Band Feature: Jungles!!! from Red Bacteria Vacuum

Ikumi – Yagoromaru – 325 – Jasmine
Jungles!! from Red Bacteria Vacuum is an all-girl Japanese punk band from Osaka formed in 1998 currently consisting of IKUM!, 325, Yagoromaru and Jasmine. The band relocated to Tokyo in 2000. Their first EP Roller Coaster was released in January 2006.

They have gone through numerous member changes, notably with the major problem of filling in for the departing Akeming, their original drummer who left the band when pregnant with her first child. Katsu was later found to be the new drummer, but left early 2009. By April of 2009, Jasmine became the their permanent drummer, appearing in their new album and touring with them for Japan Girls Nite. Most recently Yagoroumaru has joined on as the band’s bassist. The band has also re-presented themselves as ‘Jungles!!!’ changing their name from the former ‘Red Bacteria Vaccum’ in response to the new member line-up. 
The band performed in the US numerous times throughout the years, usually as part of BENTEN Label’s Japan Nite, an annual tour promoting Japanese indie bands in America. As part of their 2009 American tour, they played at the opening of New People, a building dedicated to Japanese culture in San Francisco. The group released their album, “Dolly Dolly, Make an Epoch” in October 2009. The band toured in the US once again in March 2010, appearing at SXSW as well as participating in the Japan Nite tour once again. Now as Jungles!!! they return to Japan Nite 2014. 

Meet the members and read the interview after the break!

Birthday: 9/21
Instrument brand of choice: Gibson
Favorite colour: orange
Favorite clothing brand: LUCY Torte
Favorite food: olive
Most known for saying/catch phrase: You can imagine and do it.

Birthday: 12/23
Instrument brand of choice: Fender
Favorite colour: black
Favorite clothing brand: UNIQRO
Favorite food: yakitori
Most known for saying/catch phrase: peace

Birthday: 5/16
Instrument brand of choice: still looking for the one
Favorite colour: orange
Favorite clothing brand: H&M
Favorite food: bread
Most known for saying/catch phrase: ARIGATO☆

Birthday: 1/17
Instrument brand of choice: dw
Favorite colour: Purple
Favorite clothing brand: GU
Favorite food: karaage
Most known for saying/catch phrase: ENJOY!

Gearing up for their return to SXSW’s Japan Nite tour just a few weeks away, the girls from Jungles!!! took a few moments to speak with me during preparations. Their excitement for their return quite evident, while also a new experience for the members that have joined recently. Be sure to check them out as they come to a town near you!

Q. Thank you for taking the time to speak with me today. Would you please introduce yourselves to those reading about you for the first time and also tell me your favorite dessert?

IKUM! – I drink wine everyday. I love music and movies. I would like to be a dancer some day. Sweets: chocolate.

325 – I love beer and chocolate.

Yagoroumaru – I love sleep and doughnut.

JASMINE – I LOVE beer very much! I love Japanese rice cake with bean paste.

Q. Jungles!!! is slightly deceiving in that you are a new band, but truly a band with a long history. Though you experienced a few transitions as Red Bacteria Vacuum, the latest change brought about a new name and presentation of the band. What was it about this latest development that prompted you to revamp the band?

IKUM!  and Jasmine  We had a new bass player, Yagoroumaru!!! And also 325 plays loud guitar.

Q. According to your Facebook page, Yagoroumaru recently joined this past December. How did you meet? Yagoroumaru, becoming part of a band that has been around for so many years, what do you find to be your biggest challenge?

Yagoroumaru Me and 325 used to do an all girl band, gitogitohustler and we met RBV then and played together often. I had been played drums. I started learning bass for the first time for Jungles. I am so excited and enjoying this new experience.

Q. Given the freedom of ‘starting over’ what new things are you looking forward to trying as jungles? Will your style ultimately follow a similar path, or do you seek to incorporate other aspects you might not have perused before?

IKUM! – We have just started this new band jungles!!! and are making new songs. Our dream is coming to America, Europe and all over the world and enjoy our music together.

Q. If we compared your influences now, to those you had when you first started performing who would we see? Is there a major influence that has carried through your careers or perhaps someone new that has made a recent impact?

IKUM! – I used to love L7 and Primus when I started the band and was influenced by both their music and their style. My favorite band is gogol bordello!!!

325 – I had lots of influence from the indie bands of my friends in Japan

Yagoroumaru – I love lots of bands and can’t name one…. too many.

JASMINE – The Muffs /The Who/Led Zeppelin… I love their dynamic drum style.

Q. It’s safe to say you have played many a stage. How has the atmosphere, live houses and crowds changed over the years? What would you say has changed for the better? Is there anything you wish you could change back to the way it was?

IKUM! – The biggest change is I can keep myself calm than I used to when I am on the stage. So I can play more naturally now. It is good. But I sometimes need to be more tension to have a good show.

JASMINE – Now we have 4 members with two guitars which make a wide ensemble. I think we are lucky to have a bass player who used to be a drummer.

Q. You are participating again this March in the Japan Nite SXSW tour series. How did you first get involved with this event? What keeps bringing you back?

IKUM! – Audrey, BENTEN Label was the reason. It was lucky RBV met her through our friends. I love American movies and music and would love to come always anytime if I have a chance.

JASMINE – we met Audrey and joined BENTEN Label Japan Girls Nite tour in 2005 with TsuShiMaMiRe and Ampets and had a great time. Then we performed at SXSW in 2010. It was amazing experience! We really wanted to come back to SXSW with new members. Beside it’s always a fun Japan Nite tour with Audrey. So exciting to come to America and can’t wait to play!!

Q. What is the first thing you want to do once you return here to the US? Are there any places you’d like to see or foods you’d like to try that you haven’t yet on past tours? Is there a favorite place you plan on returning to?

IKUM! – I definitely want to eat Tabasco beef Jerkey! and love to visit churches in town. If I had time I would like to go to museums and thrift shops and bars to drink!

325 – I always eat beef jerky when I come to America. I would love to see baseball game. My favorite city is NY.

Yagoroumaru – I eat doughnut and pancake and pizza and beer!

JASMINE –  My favorite stores in USA are Ross(Dress for less!) and Target. I definitely go both.

Q. Touring is certainly one of the more challenging aspects of band life. What do you like to do to relax and prevent yourselves from burning out? Do you have any pre or post show rituals either as a band, or as individuals?

IKUM! – Never drink before the show and eat candy.

325 – I drink beer before the show.

Yagoroumaru – I do stretch!

JASMINE – I always go to toilet before the show.

Q. Touring also gives way to many memories, both good and bad. What is one of your favorite or most memorable tour moments?

IKUM! – When we played at Viper Room at last Japan Nite US tour 2010, Pink Dinosaur Barney in the audience and came to the stage and dance with our music. It was so much fun. We had no idea who he was though.

JASMINE – BIG DAY OUT Australian tour in 2010 was a dream. And also the US tour with A Perfect Circle was amazing because we played like 10,000 of audience everyday. Our van was over-heated and broken in the middle of the desert! I’ll remember the tour forever.

Q. 2014 brings a new year and plenty of opportunity. What lies in Jungles!!!’ future? Are you focusing on your tour schedule or can we expect to see a release soon?

IKUM! – My goal of 2014 is do my best at Japan Nite tour in March.

325 – I want as many people as possible to know Jungles!!

Yagoroumaru – I just going to enjoy myself.

JASMINE – We had just recorded our first CD and will start selling this on the Japan Nite tour. I want lots of people to buy this and listen to our music and to know Jungles and to meet them at the shows. Let’s enjoy together!!!

~Project: Lixx~
A HUGE thank you to Jungles!!!: IKUM!, 325, Yagoroumaru, and JASMINE for participating in this feature!
Be sure to check them out through their official links below:
Also thank you to Audrey from BENTEN Label for organizing this interview!