Exclusive Interview: Neon Jungle
Jsky Meets Pop Sensation Neon Jungle
Asami Zdrenka, Shereen Cutkelvin, Amira McCarthy and Jessica Kate Plummer, collectively known as Neon Jungle have taken the pop world by storm. Four fierce young ladies with an attitude that airs similarities reminiscent of the early Spice Girls submerged with a unique sense of style that rivals that of Girls Aloud during their peak. It’s all about youth culture. That sense of rebellion, and experimentation with new sounds and styles. That tangible sense of excitement and confidence to take on the world with a renewed embodiment of girl power. But what does the future hold?
Neon Jungle are no ordinary girl band. They weren’t formed for the masses before a baying and brutal executionist style reality music-making machine. They were, however, formed for the masses under the guise of a slightly different animal. The concept in a nutshell is simple; four girls from four backgrounds. Four solo artists to make a hybrid, modern pop group for maximum youth appeal. Something for the insubordinate youngster hungry for adolescence that would be enthralled by a visual explosion of fabrics and colours and fashion. The true genius is in fact in the execution. Individually unique yet seamlessly woven into the tapestry of a solid force like four sides to a square, or four limbs to a torso.
They empower the inner child to be courageous with their clothes and wild with their wardrobe. Actively fuelling bravery (much akin to their single Braveheart), Neon Jungle are not afraid to experiment with bold and often abrasive looks and statement styles. Through each performance the audience is invigorated to find themselves as they would on a journey of self-discovery of style. A why not attitude is adopted and the fear of looking stupid is assaulted as Asami, Shereen, Amira and Jessica combat safe outfit choices.
Asami Zdrenka: If you like something, wear it.
All girls: Yes!
Amira McCarthy: Even if you’re not sure yourself, just do it. Make it work and learn from your fashion mistakes.
Shereen Cutkelvin: Just be yourself. Don’t look at someone else’s style too much. Wear whatever suits you. If it suits you, then it’s your thing.
It was a joy to speak to the girls again. We were backstage at HMV Manchester for the launch of their album Welcome To The Jungle. The sound of screaming teenage fans was escalating in trepidation of their impending in-store performance, and my interview was delaying the process. I could feel the atmosphere outside building, every second antagonising revellers who had most likely put this event ahead of their homework. This was a big deal. Few new artists, particularly girl bands make it as far as to release an album nowadays. A lot of acts focus instead on releasing singles and festival performances. I wanted to know how important releasing an album was to them, and how they had found the whole experience.
Asami Zdrenka: It’s been crazy. It’s been a whirlwind. We just can’t believe we’re doing an album signing in HMV.
Amira McCarthy: An album was always something we wanted to do. We didn’t know whether we would get there or whether we would just keep releasing singles. It happened quite quickly for us.
Shereen Cutkelvin: We’d been recording the album for just over a year. For us to have it out now is like the moment of truth.
Jessica Kate Plummer: I guess if people didn’t like us then our label would tell us “People don’t like you…no album”. Considering we didn’t come from a TV show or anything and literally people’s opinions of us are from what we’ve given them. The fact that everyone has been so lovely is really nice.
Their performance ignited an unruly crowd like a match being struck, or a school dinner bell ringing. There were clear signs of early pop hysteria developing. Girls were crying, and security was on standby. There was jumping, and chanting, and mobile phones capturing every moment. The atmosphere was electric and Instagram became frantic. As young women embracing adulthood I had asked the girls earlier if they preferred to perform to younger audiences. Their response was pretty neutral.
Amira McCarthy: I just love to perform to anyone that’s going to have a good time and be responsive. As long as they enjoy themselves, that’s all that really matters.
This was the third time I’d caught up with the girls in Manchester. As a proud of advocate of the city, I wanted to know what Neon Jungle thought of it here.
Jessica Kate Plummer: Manchester is just crazy. People are so up for it. Even when we were just walking past and they could only just see like the figures of us they were screaming their heads off.
Amira McCarthy: It reminds us of London just how multicultural it is. I would definitely move to Manchester if I weren’t living in London.
Neon Jungle have performed during a Victoria’s Secret fashion show and charted in America. They have an army of fans around the world that continue to perpetuate them in the stratosphere of pop culture. I asked my favourite member, Jessica Kate Plummer, if there was anything she’d like to say on behalf of the girls to the fans.
Jessica Kate Plummer: Thank you! We love you so much!
Neon Jungle’s debut album Welcome To The Jungle is out now, and available from most retailers and iTunes. For more information visit their website www.neonjungle.com or follow the on twitter @NeonJungle.