As you probably gathered from listening to Mumford & Sons‘ “Believe” and “The Wolf” — two tracks from their third album Wilder Mind, out May 4 — the folk-rock band is becoming more of a rock band these days.
While talking to Billboard for our new cover story, out Friday, April 10, Mumford & Sons shared thoughts on everything from Kanye West to their folk-rock followers to their creative reinvention. And as befitting a true rock band, Mumford & Sons weren’t afraid to get brutally honest while discussing matters.
From Friday’s cover story, here’s a sneak peek of five things you definitely didn’t know about Mumford & Sons.
1. Kanye Is a Rock Star to Them. Rihanna… Maybe Not
While frontman Marcus Mumford and guitarist Winston Marshall both agree that this generation isn’t defined by rock music like past ones (“It just makes me a bit sad,” Mumford says), they have nothing against the hip-hop star ruling the music realm. Marshall says he expects his generation will be remembered for “Kanye West and Rihanna,” both of whom he calls “sick.” Mumford agrees with part of that assertion: “Rihanna? I think Kanye is sick. He’s the only rock star left.”
2. They Believe Some of Today’s Folk-Rock is ‘F—ing Awful’
The band realizes they weren’t the first to bring folk-rock into the 21st century (they nod to Fleet Foxes), but Mumford knows they are (or were) the biggest folk-rock band on the scene — after all, everyone from One Direction to Imagine Dragons has aped their sound by now. Now, it’s the ubiquity of that sound that helped push them away from it. “Some of it was great, and some of it was f—ing awful. But naturally, we started our journey away from that stuff,” says Mumford.
3. A Mumford Member Is Also Trying to Be a Comedian
Guitarist Winston Marshall has been taking improv classes with the Upright Citizens Brigade in New York. In case you’re unfamiliar, UCB is a venerated underground comedy institution that feeds talent into Saturday Night Live (Amy Poehler is a veteran). He’s also tossing around an idea for a comedy web series.
4. Mumford Is Following in the Footsteps of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia
Like the cast of FX’s hit series, Mumford keyboard player Ben Lovett opened a bar to have free alcohol at hand. “One of the dangers of touring is you get used to not paying for booze,” Lovett says of the watering hole he helped open in Brooklyn. “So this will help keep that dream going.”
5. Electric Rock Is Actually Their Default Setting
While some might see Mumford’s move away from banjos and toward plugged-in instruments as a change in course, Mumford says it’s actually a return to their norm: “We adopted acoustic instruments. These are the instruments we grew up with.”
Read Billboard’s full Mumford & Sons cover story when it’s out Friday, April 10.