The bright sunny weather on Tuesday afternoon was a perfect indication of the mood that would soon take over the Theatre of Living Arts. Not only was it literally the name of one of the opening bands (Beach Weather), but it was also a quintessential representation of the other band opening the show: The Mowgli’s. The six piece indie pop group out of Los Angeles has shared their infectious positivity with the world since the release of their first album, Waiting for the Dawn (2013). They have put out two more albums, Kids in Love in 2015 and Where’d Your Weekend Go? that was released this past fall. I sat down with Katie (vocals), Colin (vocals/guitar), and Josh (vocals/guitar) to talk about music, positivity, and the best BBQ in the world.
Where did the name “The Mowgli’s” come from? Any significance behind that?
Katie: We always say we wish we’d thought twice about the name, we didn’t know eight years down the road we’d be so in the music game. It was named after our friend’s dog, who was named after The Jungle Book character. I wish there was a better story.
Colin: We should just make one up [laughs]
Katie: The Mowgli’s were actually the name of a drug cartel in a town that we grew up in.
Colin: Yeah from Tulum, Mexico.
Katie: We named ourselves after them as a homage to them so they can find us wherever we are.
You guys are a very positive and upbeat band, was that always the intention or did it kind of evolve when you started making music?
Josh: Yeah that was the goal from the beginning, we set out to make positive music and blast positivity into the world.
Katie: Music with an intention.
Colin: Purposeful pop.
What’s the songwriting process for you guys? Is it mostly collaborative?
Colin: Really depends on the song, and on the record, and what’s happening that day.
Josh: Our last record we sat in a room and wrote like 8 or 9 songs from scratch as a band together. I think one of them was you [Colin] and me, and the other was you [Colin] and Rob [producer].
How would you say your music has changed from the first album, to your most recent release, Where’d Your Weekend Go?
Colin: I think it’s gotten a little more complex and interesting, especially as we’ve grown and become more complex so has our music.
Josh: Living this crazy life, we’ve learned so much and experienced so much and we try to take that with us and into the music.
Katie: Eight years definitely gives you a lot more things to write about, and we’re in a different place with each album.
You guys have done a lot of touring, but do you prefer touring as a headliner with fans you came to specifically see you, or as an opener trying to win over a crowd that doesn’t know you?
Katie: There’s perks to both sides, standing in front of a room full of people each night that came out just to see your band is really amazing. There’s nothing like it. But having the opportunity to showcase your music and show your band to people who have never seen it has a very appealing aspect too. It’s really exciting and keeps us on our feet as a band and entertainers.
A lot of people turn to your music when they’ve had a rough day and need some positivity. Do you guys have music you turn to?
Colin: Fully, right now the song American Teen by Khalid. Every time I’m feeling bummed out I put that song on full blast and feel like 70% better.
Katie: At home I put on the Saves the Day, Save What You Are vinyl on and listen to the entire album. It’s super nostalgic to me and I love that one.
Josh: There’s a lot for me. Lately that new 1975 album [I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It]. I got into The Neighborhood’s new album a little late but that’s another big one.
Katie: Also the new Local Natives album from last year – as a band we love them.
What’s your go to place for food when you’re on tour?
Katie: Jack Stacks in Kansas City, definitely.
Colin: Have to give them a shout out [laughs], very high quality BBQ. Actually, best BBQ in America.
Katie: It’s like a staple of touring life now. We have to make a stop there.
Favorite artist to listen to right now?
Katie: I’ve been rocking to Lily Allen a lot lately.
Josh: I’m listening to a lot of stuff I used to listen to, like Screeching Weasel and NOFX.
Colin: Based on my Spotify, I’ve been listening to a lot of Mura Masa and Young Thug. Little opposite ends of the spectrum.
To finish it off, what’s the smallest stage you’ve ever had to play on?
Josh: We played a festival after-show once where the drummer, bass player, and keys were up on the stage, and everyone else was on the ground [laughs].
Katie: Yeah we grew up playing small bars with no real stage, so we kind of just were thrown in the corner and played where we could [laughs].