By: Jacob Elyachar
The Alternative music scene has gotten a little bit louder thanks to the Mowgli’s. They describe themselves as a combination of Rock n’ Roll with Southern California soul. Recently, the band debuted their first studio album: Sound the Drum on iTunes and has performed on a successful SXSW tour circuit earlier this year and they are continuing to build their fan base.
I recently had the chance to correspond with one of the band’s vocalists: Colin Louis Dieden and we talked about the formation of how he got interested in music, the Mowgli’s origin story and the recording process of Sound the Drum.
Jacob Elyachar: How did you get interested in music:
Colin Louis Dieden: My original, and to some extent, current dream was to be a novelist. I started off writing poems and short stories, probably spending 90% of my time in school writing. I’ve always wanted to finish a book but unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) I’m a wild man and have a very short attention span, so I found music as a medium for my poetry. Writing came first, music second.
JE: Who were your musical inspirations growing up? Who are they now?
CLD: I think I walked a semi-typical road into the world of music. On a drive with my dad from Los Angeles to Ojai once as a kid, I learned every single lyric to the Beatles White Album. I’d say that has become sort of my foundation for everything. Shortly after that I discovered Bob Dylan, James Taylor, Crosby Stills Nash & Young, Leonard Cohen etc. The older I got, I found that I really loved more stylized music. Good old punk rock like Black Flag, post-punk like Joy Division, or Death From Above 1979. Around 17, I discovered Lauryn Hill, The Smiths and Jeff Buckley and I’d probably say they remain my three favorite artists to this day.
JE: Could you please share to my readers: your first show that you ever performed at?
CLD: The first show I ever played was probably some school talent show or something. I think my first real show was at The Cat Club (R.I.P.) in Hollywood when I was 14 or something. I would imagine it was pretty rough.
JE: Before you joined the Mowgli’s, you were part of a group called Sing the Body Electric. What was the best part of being in that band? The most difficult part of being part of that band?
CLD: The best of Sing The Body Electric was that I had more creative control than I had ever really had before. I wrote all the songs and lyrics and could take the art in basically any direction I wanted. The hardest part about that band was probably that same duality. I think it may have caused some resentment and I could have let the others into my head a little more than I did, but as an artist you grow to learn these things. The Mowgli’s are great for me because there are 8 members, most of which are ridiculously good songwriters, so it forces me to practice humility and listen to others’ ideas.
JE: Could you please share the Mowgli’s origin story with my readers?
CLD: The Mowgli’s started on a front lawn in Calabasas, CA about three years ago. I met Michael Vincze (guitar, vocals) in a Hollywood alley. We pounded a beer together and in that moment, I think we both realized there was no turning back. Our energies were hungry for one another’s and the whole essence of that moment was pretty captivating, I’ll never forget it. I’m telling this story like we made out or something, which I assure you we didn’t… (Or did we?!?!?!?!? you’ll never know.) Anyways, see what I mean about the short attention span? Cut to a few weeks later; Michael and I are sitting in the front yard of our friends’ house lazily strumming a guitar under those big ol’ sad California stars, and he starts playing a verse to this song and when I heard it I said, “that’s great! I actually think I have a chorus already written that we can just put in there.” And we did. That song became “The Great Divide,” and we became the Mowgli’s. So it goes.
JE: The band recently released their debut record: Sound the Drum. What was the recording process like?
CLD: The process was great! We had all these songs written already, and it was really cool to deconstruct them and put them back together, which you have to do if you really want to make an effective recording that really evokes something in people. There were definite artistic differences, but you NEED to have those to create friction and bring a level of humanism to the work.
JE: What has been the feedback on your debut album?
CLD: We’ve (almost) only gotten amazing feedback! The music blogs/publications love the record and its always being reviewed one place or another. There has of course been the reviews from some guy in London who absolutely hates it or whatever, but that’s the same with everything in life. There will never be a time when everyone loves everything you do and the bad reviews keep you grounded. Plus, it rains all the time in London and I’m sitting here on my front porch in the sun doing an interview on a magic silver kinetic information box, so I’ll have the last laugh.
JE: Can you share what the Mowgli’s will be doing for the remainder of the year?
CLD: Well, our next show is the Sunset Strip Music Festival where we’ll be opening up for Marilyn Manson, Bad Religion, Steve Aoki, The Offspring, De La Soul and a bunch of other great artists, so that’s exciting. I’m pretty sure we’re on tour for almost the whole month of September, maybe on the road a little bit in December as well. I’m sure we’ll do South By Southwest music festival in Austin. We’re in the process of recording a second record right now that will be released digitally and on vinyl called “Old Earth” so look out for that in the next month or so.
JE: What would be your advice to aspiring musicians who want to start a band?
CLD: Burn your money, save yourself from the cold.
To learn more information about the Mowgli’s, visit their Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/themowglis