banjo totally rockin’ electric guitar slingers and purveyors of overtly sincere folk rock stadium-ready radio rock are clearly in the throes of a fully fledged identity crisis.
By now it should be common knowledge that Mumford & Sons have “gone electric” for their forthcoming album, Wilder Mind. But it seems that the musical pivot may have happened because the band aren’t too rapt with their old image.
In fact, they seem to kind of hate themselves. They hate their name, they hate their clothes and (brace yourselves!) they’re even jack of the banjo. And they weren’t shy about saying so in a new interview with NME.
“I definitely regret the band name,” confessed frontman Marcus Mumford. “If I’d known it was going to go this way, I would have wanted to call it anything other than my last name. It’s a ball-ache.” Mumford further stated that he has seriously toyed with the idea of changing it, but “it’s a bit late now”.
One thing that it wasn’t too late to change was their fashion sense. And keyboardist Ben Lovett was particularly critical of the band’s former forest-dwelling aristocrat look. “I think it would be fair to say that we’ve noticed that in some of our old photos we look like absolute idiots,” he explained.
“There were so many car crashes. We look like us in our photos now. I don’t even want to describe how we used to look.”
Perhaps critics such as the “I hate Mumford & Sons” Facebook community group (via NME), who have previously described the band as “treacherous banjo bastards” and “upper class waistcoat sporting husky little fucks” may have contributed to their sudden image revamp. However, Lovett claims that the switch to tailored suits and leather jackets happened organically.
“We didn’t sit down and say, ‘Let’s wear leather guys.’ Over an eight-year period you behave differently,” he said. “You go to different places, you probably have different friends. You wear different clothes. We didn’t hire a stylist and say, ‘Let’s rebrand ourselves.’”
It follows comments that the band recently made to Consequence Of Sound, in which they revealed that they’d dropped chart-burner Little Lion Man from their setlist, and Winston Marshall also confessed that he’s fallen out of love with the banjo.
“I have a fucking banjo tattooed to my arm. It’s a disaster. I have to think of something to put over it,” he said.
Despite their new yellow brick quest for Stratocasters and leather, there’s plenty of great news for Aussie fans of the Mumfords. As well as a new Mumford & Sons-themed pop-up bar in Sydney, the band have confirmed that they will definitely be touring our shores in 2015. Watch this space.
Watch: Mumford And Sons – The Wolf