By Emma Austin
- Everybody remembers the impish introduction from The Spice Girls, as they mischievously inflicted mayhem on unsuspecting party guests in their video debut. Seventeen years after Wannabe and there’s a new feisty force to be reckoned with in the form of up and coming girl group Neon Jungle. Despite the fact that three of these four little firecrackers, Jess (20), Amira (17), Asami (17) and Shereen (16), may not remember a time when myself and a good proportion of the female population, were tying their hair in bunches and arguing tirelessly amongst friends, over who got to be Baby Spice, there is certainly an early Spice-era air to their debut single Trouble.
Punchy, poppy and guaranteed to get stuck in your head, the video for Trouble certainly doesn’t tread cautiously, as the foursome ferociously tear through a suburban house in a high energy haze. Unlike some of their competition, Little Mix and the Saturdays, Neon Jungle steer well clear of the clichéd coordinating outfits and choreographed routines and instead, just as the Spice Girls did, actually inject a bit of personality into their brand.
I met the four girls in Hoxton Square, prior to a showcase of their new single, to find out exactly what makes Neon Jungle potential pop world-beaters.
Emma: So, your new single Trouble is out on the 1st September, who would you say is the biggest trouble maker?
Jess: I think Asami is a little cheeky monkey, she is. She’s like a little gremlin, you blink and she’s like climbing up a wall! See she’s not denying it.
Emma: Are you all quite similar characters and do you all get on?
Amira: We all get on but we’re all totally different characters.
Asami: We’ve got very different aspects to our personalities.
Emma: There’s been a big revival of girl bands in the last few years, so what makes Neon Jungle different and how would you describe your music?
Amira: I think aside from the music, in terms of the fact that we’re all individuals, individual people that have come together to make a different sound, I think that is one thing that makes us quite different.
Shereen: It’s just us being real, it’s like the music, it’s not polished.
Jess: We describe ourselves as four solo artists that always collaborate with each other. I don’t think that we slot into like a stereotypical type of girl band that you’d think of.
Emma: How did you all get together initially, how did you start out?
Asami: We got together and met for the first time for an audition in London. Amira and Jess were spotted, Jess was spotted on Brick Lane and then Shereen and I were found on YouTube.
Emma: So how long have you been together now?
Asami: About six months, yeah since February 10th.
Emma: Has it just flown by?
Jess: SO fast!
Emma: Who are your major influences and who would you aspire to be like if you could be like any performer?
Amira: I think as a group, we would like the success of the Spice Girls. I think their whole attitude and the fact that they are all different, that’s our inspiration.
Jess: Yeah we wanna take the world!
Emma: Like world domination?
Shereen: Individually, my inspirations are bands like The Temptations, Diana Ross and the Supremes, the whole Motown sound, The Drifters, I love it!
Amira: For me, individually, I’d say like Beyoncé, Amy Winehouse, Michael Jackson, some rap music.
Jess: I really like Pharrell, everything that man does is amazing! The music he makes, him, himself as an artist, him as a producer. That would be a dream collaboration. I also like people like Rihanna, love Rihanna! You can’t not love Rihanna and I love how she just doesn’t really give a damn. Like, similarly with MIA as well, I love her music, she doesn’t really give a damn either, they’re just doing what they wanna do and that’s make music. I love that whole attitude.
Asami: For me as I’ve grown up, I listen to a lot of indie bands or bands like The Foo Fighters.
Emma: So a few more rocky influences?
Asami: Yeah, yeah.
Emma: Quite a variety then. So, the video for Trouble looked pretty chaotic, was it as much fun to make as it looks?
Shereen: It didn’t feel like work at all, it was just like a fun day out.
Amira: We were doing the whole shoot on like two hours sleep each but I was buzzing by the end of it as much as I was at the beginning.
Jess: So fun!
Amira: It was just one of those days where we had to find energy from somewhere. I dunno where we found it from.
Jess: I think that our director Emil Nava…he’s crazy!
Amira: You can’t not have energy with him ‘cause he’ll just bring it out of you.
Jess: Just everyone on the day, from the director to the runners were all just lovely. Like a family environment sort of thing.
Emma: So did they just give you free rein and let you do what you want, just let you trash the house?
Shereen: Yeah, the only direction that we had was to just go mad, I think we accomplished that in the video.
Asami: It was the most fun ever just being able to go mad.
Emma: Were you not tempted to steal one of those little Chihuahuas, they’re adorable?
Amira: Oh my god yeah. I had my eye on one.
Shereen: It broke my heart when they had to go.
Asami: I was just tempted to hide one, they were so cute.
Emma: So you’ve all got quite individual styles, have you got a style icon each?
Amira: For me, I don’t have a style icon that I dress similar to but I do like the way that Rihanna dresses and I know he’s a guy but Jay Z as well, I love the way he dresses. I don’t dress like them but I do like how they dress.
Jess: I really like Kate Moss, it’s simple but there’s a bit of an edge to it. I don’t like stuff that’s too fussy, too much happening. My hair’s quite a big statement in itself, I’d feel like if I’ve got a leopard print…actually no but then I say that, but I do have my days. But, with Kate Moss, it’s like simple with a bit of an edge.
Shereen: For me, Rihanna as well, I like her clothes but I like Beyoncé in the movie Dream Girls, with the fish tail dresses and stuff, I love all that.
Asami: I dunno, I don’t really have a style icon. I do like Kate Moss and Rihanna as well but I also love the way Kanye West dresses, he looks amazing.
Emma: Has there been a moment so far when you’ve had a really surreal moment or felt like you’ve made it or when it’s all started to sink in?
Jess: Ooh, that time in Liverpool with the fans, that was crazy!
Amira: Like not that we’ve made it but like we’re living the dream.
Jess: Yeah it was so strange.
Amira: That’s what it felt like, ‘cause we’re just starting out.
Jess: Basically what happened is we were on a radio tour and when we came out the building and there was like thirty fans in a line waiting to talk to us with cards, presents, it was so humbling, it was crazy!
Asami: Like, some of them were shaking!
Emma: So you’ve got a pretty solid fan base already then?
Shereen: It’s really mad, ‘cause obviously we’ve just started, it’s just the start of our journey and we’ve got die hard fans already. It’s such a weird thing for me ‘cause one day we were doing that for somebody else and now people are doing that for you.
Jess: We’ve got people coming down from Manchester just for us tonight and then going back tomorrow, just for this.
Emma: What’s been your best performance so far, have you supported any big names yet?
Asami: Yeah we’ve done quite a few arena gigs. For some of them we were just standing on stage before the show and just looking round and seeing how many seats there were, it was just so crazy.
Jess: When we did Radio City Live and to think we just shared a stage with the likes of Jessie J, people like that, Wretch 32, Loveable Rogues, it’s incredible and Union J.
Emma: Have you got anyone that you’d aspire to work with or if you could tour with anyone who would it be?
Amira: I would really love to work with Will.i.am. His whole attitude towards the music industry and the whole mayhem would really work for us.
Jess: Pharrell Williams!
Asami: Kanye West
Jess: Yeah and Rick Ross as well. We were just talking about this the other day.
Amira: I feel like if we were able to do a collaboration with Rick Ross we would automatically have like a certain amount of credibility.
Shereen: For me, I’d say Cee Lo Green, if Will.i.am and Rick Ross weren’t available…
Jess: And Pharrell, if you’re listening!
Asami: Pharrell and Will.i.am would be amazing.
Emma: Ok, final question then, what have you got lined up next? Have you got any big events coming up?
Asami: Yeah, we’ve got quite a few big gigs.
Shereen: Yeah, we’ve got quite a few club gigs.
Jess: We’ve got…can we say? GAY on the 31st that’s gonna be good. That’s gonna be like our first club gig that we’re gonna be doing. And, second single, second video, album, all of them. We can’t wait!
Emma: Is the album almost finished yet or…
Jess: Yeah! It’s pretty much finished.
Shereen: We’re just polishing it up but it’s basically finished.
Emma: Have you got a release date for that yet?
Amira: No, no dates yet.
Shereen: No names, no dates.
Jess: Only dates we’re thinking about is the 1st September and Trouble!
Emma: Well, good luck with the single.
Amira, Asami, Jess, Shereen: Thank you so much!
Jess: Lovely talking to you.
Emma: Thank you, it’s been great talking to you all.