Mumford & Sons‘ frontman Marcus Mumford is gearing up to release his debut solo album, (self-titled), and in a new interview with GQ, the singer opened up about some of the traumas that shaped his upcoming record.
Most notably, the album’s opener “Cannibal” deals with Mumfords’ history with sexual abuse. “Like lots of people — and I’m learning more and more about this as we go and as I play it to people — I was sexually abused as a child,” he explained. “Not by family and not in the church, which might be some people’s assumption. But I hadn’t told anyone about it for 30 years.”
“That thing that happened when I was 6, that was the first of a string of really unusual, unhealthy sexual experiences at a really early age,” he added, noting that the song “Grace” is about playing “Cannibal” for his mother. “And for some reason, and I can’t really understand why, I didn’t become a perpetrator of sexual abuse — although I’ve done my fair share of c—ish behavior.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Mumford discussed the departure of banjo player and one of the 35-year-old singer’s oldest friends, Winston Marshall, from the band in June 2021. The announcement that he’d be leaving the band came just months after Marshall faced criticism for praising Unmasked: Inside Antifa’s Radical Plan to Destroy Democracy, a book written by alt-right social media personality Andy Ngo. “I actually really begged him not to leave,” Mumford explained, adding that he disagrees with Marshall’s beliefs, “but I think you can disagree and work together.”
“I just don’t think it’s the job of musicians to have all those thoughts,” Mumford added of Marshall’s recent political sentiments. “And I think Win probably agrees. I don’t know. But I should think he probably agrees. Which is part of the reason why he wanted to quit. Because he felt like his priorities couldn’t align in the way he wanted to speak about things and live life. He wanted to do a different thing. And that’s why I support him doing a different thing. Even though we disagree on a lot. A lot. And more now …”
Mumford concluded, “I think if you present like a c— and you are an angry man, particularly at this time, an angry, older, white man — I’m just f—ing bored of it, man. We need grace. So, I, you know, I don’t want to get into an argument with these guys at all. It just feels like a zero-sum game. A race to the bottom. Boring. Mostly it’s boring. And mostly it’s not my job.”
(self-titled) is out on Sept. 16.