MUSIC MIDTOWN 2013 Featured Artist: THE MOWGLI’S

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Courtesy of Artist’s Website

When MUSIC MIDTOWN made a triumphant return in 2011, we knew we could expect some of the most iconic and praised performers in modern music to play at Piedmont Park. In 2011, The Black Keys and Coldplay played to tens of thousands of eager fans who were elated at the return of the festival. Last year‘s two-day event was highlighted with sets from Pearl Jam, The Foo Fighters, and Florence & the Machine, along with a bevy of newer acts.

And now, with little over a week left before the fifteenth occurrence of MUSIC MIDTOWN, fans all over the world are ready to see Journey, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jane’s Addiction, Queens of the Stone Age, and an incredibly talented support lineup take over Piedmont Park. 

We’re happy to recently speak with Matthew di Panni of THE MOWGLI’S. If you’ve been to nearly any festival this Spring or Summer, you’ve probably seen their name on the bill. The California-based group has been winning hearts and minds since their 2012 debut, ‘Sound of the Drum’, and with their recent major label debut of ‘Waiting for the Dawn’, their options are seemingly limitless. THE MOWGLI’S play at MUSIC MIDTOWN on Friday, September 20th at 5:45pm on the ROXY STAGE

Tickets for MUSIC MIDTOWN (September 20th-21st) are still available HERE.

– Sean Pritchard

Rhett Shirley: At eight members strong, you’re a bit on the, hefty, side for a band. How does your size affect the creative process? How are you able to balance the spirit and inspiration of eight separate souls?

Matthew di Panni: At this point I think our size only aides to the creative process.  Having 8 minds running wild at all times creates brand new ideas every hour.  We are constantly able to lift each others spirits within a matter of moments or with just a smile or a hug.  We each inspire each other to be the best musicians/people possible so really we are one big support group.

So you say anyone can ‘Be a Mowgli‘. How so? 

Being a Mowgli means you are contributing to bettering the human race.  We are all in this together, we all have the exact same basic human needs, so we decided to let everyone share their compassion with everyone on our website Beamowgli.com.  We are trying to encourage random acts of kindness across the world, whether its just picking up some trash in your neighborhood or helping out at your local hospital.  AtBeamowgli.com anyone can share how they are helping out humans via photos and videos.  We love seeing how humans are progressing so please, be a Mowgli!

Some resources say you’re from LA, some from the Mid West, some from San Francisco, and even the Big Sur coast. Seriously, who are you people, and how did you find each other? Those of you that were childhood friends, did any significant events either separate you or draw you back together over the years?

The real story is that five of us (Matt, Katie, Andy, Michael, & Dave) all went to school in the same school district, so we we grew up together.  We met Spencer in high school after he moved from Nashville.  Eventually Josh moved from Oklahoma to Los Angeles in the early 00’s.  Colin had moved from Kansas City to Los Angeles around the same time and we met him shortly after.

Being one of the childhood friends, I would like to think I never saw myself actually being in a band with all of my friends.  I used to have Michaels bands play my backyard parties…myself and Dave only hung out at those typical high school parties so we weren’t even that close of friends…and hell, I once bullied our drummer Andy when we were in middle school together.  Thankfully everything that ever pulled/pushed us together or apart has kept us stuck like glue.  This is one of the best groups of people I have ever worked with.

Courtesy of Artist's Website

Courtesy of Artist’s Website

I see you’ve released some pretty slick looking clear vinyl records recently. What drove the decision to release on such a medium? Is it a double LP? Where can we find them?

I’m personally a vinyl junkie.  I have been pushing to press vinyl since our demo tracks in 2009.  It is indeed a double LP, which to me is more fun. People always wonder why bands do that and for me its like getting 2 records in one.  Half the fun of sitting with your record player is flipping the vinyl and exploring a whole other side of an album.  The other awesome bonus is that the vinyl is a clear-green color so its super limited edition right now.  Maybe we will press it as a different color next time…you can find the vinyl at photofinishrecords.spinshop.com and soon at themowglis.net

With eight of you on vocals, and sounding quite harmonious, have any of you had any professional/classical musical training, or is it genuine musical magic?

David (keyboards/vocals) has been studying classical music since the age of 3 and hasn’t missed a day of rehearsals since then.  Andy (drums/vocals) graduated from UC Santa Cruz with degree in music.  Almost everyone else in the band has taken vocal/instrumental lessons and we are constantly teaching each other new things.  A lot of this band is just genuine magic between some amazing friends with amazing talents.

All of your released materials, be they albums, music videos, or social media feeds, are thoughtfully designed, artistically inclined, and promote a positive existence and the ‘pay it forward’ mentality. That’s awesome. Do any of you have a hand in the design, production, or maintenance of them? Or are there some other talented folk we should know?

When it comes to releasing albums and writing songs, we are always open to working with everyone we can.  On all of our recordings we have brought in groups of our friends, like Papa Bear and The Easy Love, Lisa Donnelly, Zak Waters, The Diamond Light, The Donnas, The Janks and many many more.  We are very much into being as collaborative as possible.

We 100% have full control over all of our released material.  Everyone runs their own social networks and we all contribute to every single thing possible in this band.

Photo by: Saum Eskandi

Photo by: Saum Eskandi

On tour, how do you find your west coast influenced sounds resonate in places such as Alabama and Michigan, or other far from home venues?

So far we have only had a positive response in every city we go to.  The South has really opened their hearts and minds to our music so it brings in a very positive crowd.  Every area of the country has the potential to feel that oneness and compassion that we are trying to bring out in our sound.  So far, so good.

That ‘Brady Bunch‘ photo of you guys is amazing, by the way.

Why thank you! Our friend Saum Eskandani is responsible for editing and filming of that video.  We like to think of ourselves as an alternative looking Brady Bunch.

If you could share one message with the world about your mission as a group, what would it be?

Be good to each other!  Constantly remember that we are all in this life together and we deserve the same basic human rights as everyone else.

Have you had any experiences on tour that have really struck you and will stick with you?

The band has met so many enlightened people on the road.  Some people are intensely touched by our set to the point where they are brought to tears.  My favorite story is a woman found us at Summerfest in Milwaukee.  She gathered all of us together and told us how our music finally made her open up to more people after past traumatic experiences had kept her closed off from the world.  We all hugged her together and her tears turned to joy.  Its moments like that that make you realize you are doing the right thing with your life.  We appreciate every moment that is handed to us and we will continue to give back to the human community in every way possible.

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