While many young bands fear the sophomore slump, Los Angeles indie rockers the Mowgli’s are embracing it. The band is excited to finally release new songs into the world. “We’ve been playing the old songs for six years. It’s fun to play new songs,” explains Mowgli guitarist Josh Hogan to New Times. When we spoke to him, Hogan was on the second day of a tour that will take him and the rest of the Mowgli's to the Culture Room on April 24. “I noticed we were getting lazy playing those old songs, so we’ve really had to focus on making sure to bring passion to them.”
Those old songs off their 2013 album Waiting for the Dawn earned the band a wide audience. The Mowgli's performed their hit single “San Francisco” on Jimmy Kimmel and Conan, and it even became the theme song for the 2012 World Series champs, the San Francisco Giants. All the touring they did after Waiting for the Dawn became inspiration for the band's new album, Kids in Love, out April 14. “Hearing people’s stories was a huge influence for the songs. We have all been in that place where a band saved our world, so we try to keep being a positive, loving influence.”
Hogan grew up in a musical family in the suburbs of Oklahoma City. His world changed when he got The Blue Album by Weezer. After the first listen, he knew he needed an electric guitar. He was lured to L.A. in 2005 to be a member of the band Oh No Not Stereo. There, he was introduced to a whole slew of valley kids, L.A. natives he really liked. Those valley kids would form the foundation of the Mowgli’s. “I wasn’t in the band for the first few shows," Hogan remembers. "But when I saw them play, I was like, 'I got to get in.'”
Hogan is excited for the band's most recent tour for a few reasons. One of those is the Mowgli's openers. “I really love the bands opening for us — Night Riots and Hippo Campus — and I can’t always say that. When we see a band we’re intimidated by, it makes us push to the next level," Hogan says. "I’m also excited to see how different the tour is once our new songs are released and people get to know them.”
Though Hogan says his current influences include Tame Impala and Alt J, he’s always amazed by his bandmates' playlists. “Everyone is listening to different stuff. So when you write a song for the group, they bring something to it I would have never thought about.” Another major influence for the band is their home state of California. Though born in Oklahoma City, Hogan feels at ease in the California sun.
“There’s a happiness in our bodies, hearts, and minds from the sunshine and carefree vibe," he says. "I’ve never wanted to stress out about certain things, and the Mowgli’s and California helped me with that mindset.”
The Mowgli's with Night Riots and Hippo Campus. 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 24, at Culture Room, 3045 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale. Tickets cost $13 plus fees. Visit cultureroom.net, or call 954-564-1074.