Photo c/o aLIVE Coverage
As a gateway drug to The Mowgli’s, “San Francisco” is a track that tore up the summer of 2013. If my repeat button could say 'Uncle!' or my speakers could have rebelled due to monotony, they would have. But I couldn't help myself. The song had a catchy beat, a swingy singable chorus, and it almost made me want to leave my concrete jungle for the West Coast.
Since then, I’ve had the chance to see The Mowgli's at multiple venues in varying cities and states, and they always bring it, every single time. Their newest album, Kids in Love is laced with messages of peace and love; a pressure cooker of simmering electricity waiting to blow the top of off standard indie pop. I needed to know how they kept so spirited, especially on a mid-afternoon broiling Atlanta stage at the third annual Shaky Knees Festival. The Mowgli’s, with spunky singer/percussionist Katie Jayne Earl acting as their mouthpiece, gave me the dish.
EARMILK: Let's talk about your band name…which I think people most commonly associate with the character from The Jungle Book. What was the thought behind that?
THE MOWGLI'S: Honestly we get asked this question a lot and lately my answer has been: if we really knew this thing would take off the way it did, we might have reconsidered the name, but maybe it's perfect and wildly appropriate that we went with "The Mowgli's" and stuck with it. It really does seem to fit for one reason or another.
EM: How did your newest album Kids in Love come together?
TM: While we have accumulated a pretty extensive collection of songs between the seven of us over the years, we have only made two albums, and both had different writing processes. I'm willing to bet that it continues to be an ever evolving process as we continue to learn more and grow as artists, both as a group and as individuals. This particular album was a collection of the strongest songs written over the past 3-5 years. We combed through a collection of about 30-40 songs and found themes and sounds that we as a group thought best suited the album's concept 'kids in love,' which we knew from the first time Colin showed us that song, would be the title track.
EM: Why did you release “Through The Dark” as the first single?
TM: We were really excited about that song. It's inspirational and encouraging message to keep marching toward the light even through the darkest of times really spoke to each of us on a very personal level. It seemed to speak to each of us in the same way we hope it speaks to our fans, by acting as a reminder that things can and will and do get better, and that you're never alone in your darkest of times.
EM: Any tracks that specifically resonate with you? Why?
TM: Each song speaks to me in a different way, and it truly depends on the night. Depending on what I'm personally going through, different lyrics hit me in different ways at every show. Right now, "Love me Anyway" and "Make it Right" are really grabbing me.
EM: What do you want people to take away from your music?
TM: We want people to feel better than they felt before they popped on the album or came out to the show. The more we play this album, the more I hear the themes of gratitude, unity and forgiveness shining through.
EM: You always all put out such positive vibes – have you ever had negative backlash to your mantras of peace & love, and 'whatever forever'?
TM: Recently we read a review that implied that with lyrics like "how could anybody be living in a bad dream?" we might be ignorant to the sufferings of people around the world. On the contrary, we are very much aware, and feel very deeply affected by the troubles in the world. In so many ways each of us wish we could dedicate our lives to solving all of the worlds problems, but we can only live our lives one step at a time. Right now, we have the opportunity to make people feel good, to remind them and ourselves that life does have a bright side, and maybe we can encourage people to shine their brightest, because that alone can make the immediate world around them a little bit better. The truth is, WE need the positive message we put out as much as anybody else.
EM: What fuels your fire? Who/what influences your sound?
TM: So much. We all listen to a wide variety of music and enjoy an extensive collection of visual art, television and film too. We are truly inspired by the world around us and the people we meet. There are so many incredible artists out there and enjoying their art pushes us to make the best art we are capable of, and to keep raising that bar higher.
EM: Any artist collaborations we can look forward to?
TM: We tend to say "yes" to any and all opportunities that come our way if we can make it work. We as individuals and as a group love to collaborate and we think it helps to make us better artists. On Kids in Love we got to work with Ryan Rabin of Grouplove and his creative team called Captain Cuts, and some other writers we really love and respect, like Matt Rad and Ruth-Ann Cunningham. We will definitely be working with more artists in the future because collaboration can only bring knowledge and experience to our lives.
EM: What’s in store for this year?
TM: Lots of shows and music and shows and music… And some more shows.. We have dedicated our lives to this and we are gonna keep pushing this project and our message as far as we can.
EM: I’ve seen you play Bowery Ballroom, a side stage at Bonnaroo and then last year at SXSW. You all have brought the energy every single time. Is there a type of venue that you favor? Where does all that adrenaline come from?
TM: We honestly love what we do for a living and that's where the energy comes from. Personally I love a packed out, smokey bar type show where I'm certain the front row can smell my body odor… The energy in those rooms is so compact and we really feed off of it, but every stage offers a new level of excitement.
EM: What do you expect Shaky Knees to be like? What excites you about playing this festival in Atlanta?
TM: Atlanta is a music city and a great place to hang so I'm expecting good energy from both the fans and all the great acts performing! It's gonna be a lot of fun!
EM: Any favorite ATL spots you always hit up?
TM: When we're in ATL we usually spend our time catching up with local friends like Amy Gerhartz and the guys in Manchester Orchestra and we eat a LOT.
EM: Where we can find you on a Saturday afternoon?
TM: "Laughing 'til the sun comes up."
EM: Do you think about your perceived “look” or just go with whatever (forever)?
TM: I don't really think I have "a look." Some nights I go all out and rock dresses that make me feel glamorous, because it's just fun to be girly, but some nights, Nikes and Levi's are just how I'm feeling! Whatever route I go, I need to feel comfortable and confident if I'm going to give my best performance, so that's the priority for me.
EM: Who is your muse? In style, life, or musically.
TM: Tina Fey, Holly and Jess of Lucius, the Broad City girls… Any strong, confident, funny woman who is doing her thing.
EM: What product can’t you live without?
TM: Rose water.
EM: Share something funny/random/comically terrible that’s happened recently.
TM: Our bus sent sparks off the highway and started a small fire. No one was hurt
If you want to find out when their fiery chariot comes to a city near you, visit their website for full a full list of tour dates. Also, get social at the links below.