The Untold Truth Of Mumford & Sons

In the world of contemporary music, British band Mumford & Sons are considered to be incredibly popular thanks to their unique style. Per AllMusic, the band was destined for success and seemed like a promising act when they came onto the scene with their debut album "Sigh No More" back in 2009. The band's inception came in 2007 with the collaboration of four talented musicians, namely Marcus Mumford, Winston Marshall, Ben Lovett, and Ted Dwane. 

They were determined to create good music together and decided to work as a unit in a bid to achieve their shared dream. In fact, their name, Mumford & Sons, is meant to evoke old family businesses. The band members have consistently created songs over the years that have been loved and celebrated by fans around the world. 

However, despite sharing a love for music, Mumford & Sons' four members didn't anticipate that they'd be so big when they first worked on "Sigh No More." Frontman Marcus Mumford is glad about this. He told Billboard, "I think we presented ourselves honestly, at least, at the time. ... Looking back and seeing what we actually wore at some photo shoots, the whole thing was a bit of a joke to us to start with." He's grateful now because he thinks that this allowed them to be as authentic as possible, and the group has certainly come a long way since then. This is the untold truth of Mumford & Sons.

They make it a point to engage with their fans

One of the best parts about attending a Mumford & Sons gig is the fact that the band members consciously focus on creating an interactive environment. According to the BBC, when they first became a part of the Reading Festival in 2015, some disgruntled folks weren't pleased and felt that they weren't the right choice for the event. However, the band surprised everyone by exceeding expectations with their electrifying performance. One of the concertgoers had a powerful comment to offer. "Anyone that doubted them has been proved wrong tonight," they said.

As far as Marcus Mumford was concerned, the event was the perfect way to interact with fans and get closer to them, and he even jumped into the crowd while singing "Ditmas." As Mumford remarked in a good-natured manner during the show, "We came for a party." And what a party it turned out to be!

The band's manager, Adam Tudhope, told The New York Times that one of their greatest strengths is the fact that Mumford & Sons love interacting with their fans. He said, "They just love meeting people. They just happen to be really gregarious people. If you don't love it [touring and performing], it's a really tough job."

They've been called out for their style

As a band, Mumford & Sons didn't always get the appreciation they craved, and they've had to come to terms with criticism. As per The Guardian, they've often been accused of not being authentic, but the band takes these things in stride. As Winston Marshall said, "England's just very cynical. Like I am. Like we all are. I think we're all guilty of it as British citizens." 

According to NPR, Mumford & Sons were subjected to criticism after they started to become popular among listeners. Critics weren't sure about the band, and the reviews were very much in the "mixed" category. A Grantland piece descibed the band as trying to be the next Bob Dylan and concluded that they'll never succeed in doing so. A VICE piece didn't hold back while poking fun at Mumford & Sons, either, taking a look at their fans' Twitter feeds in a bid to understand what kind of listeners enjoy listening to the group.

Again, as a band, Mumford & Sons haven't allowed anyone to drag them down. In fact, Marcus Mumford said, "The authenticity thing has never been an issue for me. Not since I came to the realization that Dylan, who's probably my favorite artist ever, the richest artist for me, didn't give a sh*t about authenticity" (via The Guardian).

Mumford & Sons are misunderstood

Being celebrities and musicians means that it's nearly impossible to escape the curse of being misunderstood in some ways. For Mumford & Sons, even something as simple as their approach to music isn't always perceived correctly. For example, the band is thought to be deeply religious at times. Some of their lyrics do feature religious themes, to be fair.

Per The Guardian, a fan even asked some of the band members about this. Winston Marshall recalled, "We said we're not all Christian, so we can't be a Christian band." Meanwhile, Ted Dwane said that not every member is even religious. He added, "In fact none of us are, really. We, er, we have a full spectrum of beliefs." 

Additionally, Marcus Mumford told GQ that folks believe they're following a formula to become successful. He said, "[Some people end up] thinking we're one-dimensional, or that we're following some formula. The only formula we follow is that we enjoy playing." Dwane added that they're careful to not look at too many articles about themselves. He explained, "Self-awareness is one of the biggest enemies to creativity."

They have a strong literary side

Mumford & Sons' songs are diverse and full of meaning, and the band definitely isn't afraid to seek inspiration from literature and art in general. According to The Guardian, the band used a line from "Much Ado About Nothing" for their first album and even added a "borrowed line" from "Wolf Hall" by renowned author Hilary Mantel in another album. The writer doesn't mind at all, by the way. When she was questioned about the band using one of her lines, she simply said, "Of course they're welcome. I have millions of lines." 

Marcus Mumford told the BBC that the band used scores of literary references in their album "Babel." He went on to add, "But I don't think that's a unique thing for us as a band. You just have to listen to Bob Dylan to realize that's what people do when they write songs." He believes that many musicians find inspiration in art, and they're not the only ones to do so. He also said, "A lot of the time writers are just sponges... for what's around them, and so books are helpful for focusing your mind and literally putting it into words."

Marcus Mumford has a sweet love story

Marcus Mumford met his wife, actress Carey Mulligan, when they were just children. According to Pop Sugar, the couple became friends at a church camp and remained pen pals after the camp ended. However, they couldn't sustain the friendship in this way forever and ended up drifting apart eventually.

They came across each other again in 2011. Mulligan basically bumped into Mumford when she accompanied actor Jake Gyllenhaal to a Mumford & Sons bash. Well, this rekindled the bond that they shared with each other. They started dating soon after that and tied the knot in a year. They now have two children. 

Here's something special: Mulligan still occasionally exchanges love notes with her husband even after all these years together. They're also pretty inspiring as a couple. While Mulligan is often seen supporting her husband's band at live performances, he often showcases his support and roots for her acting gigs. So adorable!

They're also quite private as a couple and divide their time between London and a farm in Devon, England (via Oprah Daily.) Their friend, Sienna Miller, complimented their approach to life, saying, "Marcus can headline Glastonbury and Carey can be nominated for however many Oscars, and then they come back to their farm, and they're in big woolly jumpers and funny hats, raising piglets."

Mumford & Sons love touring

The one thing that has really sustained Mumford & Sons as a band is the fact they're big fans of touring and are able to embrace it fully whenever they're on the road. They don't get tired of traveling as often as required to meet their fans and perform live gigs. According to The New York Times, they made the conscious choice to tour more often and record whenever they could right at the start of their journey, and the strategy worked for them. Marcus Mumford noted, "We don't want our touring cycles to be dictated by albums so much. We just like playing shows."

He added that the band would prefer to create a separate path for the work they manage to do through live performances and gigs. In fact, Winston Marshall revealed that they were highly motivated to create Mumford & Sons because all of them loved the idea of touring as musicians. "That was our common interest," he explained.

The band wants to experiment

If there's one thing that Mumford & Sons don't want to do, it's to be restricted to a specific style of music. As per the Evening Standard, Marcus Mumford made it quite clear in an interview that the band is open to evolving. He remarked, "If people sign up to be fans of this band, they need to understand that we're going to be moving on quite quickly and doing lots of different things."

The group embarked on a new experiment in 2016, recording songs in South Africa with Senegalese musician Baaba Maal, a band from Cape Town called Beatenberg, and a Swedish, French, and Malawian group called The Very Best. They worked on the songs in the space of only two days in Johannesburg. The recording process was fascinating and unusual, too. Winston Marshall said, "The studio was built during apartheid, [it's] totally dystopian, this windowless labyrinth. It shouldn't be a natural creative environment but somehow it was."

Ted Dwane had emergency surgery in 2013

In 2013, the band's bassist, Ted Dwane, was hospitalized for a serious procedure. According to the Independent, he underwent surgery for a blood clot. Mumford & Sons posted a message for Dwane that read, "Our friend and bandmate Ted has been feeling unwell for a few days, and yesterday he was taken to a hospital to receive emergency treatment."

The group added that Dwane was in good hands and would recover quickly from the operation. Dwane later posted a picture for his fans and thanked them for their love and support. He added that he was home from the hospital, saying, "Thanks so much for all the well wishing, it seems to be working!"

As per Rolling Stone, the band postponed their performances while Dwane recovered from the surgery, and their support for him was unwavering. They couldn't resist adding a bit of humor to their statement, though: "He has been nothing short of heroic in how he has handled the whole ordeal, and now it has been medically proved that he does indeed have a brain."

Mumford & Sons have an interesting creative process

In a Billboard interview, Marcus Mumford explained that Mumford & Sons have found themselves evolving together as musicians. He said, "In the early days, I think we felt very competitive. Songwriting was so deeply personal, and you felt like you had to get yourself heard in the studio with the lads." He added that things have changed, and everyone eventually wanted to ensure that each band member was heard. The bandmates' relationship improved, and they could trust each other a lot more easily.

The frontman further said that the group does use certain tricks while creating music together. He explained, "We often do what we call a 'Campfire Test,' which is where we strip the songs back to just guitar and vocal again, and see if it still stands up." This method helps them decide whether a song is powerful, whether it can really mean something to its listeners and leave a strong impression.

The band doesn't mind getting exploring heavy themes

Even when it feels pretty tough to do so, Mumford & Sons do manage to push their boundaries and venture out of their comfort zone as musicians. Their fourth album, "Delta," according to NME, was derived from several difficult experiences, such as Dwane's surgery. Talking about the album, Marcus Mumford said, "It's about the transition between the river lands — the shelter — of adolescence and into the wild of more experience in life." He was referring to his grandmother's death and the experience of watching his kids being born. Both were deeply meaningful events that changed him in many ways.

For example, the song "Beloved" is both painful and real, and it explores the concept of mortality. Mumford said, "I sat with someone as they died. Lots of people have done that, and I hadn't. I think that changes your life." He also thinks that there is "an element of wildness" at the beginning of life as well toward the end, something that has been fascinating to him. Writing about those moments definitely made sense. As he said, "[I]t's like, no one can really control this chaotic thing that we live in."

Winston Marshall left the group after a controversy

In June 2021, Winston Marshall officially announced his departure from Mumford & Sons. According to Billboard, he made this decision after he was heavily criticized for supporting the book "Unmasked: Inside Antifa's Radical Plan to Destroy Democracy" by Andy Ngo. Marshall had tweeted, "Congratulations @MrAndyNgo. Finally had the time to read your important book. You're a brave man."

This didn't go down well with many fans, and Marshall removed the tweet and issued an apology. Many were hurt by his tweet and felt that he was extending support to the far right. Marshall said that this was false and that 13 of his own family members had died in the Holocaust.

Furthermore, Marshall said that it was difficult for him to watch his bandmates suffer because of his words, and he decided that it was time to plan his exit from Mumford & Sons. It was a difficult decision. He stated, "The distress brought to them and their families that weekend I regret very much. I remain sincerely sorry for that. Unintentionally, I had pulled them into a divisive and totemic issue." 

In addition, Marshall said he felt it was important to be able to voice his opinion on topics that he feels strongly about without causing trouble for the band. He had nothing but good wishes and love to offer his former bandmates in his parting note.

Mumford & Sons want to make an impact

For Mumford & Sons, it's important to do what they can as musicians to make a difference in the world. Marcus Mumford told Esquire in 2018 that he does not discount the fact that the band's live performances act as a unifier for their fans. "I think art's a vehicle for a relationship. I certainly see that in our shows. The way people come together, it's an extraordinary thing," he said.

Mumford said that he'd personally love to headline Glastonbury with his teammates. He also said that it's important to make music that adds value to the lives of those who come across it. He explained, "'I'm just trying to soundtrack people's lives. And not their whole lives, but a period of their life."

As a band, many fans have told them that they got married with Mumford & Sons playing in the background or that one of their songs was playing when their kid was born. Mumford said that he genuinely hoped that "Delta" would strike a chord with some people, explaining, "[P]eople knowing that these songs are written honestly is important to me, that it wasn't some sort of fabrication."