CRSSD: Welcome to the Jungle

Since its 2015 debut, each iteration of the bi-annual CRSSD electronic music festival has improved upon that which came before. Through the refinement process, CRSSD’s two-day event has quietly cemented itself as a premier destination for fans of dance music, as well as a cornerstone of the San Diego music scene.

Cutting edge and top-shelf DJs, producers, production teams, and electro-forward bands have long populated the festival’s artist rosters. Flume, Kygo, Rüfüs Du Sol, Tycho, Maya Jane Coles, James Murphy, Anna Lunoe, Richie Hawtin, Claptone, and many, many more have all graced the stages of CRSSD’s idyllic Waterfront Park setting.

For this weekend’s ninth edition, organizers are again offering a heavy dose of quality solo performers (Maetrik, Lane 8, Armand Van Helden) counterbalanced by a handful of noteable beat makers who come in bunches (Odesza, Ladytron, Phantogram).

London-based groove collective Jungle fits firmly into the latter, although band founders and principal songwriters Tom McFarland and Josh Lloyd-Watson could have easily opted to make their project a duo.

“We enjoy the group aspect of it,” said McFarland before the recent kick-off of the band’s UK tour. “Being able to play with our friends on stage is something we always wanted. These are guys we played with in other bands and friends of friends. It’s one big family. You’re part of each other’s lives.”

McFarland and Lloyd-Watson have been a part of each other’s lives since they became nextdoor neighbors at age 10. And the seven-piece band they’ll bring to CRSSD’s Ocean View stage on Sunday has been together since the group’s very first performance in 2013.

While the pair exclusively write Jungle’s music together, they are of the same mind when it comes to sharing the stage during live shows. Not only do they feel the band helps to give even more life to their compositions, it ensures that they never fall prey to complacency.

McFarland’s thoughts on the topic rarely waiver, even when the fest-savvy outfit plays DJ-centric events like CRSSD.   

“The grass is always greener,” he said. “But Josh and I go out and DJ a lot, and we really enjoy that. It’s always a bit more nerve-racking having just the two of us up there. And it’s nice to share the fear with everyone (laughs). But I also think having live musicians on stage makes it different and interesting every night. Keeps it varied.”

To that point, Jungle is continuing to up the ante with a brand new (“bigger and better”) stage production that they’re unveiling for the first time on their current U.S. tour (which kicks off on Friday in L.A.).

Additionally, their latest album, For Ever, isn’t yet six months old, but new music might already be on the horizon. Or, at the very least McFarland is promising that it won’t be nearly as long as the four years between their self-titled debut and For Ever.

Tentatively, the band is looking to keep their momentum rolling with a couple of new singles in the coming months.

But whatever the future might hold, the musical partners understand that where they are right now is already exceeding expectations.

“In a weird way,” said McFarland, “a lot of this is unexpected. There was never any pressure put on what we were doing or why we were doing it. Making music together was just our way of hanging out together as best mates. And we’re just really f**king blessed that it’s turned out this way.”

CRSSD Festival

When: Noon to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Where: Waterfront Park, 1600 Pacific Coast Highway, Embarcadero

Tickets: Sold out

More info: crssdfest.com

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