“We try to cultivate a culture of positivity at our shows” – Colin Dieden
The Mowgli’s are a blossoming Alt-rock band, touring across the country on the strength of their excellent second album Kids In Love, making new friends everywhere they play, and making a difference all over the world. They are just the type of band the world needs to hear more of, and we were able to steal a few minutes of their time backstage before they hit stage in Orlando a few weeks ago.
We spoke to Vocalist/Guitarists Colin Dieden and Josh Hogan for this interview.
Cretin: So, you’re a few weeks into this tour with Lights. What has been the reception thus far?
Josh: There are a lot of kids out to see Lights, which is exciting for us because we get to win over some new fans.
Cretin: I’ve never seen her before, is her set worth checking out?
Josh: She’s awesome. Her show is great.
Cretin: I know there are a lot of Mowgli’s fans here, but it has to be great getting to convert new fans every night.
Josh: Yeah, coming to a Mowgli’s headlining show, there are obviously going to be Mowgli’s fans there, and this is exciting to get a new crowd going.
Colin: It’s cool to reach people who normally wouldn’t see us.
Josh: It’s kind of weird, too.
Cretin: Have you played Orlando before?
Colin: Yeah, a couple of times in the past.
Josh: We played a small room, The Social, and the next time, the larger room with American Authors (The Beacham)
Colin: That area by The Social is really fun at night – it kind of gets insane.
Josh: The streets are closed and everyone’s drunk in the street and partying.
Colin: It’s actually really fun.
Cretin: Any cities, outside the West Coast, where the outpouring of support has been off the charts?
Colin: Kansas City (Colin’s hometown). They’re really receptive to us.
Josh: On the East Coast, New York and Boston are great.
Colin: Chicago is awesome.
Josh: And Nashville, which is a surprise to me because I feel it is such a professional music city. They took us in and we’ve done a ton of shows there.
Cretin: When I saw you a few years ago, I left with a big smile on my face and a true feeling of happiness.
Josh: That’s awesome.
Cretin: Well, it was an Alt-Rock festival and so many of the bands were miserable or depressed, but not you all. You were positive and upbeat. Is that who you are, or a vibe you’re going for?
Colin: We’ve been like that since Day 1. When we started this band, we discussed how we wanted to create music that brought people up and when they left the show they’d be feeling great. It’s our style and genre; we try to cultivate a culture of positivity at our shows.
Cretin: You are definitely succeeding.
Colin: I remember going to shows as a kid and thinking I’ll never be as cool as that guy on stage. And that’s not the people we’re trying to be. We’re trying to be the opposite of that. We want an inclusive experience where everyone is involved and everyone’s at the same level.
Cretin: With seven members in the band, are you all of the same mind?
Josh: Yeah, for the first several years, we tried to figure out how to make this work and now we’re in a really good place. For the last year, we’ve been on this great level energetically and we all get along so well. We’re friends and we’re super tight.
Cretin: So things really started coming together about a year ago. Was that due to the success of “San Francisco,” or all the time that you spent touring…
Josh: I think it was the fact that we spent so much time on the road together. During “San Francisco’s” heyday, we were crammed into a passenger van (and with 8 members at that time). Everyone’s backs hurt and we were cranky all the time, and now quality of life has gotten a lot better touring in a bigger vehicle. And I think all of the time spent together and the shared experiences have brought us closer together.
Cretin: You all also seem to have a true social conscience, which I don’t seem to see much anymore. Is that because it’s huge to you or just that it’s so rare to see anywhere else these days?
Colin: Honestly, unfortunately, I think that’s because so few people do it anymore, highlights the fact that we do. We are working on this tour with the IRC, the International Rescue Committee.
Cretin: I previously wrote about that here.
Colin: We work hard for different charities and that’s a big part of what we do and that’s highlighted by the fact that a lot of other bands don’t do that, but I wish they did.
Cretin: Is that important to every member of the band?
Colin: Yeah. Everyone has different things they’re passionate about for sure.
Josh: Unfortunately we can’t always support all of the causes, but we always agree on one and go for it.
Colin: Right, because if we all supported our own, we’d never be able to get all of the focus of The Mowgli’s and maybe actually raise some money. So, we don’t want to spread ourselves too thin. This tour it’s IRC, last tour it was Yellow Ribbon.org and next tour it could have something to do with Arts in school, or Dog causes.
Cretin: Cool. – love that the band does that
Cretin: So, before we wrap this up, I’d like your thoughts on how important singles are these days?
Colin: Singles definitely matter.
Josh: More so than records.
Colin: A great single can bring the whole record to a new group, but a great record without a single might never be heard. A great single may be more important now than ever.
Cretin: Finally, what’s on the horizon in 2016?
Josh: We’ll be releasing a new EP.
Colin: We have all of these songs we love that we want to release and we’re going to put them on an EP while we are writing the next full-length.
Josh: For me, I’m just excited to have a little bit of time to write because between the first and second album, there was such a small window to release the record. Now we are nearing that next album release cycle where we can actually go away, go camping, go wherever and just write. And, I’m so excited because the two of us love doing that.
Cretin: Is that when you are your most creative, when you can sort of escape?
Colin: Yeah, it’s hard to get a ton of work done on the road. When you’re not out there doing the band thing, you can step back and everything gets a bit quieter and your mind quiets down. You have more opportunities to dive into things that you wouldn’t be tapped into on the road because you’re so distracted. You can’t be distracted when you’re trying to be true and honest.
Cretin: And how about the rest of this year?
Josh: In mid-December we wrap up the tour, and we always take off a few weeks to be with family around Christmas and New Years for some family time. Then after that, we hit the ground writing to try to put something together that’s just amazing.
Colin: That’s the goal.
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