You, too, can be a Mowgli.
The Mowgli’s are a seven-piece rock band from Los Angeles that spreads love and positivity while spurring its fans to do the same. The band has played at homeless shelters to raise donations for the hungry and encourages its fans to participate in random acts of kindness through its “Be a Mowgli” campaign.
It’s all part of the band’s message and musical style, something bassist Matthew Di Panni described as “love rock” during a February phone interview.
“There’s so many people onstage pushing all this love to people in the crowd and all the people in the crowd are receiving it and it’s just rock ‘n’ roll at the end of the day,” Di Panni said. “Even if it’s not heavy rock ‘n’ roll, it’s rock ‘n’ roll. I just go with the term ‘love rock.’ We’re singing about love, we’re preaching about love and we just want everyone to feel it.”
The band formed in 2009 out of a large group of friends and musicians known as Collective CA that would get together and play mini festivals. Some of the shows would last into the wee hours, Di Panni said. The collective nature of the band remains. Many of the band members have been friends since elementary, middle or high school.
“Part of the intention of this band is to try to make people understand that we are all the same, no matter how you live, no matter what you’ve gone through in your life, we’re all human and we all deserve those luxuries of clean water and fresh food and things like that,” the bassist said.
The band has drawn comparisons to acts like Mumford & Sons and the Lumineers, but is most often compared to Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. The fellow Los Angeles act was among the Mowgli’s initial influences. But, with seven members, the band’s musical tastes are all over the place.
“Everyone’s got such interesting influences,” Di Panni said. “Where, like, I listen to metal music. One of our lead singers listens to a lot of country and folk and then a female in the band listens to doo-wop and stuff like that and old ‘60s music, so it really all collides and ends up sounding like us somehow, which is always crazy to me.”
The band released its second full-length album, “Waiting for the Dawn,” in June. The album includes the singles “San Francisco” and “Say It Just Say It.” Both songs are uplifting, sing-along anthems.
Di Panni said the band hopes to follow its current tour with a recording stint in May before heading out on the summer festival circuit. He said a new album could be out by the end of this year or early next year.
“We’re still working on what we’re going to be doing on this tour for our live show, but the energy is going to be there,” he said. “We’ve been off since the end of December and everyone’s just been really eager to get back on the road. Everyone has just been rehearsing. We’ve been writing new songs together and hopefully we’ll end up performing some of those on the road this year.”
While the band encourages fans to be a Mowgli, how the band became the Mowgli’s is a little harder to pin down.
The band’s name can be traced back to a few aspects of the band, including childhood nick names, a dog that made appearances on some of the band’s early tracks and Rudyard Kipling’s “The Jungle Book,” Di Panni said.
But the name really comes down to a feeling, he said.
“It’s positive, it’s filled with a good message and you can live free,” Di Panni said. “And you can live wild and free and you can always be a kid if you really want to.”