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Mumford & Sons explain why they're stronger than ever

2015-06-13 14:00
mumford & sons

New York - Marcus Mumford knows his band is mainly named after himself, but he says members of the group have built a stronger trust among one another, and that's evident on their new album.

"Personally speaking, I think we're a bit less self-centered in the studio and a bit like, 'Okay, we're all on the same team, the team has to win,' so if that means benching myself for the second half of whatever, I will," Mumford said in a recent interview.

Mumford & Sons' Wilder Mind, the band's third album, debuted at No 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart last month. It was recorded in London and New York.

"Because we've done a couple albums, there's almost less urgency to be heard," Mumford said. "So actually, we just want to make nice music ... so we'll step back and let someone else lead it because it's not so much 'I've got to say what I feel.'"

Band member Winston Marshall recalls playing guitar parts that Ted Dwane wrote, while Mumford gives credit to Ben Lovett for reworking the track Only Love by taking "three hours with it" and rearranging the song. And Marshall says that thanks to Mumford, Believe - the first single and Top 40 hit - "was like this '80s ballad and you made it into ROCK."

"All of the first two records were driven by Marcus' writing, and this time it was like a very even split of output," Lovett said. "We've just grown to respect each other's writing a lot more."

They also give much of the credit to James Ford, who produced the new album after the band worked with Markus Dravs on 2012's Babel, which won the Grammy for album of the year, as well as the band's 2009 debut, Sigh No More. Both albums have sold around 3 million units each in the US.

"Before, everyone looked after their own style, kind of. Ford was great to kind of bring us all together," Marshall said of the producer, who has also worked with Arctic Monkeys and Florence + the Machine. "Dravs was amazing and his vision was like to put us on the radio next to Jay Z or whatever, and he did that miraculously, somehow."

Mumford & Sons continue to sit alongside top pop and hip-hop stars and will do so at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, which kicked off Thursday in Manchester, Tennessee. The band will perform Saturday night, and the lineup includes Billy Joel, Kendrick Lamar, Robert Plant, Kacey Musgraves and Earth, Wind & Fire.

The group is also busy with the Gentlemen of the Road Stopovers, the music festival they curated. This year the two-day event, which launched last week in Seaside Heights, New Jersey, will also visit Waverly, Iowa; Aviemore, Scotland; Walla Walla, Washington; and Salida, Colorado. Performers include Foo Fighters, the Flaming Lips, Primal Scream, My Morning Jacket and Alabama Shakes, as well as Mumford & Sons.

"It's kind of like a dream come true. It's all of our favorite bands, (we) watch (from the) side of stage - we're like kids," Mumford said. It's like our teenage dreams coming true."

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