Crawling from not-heavily-foliaged streets of Amsterdam, Jungle by Night collide an improvised high-octane afrobeat sound with strains of funk and psychedelia. The nine-piece have been responsible for three albums over the past few years, all of which have come courtesy of the Kindred Spirits label, brainchild of Rush Hour Records founder Antal Heitlager.
Ahead of the second candle-lit installment of our Superstition series this Friday, which sees Rush Hour takeover the dance floor of Village Underground, we sat down with saxophone player Pieter to talk beginnings, spirits and superstitions.
How did Jungle by Night start?
Jungle by Night came to existence when a group of friends and family gathered in a small studio in Amsterdam and started jamming and making the music we loved most: obscure funk, afrobeat and jazz.
There’s something impressive about 9 people all improvising and creating music in the moment. Has this been a skill you’ve honed together or did you all click instantly?
Most of us had already known each other for a long time, which makes it much easier. On the other hand, all the moments we’re on stage still make the nine-piece machine even tighter.
What inspires JBN?
We’re inspired by a lot, but especially by other musicians. Our scope is very broad and ranges from Cumbria to Colombia and everything in between.
How often do you all play together when you’re not touring?
Since we’re almost constantly touring, we don’t have much time to rehearse together. But if we have a weekend without gigs, we definitely spend it rehearsing in the studio.
Is there anyone else doing what you do in Amsterdam?
Well not really, although there are some other afrobeat-groups in Amsterdam, but they are more focused on traditional afrobeat. We are influenced by much more than that.
If you only had 24 hours in Amsterdam, how would you spend it?
Amsterdam is best enjoyed on a sunny day in autumn cruising around on a bike, a boat-trip or just chill at one of the parks. North of Amsterdam has especially become a very interesting hot-spot.
What’re your experiences of London?
We played in Brixton last year which was really nice. The audience seemed to pay attention and liked to dance.
Have you ever played by candle light before?
Do you think it’ll influence your performance?
It must do. However I don’t have a clue in which way. Maybe we can evaluate it after the show.
Are any of you superstitious?
No not that I know of, as long as no black cats are around.
If Village Underground turns out to be haunted by evil spirits and they insist on joining you on stage to cover a Black Sabbath song, which song would you choose?
We actually have had this experience in Amsterdam a year ago. The evil spirit was named The Gaslamp Killer and he made us cover Electric Funeral.