano-pop to post-punk, Britpop, glam, and jazz. We’ve warmed up for ‘drunk folk’ artist Beans On Toast in our hometown of Milton Keynes, as well as performing at O2 Academy Islington, The Garage, 229 The Venue, and The Good Mixer in Camden.
PD: Who are your musical and non-musical influences?
AITJ: The four of us have very different musical tastes! Collectively, the things we have in common are 00s indie rock, but personally I love all kinds of music from jazz and blues, funk, pop, dark folk, and more experimental stuff, even classical. Outside of music, we’re all massive film fans– movies are a big influence on Tim’s lyrics plus the concepts and aesthetic styles of our album artwork and music videos.
PD: What are your dreams and goals?
AITJ: That’s a big question… I think it’s better to keep your goals achievable rather than aim too high, so I’ll play it safe and say we’d love to play a few festivals next year, get some national radio airplay, and keep expanding our fanbase. We just enjoy doing what we do at this stage!
PD: Who writes your songs, what are they about?
AITJ: we all write the music– generally on our own instruments — and Tim contributes the lyrics. The lyrics vary wildly from tongue-in-cheek songs like “Runways” (about a plane crash) to more earnest, melancholy stuff like “Pagan Sun”… none of these are released yet so I’m not sure why I’m mentioning them. “Fuel on the Fire” is a dark murder ballad influenced by the movie Nightcrawler, and “Star-Strangled Hanna” tells the story of an actress corrupted by the sleazy Hollywood scene. I hope that gives you a flavour of what we do!
PD: How do you promote your band and shows?
AITJ: The best tactic in my opinion is to shout as loudly as you can out of each and every window in your house until someone calls the police. Failing that, we plug them relentlessly on social media, and try to spread the word via word of mouth as much as we can. The old ways are sometimes the best.
PD: What do you think about downloading music online?
AITJ: I tend to stream my music which is probably hypocritical given that it’s a terrible business model for artists. Digital downloads and streaming aren’t going to go away, but they definitely ought to be better legislated to give artists a fair deal. I can completely understand people who listen to nothing but vinyl though or prefer to buy physical copies of music– keep doing your thing.
PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?
AITJ: “Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac. It’s wonderfully simple yet hauntingly beautiful. No further explanation required.
PD: What are some of your pet peeves?
AITJ: When someone tells you something bad that’s happened to them, you say “oh, I’m sorry”, and they say “don’t worry, it wasn’t your fault.” Winds me up every time– I was expressing empathy, not culpability! Don’t get me started.
PD: What is your proudest moment in music?
AITJ: Probably our launch gig for the Anyway EP at MK11 back in March 2020. Looking out at a room full of people who’d come to see us and hear us play live is just a fantastic feeling, that’s the best part of being in a band.
PD: So what are you working on at the moment?
AITJ: We have an entirely new EP in the can, plus a stand-alone single, which we’re working on a release plan for. The EP is a combination of classic AITJ fan favourites, and a more ‘out there’ experimental prog-rock-style odyssey which is bonkers but brilliant. Hopefully we’ll have more details on that soon. But at the moment we have our hands full promoting the Late Night Triple Bill EP– it’s a dark, mischievous little Extended Play which we think people are going to love.
PD: What music have you available online and where can we buy it from?
AITJ: By 19 June we’ll have 2 EPs plus all of the related singles for your aural pleasure. You can find links to our music and socials here: https://smarturl.it/AITJ, or by searching “Ali In The Jungle” on your music site of choice. Buy it on bandcamp if you want to give back to small independent artists! Thank you 🙂
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