All of life is a journey and the best journeys are those taken with friends. For the 5 members of The Mowgli’s that road has seen their friendship tested and rebuilt numerous times. From their earliest Venice, California days as a 10+ revolving cast of characters to their current line-up, the core members have evolved from playing midnight warehouse parties to the stages of the largest festivals.
While there have been many highlights – appearances on late night TV shows, incredibly rewarding collaborations with charities and electrifying performances in legendary venues among them – there have also been tests: Losing band members, battling with the stress of constant touring and maintaining their friendship, trying to remain both grounded and optimistic when things go amazingly well and when they don’t. But there have been benefits of creating deep bonds and close relationships, not least the marriage of singers Katie Jayne Earl and Josh Hogan in 2017. “Being in a touring band is hard work,” says Katie, “but inspiring. It only works because people care about the band and we have a core who support us, people who have both been there since the beginning and joined along the way. Those supporters keep us motivated.”
The release of The Mowgli’s first major-label LP Waiting For The Dawn in 2013 saw immediate success with the hit single San Francisco. The record – which focused on the joy of bringing people together – immediately connected in a cynical world. The band quickly found themselves playing to sold out crowds in clubs around the US and inundated by requests for press, sponsorships and partnerships. Appearances at Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, Firefly, Osheaga, Bottlerock and many other festivals followed as did performances on The Tonight Show, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Conan and a stint as the SXSW House band for Andy Cohen’s Watch What Happens Live (Bravo)
The follow up LP, 2015’s Kids in Love (which spawned the feel-good single I’m Good) saw the band explore personal relationships including their own inter-band ones, and their third LP Where’d Your Weekend Go? which came in the Fall of 2016, often found the band working on songs together from their very inception – giving much of the record a relaxed and communal feeling.
Parting ways with their original label in 2017, The Mowgli’s released a pair of EPs: I Was Starting To Wonder (2018) and American Feelings(2019), each backed by national US tours and both exploring the “band experience” to a large extent. The first EP focused on travelling, missing home, looking for excitement in the daily churn of a tour, finding it in the back alleys and on the rooftops of America. The more recent EP American Feelings turned more towards relationships and connections, noticeable in Talk About It and Mr. Telephone which both harken to the lack of discourse and engagement prevalent in society today, especially with technology serving as both a facilitator and barrier. Says singer/guitarist Josh Hogan, “Communication is a very powerful tool. If we could learn to communicate in a healthy way, this place would be much less divided.”
Katie adds: “Talk About Itstarted out being a song about communicating your way through difficult situations, but as it evolved, it became a song not only about having hard conversations, but about forgiveness. And it’s really special to me.”Whereas those songs look outwards, Hard To Love and Norman Rockwell focus inwards, taking a critical look at emotional failings in the former, and attempting to create a new reality to escape to in the latter.
“…Wonder” was supported by a deliberately small club tour. “It was exciting to get back out on the road, up close and personal with our fans who have stuck with us from the beginning,” says Katie. “We took a really needed break after [Where’d Your Weekend Go?] – after years of almost non-stop touring.”
“It was a relief to get back on the road and do something a little different for that tour,” adds Josh.
The band also travelled to Honduras and Guantanamo Bay last year, entertaining the Armed Forces during the week of July 4th. Truly an eye-opening experience, the two shows rank as unforgettable for the band. “You get that sense that people are really grateful to just have a connection with back-home – especially in Honduras,” says Josh. “It was so cool to feel that energy and look around when you’re playing and realize where we were and what it meant to everyone.”
Additionally The Mowgli’s are seeing visibility with the theme song to “Big City Greens”, Disney TV’s #1 animated show for which they were asked to write and record the title song. A chance conversation between a Disney TV music executive and a mutual friend of the band’s as to how he was “looking for a band with a vibe like The Mowgli’s” saw the band back in the studio immediately, and the raucous and frenetic track was delivered shortly afterwards. “We’ve all been raised on Disney” says drummer Andy Warren. “So, having them ask for a classic, vintage Mowgli’s song was kind of a dream come true. It was amazing how fast it came together and how well it fits with the opening montage!”
For The Mowgli’s, as for any band, this whole experience is a journey – and not always an easy one. It tests your self-belief, your stamina, your relationships and your mental and emotional health. “Since this band started we’ve been through a lot of changes: gained members, lost members, been shuffled around labels and learned a lot about the music industry,” says Andy. “Now it feels like we’re really independent again, refocused on curating our live show, more in touch with the business of being this band.” He adds “Our sound has evolved but we always circle back to the basic themes: love, feeling good, excited for life no matter what the day delivers.”
Always with a mission to bring hope and positivity into the world, The Mowgli’s have been involved with numerous charities including The IRC, Heal The Bay, Happy Bottoms and many food banks and homeless shelters.
The band is: Joshua Hogan – vocals/guitar Katie Jayne Earl – vocals Matthew Di Panni – bass David Appelbaum – keys Andy Warren – drums