We spoke with singer Katie Jayne Earl from the Mowgli’s today, and she’s excited. It’s the the first day of tour for the new EP AMERICAN FEELINGS, and she was happy to share what audiences can expect from this tour, as well as what favorite things she likes to do in Austin.
The Mowgli’s infectious music has head our heads bopping since “San Francisco” was released in 2013, and we were happy to preview EP AMERICAN FEELINGS, which kicks off with “Hard To Love” a staccato pop track that grows into an indie-choir crescendo. The EP slides into a hypnotic space with alt-rock head bobber with “Mr. Telephone”. “Norman Rockwell”, a hazy and laid-back song finds it’s lyrical roots in every youth’s disenfranchised America; and stomping, rolling rocker “Talk About It” snaps the EP closed succinctly.
AMFM: Your music is so upbeat, even though you’ve shifted subject matter, and it’s hard not to love, even though your first single is called “Hard To Love” – ironically.
Katie: First of all, thank you. Secondly, we do like making music that feels good sonically, but in order to write music that is honest and true to our experience and our feelings and our thoughts – it’s really hard to always write happy lyrics. We don’t always feel happy, the world isn’t always happy, and music is meant to be (especially for us) an outlet and expression of what we’re experienceing and what we’re feeling.
So even when it feels good, which is the intention, sometimes the lyrics cut a little deeper, like those in “Hard To Love.” Ultimately, they’re honest lyrics that most people can relate to and understand. I think everyone’s felt that way before.
AMFM: What is the next single, “Mr. Telephone,” about? I know a lot of musicians like you to draw your own conclusions, to make it personal, but what is it about for you?
Katie: That song was actually written over the course of an extended period of time. It was something that Josh and I revisited over and over again. It started out with a piece…a bass line or a key part, or something that we kept revisiting. We thought there was something there, but we couldn’t really crack the code.
Josh had these lyrics, and an idea about people disappearing into their phone instead of being present in the world. It’s something that we all do, we’re not pointing any fingers, we’re all guilty of it.
The question the song poses is “what do we get out of that?” You’ve got the whole world in the palm of your hands, but you’re missing the world that’s right in front of your face. So, it’s poetry, and there are a lot of different ways that the listener can interpret it, but for us we were asking ourselves a lot of questions about living in this world, where our phone is our go-to, and we spend all of our time in it. You miss important conversations because you’re distracted by something in the palm of your hand, and how important is that stuff really at the end of the day? Maybe it is really important, but maybe it’s not. Maybe you’re missing out on the real world just to google something that doesn’t matter. Who knows? But it’s a question worth asking.
AMFM: You’re absolutely right, and we are all guilty of that. The thing is it’s hard to know what’s important and what’s not, the world is totally shifting – fast. Speaking of things shifting fast – Austin! How many times have you been to Austin?
Katie: A bunch! We’ve done a number of SXSW’s there, we’ve played ACL, luckily, that was such an amazing experience. We’ve passed through on tour a number of times, and everytime we see it and everytime we see it on our list of cities we are thrilled. It’s a really fun place and what better place to eat!
AMFM: You’re right about that! Where do you guys like to go when you’re in Austin?
Katie: Oh my gosh, any place with tacos – there’s a number of places. Austin is great because everytime there I feel like I discover a new part of town that I wasn’t familiar with. There are so many great restaurants and so many great patios. Outdoor spaces where you can get coffee or have a beer or eat food. The weather’s always good, it’s a really great outdoor city. You’ll find me in the parks or on a patio somewhere. That’s one of my favorite things, and of course – there’s music everywhere. That really makes for a great atmosphere in the city.
AMFM: It’s a very progressive city.
AMFM: What can we expect from your show Saturday?
Katie: We always try to deliver a high energy experience. We always set the intention that our audience leaves happier than they came – that they leave their baggage on the dance floor, and they go home feeling a little bit lighter and a little more connected to the audience, to us, to the other bands that played that night. Sometimes you just need to turn off the stress in your life and have fun at a concert. We want to make sure that their cab fare, or their babysitter fee, or whatever they had to go through to get there that night was worth it. So expect to have a really good time.