Mowgli’s Discuss Band Identity, Spreading Their Love Through Rock + More
California feel-good rockers The Mowgli's have been making heads bob and toes tap with their hit single, "San Francisco." The eight-piece band - yes, eight - performed at The Stache inside The Intersection a couple of weeks ago (June 30). We spoke with vocalist/guitarist Colin Louis Dieden about The Mowgli's rise to fame, getting along with seven other band members and more.
The Mowgli's released their major label debut album, Waiting for the Dawn, via Photo Finish and Island Records. Having eight members can contribute to a unique sound, but having such a high roster count can bring its share of problems. Thankfully for The Mowgli's, they have been able to keep their friendships intact since the beginning of their journey.
With having eight members in the group, were you guys ever afraid of having "too many cooks in the kitchen" when creating music?
No. I think we've been in so many bands with the exact same format. Every band I've been in I was the only frontman and I was writing all the songs. So it was really cool to have a different technique. Everyone in this band I respect immensely and I respect their creativity. It's kind of cathartic in this weird way because you have to let go of all of this control.
The two singles from Waiting for the Dawn, "San Francisco" and "The Great Divide" features the entire band singing throughout the songs. Were those two tracks chosen on purpose?
Our vision was that the true voice of The Mowgli's wasn't heard until the whole band and whole crowd were singing together. That's the lead singer of The Mowgli's. I think that we wrote some songs we thought were catchy and all wanted to sing together as friends. We didn't think it was going to turn into this. We never knew that "San Francisco" was going to hit the way it did. It was just us in a garage in L.A. screaming these songs.
Waiting for the Dawn contains a few songs that were featured on your debut album, Sound the Drum, which was released last year. How come you didn't just re-release your first album through Photo Finish and Island Records?
When you get involved with a major label you have to make compromises, and there were some songs in there [Sound the Drum] that I don't think they felt were super strong in a way. But, we also has written a bunch of other songs that we felt we needed to get out to the world. It was an easy compromise to make because we wanted to release our new art and they wanted to as well.
Did writing the new songs give you time to step back and reevaluate where the group is at creatively?
I think the new stuff is much more mature, although it still has our message which is love and kindness. I think we delved into more interpersonal love and actual relationships like the song, "Say It, Just Say It."
Even though The Mowgli's are new to the industry and you're trying to establish yourselves, it never looks like the pressure gets to you. Everything we've seen it seems like you're all having a great time.
It's easy to sort of be turned dark or jaded by the industry. Like I said earlier, I don't think we ever thought that this band would get here. I mean I'm sure we hoped, but we never expected this from life. So I think we're so humbled by and excited to be doing what we're doing now and we don't feel entitled to it. So there's not like this weird energy from the industry.
The Mowgli's played at Bonnaroo for the very first time this year and you will be one of the artists at Lollapalooza in August. How is the band preparing now that you've made it to the upper echelon of music festivals?
We're just kind of locking down what we think is the tightest set in terms of what's with the movement of the music and how the crowd feels. It's not just like playing a show at a normal venue. You really have to raise the bar because all these bands are doing amazing things, so we have to do an amazing stage show for the audience.
The Mowgli's have released albums two years in a row. Will we see a new record in 2014?
Absolutely. I haven't heard of any kind of release date but we're definitely writing.
Watch The Mowgli's "San Francisco"