The Mowgli's spread punk goodness around the world
You can easily make the case that bands like Deap Vally have the right idea. That Los Angeles–based act features only two members, and its gear consists of little more than a guitar, an amplifier, and a drum kit.
The Mowgli’s, on the other hand, have no such interest in keeping things simple. Also based in L.A., the group includes eight musicians, a fact that singer-guitarist Colin Dieden admits has posed logistical problems in the past.
“When we were starting out we definitely played some places where it was a miracle that we even pulled it off with the amount of people we have,” Dieden says when the Straight reaches him on the road in Virginia Beach, Virginia. “But the more we progress, the bigger and bigger the stages tend to get, which I think is the natural trajectory of things. But there’s definitely still the times when we’ll do a smaller club show and it just reminds us of coming up in L.A. and the tiny venues we’d play. And it’s kind of nice. Sometimes on the big festival stages we’re so sprawled out across the stage and it’s so large, and it’s nice to be bumping into each other and getting back in touch with the punk rock in us, you know?”
While the Mowgli’s certainly built their career in a ruggedly independent, DIY fashion, there arguably isn’t a lot about the band’s major-label debut, Waiting for the Dawn, that could be described as punk rock. An almost relentlessly upbeat collection of songs that straddle the worlds of folk rock and indie pop, the LP showcases a foot-stomping sound and the kind of layered vocals (all eight members sing) that are sure to endear the Mowgli’s to fans of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros and Of Monsters and Men.
There is definitely something punk, however, about the octet’s desire to open its followers’ eyes to the wider world. Toward that end, the band has launched a website called BeaMowgli.com. “It’s almost like a social network for goodness, as opposed to all the other arbitrary, horrible things people use it [social networking] for these days,” Dieden explains. “It’s a way to share your random acts of kindness that you perform—and everybody does perform random acts of kindness every day, but sometimes you don’t even know that you’re being a great person in these various moments throughout your life.”
On the site, people share stories and photos of ways in which they have made a difference, whether it be through running a daycare centre for orphans and street kids in Tanzania or visiting seniors at their local hospice.
Dieden says BeaMowgli.com is part of a larger mission to spread positivity both off-stage and on. “This band was founded upon the intention that we wanted to make people leave the show happier than the way they came,” he says. “And we wanted to be good to all the people around us—those that work with us, that work for us, that we associate with—and we’re trying to create an atmosphere and a climate of happiness and goodness with what we do.”