Hello! I’m going to answer two questions at the same time:
I’ve avoided publishing any rumors regarding these topics for the past few months, so let’s set the record straight…
Mumford & Sons toured nearly nonstop from before the release of Sigh No More until a year after the release of Babel. That was essentially five years of travel, hard work, writing, interviews, paparazzi, time away from loved ones, and countless nights of little sleep. To be fair, the band were indeed pursuing their passion and what they love most during that time: touring and playing music live. Still, so many years of that lifestyle can take its toll and, with that in mind, the band announced in September 2013 that they’d be taking a break "for the foreseeable future."
After their final bow at the last show on the Full English Tour, the four members of Mumford & Sons dispatched to pursue interests outside of the band:
Ben has been collaborating with other artists and championing his record label, Communion.
Ted has been pursuing his other passion of photography.
Marcus has taken time to promote the Coen brothers’ new film, Inside Llewyn Davis. He not only appeared on the film’s soundtrack, but took his first round as Associate Music Producer under T Bone Burnett and performed at a concert celebrating the music of the film.
And Winston has been pursuing various endeavors. (You should really click through those links. He’s been quite busy.)
All of the boys have taken time out of the limelight, and deservedly so. In any case, the question still remains:
When will the band be back?
The short answer? No one knows. The only information we’ve been given is from an appearance Ted made in December on Communion’s weekly radio show on XFM in London. When asked what 2014 looks like for Mumford & Sons, he indicated—whether purposefully or accidentally—that the band have plans to come together in February 2014 to begin writing music together again—presumably for their third album (starting just after the 42 minute mark):
"We are gonna sort of ramp up very slowly. We’re going to get together and start writing without booking anything in, you know, no touring or studio even, and really enjoy each other’s musicality again in the way that we first did. It’s been so hectic in the way we made ‘Babel’ in between ‘Sigh No More’ tours; we never really had a break, and there was never really enough space, you know, not as much space as we would have liked. So, you know, we’re in a position where I think we really just wanna make a *really* great album, and that’s not something that you can do to a deadline, necessarily. So, we are gonna work really hard and get back into it, but for the last couple of months at least, we’ve just literally peeled off and everyone’s gone to the four corners of the earth doing their own thing, which is really nice, really healthy and we’re talking on the phone and catching up with each other when we can… It’s really nice. And February, I’m getting really excited about it. The idea of getting in a room with those guys and sharing music with them, it’s my favorite thing. So yeah, I’m looking forward to it."
To be clear: This does not guarantee a third album in 2014, nor does it guarantee the band will return to touring in 2014.
The only thing this does guarantee, however, is that we have not seen the end of Mumford & Sons. After all, according to Mumford & Sons themselves…
"We’ll see you round the bend, it won’t be long."