The Mowgli’s burst onto the music scene in 2012 with their debut major label release Waiting For The Dawn. Their single “San Francisco” garnered them a #2 Billboard hit and quickly launched the group into the spotlight. Playing over 400 shows in two years, and performing at dozens of festivals, The Mowgli’s built a fan base that sings along, dances, and makes friends with each other. As a larger band, their energy is infectious and can definitely be felt throughout their shows.
In the following years, they released two more full-length albums and are set to release their second EP American Feelings on March 1st. Recently they released another single from that forthcoming album titled “Norman Rockwell.” Billboard did a wonderful spotlight on that song and can shed more light on the story behind it.
In anticipation of their Making Friends Tour with Jukebox the Ghost at the Varsity Theater on March 18th, singer Katie Jayne Earl shared some insight on The Mowgli’s traits, the origin of the tour name, and how the band navigates in this politicized era with our American feelings.
What’s it like traveling with 6 band members?
LOUD, but it’s cool. It always feels like you have an entourage with you and if you’re sick of someone, you can go to lunch with someone else!
You’ll be in Minneapolis March 18th for the Making Friends Tour. Where did that tour name come from and what does it mean for your band?
Well, we don’t really know Jukebox the Ghost but we’re sharing a bus with them, so we will literally be making friends with the other headliner, and hopefully, the name of the tour inspires our fans to do the same. Hearing stories about friends who met at one of our shows is the best.
You’ve been through Minneapolis in the past. Do you have any local stops here that you always make as a band?
Midtown Global Market is a must stop for us every time. It usually takes us about 1 hour just to decide what to eat so we make sure to carve out enough time.
On March 1st you are releasing American Feelings. Tell me a bit about the process of working on this set of songs and if you took a different approach to recording it?
Every time we make music, it came out of a different process. We work with different writers all the time, and up until recently, when we found Rob Elmore, we worked with a lot of different producers. Every different combination of people brings out different energy in us and pushes us in different ways, so it’s rarely the same as the last time. This time, we picked 4 songs that were written at different times with different people and found the common themes in them. Then we brought them to our producer, Rob, who braided them all together sonically, and I think the finished product is one of our best collections yet.
With this being your second EP release, can you share the benefits of releasing EP’s instead of full-length albums?
We live in a singles world right now and it’s more fun to release music than to sit on it, so as soon as we have a collection of work we are excited to share, we want to share it! That’s more difficult with a full length because they are usually comprised of 10+ songs, and we never want it to become about quantity over quality.
With a band of 6 members, many of whom have been in other projects before this and have different musical tastes, how do you keep the trademark Mowgli’s sound intact?
We all work on different projects with different people or alone all the time. When something happens that is distinctively “Mowgli’s,” we bring it to the group. That allows us to explore our creative sides without limits, and still offers us a place to put that Mowgli side of ourselves.
You’re starting to amass a larger collection of singles and songs. How do you deal with song requests during shows?
You know, we don’t always do much about song requests. We put a lot of time and energy into creating a show and setlist that is as exciting to our fans as it is to us. And we make sure the songs that are getting the best reactions online are getting played at the show. Once we put the setlist together, we work hard to make the show feel just right. We think about everything from what songs sound good back to back & how to make the transition from song to song seamless, to what images will be displayed during each song, and where is a good place to talk to the audience. I think our fans trust that we work hard to give them a show they’ll love, and with such a large body of work, we simply can’t play them all. We do try to switch out songs every tour and we make sure every album or EP is represented with a song or 3.
The Mowgli’s have always been synonymous with a message of love, happiness and positivity. Has it been harder sharing those messages in today’s political climate? How do you choose as a band whether to use your music as a platform to engage a political message, or stay away from potential conflicts?
I’ll start by saying, it’s a common misconception that all of our songs are happy. A lot of them are, and most of them sound happy, but many of our lyrics contain sadness too. That’s a byproduct of trying to write honestly, and no matter how shitty things are, we will continue to try to write from a place of hope and honesty. As far as the political climate goes: Well it’s no secret that the world is shit right now. Hell, our president calls Nazi’s “veery fine people” and is a sexual predator with child rape allegations against him! (google it). I for one get really worked up over politics, but I don’t speak for anyone else and no one else speaks for me. The Mowgli’s has always allowed each of us to be ourselves, and that’s one of the most beautiful things about this band. We don’t all dress the same or listen to the same music. We don’t all share the same passions or hobbies, and we don’t all share the same political beliefs. We have never considered the band to be a platform for blanket statements, rather the band is place where we can all be ourselves and speak our truths. Most political opinions you see from us will come from our personal pages.
3 full-length albums in, what’s been the biggest challenge as a band and how did you overcome it?
For a long time, being on tour constantly was a huge struggle. When you’re out on the road you lose sleep, your health suffers, your relationships back home are challenged, and you miss your pets. In an effort to save our mental health and our interpersonal relationships within the band, we took some time off of touring last year, and it was really important for us all. But when you’re not constantly touring or putting out music, the people who make money off of you tend to forget about you. It’s a confusing thing to consider people friends, and then have to remind yourself, after not hearing from them for months, that they’re just co-workers. Relationships are confusing in this industry, which is why I’m so grateful to have the friends that I have. True friends never waver and keep you grounded. They don’t care how big your last release was or whether or not you’re selling out shows.
“True friends are a must have in the music business.”
What or who inspires you all the most? What’s been playing in your ears?
As I mentioned earlier, I can’t speak for anyone but me, but lately I’ve been really into pop icons from the 80s and 90s. Paula Abdul, Tina Turner, Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey… blame it on Ru Paul’s Drag Race playlist on Spotify.
Tickets can still be snagged for the March 18th show at the Varsity Theater by clicking here. The Varsity also offers premium seating for those looking to secure a more exclusive experience at the venue.