Newcastle’s Rum Jungle, Benny McIntyre (vocals and guitar), Josh Giles (guitar), Michael Kolmajer (bass guitar), and Frazer McDonald (drums), have emerged in a very short space of time as serious players in one of the country’s most lively music scenes. Their inventive mix of rock, pop and reggae with an experimental edge has seen them write and record songs that are both popular and innovative – a hard balancing act that Rum Jungle has achieved with confidence. In the process they’ve built a devoted audience out of the two EPS they’ve delivered to this point, Crazy Days (2017) and Sun and Smoke (2018).
After building a loyal and large following in Newcastle, where the four-piece have shared various
stages at all new music venues across the city with the likes of Boo Seeka, These New South Wales,
Thundamentals and many, many more, the band went on to
sell out their hometown release show at the legendary Cambridge Hotel, further cementing
themselves as a mainstay in the Newcastle scene.
The Newcastle Star wrote that “Rum Jungle have wasted little time creating an impact. Last year they released their debut EP Crazy Days and two weeks ago it was followed by the seven-track Sun & Smoke, a collection of reggae-rock… Ben McIntyre said Sun & Smoke feels like Rum Jungle’s true debut. “We love the first EP, but this one’s had a lot more put into it creatively from all four of us,” McIntyre said. “All four of us have become far better at music in general and writing. Playing live as well, has really helped with writing and figuring out what’s fun to play and for people to listen to.”
The first single, ‘The Void’, reached the top ten on the Triple J’s Unearthed overall charts. Not a group to rest on their laurels Rum Jungle have just released a new single, ‘I See Red’ (2019), where they’ve taken their unique sound to new heights with roaring vocal melodies and dynamic guitar runs, while keeping the reggae-rock-pop fusion that their fan base has come to love. Comments included: “Once the vocal started I was trapped. Unclassifiable. Flows straight from the source. Sick!”; “This is a killer of a track! Rum Jungle get better and better with each new release. Can't wait to see them when they're touring soon on their East Coast Safari”; “These boys just can't help pumping out bangers, and I think this might be the best one they've cranked out yet. Keep 'em coming lads”; “Such a great reggae vibe behind this track, definitely feels like you've hit the right mix of sounds that can get people bouncing. Can't wait for more!”
The group have taken their original tunes and their compelling live show on the road, stopping in Sydney, Manly, Camden, Wollongong and back home to Newcastle where they are now writing and arranging songs for their next big release, with another tour in the works which will take them even further afield. Catch them while you can and see what the buzz on RumJungle is all about.