“I was a little bit like, ‘Holy shit. What have we done?'” says Mumford & Sons’ Ben Lovett about the band’s new video for “Hopeless Wanderer.” The hilarious clip, directed by Sam Jones, was released earlier this week and stars Jason Bateman, Ed Helms, Will Forte and Jason Sudeikis. “It was just a lot funnier than I think any of us had expected, ’cause the guys were totally just riffing. They’re not only very well known comedians, they’re also four of the best improvisors in like the comedy world…So they basically spent a day just messing around and what they came out with just blew us all away.” Lovett gave RS the band’s first interview since the video’s release, and also chatted about Lollapalooza, being back on the road and the return of Ted Dwane after having a blood clot removed from his brain.
Did you have any idea that Sam and those guys would take it as far as they did?
We knew the premise. We worked on the idea ith Sam a bit before they did the shoot. But there was no mention of a banjo dance until the final edit, which was a pleasant slash horrible surprise.
Were you guys all together when you saw it?
I think we were. It was a while ago now actually because we cut it a couple of months ago.
When Ed Helms is pushing the piano down the hill our first inclination that the video is getting a little more ridiculous. What did you think when you saw that?
Oh no. I do that all the time. That’s how I get the piano around. I thought he was amazing [laughs]. Very close to the bone at times. I’m pretty sure my mom still thinks it’s me in the video. That’s a little bit disconcerting. I think Ed had perhaps the most fun because he’s obviously a very talented musician in his own right as a pianist and a banjo player. We got to spend time with him in the past since we met at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival a couple of years ago and kind have become familiar with his talents.
People seemed surprised that you were poking fun at yourselves so much.
Well, we do that shit all the time though. Anyone who has spent some time with us knows that we really don’t take ourselves that seriously. We do our music that we care about and it is from an earnest place but you know we don’t just sort of sit around in basements with the curtains closed crying about things that inspired songs in the first place. We have a great life. We have great fun with it. And it felt pretty important to remind people that most of the time we’re just goofing around. Music videos are ridiculous things that bands do for their music, trying to get it right. It’s very hard. I think having fun with it is probably the only way forward.
We’ve never ever ever liked any of our music videos. We can’t stand having our photo taken or doing a video because that’s not why we’re musicians. So it made a lot more sense to put other people on the screen who are very watchable and much more qualified than us. And it showed why they’re so good at their jobs. They’re very entertaining.
What did you think when you saw the kiss?
That was definitely kind of a wow moment. To be fair it does fairly reflect what goes on in Mumford & Sons. I think we just gotta accept that bromance is there and sometimes guys just gotta kiss, you know?
Sam told me he wanted to poke fun of the camaraderie or bromance that you see in videos like Guns N’ Roses’ “Sweet Child ‘O Mine” when the band is on the road together all the time and hanging out.
That sounds like a very honest response. I think he was literally trying to imply that we make out. I didn’t know that there was another level to it.
Did it hit close to home, the images of you guys in the pub drinking?
Yeah. That’s how we write our songs. We normally just go down to a good old pub and throw beer around and sing songs together. So that part of the video made a lot of sense. Smashing the glass, obviously a regular occurrence.
And how is the tour going? What’s it like to be on the road again?
Great. It’s been great to be back. It’s been great doing these shows. We are starting the full English tour in two weeks and that’s gonna be the end of touring for a bit at the end of that next round of dates. So we’re kind of going straight at it and not holding back at all.
Does it feel extra special now because Ted is back?
Yeah, I think there’s probably an extra element of how grateful we are that we can keep doing it does feel a bit different, a bit more special. I think it was a reminder that nothing really mattered. I think that moment was a reminder for all of us that first and foremost we’re really good mates and we’ve got families and we’ve got our health to look after and being in a band and touring is fun and everything but nothing matters as much as just being alive and having our families.
How is he doing?
100 percent. Absolutely brilliant, fully all clear and fighting fit. I think he’s trying to head bang slightly less but he’s been enjoying the shows just as much.
How was Lollapalooza?
Lollapalooza was incredible. That was easily the biggest crowd we’ve ever played to in America. It was so enthusiastic and we are really really grateful. We properly enjoyed getting to see Queens of the Stone Age on Friday and it was just a quality weekend overall.