Courtesy of The Mowgli’s
Could you talk a little about the inspiration behind your recent EP “American Feelings”?
All the songs were written at different times and in different environments, but they all had a theme that felt like it really fit the times right now, so we compiled them all together and called it ‘American Feelings’, which I think really sums up the overall tone of the EP. it’s been a lot of fun stepping outside of the box on these songs, and it’s exciting to be able to release them all in the form of an EP, instead of forcing ourselves to write a bunch more that fit perfectly into this collection just to make it a full length.
Is there a favourite track on the EP? Or would it be like choosing your favourite child?
They are all so different from one another it’s really too tough to say. That’s what I think makes this such a cool and unique collection.
What’s the overall message of your EP? What do you want your fans to walk away with?
I guess to reference ‘Norman Rockwell’, sometimes you feel stuck in the paint, but the ability to paint yourself out of your circumstances and into a new world does exist. I’d like to think that this EP offers some glimmer of hope that we can all make it through these tough times, as individuals and as a country. That there is light at the end of the tunnel.
How is this EP different from your previous albums?
Well first and foremost, I sing lead on two songs, which is a first in our almost 10-year career. I’ve wanted to do this for a long time now and it’s really exciting for me. Also, all 4 songs are really different from each other. We just went through our catalogue of new songs and picked our favourites, and then found the common thread that existed amongst them. In the past, we released collections of songs that had different lyrical themes but sounded like they belonged together. On this one, we put together 4 songs that are all totally different sonically but seem to speak to a common universe lyrically. Luckily, we worked with one producer (Rob Ellmore) who braided them all together perfectly.
Overall, how would you describe your genre of music to someone who has never heard it before?
I’ve never been able to do that accurately. Mostly I just say it’s a pretty upbeat hybrid of pop and alternative, but those terms mean less and less to me every day as genres continue to blend into one another.
How, if at all, has your musical style changed since when your band first began nearly nine years ago?
Well, it’s definitely changed. I think it’s impossible not to change as an artist or a group in that much time. We have worked with various producers and written with tons of different people who have pulled different things out of us and pushed us in different ways. Each of us has grown and changed a lot, as individuals, and that inherently alters what we make together. We’re all getting older, and hopefully, more skilled in our crafts, so I think it’s been a pretty natural evolution.
Walk me through your writing process now, where do you find inspiration? Is it harder or easier working together?
That’s a pretty difficult thing to do because it’s always different. We are all working on different projects all the time. We have written as individuals and brought songs to the group that are either recorded, or changed, or forgotten about. We have written as a group on songs we all loved or hated. We have written as duos, and we have written with other people. There are probably hundreds of unreleased Mowgli’s demos on hard drives all across this city. It’s always fun and exciting to see what happens when you mix up the chemistry creatively, so we definitely explore the process a lot. In the end, it comes down to this: everyone is free to create however they want, and when it’s right for the Mowgli’s, we know it. And as far as inspiration goes, as long as we remain free creatively, we tend to find inspiration everywhere.
How does the LA environment play into your music making? Is there anywhere else you guys would rather be?
Everyone in the band has a special relationship with LA. There is a ton of creativity in this city, lots of writers, a ton of ambition, and an active arts and music scene. Everyone here has a dream, and almost everyone is working toward that dream. It’s beautiful, and it pushes you to keep going and to get better. Pair all that with the fact that the weather is almost always nice (it does happen to be raining today), so you can always be outside. All of that can be really inspiring, and naturally, our circumstances bleed into our music. My family lives in the UK and I’ve been visiting a lot more lately. I like it a lot because it’s a different pace of life, and I feel a real connection to the country itself. If I didn’t live in Los Angeles, maybe I would live back there again.
Has there been a time where you guys have doubted your decision to pursue music? What inspired you to keep going?
I think everyone in every field doubts themselves. It’s only human. But being a part of a group project, and being surrounded by supportive people help immensely. Whatever it is you are pursuing, surround yourself with supportive people who believe in you. It’s damn near impossible without that.
What’s been the best part of being in a band?
On the other hand, what has been the most difficult thing you’ve had to do or obstacle you’ve had to overcome in the music industry?
Sometimes it feels like no one in the industry believes in you. It doesn’t matter that when I’m on stage, people are screaming and smiling at me when I get offstage, it’s a numbers game, and if you don’t have them, they don’t really see you any more. That can be painful, but then you remember that you have love in your life and that people are still showing up to shows and singing the words, and you stop caring about the people who don’t see you, and you focus on the ones who do.
What part of being on tour are you most excited for?
Playing shows 🙂
Do you have any advice for aspiring artists or bands in the field?
Whatever it is you are aspiring to be, just keep at it. If you give up, you’ll never reach your dream, so don’t give up. I know it’s cliche, but life isn’t always just something that happens for you, sometimes you have to be the one to make it happen.
Any last thoughts?
This tour is gonna be one for the books!
Feature image courtesy of The Mowgli’s