Long Beach rockers The Junglecats are making major waves once more with the release of their second album, “Great Kills.” The band (composed of Asa Edelbacher, Kyle Brawley, Cameron Cooper, and Mikey Feser) gained notoriety upon bringing their debut album “Nowhere Else To Be” to fruition in 2014, displaying an noteworthy ability to emulate aspects of ’60s surf rock all while simultaneously integrating their own artistic flair.
“Great Kills” encompasses aspects of these sonic elements, but with an added layer of intensity and a dash of danger. The album’s opening track, “Taking Aim,” is the audible form of an adventure. The adrenaline-inducing track engages the listener to the fullest extent, and serves as the perfect opening for the dynamic and innovative album. “What Can I Say” nods to the band’s 60s inspired roots, exuding groove and funk like no other. The track blends a myriad of subtle sonic elements to culminate in an artistic work that is nothing short of forceful and inventive. The title track, “Great Kills,” is the ultimate nexus between delight and danger. The song is both hazy and upbeat without one element overpowering the other; each musical element is equally balanced out, thus creating a work that is as smooth as a hot knife cutting through butter.
The Junglecats artistically distinguish themselves through their distinctive knowledge of how to successfully integrate a variety of sounds and styles together to create musical content that is both creative and cohesive. AMPLIFY had the opportunity to interview the band about their beginnings, the makings of “Great Kills,” as well as what lies ahead. Read on, friends.
AMPLIFY: What’s the origin story of The Junglecats?
The Junglecats: Asa and Kyle have known each other since high school, when they first began jamming and writing music together. Years later during college, they put together an EP wanting to take their music to the next level. Needing to fill out their roster, the two reached out to friends who might have interest in the project. Mikey was the first to join, who Kyle knew from film school, and soon after, Asa recruited Cameron, who he had met in a writing class (all attended CSULB). A few jam sessions and several drinks later, The Junglecats were born.
AMPLIFY: How would you articulate the band’s artistic growth?
The Junglecats: Much of our first album is made up of the songs Asa and Kyle had written for the EP, and those are the songs we all played together first, so we had drawn primarily from some of their bigger influences – Beatles, Zombies, Animals, to name a few. Moving forward, we wanted to make more fun songs while also experimenting more with different styles and sounds within the rock genre, and that’s how Great Kills came about. There has been more influence from each band member. A lot more time went into the writing and production of our second album.
AMPLIFY: In your opinion, what’s the most unique aspect of Long Beach’s music scene?
The Junglecats: Long Beach is a tightly knit community. We’ve gotten to know so many bands here, bands who’ve become our friends that we play with all the time. There’s a really chill vibe here that you don’t find everywhere else, it’s rowdy and inclusive, bands here prioritize having fun and supporting each other. There’s also a long history of great bands that have come out of Long Beach, like Sublime and Tijuana Panthers. Listening to those bands you can get a sense of that Long Beach vibe.
AMPLIFY: As a band, what aspect of “Great Kills” are you most proud of?
The Junglecats: Great Kills is our first album that we were all involved in the creation of from start to finish. It also has a higher production value than our first; we still recorded and mixed our own vocals and instruments, but enlisted Ian Keller to master the album, giving it an extra finished sound that really helped bring it to the next level. It’s all entirely self-funded and produced, from the music to the pics and videos. Not without some help, we have a great video team that has worked on most of our videos with us led by director Chad Corhan.
AMPLIFY: What is your creative process like when developing new material?
The Junglecats: A new song idea can come from anywhere, from one of us coming to practice with a partially developed idea recorded that we can all elaborate on in our individual parts, to something as simple as a single guitar or bass riff that we all start jamming to and really like. From there we’ll continue to work on our favorite ideas until we’re all happy with the final product.
AMPLIFY: Do you have a favorite memory from any of your live performances?
The Junglecats: It’s hard to pick a single moment, but it’s always a ton of fun when we have a full house and the crowd has a lot of energy. We definitely feed off the crowd, so if they’re having a great time, it makes all the difference for us. A recent gig that sticks out as particularly memorable is playing at our friends’ The Doggerels warehouse. We charged $5 for entry that included free beer, had an awesome psychedelic light show as a backdrop for the stage put on by Taylor Leach/Slim Reaper, and packed that place with a couple hundred people, the biggest crowd we’ve ever played for. Sadly, the warehouse is no longer with us.
AMPLIFY: Does your artistic vision for “Great Kills” align with what you hope listeners take away from it?
The Junglecats: For the most part we set out to create something that we wanted to make, not thinking too much at the time about how it would be received. That’s not to say that audience reception isn’t important to us, we can’t do anything without an audience, but the priority was to put out our best jams, believing that would be enough to get us recognized if we are worthy. We never know what people will think, but so far Great Kills has had some great responses.
AMPLIFY: What role does your chemistry as a band play in your work?
The Junglecats: We get along really well, which is a blessing and a curse. It makes work fun – we all want to be where we are, doing what we’re doing, which translates well in our live performance – but can also contribute to a lack of focus at times. We hang out and drink together, and then sometimes play music.
AMPLIFY: How did the creative objectives for “Great Kills” differ from those of your previous work?
The Junglecats: We didn’t have an overall vision for Great Kills from the get go, some of the songs began as random jams (see question 5) as soon as Nowhere Else to Be was finished, but we knew we wanted a second album that would express our growth as a band. One way we accomplished this was by more contribution from each member, reflecting a wider range of influences than we had on Nowhere Else to Be. We wanted something high energy that people could dance and jump around to, but also something complex and interesting. Fun fact, we actually collaborated with saxophonist Jason Fabus on both albums, for Do The Whatevah and What Can I Say.
AMPLIFY: Lastly, what’s coming up next for The Junglecats?
The Junglecats: Since we just released an album, there is a focus on booking as many gigs as we can around the LA and Orange County areas to promote that, but we are always working on new material, be it songs, videos, photo shoots, or anything creative that we can stamp our name on to get the word out. We want to put out some new music by the end of the year, or maybe early 2018.
All images courtesy of The Junglecats