Mumford & Sons have become one of 2010’s most unexpected slow-burn success stories—a band whose sound defied mainstream American radio formatting, but whose full-length debut, Sigh No More, has still managed to gain a passionate following Stateside.Fierce London-based folkies
We didn’t know any of that back in March of 2009, of course, when leader Marcus Mumford played uncredited backup for singer-songwriter Laura Marling at an Entertainment Weekly‘s SXSW day party. (Though our own Simon Vozick-Levinson did note: “Maybe it was just the heat addling my brain, but Marling’s multialented accompanist on accordion/drums/finger-snaps/mandolin looked eerily like a young, British version of Coach Taylor from Friday Night Lights.” Truth?)
Today, Mumford took time out from a U.K. soundcheck to speak to EW about the band’s rise, his recent time in the studio with legendary Kinks frontman Ray Davies, and why his mum went to the mat for her son’s on-air profanity.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So we were just saying that when your album came out, we were like, isn’t that the same guy who played our EW party with Laura Marling in Austin last year?
MARCUS MUMFORD: Yeah! I remember that. You gave us cigarettes [ed note: Actually, those came from the event’s sponsors. Kids, don’t smoke!]. That was excellent, really. Thank you.
What I remember from that day mostly is you playing an unholy amount of instruments. How many you do really actually play?
[Laughs] The thing is, you can’t really count the ones that I don’t know what I’m doing on, so like, Laura would show me the two buttons that I press on the accordion, then I make a noise and it’s in the right key. Sometimes I would even put stickers on the buttons so I knew what to press. But really, I can only play the drums—I can fake-play the guitar and the mandolin and ukelele and the banjo, but I don’t really know what I’m doing a lot of time. READ FULL STORY