Everywhere I turn these days I encounter The Mowgli’s. Talk shows, concerts, YouTube. They’re on fire, tearing up charts and embracing success. They’re obsessed with the simple concept of love and spreading it all around.
What should you know about this eight-person indie band hailing from southern California? Well, first of all they're a troupe of best friends ranging in age from their mid-twenties to early thirties. You can hear it in their melodies, a chorus of voices in perfect harmony. The group is large enough in numbers to start a gang, but without all the bad stuff that comes along with membership like violence, initiation rituals and havoc-wrecking.
What is a Mowgli, anyway? Recall The Jungle Book’s main character. The band’s front man, Colin Louis Dieden explains: “The Mowgli’s to us means being young and wild forever. Until we get old and boring I guess.”
The Mowgli’s mission is to spread the good word. No, not the Bible or the word of God. It’s the word of L-O-V-E in its most raw form. They are “in love with love,” as their most popular song to date, "San Francisco," goes.
You could say the band is love-stoned. And why not? Being young, fun and living a musician’s dream of rising fame can have its perks and certainly put you in a good mood. The Mowgli’s have appeared on everything from Jimmy Kimmel to Conan O’Brien.
Each band member retains individuality yet functions in a symbiotic, group identity way. The long list includes Colin Louis Dieden (vocals/guitar/percussion), Michael Vincze (guitar/vocals), Katie Jayne Earl (vocals/percussion), Matthew Di Panni (bass/vocals), Josh Hogan (guitar/vocals), Dave Appelbaum (keys/vocals), Spencer Trent (percussion/guitar/melodica/vocals), and Andy Warren (drums/percussion/vocals). They all sing and harmonize together.
“We create this symbiotic energy flow that makes us step up….It’s like when you are on a team and you are in the big game. Everyone is so fired up and they win the game together. That’s sort of the synergy that happens,” Vincze said.
Their musical style is extremely catchy and upbeat. It’s pop beach music with an indie vibe. On a recent trip to Los Angeles, I listened to their upcoming album, Waiting for the Dawn, while driving down the Pacific Coast Highway, and yes, in a convertible. Very cliché, but oh so perfect.
Music often times has the ability to transport you to that place you wish you could be. I imagine that’s what the Mowgli’s have in mind for their audience. Feel-good music that brings the nostalgia of California to the entire world. Whether it’s a coastal drive down Highway 1 or the comfort I feel while strolling down the Embarcadero and taking in the fog, (that’s one of Dieden’s favorite things to do in San Francisco). The Mowgli’s unique sound allows you, the listener, to bring the eclectic California feeling just about anywhere you are. Break out your headphones and you too can be on the Santa Monica pier without a care in the world.
Besides creating a California feeling anywhere, Vincze recently explained to me that the band wants to start a “love movement.” It’s not some hippy, 1960s esoteric Haight Ashbury, drug haze they are talking about. (Although, the band has admittedly been influenced by Janis Joplin, Kerouac, Ginsburg and the Beat Generation). The love movement is a set of ideals grounded in a single philosophy—finding joy and fulfillment in everything.
“For me, it's this thing we are trying to awaken inside of all of us. We all know we’ve got it. We’ve got this pure joy. You can find it anywhere. It’s not hard to discover,” Dieden said .
Several songs on the new album exemplify the love-factor. Take “Emily” for instance, a song written collaboratively by Dieden with friends Sam Hollander and Nate Campany. The lyrics and beat are simple. That’s what they pride themselves on. So many musicians get caught up on writing “deep lyrics.” Sometimes what touches our soul in the most intimate places doesn’t need to be wrapped in a polysyllabic dissertation on life.
I’m also really digging “Say It, Just Say it,” another Dieden collaboration, but this time with a personal spin. The song is about a mysterious woman he once was involved with in his life.
The Mowgli's will be spreading the love and joy on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Thursday June 20, two days after the new album drops on June 18. They just played closing night at the The Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Manchester, TN and they'll wrap up the summer with their biggest concert to date, Lollapalooza, on Sunday, August 4. And make sure you catch them when they come back to San Francisco October 17 to play The Regency Ballroom.
So, as I sit here on a cramped commuter train, surrounded by people, dogs and luggage, far from the ocean breeze, warm sand and smell of sunscreen, I think back longingly to last weekend’s drive down the PCH. Why not relive it right here on my iPod with the help of the Mowgli’s? I’ll shut out the world, close my eyes and listen…Do-do-do-do- Do you feel the love? I feel the love…
Can't get enough of The Mowgli's? Check them out on The California Report.