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MP! Interviews: Neon Jungle #seriousmusicjournalism

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When Neon Jungle invited us down for a chin-wag about their new single ‘Can’t Stop the Love’ we didn’t go looking for trouble, but trouble found us. The recorded audio version of this interview is pure gold, but some of the things we said were far too scandalous for the public, so you’re just going to have to make do with the best bits – which took a reallllly long time to write up by the way, when four girls are nattering away at once it’s hard to make out what any one person is saying. Maybe if you ask Father Christmas really, really nicely we’ll bleep out all the -many -naughty bits and post the audio up, but for now enjoy this (still iconic, as always) interview with Neon Jungle, and don’t forget to check out our series What’s On Your Phone with the girls, too. 

How would you say the last year has gone?

Jess: “Fast. Like literally, I feel like I celebrated Christmas last year yesterday. It’s happened so so fast, but it’s been incredible with our album and the singles and our music videos and summer festivals. Obviously coming up to Christmas now looking forward to all the Christmas shows as well.

Now you’re releasing ‘Can’t Stop The Love’ as a single, why that one?

Asami: “Ummm, well it’s on our album so it’s available to buy now but yeah, we just wanted it to be the next video we put out because it’s an important song to us and we wanted it to get its fair share of radio play basically”

Shereen: “It’s got such an important message and by us putting the fans in it, it feels like a big thank you”

Amira: “I’m not gonna lie, I wasn’t the biggest fan before but I don’t know if it’s just.. it’s time, but it makes me really happy. I think I go through a stage, no this is my favourite, no this is my favourite, but I think ‘Can’t Stop The Love’ as a whole in terms of the meaning, the video – we all have those videos where you’re like ‘Oh God I look ugly in that video’ – but I really like the video. And you don’t see a lot of us, that’s why I like it!”

How long did the shoot take, ’cause you hear of some videos taking at least a whole day on set.

Amira: “‘Can’t Stop The Love’ took us like an hour!”

Shereen: “‘Can’t Stop The Love’ we started at nine and were there until eight because it was raining all the time, the wait felt so long”

Amira: “‘Braveheart’ you wouldn’t think it, not that it looked s**t but we looked like we’d been dancing in the studio all day. You think ‘Oh that’s a piece of p**s’ but actually it was really difficult! Jess had really bad belly ache, she was dying”

Jess: “I’m not even lying, I never get sick, or emotional from feeling ill. Have you noticed it’s always you guys who get sick? I was so broke up man, I had to walk away and lie in a room by myself”

Asami: “It was really scary because Jess never gets that sick!”

Amira: (in a silly American accent) “I was thinking maybe I have to do her part”

Everyone: “NOOO!”

Amira: “Nah but really, a part of me was like ‘Is Jess coming back?'”

Asami; “I thought we were gonna have to ring an ambulance, but she got through it”

Amira: “Like a TROOPA!”

So once you’ve released ‘Can’t Stop the Love’ are you going to be taking off over Christmas?”

Everyone: “Yesssss!”

Shereen: “We break (we all laugh at the way she says “break” in her thick Scottish accent) on the 22nd and back to work on the 5th, so it’s a quite a nice chunk! We get to go home and see the families”

Asami: “And then I always like coming back to work after like, a week or more, break ’cause you feel really fired up!”

Straight into a twenty hour video shoot!

Amira: “I just can’t wait to get in the studio!”

Jess: “I love it, I love just rocking up in no makeup and comfy clothes and making music”

Amira: “Cat, mat, rat, sat…”

Keeping it Christmassy, what’s the best present you’ve ever had?

Everyone: OOOOOOOOOOOOOOH!!

Jess: “Best Christmas present I ever got, I don’t even know if it was a Christmas present, it might have been a birthday present or a present present but let’s just say it was a Christmas present. I got a Nutribullet, that s**t is my best friend!

When you say bullet you don’t mean a…?

Jess: “NOOOOO! What it is is a blender, and you put anything you want in it and screw it on and it goes so fast. I could travel with it if I wanted because it’s quite compact. It’s my favourite present”

Asami: “You know what, my favourite present is my favourite isn’t even a big thing, it’s just that I wasn’t expecting it at all. It was the first time my mum acknowledged my fangirl side, and she got me One Direction toothpaste! It made me so happy! She’d always get my sister, like, Hannah Montana stuff but never get me any One Direction stuff, and it was the first time and I was like awwwwwwwwwwwwww. Obviously never been opened.”

Amira: “Well, obviously I hate Christmas (everyone gasps). I don’t really ask for Christmas presents but the few times I have done the Christmas thing – by force – you know, actually I remember a really young one. It was from my Mum and my Dad, but it was probably just from my Mum.

Asami: “Santa, it was from Santa!”

Amira: “The best thing about parents splitting up… TWO CHRISTMASES!!! See you Boxing Day! Nah, the present I got was a house, a little house that had like, a mirror, a kitchen, a dressing table, a hoover, a dining room. I remember they kept it in the biggest box, bigger than me…”

Jess: “When you’re a kid it’s like the bigger the box the better the present”

Amira: “You don’t realise how much money it all costs”

Jess: “Now I get a small box and I’m like ‘ooooh jewelleryyyyyy'”

Amira: “But yeah there’s a picture of me standing on a box and yeah, I really liked that present”

Asami: “When I was young I used to love those cash registers”

Jess: “AND MEE!”

Asami: “You’d have the cash register and play Shop!”

Jess: “Kids nowadays don’t even play Shop, they just have their Xbox”

Amira: “And Mummies and Daddies! I used to play Shop with my house, and cook my Mum plasticine food and sell it to her”

Jess:”And teachers! I used to play teachers and sit there and read out the register all day!”

Asami: “I used to put rice and different cereals into a mixing bowl and pretend I was cooking and serve it up to my Dad. It was like ten different cereals and he’d actually take a bite out of it, I used to think what I made was so good”

Jess: “Oh my god, I used to do that! You see in films kids making lemonade and selling it, me and my neighbour did that – ’cause when you’re a kid your next door neighbour is your best friend- we had these McDonalds cups and we got every ingredient in the fridge and put them in cups. Bless, we probably sold about ten!”

Shereen: “Probably when I was younger, I got this Magic Mic set with two microphones and all these songs. I used to just sing ‘My Heart Will Go On’. I literally come home from school every day and you get a score.”

Amira: “Oh, I used to have one of those dance mats, that’s why I’m so good at dancing!”

Management Team Jess: “We should use them to teach you choreography!”

Last ‘serious’ question, what has 2015 got in store for you guys?

Amira: “Obviously we get asked this question a lot because it’s the end of the year, so it is expected, but I feel like.. the travelling, the new music… but I kind of like not knowing. With us you never know where we’re gonna be, what we’re gonna be doing, who we’re gonna be doing it with?”

Jess then starts quoting Titanic, for some reason. Like, the entire “the whole ruthless existence appealing” scene. Everyone else just laughs.

What is your first drink?

Jess: “Oh Shereen, this is for you ’cause you just turned 18”

Amira: “Or do you mean the first thing you order in a bar”

More like, when you first started drinking, drink-drinking now, what did you start on?

Amira: “Bacardi Breezer!”

Jess: “Pink Lady! Pink Lady or Lamborghini… Lambrini!”

Amira: “No, actually mine was Lambrini”

Asami: “I went in hard, I went straight to vodka. Now I can’t drink vodka, too many bad memories on it”

Shereen: “See mine was Strongbow, such a man’s drink”

Asami: “When I was younger I drank lemonade, Vimto and vodka. I swear it’s so nice, it taste like sweets”

Jess: “Not even joking, you’re drinking melted Haribo”

Amira: “My Dad like, he wasn’t a weirdo, but he let me drink a tiny sip of his Guinness. He let me have a bit of the froth, moustache! One Christmas my Mum was meant to give me Shloer – cause all the kids have Shloer – but I think I picked up the champagne and she couldn’t understand why I was cartwheeling everyone like wheeeeeeyyy”

Shereen: “That happened to us at barbeque, we thought it was non-alcoholic but it wasn’t, all the kids were just running about buzzing and later, we were like ‘oooooh that’s alcohol!'”

This one is for Asami; are you planning on having your hair every colour of the rainbow?

Asami: “Yes! I am, I am. I’m nearly at the end of it but I’m just waiting for my extensions so my hair can be BANG colour again, rather than the half-hearted bit of colour.

Jess: “Is it gonna be a solid colour or a mixture of different colours?

Asami: “A mixture, when it’s longer it’s gonna it’ll be… more colours!”

Jess: “I’m really intrigued by this question, I feel like I ask it every week. Like, you made up your mind yet?”

Asami: “Yeah Jess is always sending me pictures of different hair colours, saying ‘THIS NEEDS TO BE YOU!'”

Shereen: “Seriously, she’s been doing this since before Neon Jungle”

Out of all the girls, who is the last to go to bed?

Jess: “Myself probably, myself or Amira.”

Amira: “I don’t have insomnia, generally, but when I do have insomnia it’s worse, but it takes me like two hours to get to sleep.”

Jess: “See you lay down and try and sleep, I just procrastinate.”

Amira: “No no, you just talk. See, this Jess… we’ll go to bed, goodnight goodnight then she’ll be like ‘How did One Direction get together?’ or ‘See your weave? You know your hair, how did they do it?’. She’ll go to sleep and wake up: ‘Is the heating on?’ ”

Asami: “I remember we got in at four in the morning and we had to leave at like 6 in the morning and Jess was like ‘Nah nah, I’m gonna stop talking now, I’ve gotta stop… How did One Direction and The Wanted fall out?'”

Amira: “And she won’t ask yes or no questions, she’ll ask questions that need a political explanation. ‘Have you ever been in love?’. I feel when Jess is about to ask a question you’ll hear a deep breath then ‘Have you ever blah blah blah blah’ and I’m like ‘play dead, play dead, s**t she saw me blink!'”

Asami: “You know there’s something wrong when you go to bed and Jess doesn’t talk, you know that she’s not in a good or mood or something”

(In Australian accent) Who gives the best koala-ty hugs?

Shereen: “Oh my god, if you came in doing that I would’ve thought you were genuinely Australian!”

Asami: “You gotta do the screw face like ‘WALKABOUUUUUUT'”

Amira: “In the group or just anyone?”

Anyone you’ve ever met. 

Amira: “You know what…”

Everyone: “GEORGE!”

Amira: “George from Union J. I’m not sure if it’s a good hug, it’s disturbing. It’s so powerful, hurts”

Shereen: “It kinda takes your breath away”

Amira: “He’s a strong young fellow”

Asami: “It’s a nice hug”

Shereen: “But for a split second…”

Amira: “It hurts my heart. He hugged my Mum and she was like ‘JESUS!'”

I really want an interview with Union J now.

Asami: “I don’t know if he hugs guys like that”

But I’m Australian eh?

Everyone: AUSTRALIAN!

NJ selfie

OK, this a good one. Do you have a pre-show ritual?

Asami: “Vodka, shots of vodka.”

Jess: “We got a moment”

Amira: “A really cringe moment”

Asami: “We hold hands, and one 3 we say NJ wherever we are. But it’s gotta be a certain order; so it’s me, Jess, Shereen, Amira, me, Jess, Shereen, Amira.”

Shereen: “Everyone always looks at us really weird when we’re like ‘NJ SHEFFIELD!'”

Jess: “If we do it out of time or wrong, we do it again and we have an order…”

Yeah, she just told us that that bit.

Amira: “But if we do it wrong, one of us WILL fall off stage”

Last question, even though I want this to last forever. Best thing on the menu at Domino’s!

Asami: “Chocolate melt, chocolate melt. Spot on!”

Shereen: “It’s all about Pizza Hut, but I miss the chocolate melt”

Me and my friends always do Two for One Tuesdays and get two half and halves, takes us like an hour to decide.

Asami: “An howah! Are you Welsh? Oh my god I love the Welsh accent!”

Amira: “Welsh is like the only accent I can’t do, I try but I sound Jamaican. (Does an impression of the Little Mix accent Vine)

That’s incredible! Next time we interview you, we are doing a Welsh accent challenge. That’s a promise, we need to make this official!

We finish off the interview by putting our hands on top of each other and shouting “NJ Interview!”, sealing the deal for the next time Maximum Pop! and Neon Jungle collide. Keep your eyes on this space…

‘Can’t Stop the Love’ is out properly as a single on December 15th

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