Mumford & Sons: Finding Balance In 'Babel'

Mumford & Sons
Mumford & Sons
With a name like a hardware store, Mumford & Sons is a British folk-rock band with a huge stateside following. Babel is the new follow-up to the band's breakout debut, Sigh No More, but its fans haven't had to wait to hear the new material. That's because Mumford & Sons' members have tested new songs at tour stops as they are written. For them, it's part of the creative process.
"It gives you a lot of confidence in the studio if you've seen how people are going to react to the songs," singer Marcus Mumford tells NPR's Linda Wertheimer. "It's just been the way we've always done it. We did it with the first album when we [were] touring, and it would just sort of grow in front of an audience.
"It's not like we were treating the audience like guinea pigs or anything. It's just very integral to our process."
Mumford grew up a preacher's kid, and so it's natural to presume that the new album's title, Babel, takes on a certain biblical relevance. But the idea is far wider.
"There are matters of the heart and sort of spiritual considerations that most humans have — explorative, really," Mumford says. "We're inspired by such a range of things between the four of us — almost every genre of music has been embraced by one of us at some time, and just about anything can inspire a song."
Saving Intimate Moments
Four-part harmonies and stories are key to Babel, but so is space.
"We were quite intentional on this record with intimate moments and saving those," says Ted Dwayne, the band's upright bassist and vocalist. "Also, leaving a bit more space within songs — songs like 'Ghosts That We Knew' and 'Reminder' and, actually, 'Lover's Eyes,' which have instrumental breaks and all really intimate moments, and they're not shying away from being quiet as well as being loud."
That seems to be another key element to Babel: balance.
"In about December, last year, we got to a point with the record where we had enough songs to release an album right there and then," Mumford says. "We felt like it wasn't quite balanced enough.
"There was darkness to it — a bit too much weight to it, like it was a bit too serious. And a little obscure in places lyrically. [The question came up], 'Can we maybe think about being a bit more direct with the lyrics?' I was like, 'Well, yeah, but it means writing new songs. And then 'Holland Road' came about the same week in December and had this chord sequence I just fell in love with, and then I wrote some lyrics to it."

NASA's Space Shuttle Endeavour to Depart on Cross-Country Flight for Display

Nasa's area shuttle endeavour can embark on any three-day journey by air this month that will require it from coast out to coast on any mission out to to be a museum show. the area agency on friday ( sept. 7 ) revealed endeavours final flight set up, announcing the route that its jumbo jet can follow because it carries the shuttle piggyback from florida out to california. the trip is set out to begin on sept. 17, weather permitting, at nasas kennedy area center in cape canaveral, fla., and culminate at la international airport ( lax ) on sept. 20. from there, endeavour can depart in october on any two-day road trip out to the california science center. before happening public exhibit, endeavours ferry flight can provide the general public and lots and lots of area program workers the possibility to check out the shuttle because it flies over seven states and eight of nasas facilities. the area agencys shuttle carrier aircraft ( sca ), a modified boeing 747 jetliner, can touchdown close to the houston home of mission management and visit the shuttles west coast landing web site before flying by california landmarks as well as the golden gate bridge and also the hollywood sign. flyovers and layovers the carrier aircraft can arrive at kennedy area center on sept. 11. 3 days later, the orbiter will certainly be rolled out out to match the sca for the shuttle landing facility ( slf ), where endeavour returned out to earth to its twenty fifth and final time in the first morning hours of june 1, 2011. how nasa flies shuttles on 747 jets ( photos ) employing a gantry-like steel structure known as mate-demate device, endeavour will certainly be hoisted from the ground by crane that the jetliner often is positioned beneath it. the shuttle can then be lowered on a scas back and secured for flight. at sunrise on sept. 17, the aircraft and shuttle combo will require off and fly within the area coast, as well as kennedy, kennedy area center visitor complicated, cape canaveral air force station and patrick air force base. endeavour is predicted out to fly south over cocoa beach and north over merritt island before heading west. coordinating along with the federal aviation administration, the sca can perform low flyovers — as low as 1, 500 feet ( 457 meters ) — because it passes nasas stennis area center in mississippi and also the agencys michoud assembly facility in new orleans. stennis tested the orbiters main engines and michoud is in which the shuttles iconic orange external fuel tank was constructed. endeavour can then continue westward, descending once more out to perform low passes over areas around houston, clear lake and galveston in texas prior to making a landing at ellington field close to nasas johnson area center. weather permitting, the sca and endeavour can stay at ellington regarding the remainder on your day and all day long on sept. 18, providing johnson workers and also the houston public an ample chance to check out the shuttle. the orbiter and aircraft will require out to the air once more at sunrise on sept. 19, and when quick refueling stop at biggs army airfield in el paso, texas, can conduct low-level flyovers of white sands check facility close to las cruces, n. m., and dryden flight analysis center at edwards air force base in california, before landing around mid-day at dryden. each white sands and edwards served as landing sites regarding the shuttle throughout the orbiters 30 years returning from area. white sands additionally serviced the shuttles thrusters between flights and edwards dry lakebed supported the orbiters late seventies approach and landing tests. finally upon the morning of sept. 20, endeavour, still on high on your sca, will require off one last time, departing dryden out to fly over northern california, passing higher than nasas ames analysis center at moffett field and numerous landmarks in multiple cities, as well as san francisco and sacramento, the states capitol. the carrier aircraft can fly close to one last nasa center, the jet propulsion laboratory in pasadena before performing flyovers over several la landmarks on its approach out to a landing at lax. a ceremony scheduled for 11 a. m. pdt ( 1800 gmt ) can welcome its arrival. the large endeavour endeavours transcontinental trip is short when compared out to the 122, 883, 151 miles ( 197, 761, 262 kilometers ) that the shuttle traveled whereas circling the earth 4, 671 times throughout its 299 days in area. other then it could be a massive endeavor in distinction out to nasas different area shuttle museum deliveries. each discovery and also the prototype orbiter enterprise were additionally delivered for show on high of nasas sca, other then their flights out to northern virginia and the big apple town in april were non-stop and every was completed in under daily. endeavours longer journey leaves it a lot of susceptible out to changing weather conditions and operational constraints. according out to nasa, a number of the flyovers or layovers who may be planned might be delayed or cancelled just like a result. even when endeavour is on the surface in l. a., a final leg can stay upon the shuttles itinerary. when being removed by cranes coming from the sca and spending some weeks on a united airlines hangar out to be ready to its transport and show, endeavour can travel through inglewood and la town streets on any 12-mile road trip coming from the airport out to the california science center, arriving within the whole evening on oct. 13. starting oct. 30, the shuttle will certainly be open out to the general public on show within the whole science centers new samuel oschin area shuttle endeavour show pavilion, starting its new mission out to commemorate past achievements in area and educate and inspire future generations of explorers.