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Recess Interviews: Katie Earl, The Mowgli's

Alternative rock group the Mowgli’s will rock Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro April 10. The Mowgli’s formed in 2010 and released their first full-length album “Waiting for the Dawn” in 2013, and their second album “Kids in Love” in 2015. The band has toured both by themselves and with a number of other bands, including Walk the Moon and Manchester Orchestra. The Chronicle’s Christy Kuesel talked to vocalist Katie Earl about the music, the band and the upcoming tour.

The Chronicle: What are some of the main themes you see in your music?

Katie Earl: Love is definitely a major theme in our music. So is sunshine. It’s really unintentional in a way, but I think we all really are inspired by life and the world and those themes just come through in our lyrics a lot. We’ve joked that you could play a drinking game and probably get very drunk by drinking either every time we say the word “love” or “sunshine.”

TC: How do you feel that your sound has evolved from “Waiting for the Dawn” to “Kids in Love” and beyond?

KE: Well, it’s definitely evolving and it always will be, hopefully. The more we all write and play, the better we coming at writing and playing. This whole experience has been a journey in developing as artists individually and as a collective. We’re always learning from different bands that we’re playing with, from different writers that we write with, and we’re taking those things that we learn and applying them to everything we do within the band. So each and every one of us has said yes to every opportunity that’s come our way when it comes to working with other people and sharing ideas, and we come back to the group with what we’ve learned and apply it to our own projects.

TC: Your band is pretty big, with seven members. What’s it like working with that many people?

KE: It definitely has a lot of pros and a lot of challenges. I like to think of it as a microcosm study of society. There’s a lot of ideas, a lot of input, a lot of people, a lot of opinions, and we have to work together towards a common goal to get something done and to get the best product we can do as a group done. It’s important for us to let everyone be heard and to let everybody shine, and also to know when to sacrifice your own idea for the idea that’s better for the group. It’s got a lot of challenges with ego. It’s a constant test for each and every one of us, and it’s teamwork. It’s like any form of love or any relationship; it’s constantly something you have to look at every day. You can’t ever give up on trying to make it work. In the end it’s really worth it because you never feel alone. You have someone to share all of these milestones with and all of the achievements that you get from your hard work. You have a support group to share it with and a group of people who know what you’re going through and who understand your mission.

TC: What’s the craziest or most unexpected thing that’s ever happened on tour?

KE: I think that every single tour there’s probably a valid experience to answer that question. Every time we show up to a venue and there’s a more-or-less packed house, any amount of people that come together and sing the words, is pretty crazy. You never really know if you’re going to show up to a town and if anybody’s going to show up to the show. And so every time people do, and every time they share a show with us, it is pretty unexpected in a way. And it’s really, really, really appreciated. 

We experience a lot on the road, and we’re all faced with really intense situations. You’re getting not a lot of sleep, and you’re eating like crap and living this nocturnal lifestyle. You see your very best and your very worst on the road, and of everybody else. It’s really cool seeing the very best in your friends and band mates when they’re onstage and doing their thing.

TC: I saw that all of the proceeds from your new single “Room for All of Us” are going to the International Rescue Committee. What prompted you to decide to help out the cause?

KE: They’re a really great organization that I think for a hundred years, or at least close to that, has been helping immigrants from all over the world, anybody who lives in a city or country where there’s conflict of any kind… Anywhere that there’s any kind of conflict they help people resettle their lives in peaceful places, which I’m all about. I think that’s really important. I think that this world is all of ours and nobody is really entitled to living a safer, better life than anybody else. They’re a really amazing organization and we were excited to have any kind of opportunity to help them in any way possible, because they’ll never stop being needed. There’s always going to be people who need to escape danger and conflict. We’re really honored to help them in any way we can and that song thematically lines up with what they’re doing and we thought it would be a cool way to help them.

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