Interviewed: Mumford & Sons

After being deemed as 'leading a folk revolution' by press recently, the hype surrounding Mumford & Sons is perhaps surprisingly something they're very defensive against. “Folk music has been going on for ages... It's not a revolution, it's just the press catching onto what already existed, which in a way is a bit annoying for the people who have been doing it all along” frontman Marcus Mumford tells me as we chat pre-soundcheck on the plush sofa area in their tardis of a tour bus. “We don't like overhype. People's expectations are raised through all the exaggeration.” Understandably it would be a slight travesty if this time next year, as part of the emerging London folk scene along with Laura Marling and Johnny Flynn, they were compared with Klaxons' short-lived new-rave fad of a few summers gone. If these raviator-wearing fluorescent adolescents of yore were asked what one of 2010's rising genres would be, folk would probably be in the dark depths alongside Gregorian chant and acid jazz. “It wasn't really a conscious decision (to go into folk), we all grew up playing our instruments and listening to loads of different genres... It was pretty natural. We all met at school and we were fired in our first gig for not taking our clothes off at the end of a song!” says double bass player Ted Dwane. Nakedness aside, considering the biological impossibility of the rest of the band actually being (Marcus) Mumford's sons, the question which they must have encountered over and over arose... "The idea is it's like an old family business. If there was a tailor called Smith & Sons it wouldn't mean Smith was the boss, it just means it was founded in a certain way- lots of people run it and own it. Band names are strange... It's weird that you almost get known by your name before you get known by your music." The four-piece of multi-instrumentalists (I've never appreciated banjos, dobros and mandolins more) have rocketed to success in not just the UK. They have gone twice platinum in Australia and also bagged a number one with their debut album Sigh No More. So is being big in Australia the new 'big in Japan'? “We don't even know how it happened! They just seem to love us over there, we're really excited to go back” says Marcus. Seems it's a similar situation here in Blighty, with their amazingly diverse fan base. Ted tells me “it makes for a really nice atmosphere at gigs. It's like a village fete, everyone's all together!” This definitely rang true whilst watching their show later in the claustrophobic and dingy underground Newcastle University venue, which had clearly been organised before Mumford & Sons' surge of mainstream popularity. So okay, there were no apple-bobbing contests or tombolas, but the inevitably cheery fluctuations between excitable ditties and smooth-flowing four-part harmonies seemed to regress the whole audience back to some sort of long-forgotten joyous summery roots. If you want proof: I actually witnessed people doing the jig. Maybe it goes to show folk never should have been "out", and we innately do love the traditional side of modern music.