Jungle Brown is a rap collective formed by three artists: Ric Flo, MAEAR, and producer Tony Bones. Having carved their own lane by producing music of the Boom Bap era, Jungle Brown has the street talking because of its classic Hip Hop vibe.
Channeling the smooth production sounds of some of the greatest Hip Hop groups such as A Tribe Called Quest, the UK group has a completely original sound for this era which will have your heads rocking back and forth. Having released their ‘Flight 314’ EP last year, the group had a very successful 2016.
This year they were one of only a handful of Hip Hop and Grime acts selected to play at Boomtown, alongside AJ Tracey. The ended 2016 with supporting performances alongside De La Soul, Big Daddy Kane and Prodigy.
We caught up with Jungle Brown ahead of their set at Boomtown 2017 to talk creativity and them carving out their own lane.
Keakie: How excited are you for your show later?
MAEAR: Boomtown is big for us, yeah man definitely. I feel like its a pinnacle show. What was different to Glastonbury is that Glastonbury was like garage, drum and bass before us, it was cool but the crowds had just heard a garage or drum and bass set. Why I feel this is pinnacle is that there is a Hip Hop act before us and a Hip Hop act after us, so the crowd is ready and it gives us an opportunity to rock the audience even more.
Keakie: Who would you say your influences are?
MAEAR: Well I think, definitely for me, I've always loved music like Hip Hop, R&B from young. When I was around 16 I would listen to anyone good, and I can appreciate all the different styles out there ranging from Hip-Hop to even Swedish music. You know you have your Kendrick's; I've been influenced from all around but the important thing is to take the best bits from everything you like and know how to use them.
Ric: Yeah exactly, we're definitely eclectic. When I was younger I had garage bars, I had Hip Hop bars. That all influences what Jungle Brown will be doing in the future. We've got an album coming out in March, which sees more fusions. We're more eclectic than that. So there might be an afrofusion, there might be more garage or house influenced stuff, grime influenced stuff. It's called Full Circle so you're going to hear all of that. Even in the set your going to hear some versatility - you know we're going to switch it up.
Ric : I love Sampha. You know, like I thought he was Sbtrkt. I love that. I love Janelle Monae, Kaytranada and Soulection as a movement. You're going to hear more of that sound on the album.
MAEAR : The important thing is that if you do something you've got to be able to do it well. It's not about doing something for the sake of trends, it's about 'can I execute this by being me'. And that's our whole thing. We'll do anything as long as we can execute, being ourselves. You know because music is universal, there's all different types of vibes.
Keakie: How do these influences feed into your production?
Ric : The way we work is just organic in the studio so what ever we are feeling at the time is what you'll hear in the tracks we made.
MAEAR : Its all about carving that new lane. People might say if you listen to 1Xtra you might say Jungle Brown don't fit in that lane. It doesn't matter how good Grime is or how good Drill music is, if you only offer that to people, they will go elsewhere for there other tastes. It's a global world right now. Right now I know if we stick to doing our thing, I know, the more eclectic the scene gets, the more people will stay with the scene and won't go elsewhere.
There's mad talent, mad unique. Let me just big up IAMDDB - she shut down. That's what we need more of, just wavy. If you look at America, they've got the whole selection from left to right. If someone wants to listen to Kendrick one day they will do that and if someone wants to listen to 2 Chainz another day they will do that. We need to be able to offer that same spectrum right here. That's why the UK has never really kicked off when it comes to black music, I feel like it has niche moments and people get bored, you know what I'm saying. People don't want to listen to Grime all day, come on. What I will say is that Stormzy did a great job. I felt like the Stormzy moment was a transition for the UK scene. It got people ready for more eclectic styles of music. I think he did the best job that has been done in this decade.
Ric : We're not trying to sound like old school, monotone, UK rappers like. We're just not that. I don't want to make people feel down, we want to make people feel real good. It's about a feeling essentially.
Keakie: What's on your playlist at the moment?
MAEAR : At the moment, I'm listening to music as market research, I listen to the scene from left to right, so it's not necessarily about my tastes. The most recent albums that I've been digging into have been the likes of Jay Z's 4:44. I like the way that 2 Chainz has attacked some of his tunes on his latest album. I feel that he has a lot of sauce. But, I'm listening to everyone. It's market research. Music is my only hobby so because of that it's a hobby to me to listen to the scene and not even care about what my taste is. I want to listen to Vic Mensa's album, I want to know what the whole game is doing.
We've come to London you know and we're about this music. We're unique. No one has lived lives like ours.
Keakie: How important are platforms like Soundcloud to what you guys are doing?
MAEAR : It shouldn't be closing, because the amount of artists that blew up just because of Soundcloud is mad.
Ric : If it goes there will be another one.
Ric : What I hope about Keakie is that you've actually got a platform that actually champions more than road rap. At the end of the day that's their life. I'm not saying nothing against that, you know, everyone is living the way they're living. At the end of the day, we all mutually know each other from Bournemouth. That's where we grew up, I was fostered there, you know that's where we met and that's where the connection happened. We've come to London you know and we're about this music. We're unique. No one has lived lives like ours.
Keakie: Do you have any upcoming solo projects?
MAEAR : We're still doing things. I've got Sex In The City 2 coming out. It's big, its eclectic. Ric's also got his project coming.
Ric : Yeah it's coming. Right now it's going to be called "Abundance" but it's going to be very different to my last solo project. The last solo project I put out was about my experience in foster care. The whole point in telling kids that story is to let them know that regardless of their past they can make a positive future.
Ric : The next project is going to be very different from anything we've released in the past. The great thing about Jungle Brown is that it pushes our individual skills to the next level. When I did my solo project it was just me, myself and I. When you got talented MCs around you, talented producers its just like alright cool. That's what's great about being a collective.
MAEAR : The good thing about our world, our studio, we've got 4 studios next door. Everybody is levels. When you have that going on like I might be chilling, I'm hearing next door. Oh shit, they're making bangers. That competition is sick for all of us, we didn't have that before.
MAEAR : We got our own set up. That's been important because I think the concept of using studio time it kills the creative. It doesn't matter if you don't have much money this week. If you have your own studio you can be there all day to get out all your emotions. Studio time is dead, I don't believe in studio time. I believe you have to have you own set up.
Ric : You need to marinate on your art. If you just go studio and spit for two hours, cool we done the track but then four hours later you'll be like ah I could've changed that line. We can just go back whenever we want.
Be sure to follow Jungle Brown and their latest developments on their socials @junglebrown.
Jungle Brown are relasing a new album, 'Full Circle', which is out March 9th 2018.