Mumford & Sons’ Babel is the year’s best-selling rock album (by a mile), posted the second-largest debut of 2012 (it would have been the biggest, if it not for that pesky Taylor Swift ) and, in less than two months, has already sold more copies than Justin Bieber’s Believe, Carrie Underwood’s Blown Away and Nicki Minaj’s Roman Reloaded.
Those are the facts — even if the guys in Mumford can’t believe any of them are actually real.
“We spend our lives in a constant state of surprise at the moment, definitely. We weren’t expecting people to [buy the album],” Marcus Mumford told MTV News “Especially people who had heard the songs already. You could pretty much listen to the whole album on YouTube, just in a different order to the one we put down. Most of the songs were already online … because we just liked playing them live.”
So yes, for a band that spent nearly all of the past two years working on Babel — in-between a seemingly endless string of tour dates, that is — all of that success has been slightly mind-blowing. But they remain incredibly grounded when it comes to discussing their sales — mostly because they don’t think there’s anything all that remarkable about them in the first place.
“The music industry has to talk about something, and I think they’re trying to make something out of nothing,” Mumford sighed. “People have always been buying albums; people have always been supporting different types of music, sometimes some type of music will become more mainstream than it was a couple of years ago, and that’s fine, and then it will go out, you know?
“I don’t think there’s any major groundbreaking thing going on now,” he continued. “I just think the main thing is that people buy tickets to shows; people love seeing live shows, and that’s lucky for us, because that’s what we love doing most. More so than albums or radio shows or whatever, we love playing gigs, and that’s what it’s all about for us.”
And true to those words, Mumford will spend the foreseeable future on the road (their current tour schedule stretches all the way to April), which is about the only way they know how to stay grounded. And despite what you may have read about them being music-industry saviors, not surprisingly, they don’t see themselves that way. In fact, to them, not much — if anything — has changed, including their live show.
“We’ve been touring constantly for five years, and the only thing that’s obvious is that the gigs are f—ing massive now,” Winston Marshall laughed. “Like, playing the Hollywood Bowl is ridiculous. You can’t even fathom the faces of the people at the back. But we’ve got the same crew, same bunch of people, same musicians. We’re pretty lucky in that sense. We’re quite tight and pretty happy. … Basically, we’ve been playing the same set for five years now!”