Communion co-founder and Mumford & Sons band member, Ben Lovett.
Ben Lovett and Aaron Embry at Communion NYC
Ben Lovett of Mumford & Sons with Olympic swimmer and guest DJ Anthony Ervin at Communion New York on December 3, 2013.
Photo © Levrock Photography.
BY KAYLIE SUZANNE STARKEY
With Communion Presents coming to the Bluebird Tuesday, WIUX was lucky enough to talk to founder Ben Lovett, who doubles as the keyboardist of Grammy-award winning band Mumford and Sons. If you’re like us and can’t get enough Love(tt), check out more from the interview below…
Q: Which is more valuable in a show setting: intimacy between musician and fans, or a large audience?
A: I think the dream is that you can maintain the intimacy in a bigger room and it feels just as special and like real moments for those artists and the fans.
Q: How does Mumford and Sons do it?
A: I don’t know how well we are doing it. I think we’re doing everything we can. It definitely is harder, it’s amazing that people want to see our shows on such a big scale or that so many people want to come and see us, but there is a point where you are just too far away from the music to be fully engaged in the show. We’re working on it. There isn’t a perfect answer to any of that, we just play our hearts out every night we play and hopefully people feel it. We try and send it out to bigger audiences and give it as much and more in those bigger arenas.
Q: How much of a goal is it for Mumford to schedule shows at smaller venues?
A: It’s tricky because you’re kind of upsetting people who wanted to come to the gig. There is that fine balance. I find it really interesting for me when split between the two worlds, I thought of Communion before Mumford and Sons. I’ve always been struggling with Communion in trying to figure out how to encourage to a few hundred people to come and see what I think is amazing music, and then with Mumford and Sons it’s a completely different beast because it’s just such a huge number of people now who want to come and see us play. It’s like governing two completely different worlds—instead of tens of people with Communion, it’s hundreds of people with Mumford and Sons and it doesn’t really make sense to me because I listen to Willy Mason and Rubblebucket and all the bands that we’ve put on over the years and just think “I love this, I love that music so much and I don’t understand why thousands of people aren’t listening to them.”
Q: How does listening to bands like Rubblebucket and these DJs influence or play into your work with Mumford and Sons, which is such a different genre?
A: I find that it really inspires me as a songwriter and always has—working with and listening to and watching shows of some other artists and collaborating with people. I think that I’ll continue to do that. I love listening to people who have just written a song… There’s something really special about music fresh off the press. It inspires me to keep going myself as a musician.
Q: Communion was founded all the way back in 2006, why was it originally started and what was your vision in the beginning?
A: I was in a band with Kevin Jones and it was tricky back then breaking as a musician in London. It’s actually really hard. People don’t fully appreciate how hard it is for musicians starting out. If you want to play a show, we all had day jobs at the time. For me, I was working in a packaging warehouse for 6 months I remember very specifically and every time I wanted to do a gig you had to get down there for a sound check and so you had to try to get off work and then you get it from your boss and then you’d turn up to the show and there wouldn’t be anyone there. And they wouldn’t pay for the gig because there wasn’t anyone there and then you’d wake up in the morning and go back to work and the whole thing was kind of a vicious cycle and there wouldn’t be any way out. So when we started communion it was about trying to make sure that it was worthwhile for musicians to do the gig.
Q: How do your roots as a struggling musician in the beginning of your career effect your appreciation for where you are today?
A: I think if anything it just makes me incredibly grateful for what has happened with Mumford and Sons. I’m incredibly grateful for the support because I know how rare it is and I know how harsh it is for a lot of my peers and friends who are musicians and are trying to get to the point where they can quit their jobs and do music full time. So I think if anything it just makes me grateful now. But that doesn’t mean that I should rest up, I think just keep on pushing on is crucial.
Last.fm Originals chats with Ben Lovett, Communion Music, October 2, 2013
Source: Last.fm Original’s Instagram