From the paparazzi strewn hills of Calabasas, all the way through to the open plains of Kansas and Oklahoma – The Mowgli’s won’t ever leave you at a loss for music and fashion inspiration, with an impressive seven members in the band!
The Mowgli’s have been seen on all of America’s biggest and best late-night shows including Jimmy Kimmel, Conan and Jay Leno. With millions of YouTube hits and having played major festivals such as SXSW, Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza you definitely already know at least of their songs. When walking down the streets of San Francisco they’re the perfect soundtrack to breezy and sunny hazy days with their collage of influences ranging from the sixties to modern day pop-punk.
Upon answering the phone I asked Katie how she was finding Toronto so far, as Toronto’s infamous thunder and lightening storms had been battering the city the previous night in desperate hopes of transitioning into Spring. She replied that she was loving it and actually about to head down to one of her favourite restaurants downtown on her bike. Katie assured me though that the meatballs could wait ’til we were done with the interview!
It’s rare to see a band such as The Mowgli’s in this city who’re full of good vibes, happiness and love. You can’t help to want to join the party as they travel through town, stopping for a night before heading on to their next destination.
We caught up with the striking lead singer Katie Jayne Earle to discuss The Mowgli’s new album Kids In Love, her take on today’s music industry, doing great things for the world and what she’ll be taking to festivals as the season begins!
See the full interview below:
1. One of your big hits San Francisco did really well on the Billboard alternative chart. How did it feel as a band to see the results of your hard work?
It was really cool, that song’s kind of the reason we’re a band. It was really exciting, the better the song went the more people were coming out to our shows. We’d show up to cities like Philadelphia, Toronto and Boston and places we’d never been. There were people in the crowd singing the song back to us, and that’s when we see the results of our work the most – when we go to a show. When the crowds turn up on a Tuesday night or whatever, that’s the best!
2. At what point did you realise that singing was definitely the career for you?
[Laughs] Oh my gosh that’s so funny I’ve had so many jobs I can’t even tell you how many! I had some really fun jobs, I worked as a florist and on reality TV for years. I had some really great jobs that I thought I’d do for ever. Being in The Mowgli’s is a thing I just did at night for fun when I got off work. I’d go to a bar and play with my band and it was just this fun extra curricular thing, I loved it! And when it shifted and it became my job, I just kind of realised “Oh this job blows the other ones out of the water” – It’s pretty surreal because now I make a living from something I was just doing for fun.
3. Some of the members of your band met in Calabasas, how do you think Calabasas has inspired your music? Other than the Kardashians – Incubus are from there too right?
[Laughs] Yeah Incubus is from there! I think Calabasas is a very privileged community and a lot of that comes from the entertainment industry. A lot of kids we grew up with, they’re parents are musicians or actors or writers or producers. They all work in this creative field and so as a band I think it’s affected us. We grew up getting to do music classes and we had these really creative friends and family and parents that always honoured our desire to be creative and allowed us to pursue those things. I don’t think every community has parents that allows you to say “oh hey I want to go college to be a drummer!”. We grew up in a community where our parents said “yeah that’s awesome! If you want to be a writer or a drummer, or do something that might not make you any money go for it!” [Laughs]
4. Do you think that having the band consisting of members from across America affects your sound?
A bunch of us grew up in the San Fernando Valley (which is where Calabasas is) so there’s this Southern California vibe. Colin and Josh who are two of our strongest songwriters are from the Mid-West, Colin being from Kansas and Josh being from Oklahoma. They definitely bring a new element to our songs, Josh grew up listening to a lot of Gospel, he grew up in church – he’s a little bit older than us and he got really into pop punk and emo and that whole scene. Colin too, grew up listening to a lot of pop punk, he’s a huge country music as well. So all of those elements are embedded in the songwriting naturally and once we all get on it, it becomes what we consider The Mowgli’s sound.
5. How would you compare this new album to your previous ones sound wise?
Well the first album we made just to make an album, we were a band and we thought “let’s make an album!” and we worked with this producer and we got it done miraculously… this time we have a label who said “Ok we need it done by this date” and we’d been recording for two years. I think that’s the biggest thing that went into this album that having been a touring band really affected the sound. We realised that these were songs we were going to be playing live night after night. We know from experience that the higher energy songs were more fun to play on stage, so we put a lot of that energy into the songwriting process! It’s been great to play these songs live and have people say “I had a bad day, came to your show and felt better!” – likewise when we’re singing and dancing on stage we feel better like we’ve been through therapy or something, and it feels so great!
6. Tell us which tracks you’re most excited about from your new album next week called Kids In Love?
One of my favourite songs that I really wanted to be the first single was Kids In Love. It’s one of the first songs we knew was going to be on the album, it definitely has that old school pop punk influence that we all grew up on and is so much fun to play live!
I’m a huge fan of a latecomer to the album – we actually thought we were done with the album, then Colin & Josh went into these songwriting sessions with this writer called Matt Rad…
He’s written for One Direction right?
Yeah I think so! He’s a big name in pop music, he’s really great. They came out with two songs and we were like “oh shit, now we gotta squeeze them on the album”. One of them was called Love Me Anyway and it’s one of my absolute favourite tracks. I feel we can use it to speak to each other as a band, our friends and our partners. It’s about saying “I know I screw up sometimes, and I know I’m a wreck sometimes but you love me anyway and because you love me anyway I know i’ll get better”. Those two I’m very excited about but I have to say it changes every night!
7. Tell us a bit about your writing process as a band. There’s many members – does it usually start when jamming together or does someone bring in an idea to the group etc?
It’s definitely an evolving process. The first album was really different from the second album. The second album is really unique because we’ve been together for six years and a lot of bits and pieces of songs have existed in people’s heads for a while. There’s pieces of the album whether it’s a lyric or a guitar riff that Colin or Josh showed me two years ago and they’ve finally evolved into actual songs. Every time we write an album I think it’ll be different and it’ll probably be the only time it goes down exactly like that. Some of it was a guitar riff or great chorus and then everybody was like “Uh! What if we did it at this tempo!”, and over the course of the last few years it’s become what is now known as the Kids In Love album!
8. A month ago the lyric video for I’m Good, and a week ago the audio of Bad Dream was released. Can we expect a music video very soon?
Yes actually! We just finished a video for I’m Good. We did it about three days before we left for tour. We went to the desert to shoot the video, we just had a really fun day hanging out and setting up our gear, getting to jam in middle of the desert! That video’s going to be coming out really soon and we’re very excited about it!
9. You’ve performed on the top late night shows including Jimmy Kimmel and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. How do you find performing to an intimate small studio audience on TV compared to much larger shows and festivals? Is it actually more intimidating?
Those shows in particular are really unique. You go in early in the day and rehearse it so many times then all of a sudden the curtain goes up or the lights come on and Jay Leno or Conan or whoever is like “Ladies and Gentleman – The Mowgli’s” and you blink three times and it’s over. It doesn’t matter how many times you ran through the song in the day, all of a sudden you’re at the end of the song and you don’t know how you got there!
I guess it’s not like a gig where you’ve got a few songs to get into it – you’ve got to hit it straight away?
Totally! And like I said no matter how ready you are as soon it’s go time it’s already over! [Laughs]
10. We’ve heard you’re doing great things for charity and the band’s message is to spread love and kindness. Can you tell us some more about these projects?
We have a website that’s evolving for fans, it’s a means for connecting all the fans that we meet that want to do good. A lot of people want to do something great but it’s like “I want to help the homeless – but how?” so that’s how we’re trying to utilise the website BeAMowgli.com. It’s a community page where we can share some of our favourite charities including this great organisation in Kansas called Happy Bottoms which collects diapers for under privileged families ’cause it turns out diapers are wildly expensive…
I’ve heard that!
[Laughs] Oh my gosh! Kids go through like 7 or 8 a day! This other great organisation we work with is called Yellowribbon.org – we wanted to work with a suicide prevention group/hotline and a lot of the ones we saw online looked like they were run by an official health organisation and we didn’t know how we could help. Yellowribbon.org is volunteer run and offers an ear or a helping hand to let those in need know they’re not alone, so we’re selling these little ribbons, pins and stickers for $5 a pack at our shows and they’re a fun collectors item and we donate all of the funds to the organisation to make sure they have the funds they need to keep running! We’re really excited to work with them! We always love learning about new charities and causes that we can contribute to – helping can be really easy if you put a tiny bit of effort in!
11. From your videos and pictures there seems to be a lot of ’60’s imagery. Why do you think people today still love this era and period of time?
England and America look at the sixties as an era where a lot of music broke out with – for lack of a better word – a message. A lot of music from various suppressed groups were being vocalised. For the first time, girls were coming out of the fifties and going to concerts and just losing their minds! Now in 2015, people are unhappy with certain things – for example in Indiana there’s issues with some people saying “hey if your business doesn’t want to serve gay people then that’s your choice” and other people are saying “absolutely not that’s not fair!” and that’s just one of many issues.
People are using a lot of things such as art and music to express themselves as they did in the sixties.
12. As festival season begins with Coachella, what are your top 3 must have items for the summer for the summer festival looks?
Sneakers because it doesn’t how cute you look, you’re not going to have fun six hours into a festival if you’re wearing uncomfortable shoes. A fanny pack because who wants to carry a purse on their back all day long – pain in the ass. A fanny pack with your camera, your phone and wallet etc. Also, Rose water spray I’ve actually found to be really great, a light spritz on your face keeps you feeling fresh, doesn’t ruin your make up and stops you from feeling gross! [Laughs]
13. Best piece of advice from a music industry insider?
Don’t it take it too seriously, have fun – it’s the entertainment industry!
14. Where is Paradise for you?
Paradise is a lot of places for me, I’d say as somebody who lives their life on the road – Paradise is home. Anywhere I can chill out with my girlfriends, my dogs and catch up on some of my favourite TV shows – that’s the good life right there!
The Mowgli’s new album Kids In Love is released on April 14th 2015.
Album: Kids In Love
Label: Republic Records/Universal Music Group
Buy the album on iTunes
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