Mumford & Sons Detail New Album 'Delta,' Tease 'Rock Oddyssey' Song

By Nicole Mastrogiannis

November 6, 2018

After three years, Mumford & Sons' have returned with a brand new album, Delta. The new LP follows the band's 2015 album Wilder Mind, and showcases 14 new songs including lead single "Guiding Light" and their latest, "If I Say." Delta also features a song called "Darkness Visible," which Mumford & Sons' Winston Marshall describes as a "rock odyssey," much like Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody."

The band kicked off Delta with "Guiding Light," and the track had actually been around a year before it was even recorded. Mumford & Sons' Marcus Mumford exclusively explained to iHeartRadio, "It was in existence for about a year before we recorded it, and there was something about it that we liked. I personally had a problem with it up until the day where we figured out how to mix the banjo and the drums together and get those parts right. And then it got exciting for me. I then, sort of believed in it, and got excited by it."

Marshall added of why "Guiding Light" was the first song to introduce Delta, "I pushed very hard for 'Guiding Light' to be our first single because of all the songs, I always felt like it opened it's arms the widest and I think very welcoming, it's acting very welcoming and has a message, and one I think is a perfect window into this album."

Mumford & Sons opened up about their new album Delta during an exclusive interview with iHeartRadio. They talked about the meaning behind the LP's title, the themes of the album that inspired the songs, some of their favorite tracks, and more. Read on below.

On the meaning behind the album title Delta

Marcus: "It's our 4th record. It's the 4th [letter in] the Greek alphabet and the phonetic alphabet. It looks like it's been a particularly fertile period for us, and Delta's tend to be the most fertile places so. We went into the studio with 30 something songs and found it quite hard to pick our favorites. So, it's been a prolific period. And there was something about the fact that we felt like we'd been in the sort of the river lands for a while, and all that kind of meandering shelter that come with that. And just over the last few years, I think if anyone has to try and summarize three years worth of life in an album lyrically, you're going to end up talking about some heavy stuff that happens. And we've been home a little bit more than we had been over the past 10 years. So we experienced a bit more of our friends and families lives, and all the highs and lows that go with it. But an overwhelming feeling we had, was that, it just feels wild sometimes. And those moments, kind of intense moments, like being in the labor ward at birth, or being at the death bed with someone you love. They both feel wild and felt like the chaos in that, and the beauty of it as well felt like we wanted to represent that somehow. Cause a lot of songs ended up being about that stuff. So, I think particularly because we've written over a long period of time."

Mumford & Sons 2018

On the themes of the album that inspired the songs:

Ben Lovett: "It touches on a lot of things, thematically. All of our albums have been autobiographical and it's been an interesting period in our lives. I think we've gone through a lot of transitioning, into our 30s, I think a lot of people assume that the minute you're legally an adult is the time you become one. Actually, feels like that comes a few years later. And we've done a lot of growing up over the last couple of years. You're kind of wrestling with some fairly big subjects. I think that's kind of what we use music for. We have that medium, fortunately, there's a way to express grappling with the good and the bad, and the highs and lows in our lives. And, it just feels like there's more to it this time around. That this album is very dense in material because our lives are actually incredibly dense in what's been going on. I think you can pick up on a lot of the things really just by the individual songs."

Marcus: "We've written our first out and out love songs on this record I'd say. You know, women and roses, sharing a life. Straight up love songs. Which tend to be harder to write than break up songs or 'I'm angry at the world' kind of songs. So, we kind of embraced the romance as well, of that, and enjoyed it."

On what fans may be surprised by on Delta:

Marcus: "I think particularly the way we've used drums, and beats. Some songs we would've started with a rhythm track that's been played on an acoustic guitar or rhythm track that's been played on a 1940's 30 inch bass drum. And, some we started in the computer using Ableton, and starting from a more EDM or hip hop origin, stylistically. We love rhythm, I guess we're all kind of percussionists, the instruments we started out playing are percussive instruments, even the banjo. That's why the fact that he [Winston] can't clap in time. It's a very percussive instrument. And Paul [Epworth] loves rhythm. He starts with rhythm. Until he understands rhythm, he can't really understand a song. In fact, turns out that last week he hadn't really listened to the lyrics of one of the songs, [and said], 'I like those lyrics.' [I said], 'We've been playing it for a year and a half.' So I think the use of drums on the record varies a lot. 

I think 'Guiding Light,' stylistically, is the most familiar and possibly assessable for our fans, we think. And yet, still does something, where the drums were, particularly. But then there are songs like 'Woman,' or 'Picture You, ' or 'Rose of Sharon' where stylistically, we've challenged ourselves to do something more different, and we really, really enjoyed it. And that's what I love about making albums. Because the long form of a long album as opposed to just doing singles or just EPs, means that you can make creative choices that you otherwise wouldn't have the time and space to do. So, there are songs that are almost eight minutes long on this record. And obviously you're always trying to find the balance between being expressive and being over indulgent. And there's a danger in being over indulgent. But we think Paul ... That's why you have a producer to help guide you in those manners."

Mumford & Sons - 'Delta' Album Cover Art

On what some of their favorite Delta songs are:

Marcus: "My favorite song is 'Wild Heart' on the album. We did it live. Winston wrote it. And I think it's very beautiful."

Winston: "I'm very excited about a song that's going to be called 'Darkness Visible.' Which I think is the first time we've ever ... It started as a jam or wig out, and now it's this rock odyssey. It takes you through hell and back. And to what Marcus said earlier about the album letting us do those things. That is very weird for us, and bloody exciting for us as well."

Mumford & Sons 2018
Mumford & Sons 2018

Photos: Rachel Kaplan