As concepts go, the stark, minimalist "Platoon" video uploaded to YouTube and Vimeo in June 2013 was ludicrously simple: A six-year-old girl named Terra, clad in a purple tracksuit on a gray, featureless soundstage, breakdances to peppy funk-pop. The tiny dancer starts off tapping her foot and ends performing a dizzying amount of headspins. It looks as much like a viral promo for Britain's Got Talent as it does a music video.
The clip began to spread last September, eventually racking up nearly 5 million views. But as the clicks began to increase and the media took notice, the creators behind the music — U.K. funk collective Jungle — were hardly basking in the glory. At the time, the group's ringleaders were known only as "J" and "T," preferring to let the music and the dancer take the spotlight. Other, equally simple videos from the collective — which ranges from 7 to 30 members depending on the gig — would follow, all featuring breakdancing with only minimal mentions of the group who made the music.
"It's all about getting rid of the ego, and Jungle, for us, was that place," "J," a.k.a. 24-year-old Jungle co-founder Josh Lloyd-Watson, tells Rolling Stone from his London apartment. "We're in an age where people are so, 'It's all about this lead singer,' and there aren't many groups around that are just about a collective sort of spirit. The press tends to focus it on one or two people because they're seeking that sort of leadership, and for us, none of us really want to stand up and be the leader. We quite like the name leading it."