Mumford & Sons' Babel just won the Grammy for Album of the Year, and the band is already planning album Number Three, setting up a backstage practice room at every gig of their winter arena tour to work out musical ideas. "We're getting into the habit of just sort of working on stuff," says keyboardist Ben Lovett.
"I do feel like we're ready to make the departure," adds Lovett. "There's definitely cohesion between the two albums [2010's Sigh No More and Babel]. Now that we've done that, we're not desperate to walk away from that sound, but we're willing to explore what else we could do. These two albums are like brothers. Do something that's a cousin."
Adds Marcus Mumford, "We definitely had a graduation to go through with the sound that we had through Sigh No More to Babel, and that sound to us feels satisfied. And that's a sound we'll always play. The world has been really supportive of those songs, but then there's other sounds we want to make."
What kind of sounds? "Like, hip-hop," Mumford says with a grin. "We really want to rap. We've just got so much to say – saying it through a melody doesn't really work for me. We've been talking with Jay-Z about it, you know. It's gonna be a fresh experience for our band." Does the band rap in the practice room? "Yeah," Mumford says. "We're like, 'Motherfucker!'"
Ted Dwane acknowledges they have "a handful of songs – they're starting to come through." Judging by a 10-minute jam off a dissonant minor-key chord progression, I ask if the band has a psychedelic record in them. "We could do that," says banjo player Winston Marshall. Bassist Ted Dwane adds with a laugh, "That definitely might happen."
But the band is taking their time. "Shit," says Marshall. "It might take a few more years than it took to make Babel."