Amazing Photos made by ©James Marcus Haney.
more hereWords from Ben
The last few years have, in many ways, been completely life changing but in the same breath, life has not changed much at all. It’s a hard thing to explain, and the people who understand it are obviously those who have spent some time on the road with us for brief periods. We are often asked questions about what the media perceive as the benchmarks or the highlights of our journey: sharing the stage with musical legends, performing for the President, playing at Glastonbury. And whilst those days were truly memorable and very special, altogether if they happened in succession they’d occupy less than 2 weeks of the journey we’ve been on over the past 5 years. And that journey isn’t really about glitz and glamour, it’s been conversations, relationships, playing sport, socialising in pubs, being disconnected and reconnected with the ones we love. As far as I see it, the majority of our life doesn’t differ too much from the lives we had before 2007 or the lives of our friends around us. We travel a lot, and we love to travel, and the most common two questions I’m asked when home are - “Where have you been?” and “Where are you going next?” But wherever we are in the world, there’s a feeling of continuity and familiarity, cemented by the extended family of all the people we get to tour with. And without those people and that feeling of stability, I don’t think we would love what we do to the extent that we do. Life on the road is very similar to life off of it, except it comes with the bonus of playing music to new people every evening, and as long as the music keeps feeling like a bonus, I can see us touring for many years to come.
We never dared to dream our music would take us on such adventures as these. Our first tour of America was opening for Johnny FLynn and Laura Marling and on the first drive after the gig in Boston I resolved to keep a diary which I have just found. It has two entries and the rest is photographs. Time on the road is easily wasted and while keeping a diary would have been great, I think the huge folders full of negatives tell more stories than my greatest efforts with words could ever have done. Developing film must truly be one of the most meditative and satisfying things I could imagine. The lads don’t always appreciate our dressing room smelling like a Kodak factory so I tend to find myself in some strange corner of the venue mixing chemicals beneath the stage and drying negatives from exposed wiring. There are quite a few of us on the tour who have fallen in love with old cameras. It’s so wonderful to create with a tool so mechanically simple as a Rolleiflex or Bronica. There is no mysterious wiring or microchips or error messages and beeps. These cameras are friendly and easily understood. To me creativity, in it’s many guises is the elixir of life, however, people are too often mistrusting of their creativity or feel as though they haven’t the right or predisposition to allow it through. Growing up a lot of people are told they are not artistic and from then on they neglect a valuable and a vert human need. We are all artists, equally qualified and infinitely frustrated.
Words from Winston
Tour brought us together; our reason to be a band. It’s a lot easier for us now than it used to be. The four of us crammed into a VW Polo smashing around the country was fun as hell but I don’t hink we’d still be doing it after five years, Now it’s down to our tireless crew who live for tour as much as we do despite doing ten times the work. The whole project has far outgrown anything we could have imagined, and all of them keep the show moving. I must at this point thank the great institution that is football for keeping us all vaguely sane.
We feel that there is no better way to travel than through tour. Everywhere you go you immediately engage with the town you’re in and in (nearly all) those places the town want to give back too. This means you really see the best of the world. Naturally, it might be a skewed vision but everywhere in the world people are proud of where they live and want to show you why. It’s fucking beautiful.
Words from Marcus
This summer was probably the best summer we’ve had as a band. The record was in the can, spirits were high and the road was laid out in front of us like a patient etherized upon a table. Finally we could completely focus on playing shows knowing that it was done and we were happy with it. Then we got to announce it, which was a relief, and spent a lot of the summer talking about it and making people aware it was coming. But as always for us, the priority was really tour, of course…
When we landed in the states to start a six week tour, our “Road to Red Rocks,” we were more excited than I think we’ve ever been to start a tour. I think having connected with Europe in a new way, and having experimented with successful stopovers in Huddersfield and Galway, we felt stronger than ever in our identity to go and be Mumford & Sons in America. In was six weeks of gigs and variety was the name of the game. It was to be every kind of venue from theatre to amphitheater, high school auditorium to festival grounds. And each weekend for the middle four weeks we got to go to small towns not regularly toured, especially by bands from overseas, to put on our very own stopovers: Portland, Bristol, Dixon and Monterey.
This tour gave us the spice of life that we needed. It gave us everything we loved about this continent, from the grand, sprawling landscape to the small town spirit of hospitality; the East Coast lobster to the Southern fried chicken, martinis to moonshine. But the main aspect was people. Our crew were on the form of their lives, the people we met in each town welcomed us with open arms, and the bands we got to play with from Dawes to Dropkick Murphy’s, all heroes of ours, inspired the shit out of us every single show day. It was a tour all about music, the performance and the sharing of it. And with the towns we got to be in as extraordinary backdrops, we got to enjoy music every step of the way.