The Mowgli's, Zak Waters
9081 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA, 90069
This event is all ages
Sometimes, you’ll shine the brightest during your darkest hour.
That’s exactly what longtime friends multi-instrumentalist Simon Katz and singer Sam Martin came to realize when they commenced writing songs for what would become Youngblood Hawke’s self-titled debut EP. Katz and Martin had seen critical acclaim and worldwide success as founding members of Iglu & Hartly. However, after a rousing performance at Coachella 2010, the group dissolved due to a creative clash.
“We went from massive success to nothing over the course of two years,” recalls Katz. “We didn’t like the direction the band was going in, and we wanted to do something closer to our hearts. We had to start over. The only thing you have in times like that is hope.”
With hope in their hearts, the duo began feverishly penning songs in Katz’s Los Angeles studio that summer. Galvanized and reinvigorated, they emerged from that sweaty, air conditioner-less room with over one-hundred ideas and a fresh perspective altogether. Martin admits, “We didn’t begin by saying, ‘We’re going to start a new band’. It was more of an outlet to express ourselves. It was the most natural thing I’ve ever done. There was no plan.”
There didn’t need to be a plan because their songs were so anthemic and uplifting. In early 2011, they began releasing material and booking local gigs around Los Angeles. Rounded out by Katz’s childhood best friend Tasso on guitar, Alice on backup vocals and live percussion, and Iglu & Hartly touring drummer Nik, the band hit the Roxy for its first show.
Based on the strength of the tunes and a completely organic buzz, they sold out a string of nights at Silverlake hotspot, Satellite. Soon, Universal Republic Records contacted them and offered a deal. Their first five-song EP for the label drops August 14, 2012, and it will be followed up by a full-length a year later.
Martin describes Youngblood Hawke’s inimitable sound best. “It has elements of pop, rock, indie, dance, and even a little hip hop.”
The first single “We Come Running” encapsulates that sentiment. A propulsive beat builds alongside shimmering bells as Martin’s massive refrain soars. “It’s like a personal message to the band,” the vocalist reveals. “It announces that if we work our asses off, they’re going to hear the sound when we come running. We’re going to get our chance.”
Elsewhere, “Dannyboy” is a tribute to a friend who tragically passed, while “Rootless” finds freedom in starting anew over an echoing riff and huge chorus. “It was one of the first tracks Sam and I wrote together during that first summer,” says Katz. “We didn’t have a foundation anymore after our last project. We were feeling rootless, but we were free.”
The quintet’s moniker also reflects the glorious serendipity at the heart of its journey. Nodding to the Herman Wouk novel of the same name, it’s utterly a propos.
“I was looking for a new book to read,” remembers Martin. “My dad called me out of the blue, and he was like, ‘Your uncle’s favorite book is Youngblood Hawke. You have to read it’. From the first page, it really hit me. It’s about a Kentucky mountain boy who wants to become a writer so he moves to New York. Simon and I moved from Colorado where we were going to college and immersed ourselves in this crazy L.A. landscape. It really resonated with us as a story about an artist finding his way.”
At the end of the day, these artists have found their way in Youngblood Hawke, and the path is brighter than ever. “We’ve seen the bottom and the top,” concludes Katz. “Things get bad, and then they get good again. The music is about being hopeful and never giving up.”
Frequently called "the quintessential California band," the seven members of The Mowgli's are known for their uplifting, positive indie-rock. Philosophically inspired by '60s Laurel Canyon folk and '70s Venice Beach rock combined with '00s indie-pop, their message of positivity and love resonates with audiences everywhere.
The group's 2013 major label debut, 'Waiting for the Dawn' [Photo Finish], debuted at #4 on the Billboard Heatseekers Chart and yielded the hit "San Francisco." Following its release, the group -- Colin Dieden [vocals, guitar], Katie Jayne Earl [vocals, percussion], Dave Appelbaum [keyboards], Josh Hogan [guitar, vocals], Matthew Di Panni [bass], Spencer Trent [guitar, vocals], and Andy Warren [drums] -- performed on "Jimmy Kimmel LIVE!," "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," "CONAN," "Watch What Happens Live," and more.
Along the way, their interpretation of love became even clearer, and it defined their sophomore outing, 'Kids In Love.'
"Our first album essentially said, 'What's up everyone? We're The Mowgli's, and we believe love can change the world," explains Katie. "Over the past couple of years, we really came to terms with who we are as a band. With 'Kids In Love' we explored the intricacies of intimate love and personal love, as well as universal love. We've found art is the best vehicle to ponder what this really means."
"['Waiting for the Dawn'] painted in very broad strokes," Colin goes on. "Our intention was to start a movement and a culture around what we do. We put all of that under a microscope on 'Kids In Love' and talked about personal experiences and stories, the lack of love, and finding it again."
"We've learned so much about the business, ourselves, and this message," adds Josh. "We've become more direct, a little wiser."
For 'Kids In Love,' the group teamed up with producer Tony Hoffer [The Kooks, Silversun Pickups, Fitz & The Tantrums] in his Los Angeles studio during the summer of 2014. Additionally, they recorded with prior collaborators Captain Cuts [Smallpools, Tove Lo] and Matt Radosevich [Walk The Moon, One Direction] on two additional tracks.
Post-'Kids In Love,' the band has released 2 singles: the evocative "Summertime" which has become one of their highest playing songs on Spotify, and most recently "Room For All Of Us," a track released in support of the refugee-relief organization, International Rescue Committee.
They are currently at work on a new record, set for release spring 2016.
Triple threat Zak Waters always leaves a mark. Ever since he first formally began performing in high school, the Los Angeles singer, songwriter, and producer never failed to make a lasting impression on his audience, and it’s always three-pronged. Unlike his contemporaries. He can do it all from constructing a track to writing the lyrics to performing it live with his band or in a DJ set.
However, he's always been driving his own music. In 2011, he broke on to the scene with his independent debut EP, New Normal. He served as both the featured writer and singer on Madeon's hit dance single "The City," which hit #1 on Hype Machine and peaked at #4 on the Billboard Dance Chart, where it stayed for nine months. Meanwhile, his single with Candyland, "Not Coming Down," topped the Beatport charts as #1 track for two weeks. He's performed on AXS Live, Last Call With Carson Daly, and on KIIS FM. Meanwhile, he’s not only been personally sought out by Flo Rida and Benny Benassi for their upcoming 2014 tracks, but also by the likes of legendary songwriter Diane Warren and Atlantic Records artist Francisco for his production talents. He's produced official remixes alongside Benny Benassi, R3hab, Pharrel Williams for All-American Rejects, Adam Lambert, and Foxy Shazam Moreover, famed Los Angeles venue The Satellite in Silver L ake tapped him for a high-profile residency as well in September 2013.
His impact is about to expand immensely with the release of his forthcoming full-length debut album, Lip Service—available exclusively on Spotify via a unique deal in September 2013. Shimmying between soulful funk savoir faire and fresh dance floor-ready pop, he cultivates an immediately seductive, soaring, and shimmering style of his own.
He puts it best though, "My music is definitely meant to make people dance. I like to think of it as disco at its core. There are elements of EDM and R&B at the same time. You could call it neo-funk-pop. I'll take that as mine."
His personal panache punctuates the first single "Penelope." The song tells a cheeky little tale that's as vivid as it is vivacious.
" I kept listening to the track and going back to a vision of a young kid obsessed with his baby sitter and wondering where she's at now," he explains. "I think we all had that babysitter. My friend's sitter was so hot. She was 'Penelope' for me. Now, you wonder, 'Would she look at me differently now that I'm grown up?'"
Elsewhere, “Dear John” featuring Audra Mae is a smart rumination on breaking up, while “Over You” examines the some darker moments post-relationship. Waters tapes into real tangible emotion, extending beyond the feel good pop.”
There's one pervasive thread throughout. "It's all about wanting to have fun," he concludes. "The majority of my songs are upbeat. They're meant to be the soundtrack to somebody's wild night. I love when somebody tells me I made it onto their workout or sex mix. If I can encapsulate a time for the listener, I feel like I will never be forgotten.”