March 5th, 2014
On a rare sunny day in March, we caught up with The Mowgli’s and their adorably rambunctious dogs, Abby and Suki, at the picnic table behind The Independent in San Francisco, just north of the Panhandle. Our interview quickly turned into hanging out, where we discussed the band's future tour plans, bodily functions, Grouplove, and everything in between. We have to say, The Mowgli’s are a great group of people just having fun putting their music out into the world and inspiring positivity.
This is the first part of our interview. Part Two is here.
SFCS: We’ve both seen you guys perform a few times. First of all, we really love coming to your shows because they’re so fun.
Katie: So every time we come to San Francisco we get really excited and rage a little harder than usual, so we usually throw a party up there.
SFCS: We wanted to know how you keep that much energy and engagement with the crowd because it really comes across.
Katie: Oh thanks. Well, being a touring band you spend so much time in the van getting to the show. Once you get on stage, it’s kind of like, that’s why you spent the last 18 hours in the van with a bunch of dudes. That one hour—
Josh: That nice burst—
Colin: One hour of cardio and 11 hours of cheese burgers.
Katie: We’re trying to connect with our fans to help make people feel good, and even with the internet and all of the technology nowadays, there’s really no way to connect with people like sharing that live experience. So we love going to shows and watching bands. We take that into account when we’re putting a show on and just try to have as much fun with the audience as we can. That one hour a night, ya know?
SFCS: What’s it like for you being the only girl?
Katie: It’s insane. It’s totally crazy and it smells weird, but it’s also really fun. Luckily they’re really nice guys and we have a lot of fun together, so it’s not the nightmare it could be if they weren’t. I guess if you guys were all assholes it—
Colin: If we beat her up and stuff...
SFCS: It probably wouldn’t be as fun.
Katie: Yeah, or if they were just assholes, I guess it would just suck a lot more. Luckily, they’re my buddies and it’s pretty cool.
Andy: Thanks Katie!
Katie: We have been fortunate enough to meet some really cool chicks on the road from different bands that we’ve played with. It’s really refreshing to link up with them. It makes me appreciate my girlfriends a little more.
SFCS: Is that a Grouplove shirt you’re wearing?
Katie: It is a Grouplove shirt I’m wearing. Talk about cool chicks in bands.
SFCS: Hannah Hooper.
Katie: She’s amazing, she’s so cool. The few times we’ve played with them I got to hang out with her a bit.
SFCS: What is the song “We are Free” about? What do we need to wake up from?
All: That’s a pretty great question.
Josh: I think it’s supposed to be a collective awakening of an entire generation of people to, I don’t know. It’s a call for everyone together to wake up and step up to a place of consciousness. Whether that’s conscious living or being nice to each other, or living with love or living in love, I think it’s an opportunity for us to think it’s time to move to this place of love. Just wake up this whole generation… [His dog runs over] Abby! Good girl!
Katie: Abby is Josh’s, she’s Josh’s spirit animal, clearly. Suki is my dog.
[Everyone yells at the dogs to stop digging]
Katie: It’s really fun.
Josh: Hey! No! What are you looking for homie?
Katie: She’s just being a dog! They really scoped out the backyard.
Josh: Sorry for yelling at the dogs during the interview.
SFCS: What are your pre-show rituals?
Colin: Drink a liter of whiskey.
Katie: We recently saw Wolf of Wall St. Have you seen it?
SFCS: Not yet.
Andy: Check it out.
Katie: Well, there’s this scene where Matthew McConaughey—
Josh: He beats his chest and is like “Ohhh ohhh ohhh.”
Colin: We’ve done it twice.
Andy: We’ll get together and make setlists as art on the back of plates or something, and at the end we’ll have doodles and drawings.
Colin: We sing together so our harmonies are on point.
Katie: And then we just put our hands in and jump around.
Colin: Have a few beers and go out there and do it!
Andy: Howl like wolves and call it a day.
Colin: That’s the thing we’ve always done.
Andy: Let’s go with wolf howling.
SFCS: What’s the coolest venue you’ve ever played?
Katie: Recently we played on a yacht here in San Francisco for the America’s Cup. We’re just out in the middle of the bay on a yacht rocking and trying not to fall over.
Andy: Playing under the Bay Bridge—
Colin: Trying not to throw up.
Katie: That was really, really cool.
Colin: Downing the Dramamine—
Katie: We’ve just been really lucky to play insane, awesome venues, some really cool outdoor venues, some really great older buildings that used to be haunted Civil War-era spots in the South. I think some of my favorites are the outdoor spots.
Andy: House of Blues in Chicago.
Josh: Oh man, that was rad.
Andy: Hard Rock in Vegas was really cool. We played with Imagine Dragons.
Katie: We keep going to all these places, festivals. We’ve never played this venue.
Andy: This is becoming my favorite venue.
Josh: We also just played on a cruise ship. We played in this big theatre and on this big pool deck in the middle of the Atlantic on the way to the Bahamas.
Katie: In the middle of the Atlantic might be a very interesting location.
Josh: The horns from Reel Big Fish came up and played with us.
Katie: Did you drop a bomb there? I was hoping you did.
Andy: Aw shit! I dropped, like, nine bombs there.
Katie: He didn’t actually—
Andy: I didn’t actually drop a bomb there.
Katie: Oh I was hoping you did. I meant to tell you.
Andy: Well, I didn’t have any reception at all, my phone was—
Katie: Andy has this app, and it’s called Places I’ve Pooped. He drops bombs on places he’s pooped.
Andy: It’s really just so I can mark where I’ve been. The poop is not really the point.
Katie: It’s a side note.
Andy: It’s just interesting to see where you go.
Katie: Take a mundane experience, an everyday thing that you have to do, and why not make it an adventure?
Josh: Speaking of pizza, David Appelbaum just walked in.
Katie: This interview has taken a very [laughs] turn.
[Everyone is cracking up]
Andy: I like it though!
SFCS: The Mowgli’s: Places They’ve Pooped.
Katie: I think we’re gonna work on that. That’s gonna be our next tour poster.
Andy: Wolf howls and poop.
SFCS: Pooping All Over the Country.
Katie: That could be our next tour. The Mowgli’s: They’ve Pooped Here, and it could be places we’ve been already.
Josh: I like it.
SFCS: What are your goals moving forward after this album and this tour?
Katie: We just want to keep reaching out to people. We want to write more positive music.
Josh: A new record.
Andy: Lots more music.
Katie: Music and art, just find ways to express ourselves and find new ways to share it and try to inspire people to follow their dreams and be themselves. Just keep the love.
SFCS: You’ve been doing a lot of food drives at shows, how’s that been going?
Colin: The Austin, Texas one was amazing. All these kids came out cause Austin City Limits got rained out. We tweeted it and had a huge response. Actually, the food bank said it was the most donations they’ve ever received.
Andy: We did the food drive on every show of our last tour. And maybe not everybody had heard about it, it varied from city to city, but the fact that people were still bringing stuff is pretty cool.
Katie: Our last tour was called the Random Acts of Kindness Tour and it kind of did revolve around that. I think that this next tour, we’re trying to figure out what else we want to do and how else we want to outreach. Maybe doing something with arts in schools. So we’re brainstorming new ways to promote the idea of paying it forward and performing random acts of kindness as we move forward into our next tour and our next album.
SFCS: As a follow up to that, what do you think is your biggest accomplishment as a band?
Katie: Food drive’s up there. I gotta say that was one of the most inspiring moments I’ve ever felt as a performer and as a musician. Like just kind of realizing that by sending out a tweet we could encourage that kind of good will from people and that many people can come out and it made me realize how powerful this platform is and it felt like a really positive awesome accomplishment. I could imagine that Colin playing in Kansas is pretty huge. That’s a home town for him.
Andy: This guy was just voted one of the 25 Most Influential People in Kansas.
Josh: This guy.
Katie: Dave what’s your biggest accomplishment been in the Mowgli’s?
Dave: Pizza. Free pizza.
Katie: Pizza has been a huge deal for this guy.
Andy: That was shocking.
Josh: So I think Dave’s biggest accomplishment is eating pizza in every city.
SFCS: So where’s the best pizza?
Dave: New York City… Chicago. Both are so different.
Josh: Dave’s a big deep dish fan. I say Two Boots in LA.
Andy: It’s also in New York.
Josh: That’s true, but it’s also in Echo Park, so that’s the one I said.
Andy: Just getting to where we’ve been and getting to travel the country six times over. I never thought we’d be here so quickly and the fact that we’re still blazing a trail is awesome.
Katie: What do you think Josh?
Josh: I think being able to travel and reach so many people with this message that we intentionally put into song. It’s really cool seeing them work and reach people, and hearing people’s stories. For me, playing music with a positive, loving message feels so good. It feels way better than every other band I’ve ever been in before. It’s nice to feel good myself and to make other people feel good. That’s a huge accomplishment I’d say.
Continue to Part Two here.
Photo by Sam Engel