Gimme Your Answers 2: An Interview w/ The Mowgli’s

The Mowgli's
California seven piece The Mowgli’s (comprised of Dave Appelbaum, Colin Louis Dieden, Katie Jayne Earl, Josh Hogan, Matthew Di Panni, Spencer Trent, and Andy Warren) released their sophomore major label record Kids In Love earlier this year. Featuring their signature optimistic pop, the record holds the band’s bubbly and upbeat take on alternative rock. Today, we’re delighted to share our latest interview with the group as we recently picked up the phone and gave them a call to discuss the exciting creation of the album, working as a large group, board games, their special Be A Mowgli phone number, and favourite love songs.

AMBY: Hey, welcome back to AMBY. I interviewed the band when you were in Toronto two summers back, so it’s great to finally catch up!

THE MOWGLI’S: At The Mod Club! I love that place.

AMBY: The last time we spoke was back in 2013, so I feel the appropriate question is how have you all been doing? [laughs]

THE MOWGLI’S: We’ve been doing amazing. We just finished our new record, Kids in Love, and we’re really excited. We’ve just been so busy touring, and since the last time you saw us we’ve been touring constantly. We’ve been seeing the whole country and touring with some awesome bands. Just having a blast right now!

AMBY: We of course have to discuss the record you mentioned, Kids in Love. Tell us a bit about the album and the experience you had creating it together.

THE MOWGLI’S: We were in a time crunch and the label was like “we need to get an album out as soon as possible” so we compiled as many songs as all of us had written individually or together and sat down and taped about thirty different tracks that we had done. We realized that these twelve songs were the ones we wanted to do. So we went in and worked with a producer who recently did the Fitz and the Tantrums record and he has worked with so many good people. We were in the studio with him for about two months and then after we finished that we actually thought the record was done, so we went on tour and started promoting a little bit. We were on tour with American Authors for about six weeks, and then we came home and realized we wanted some more options, so we ended up working with the guy who produced the Grouplove record. Then we wrote about five new songs in a week and decided we wanted two of those songs on the record, so we went in with another producer and we tracked two new songs in the last week that we had. The label was super happy that we went in and did more songs that ended up on the record. It’s been a pretty crazy ride! It’s a different experience than recording the first record because as a new band you have your whole life to make your first record, and then you have x amount of time to make your second. Sometimes it’s in a hurry and sometimes it is not. We got lucky, we thought it was in a hurry, but we actually had more time. So we got what we wanted on there. It’s really exciting!

AMBY: That’s great to hear. When creating the record, what was the process like having all of these different creative minds and songwriters coming together and spewing out ideas?

THE MOWGLI’S: It’s always interesting. Like you said, there’s so many people in this band, and we’re all writers. The way it real goes down is that someone will generally write the bones of a song and bring it to the table and say, “I think this could be a Mowgli’s track”, and we all look at it and listen to it and write new pieces to it. That’s pretty much how all Mowgli’s songs come about. It’s not a song by the band until we have all kind of touched it a little bit and figured out the right parts and notes to go over peoples voices. It’s an interesting process because we are crazy to have this many writers in one room together! But, it works really well when you write the songs with your best friends.

AMBY: Does it ever get somewhat chaotic, or have you gotten into any arguments on which ideas sounds better?

THE MOWGLI’S: I can’t say that we’ve argued over things, but I can say that we’ve definitely discussed in depth how things should go. The good part about this band is that your opinion matters even if you didn’t write the song and you have an idea about something because it matters. We take everything that everyone says, and we think about every word that everyone is saying to us. We really try to make it all happen where everyone’s ideas can go in there, whether you have to twist the idea around to make it work, but we make it work.

AMBY: I was curious as to why you decided to go with the title Kids in Love. What’s the significance of that to you?

THE MOWGLI’S: Kids in Love to us, or at least for me, is kind of like we grew up a little bit from the sound of Waiting for the Dawn, where we kind of got labeled as this hippie tribal band from Venice, California, which isn’t completely inaccurate! We were hippies living in Venice, California. The kids that come to our shows, we hope are in love with us as much as we are in love with them! So those are the kids that we are in love with and for us, we are all kind of still kids. We’re all adults, but we are all sort of kids in the sense that we get on a bus everyday and travel and go play shows for people. That can be looked at as kind of childish, but we’re in love with what we do. So it just sort of makes sense that everyone here in this crew is in love with the fact that we are kids in love with this idea and it just works. It sounded right and it makes the most sense.

AMBY: And you’re currently busy touring North America in anticipation of the album’s release. How’s that going for you?

THE MOWGLI’S: It’s going really well! We’ve been on tour for the Kids in Love tour and we’ve been out for about two weeks or two and a half, and it’s been going really great! A lot of sold-out shows and just the crowd reaction is very incredible considering we’re playing a predominately new song set. There’s about nine new songs in the set and then we’re playing about seventeen or eighteen songs a night, so the kids are actually getting a really good taste of these songs. If they’ve seen us on the last few tours, like on the American Authors tour or when we toured with Manchester Orchestra, some of these kids know these songs already because we’ve been playing them for almost a year now. It’s just been pretty cool to go to these cities and see kids that come to your shows all the time and they’re singing new lyrics to songs that aren’t even available. It’s a pretty intense feeling! So the tour has been going well, it’s our first time in a tour bus on tour, so we’re actually pretty happy!

AMBY: When you aren’t playing those shows, how do you keep boredom at bay while touring? Do you have any jokes or running gags going between yourselves or what kind of thing do you like to do?

THE MOWGLI’S: We all joke with each other and make fun of each other because if you can’t laugh at your friends I don’t know what we’re going to do. We play this one board game that our drummer Andy has, it’s not even a board game, and it’s basically like mini hockey, which it really is. It’s just like two people playing against each other. We also spend a lot of time watching TV and movies together since we all love the same television shows and movies, so we all just binge watch series of TV. We’re also on the road, so we can just sit down and write songs together for the next record or two and see what happens. Generally around 4 am you can hear a guitar going and all of us singing in the background, and you’re like, “Oh, cool. A new song is coming out of there!” We stay busy.

AMBY: Something I’ve noticed is how you have this Be A Mowgli number that fans can call. Where did this idea come from and who answers the phone each time?

THE MOWGLI’S: The Be A Mowgli campaign started I believe last year, and we had the idea where we just wanted our fans to be able to reach out to us if they ever wanted to just chat. As a fan of music my entire life and going to shows and trying to meet bands, it’s something where you get this personal thing; you get to call a number. Even if it goes to voicemail, we check it and we try to respond as best as we can. Sometimes we answer and kids go crazy! You get to talk to one of your favourite bands, and that doesn’t happen very often. WE actually have another phone number right now, it’s not part of the Be A Mowgli campaign but it’s through our instagram, and if you call that number everyday we’re premiering a new song from our record on our phone line, so if you call that number you get that song. You can push buttons to hear more of that song or other songs and then you can leave us a voicemail or if we’re around we actually get to the phone and talk to fans as well. It’s kind of in the same vein, but the Be A Mowgli campaign was kind of just to go out and promote random acts of kindness for each other. Just to let people know you can take care of each other and that’s kind of the way it should be. You should be helping each other out and we’re all in this together. We have to help each other in this whole thing and that’s what the Be A Mowgli campaign really started as. People really got involved and there were billboards all over Los Angeles for it too. It was a great campaign for us.

AMBY: Yea, that’s a great idea! Alike many of your songs, there are tracks on the new record which are about love and friendship. With that said, what’s one of your all-time favourite love songs?

THE MOWGLI’S: This could sound a little creepy and sleazy, but it’s not, but one of my all-time favourite love songs is Let’s Get It On by Marvin Gaye. A lot of people think it’s get about sex, but it’s about being with the one you love and wanting to be with the one you love. It just seems to me like that song has been playing my entire life; I remember hearing it when my father put it on his record player when I was three years old, I remember the first time I heard that song. I listen to it almost every day now. It’s still my favourite love song.

AMBY: [laughs] Well being that you have such a great connection with your fans and you are obviously very interactive with them all, what’s something about The Mowgli’s that most of your fans don’t know yet?

THE MOWGLI’S: Ohhh, that’s a great question! It’s tough because we don’t really hide anything from you guys. I think you stumped me! [laughs] Maybe the fans don’t know that we, or at least our drummer in particular, has a crazy obsession with trying different chicken restaurants. We’re big foodies, so a lot of the time fans will bring us candy and stuff, but when we tweet about what we’re going to eat, sometimes fans will meet us at these restaurants. We’re into the food in these towns and I don’t think that’s something the fans ever get to know, we are foodies! WE like to eat whatever the city recommends and then hopefully it’s the best!

AMBY: Yea, that definitely works and wraps everything up for today. Thanks very much for you time, we really appreciate it!

THE MOWGLI’S: Absolutely!


Thank you The Mowgli’s, for giving us your answers!

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Interview by Alicia Atout | @AliciaAtout

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