WHUS was lucky enough to have The Mowgli’s back from Los Angeles, California for another studio session. This seven-person band of best friends create bouncy, feel-good tunes that spread the importance of love and self-discovery. They’ve just released the first single “Freakin’ Me Out” off of their upcoming fourth studio album. To stay updated on the Mowgli’s, check out their website. These questions are answered by Katie Earl & Josh Hogan.
Onna: How did you guys all meet?
Katie: Well, I grew up with Andy, Matt, David & Spencer. We all went to school together. After high school everybody got into the music and arts scene in LA, started playing local shows together, putting on local shows together, and since Josh & Colin moved to LA to be a part of that music scene, they were in bands that we all really liked. We would go see their bands play and some of the guys started playing in each other’s bands. Before we knew it we had this collective of artists and musicians going. We were all making music together, we were all hanging out together, we were all going to each other’s shows. Once that shaved away The Mowgli’s were left.
Onna: So what year did you guys formally start making The Mowgli’s a serious project?
Katie: I think it was 2009? This is our seventh year as a band together which is so crazy to think about. We’ve been touring for almost four years now. So yeah, it’s nuts. We’re working on our third record now and we have moments where we stop and really can’t believe how far we’ve come. We all had day jobs when it started and we never thought we’d actually end up quitting them.
Josh: It was really just getting friends together and making songs. It was a fun nightlife thing that we were doing, trying to blast some positivity into the scene. When we got off work we’d go do that, then we’d sleep for four hours and repeat. It’s kind of a trip to think about that and see where we are now. There were so many opportunities for us to stop making music.
Katie: And obstacles, speed bumps, so many things to make us think that it wasnt worth it. I think that could be said for anyone; writers, painters, scientists, anything. You have to paint a few bad paintings before you get good at it. You can’t be scared of blowing it because blowing it only makes you get better. That’s been a challenge for us to learn, we’re still learning it now. All in all, hard work definitely pays off.
Onna: This is a bit of a tougher question but how does music shape the way that you view the world?
Katie: I think music is the sound of feelings. For whatever emotion you’re going through, there’s a song out there that can help you feel that and help you go through the motions that you might be repressing. I think it mostly reminds people that whatever it is that they are feeling, they are not alone. Someone else out there feels the same way, and they feel so strongly about it that they wrote a song about it. I think music is such a great unifier, it transcends language and culture. It’s something that we can all hear and feel the same way.
Josh: I haven’t really thought about that question ever. But now that I’m thinking about it, I find rhythm and melody in everything in the world. It’s kind of crazy. Sometimes we’ll hear some random sound that is continuous and we’ll start harmonizing with it and making a beat with it. It’s everywhere. Everything is everywhere.
Onna: Can you tell us a little bit about how the songwriting process goes with such a big group?
Katie: It’s definitely something that’s always changing because we are such a big group. We say yes to every opportunity, whether that’s experimenting with how we write a song or writing with different people. We’ve all used this experience to grow as individual artists and collective artists. Josh & Colin are definitely our two strongest and most major songwriters. THey write the same way that we all eat and drink water. They bring a lot of really great ideas to us, and the rest of us are always happy to get involved. This particular record we went back to our original format of garage band style; we all went into a room with our instruments and started jamming. That’s been a really cool creative experience to get back to that big group method. It’s kind of therapeutic to get in there and make noise.
It’s always different, sometimes Colin & Josh will write a song and it’ll be a complete song before anyone even gets to it. They offer it to the group and we all put our own touch to it which makes it sound like a true Mowgli’s song. But it’s an ever changing process and we’re always trying to learn and grow as artists so I think it will continue to evolve.
Onna: Great, do you have your own solo projects?
Katie: You know, I think that right now we’re definitely focusing on the Mowgli’s. My dream is that eventually the Mowgli’s becomes this umbrella that supports everybody’s creative projects.
Josh: Like Wu-Tang.
Katie: Like Wu-Tang! It would be really cool to me that if after this record, everyone was able to do different things. I would love to hear a Colin Dieden solo album. I’ve always loved him as a musician. Josh & I live together so we’ve written many things and talked about the option of a future duo project. My dream is that the Mowgli’s would be something that we can always come back to, so we can always end up playing shows and making records together.
Onna: What keeps you going on tour?
Josh: The dogs, each other, the shows, the fans. Hearing our fans stories is so inspiring. We’ve all been those fans.
Katie: The shows, man. Playing shows is just our favorite thing to do; each as individuals and as a group. There is nothing more fun than living your passion. No matter how hard a day is, or how rough a drive is, or how late a night was, or how badly you have the flu; once we hit the stage we’re so stoked to be doing what we love that the adrenaline kicks in. All of a sudden your flu is gone. That’s what keeps me going on these long 12 hour drives stuck in a box with the same people. We get on stage and we do what we love. It’s really the most fun I’ve ever had playing with these people.
Josh: I’m just constantly reminded of how lucky I am to be on tour with my girlfriend, my dog, and my best friends.
Onna: Last question, how did the name The Mowgli’s come to be?
Katie: We knew this insane wolf-hybrid dog named Mowgli. It was really weird because he was called Mowgli and he was always around. A lot of the boys were also called Mowgli as kids. We always talked and joked that we were a bunch of jungle kids in LA trying to make it work. For one reason or another, we settled on that name and it bizarrely worked for us. We didn’t know it would be stuck for 7 years but here we are.