SELF-LOVE AS A POLITICAL ACTION: KATIE JAYNE EARL TALKS THE MOWGLI’S ‘WASTING TIME’

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The anthemic rulers of indie pop are back with another banger, ‘Wasting Time.’ Originally an eleven-piece band formed in 2010, The Mowgli’s broke into the scene with their hits ‘San Francisco‘ and ‘the Great Divide’ back in the previous decade, taking them to stages all around the world. They’ve since cut down to five all original members, and are about to embark on their first UK tour. 

The Mowgli’s are well-known for their ability to translate a universal feeling into a candid, inspiring good time. They’ve harnessed that in their latest single, ‘Wasting Time,’ directed by Cortney Armitage and Ryan Newcomb. 

“We all want to do something meaningful, but we don’t always figure out how. This song tells the story of being lost in a repeating loop of every day routine and the fight to keep moving forward.” Josh says.

Katie adds in, “It could have been a romantic partner, work partner, best friend, but it’s just about feeling stuck. Holding onto something that isn’t good for you and in the past makes it hard to move forward into the future.”

I called Katie, the leading lady in the group, for an interview and it more so resulted in a spirited conversation between two ambitious music enthusiasts. Read below to get the scoop on Katie’s feminist hot takes, the queer community, and the changing music industry we now face. 

“We set out with this intention to make our listeners feel better when they leave the show than they did when they showed up.” – Katie Jayne Earl

So! What’s new with the Mowgli’s?

We’re recording two new songs, we’re in the pre production stages of working on a video to film when we get back, and learning the new song that we just released. We have a whole new set up for this tour just because of the mechanics of going overseas; so re-learning the set on this new gear setup that we’re working with. On top of having to do all my own laundry and my dog all set for when we’re out of town…so, it’s a lot. Can’t complain.

Ha, incredible! Who’s all going on this tour? 

It’s actually just the five band members going. We’re tour managing ourselves and we’re not bringing our sound guy, Jackson Boehmer, which is crazy because we consider him the sixth member of our band. But it’s just really expensive to get a band overseas and we’ve been trying for so many years and this is the way we’ve gotta do it.

When we first started touring we were in a van and we didn’t have any crew. So we’re taking the nine years experience we’ve had and going back to our roots when we were doing this all ourselves. I think it’ll be so much easier and better now because we have so much more experience than we did when we first started out.

I see that you guys have some charity involvement here and there, is there any special cause you wanna shout out to?

It seems like there’s no end to the causes that could use a shout out or a mention. But somebody we work with quite often is the International Rescue Committee, or the IRC. We often go with the IRC because they will never stop needing support. They help to relocate and re-settle people who have been displaced because of conflict. If you’re in a war zone or a natural disaster zone, or any kind of crisis area the IRC will help you. And we are so lucky to be able to use our platform in that way.

I applaud you for that because well, not everybody does.

See that’s just crazy to me. People will say “You work with charities so much!” but the truth is we could be doing a lot more. Often times we’re just donating a portion of proceeds or we’ll talk about on stage or tweet about it- it’s really easy. It’s hard to think that people aren’t always doing what they can because it’s just so simple.

Would you guys ever consider yourself political? Do you ever enter that race, conversationally? 

I think it’s absolutely insane for anybody to not feel political in the times we live in. I think as a band, as a group, we try to remain neutral because everybody is welcome into the Mowgli’s family. No matter what political side you’re on.

For me, as an individual I use my voice all the time. Especially as a woman. People really fought for our right to do this and our right to be heard and our vote to count. So it would be a disservice to those women to just sit home on election day. These policies directly affect us. Sometimes even physically directly affected by these policies, so why anybody would step out of the conversation is just crazy to me.

Do you ever struggle not being taken seriously as a woman in the industry? 

Yes, in the world at large. Definitely. I hate to use the word…but when I was younger I didn’t want to be a bitch. I didn’t want to be too pushy, or too needy. I was really trying to figure out how to be strong and be heard but still be liked and not sound shrill. At this point in my life, in my 30s, I don’t really care. It’s not personal. If I need to be firm and sound “bitchy” – which, i don’t think it’s bitchy I just think women are just considered bitchy when they’re firm *laughs.* But if i need to be then that’s just they way it is. And sometimes, honestly, until you become a bitch it doesn’t get done. And then one day you’re like godamnit, do the f***ing thing! And all of a sudden the thing gets done!

But I know in my heart that I’m a good person and that I have good intentions. So, who cares what people think about you. I bet any woman you sit down with could talk for hours about the frustrations that they deal with. At the end of the day just do you. The best way to be taken seriously is to just do a great job. And just pay no mind. 

Women have been behind the scenes doing what they’ve gotta do to get the job done without glory, without credit. Just because that’s what has to get done and women are the ultimate team members. I think women are the best and make everything a little more balanced. We make it smell better, I mean you name it. We’ve been really lucky to have a lot of great women on our team on the business end. With our publishing, our booking world. 

Any politically edging songs with a message?

I’m Good,’ in a weird way, I find to be kind of political because it’s a song about accepting and loving yourself because in today’s world doing so is an act of rebellion. If we hate ourselves then we’re that much easier to control – we’re not going to get out and fight for things that we believe in. I think challenging people to love themselves – to me, that’s how I think the Mowgli’s are political.

For people who might not understand or know what it feels like to have true self love to and to really care about themselves in that way, what’s one practice that people can do to love themselves?

I think forgiving ourselves. There’s no rulebook for life, we’re all kind of here figuring it out and making mistakes along the way. we’r e all human. I think when we can forgive ourselves for being in the process of trial and error, it’s much easier to forgive people around us. Mistakes are ok, keep moving forward.

Then I would try to practice listening to yourself. Honor what you want and need because at the end of the day, only you can truly make yourself happy. 

And surround yourself with good people! It’s easier to love yourself when you’re with people who love you!

CONNECT WITH THE MOWGLI’S 

INSTAGRAM // FACEBOOK // TWITTER

photos / Bella Peterson &

story / Ariana Tibi 

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