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Since they formed in December 2007, the members of Mumford & Sons have shared a common purpose: to make music that matters, without taking themselves too seriously. Four young men from West London in their early twenties, they have fire in their bellies, romance in their hearts, and rapture in their masterful, melancholy voices.
They are staunch friends - Marcus Mumford, Country Winston, Ben Lovett, and Ted Dwane - who bring their music to us with the passion and pride of an old-fashioned, much-cherished, family business. They create a gutsy, old-time sound that marries the magic of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young with the might of Kings Of Leon, and their incredible energy draws us in quickly to their circle of songs, to the warmth of their stories, and to their magical community of misty-eyed men.
The four friends were playing various instruments in various bands in London throughout the summer of 2007. They were united to perform impromptu renditions of Marcus' earliest attempts at song-writing in front of crowds of friends in sweaty underground folk nights in the capital. They bonded over their love of country, bluegrass and folk, and decided to make music that sounded loud, proud and live - taking music that could often be pretty and delicate, and filling it with enthusiasm, courage and confidence.
The band booked their first rehearsals in the late autumn of 2007: "As soon as we sat down together, just the four of us, we knew we had become a band cos what came out was unique to us four as individuals," says Ben. Out of this session came their first band songs: Awake My Soul and White Blank Page, highlights on their debut album. Word spread quickly. The band toured extensively throughout 2008; from a barge-tour of the Thames with eight other acts, through to an island-hopping tour of the Scottish highlands, and a triumphant set at Glastonbury in June, they sold out London's Luminaire in July, only half a year after they got together.
Their first American tour followed in support of Laura Marling and Johnny Flynn and the Sussex Wit. A trilogy of beautiful 10" EPs all on Chess Club Records also followed, recorded simply at home. Their eponymous EP debuted the same month as their Luminaire show; Love Your Ground followed in December; while The Cave And The Open Sea arrived in May. With each release, the music of Mumford & Sons got brighter, bolder and brawnier, with an increasing focus on their empassioned and intimate lyrics. Their success continued to build, too, with two glorious benchmarks being their place on the BBC Sound Of 2009 Poll shortlist, and their London ICA show selling out in 24 hours.
Then came the time to record their debut album - and the extraordinary producer who wanted to work with them. Markus Dravs recorded Arcade Fire's Neon Bible, Bjork's Homogenic and The Maccabees' Wall of Arms, and he saw similar crossover potential in the Sons. He took them to the legendary Eastcote Studios where Arctic Monkeys, Brian Eno, Tindersticks and Laura Marling have honed their music on its vintage equipment; made the band buy good instruments; set them a daily routine; and encouraged them to try and work even more instinctively, to strengthen their already-powerful musical personality.
Mumford & Sons' new dates come as the band releases its second album, Babel, in the UK.