Mumford & Sons have been nominated for several Grammy Awards, including Record of the Year and Song of the Year (both for "The Cave"), and they're currently touring the West Coast as part of the radio station holiday show circuit. But the band tells Rolling Stone they're focusing primarily on finishing the follow-up to 2010's Sigh No More.
"We’re trying to stay as not stress-y and hectic as we can to write the best record we can," keyboardist Ben Lovett says.
The record is nearly done, according to bassist Ted Dwane. "[It's] certainly more mature, I’d say," he says. "The second record is just a reflection of our mindsets, where we’re all at. It’s doom folk, kind of like Black Sabbath meets Nick Drake."
Lovett adds, "It’s not like we are just listening to one style from one era. It’s finding the songs that really speak to us and then we discuss them, we share those songs around."
Among the artists that have spoke to them lately is fellow Brit and Grammy nominee Adele. "There’s a reason why it’s done what it’s done that goes beyond what any marketing campaign can ever do," Lovett says. "It’s not money – there’s brilliance there in writing a simple song. And it’s great to have that kind of appeal to people again. It’s not so much about the bells and whistles, it’s about the lyric and the melody."
Dwane points out that the band have always taken a more emotional, as opposed to cerebral, approach to songwriting. "It should come from emotions in your heart, not so much your head," he says.
The quartet have spent a lot of time this year crafting the next record, which is still unnamed and does not yet have a release date. "We spent a week in Nashville just writing, the four of us, kind of getting together any individual song ideas we had and playing them out. And then we did the same a few weeks ago down in the west country in the U.K.," Lovett says. "Even though we’re right in the heart of it, even in the studio sometimes doesn’t feel as free as it is just playing together. It’s brilliant."
The band's critical and commercial success has certainly influenced the second album, however. "It’s been really affirming because we started out with very humble aspirations. We never thought we’d be commercially viable and we were proved wrong," Dwane says. "It’s been a really great couple of years for the band and I suppose it has instilled us with confidence."