Leave Your Troubles At The Door: An Interview with The Mowgli's

No one has ever seen the same live show from The Mowgli’s twice, and no one ever will.

Their live shows are tailored in a way that not only involves strategic planning but an eclectic range of songs. Thankfully, they never do anything twice in a lot of areas of their music.

First, there’s the creation process of their songs. Sometimes they write together, sometimes they bring ideas separately. Sometimes a few of them will break off and sit through a session with a co-writer. Whatever the outcome, they have a digital folder that it all goes in: demos, voice memos, ideas. As a group they dive into that folder and go through it until they find something special.

Lately, they’ve been taking those “something special” ideas and releasing collections of 2-4 songs whenever they have them ready.

“It’s been a really fun way to release music and it’s allowed us to constantly put out new stuff which is really all we want to be doing,” vocalist Katie Earl said. “[Releasing EPs] has been really awesome; we’ve been really focused on that and writing a lot and just trying to have our music reflect what we’ve developed into and grown into.”

In guitarist Josh Hogan’s opinion, when creating a full length there is an opportunity for the majority of those songs to get lost in the ether. By putting out just a few at a time, each song gets a chance to shine. Bassist Matthew Di Panni agrees, saying that even during the writing process it gives that song an extra chance by putting more focus into it.

“In the past there have been a lot of songs that we loved and were excited about,” Earl said. “Maybe it wasn’t a single but it was a personal fan favorite and it didn’t get the push of the single or the follow up so when we play them live no one in the audience has heard them because they just end up getting buried in the algorithm. How we do it, it’s been really cool to give each song its own chance.”

Since they release singles so frequently, it changes the game completely when it comes to their live shows. Some of their songs, such as “San Francisco”, have been played and practiced thousands of times. However, once they add in a new song, such as “Fighting With Yourself”, they now have to incorporate it into the rest of their act. For the band, they never want to have a fan see the same live show twice.

When planning their shows, they take into account two important factors that other bands might not think of: who they’re playing with and who they’re playing for. If they’re playing with artists that are high energy, they pick their best songs that relate to that. If the other performers on the tour are darker, they go with their grungiest songs. They also look to the other artists on the tour and see how their stage presence works with the crowd.

“We will become inspired by these bands and that could bring a new live element,” Di Panni said. “We might have seen them do something on stage and think about wanting to do something similar.”

By adjusting their performance to who they’re playing with and who they’re playing for, it keeps things fresh for them and the audience.

“You want to win the fans over that don’t know your stuff,” drummer Andy Warren said. “You want them to enjoy your show and it’s hard. We’ve done some tours where our music is just for certain people and even when someone is standing front row with their arms crossed waiting for the next band, you still have to put on your best show. The most we can do is play a set that’s catered to the vibe of the show.”

He goes on to say if someone doesn’t like their show, they can suck an egg. They said to print that, so there it is.

One thing that stays consistent with their live show is the message. They are obsessed with the concept of when someone comes to their show, they leave their troubles at the door. From the moment the crowd steps into a venue, everything that they want to forget is forgotten. If they can accomplish that while they’re on stage, they feel like their job is done.

As if any of this wasn’t enticing enough to see The Mowgli’s on tour, there’s an extra bonus that can be found on their rider: dogs. It could be their dogs – Peach, Abby, Suki or Vinnie – or it could be venue staff’s dogs; it’s a happy occasion to anyone involved.

“You can save and change and enrich a life,” Hogan said. “The dog gives it right back to you.”

There is one more thing that stays consistent with a live show from The Mowgli’s and that’s love. Their love for one another, their fans, their tour mates and everyone involved; spreading the message of love is powerful throughout their set. There’s a quote from Earl’s favorite show, Ru Paul’s Drag Race, which speaks to their message of love.

“There is a lesson from that show that I’ve taken with me every day of my life and I try to remind people of it every day too: If you can’t love yourself how the hell are you going to love somebody else. Can I get an amen?”

Amen, The Mowgli’s. Amen.