Releasing a new album, for any artist, is a mixture of excitement, terror and stress, but when you have a release date a month away and you're doing press and the album isn't finished, those feelings tend to be amplified.
So forgive the members of Mumford & Sons if they're a little wired ahead of the release of their fourth studio album, Delta, due November 16.
Lead singer Marcus Mumford tells Q104.3's Out of the Box with Jonathan Clarke about a dream he had the night before their interview that's particularly expository of his head space just a month before the album arrives.
"I dreamt last night, because we're mastering the record tonight — we have to hand it in tomorrow ... I dreamt last night that I showed up at the studio today, and the lads had invited loads of people that we'd never met before to come and sing on the record and kind of replace all of my vocals," Mumford recalls, above band mate Winston Marshall's laughter.
"And I was like, 'Lads, I can understand where you're coming from, but I've tried my hardest here and, if I don't sing any of the words, then I guess I'm not the singer anymore. Maybe that's fine, maybe that's good!'"
As of the publication of this article, Mumford is still the singer of Mumford & Sons. But the album cycle for Delta promises to provide more than a few firsts for the band.
For example: despite the GRAMMY Award-winning band's incredible success over the years, Mumford & Sons has never played Madison Square Garden. But that's about to change.
"We've never played there," Mumford said, confirming that he's never before graced The Garden's stage, even in a guest spot. "Never jumped on stage. I've watched a lot of ice hockey and a lot of basketball and plenty of bands there. I went to two of Radiohead's four nights there. it's a sacred room. We just saw U2 there recently. It's been on the list for a long time. And we've played lots of other places in New York, and it was time to do MSG."
"I'm not sure we're gonna reach Billy Joel's record," Mumford added. "...He's just done 100 [concerts]."
The album title, Delta, came from the fact that this is the band's fourth album. Delta "it's the fourth letter of the Greek and phonetic alphabet," Mumford explained.
"That's where it started," he continued. "And then we started buying into the idea that we'd come into the studio with, like, 35 songs. It felt like quite a prolific or fertile time ... and [river] deltas tend to be [fertile]."
Delta also finds the band going back to its roots, so to speak. While Mumford & Sons took up electric instruments for 2015's Wilder Mind, on the new album it's back to acoustic instruments ... but with a twist, explains Marshall.
"Having done Wilder Mind and getting to play the electric instruments that we felt a little deprived of during the first two albums, now we feel like we're at a place where we can play anything, and we're excited to play everything," Marshall said.
"Tie into that: Paul Epworth, our producer, was encouraging us to try and use those instruments and make them sound not like those instruments. So that opened a whole new world up, particularly for me with the banjo."
Marshall downplays his abilities as a banjo player, so he says he was thrilled when Epworth encouraged him to experiment with effects and demand more unusual sounds from his instrument.
The pair admits that they aren't sure yet how they're going to reproduce those sounds live.
"Turns out if you side-chain the banjo and put it down two octaves, it doesn't sound like a banjo, but it also doesn't sound like that much [of anything] you've ever heard before," Mumford adds. "It's been really fun, man. We've had more fun in the studio than we've ever had. And it has felt, creatively, very free."
After Mumford & Sons drop Delta, the group will hit the road for a 60-date arena tour this winter. You can get all the tour dates here.
Check out the official lyric video for "Guiding Light" below!