*This interview first appeared on Sabotage Times in May 2014
Taking influence from the savagery of the Sex Pistols, the swag of The Happy Mondays and the social conscience of John Cooper Clarke, comes Sleaford Mods. Hailing from Nottingham, Sleaford Mods are Jason Williamson and Andrew Fearn, who over the last 6 months have released tracks such as Job Seeker, Fizzy and Jolly Fucker. With a new album 'Austerity Dogs', frontman Jason Williamson is not taking any prisoners, calling time on the fake and fugazi goings on in today's scene, and he means every word of it....
2013 was a great year for Sleaford Mods wasn't it? From the moment I heard the band I was hooked and its been the same for more many other people, plus a great reaction to the new album. So how does it feel?
Bit weird, I mean we're not complaining or anything its what we have worked for but its a bit of a surprise. Two piss heads moaning wouldn't really capture the moment in my book haha. The reaction has been good though, people all over loving it and it's a buzz. It's also shut some of the ten bob millionaires up who had us down as loser bastards. Not just me and Andrew but Steve Underwood our label guy, he's worked his tits off too and it's brought this operation up.
Can you give us a brief on how Sleaford Mods originally formed and when?
I started it with a studio engineer and mate called Simon Parframent in late 2005. He now does all the photos when he can, he's a fucking great photographer so if we can afford to pay him he comes on tour and stuff. I recorded the first 4 albums with Simon in a little room in Nottingham's 'Rubber Biscuit' studios. I used loops, samples from old record-anything, but that got boring and in 2011 I met Andrew Fearn who was DJ'n at a gig I was playing at, I asked him if he fancied writing some stuff and he agreed. We got together, it sounded shit so I didn't bother getting back in touch. Six months later I needed a hand with an idea I had, I think he'd joined Facebook or something so I just mailed him again and asked him if he fancied coming the Biscuit to help out along with my mate Chis who played bass. That's when it started getting good.
Going right back to the beginning, what's your back ground Jason, what was your youth like growing up and were the big influences in your life?
I grew up in a small town, learned to smoke at 14, was obsessed with the Jam from around 12 years before that the Pistols took hold at about 10 years old, but The jam soon took over.
Anyway, I went to a comprehensive school, typical kid I guess. I worked in a factory for a year hated it then went back to college and did acting-lessons and English. I hated working life so much I fucking never wanted to go back to a factory but then I discovered drugs and house music. It wasn't long before I was in a factory again ha ha. I fucked around a bit more and then moved to London, in the hope of forming a band after the tidal wave that was the 90's mod revival that was started by the Stone Roses. I came back after two years and moved to Nottingham because most of my mates were there plus it was cheaper to live. I started forming or joining bands and that's when the long road to Sleaford Mods started to happen.
Above all it's that brutal, precise wordplay, together with that delivery, stance and energy which is what Sleaford Mods are all about. There's a bit of Johnny Rotten in there, a bit of Shaun Ryder, a bit of John Cooper Clarke, Steve Ignorant yet really quite original. Do you find it quite natural up there, singing and performing, fronting a band?
Yes, I've worked hard at getting it right, it's taken 8 years or so but now its there. I like Lydon and Ryder but the other two you mentioned I ain't really heard much by them. I read an interview with that Perry guy from Crass slaggin of The Pistols because they sold out and the Clash or whatever but fuck off. Anarchists, typical elitist tossers "Oh we got arrested more than you" "We live in the woods" "Thatcher had us on a death list" blah blah fuckin blah Fuck off. I hear Crass are good and that's fine but Revolt has almost been turned into a pantomime with most, you can argue the toss all day but even Philip Green has to recycle his cereal packets. We are all fucked. Write about the wall in front of you, keep it interesting and don't sell out...Done.
I read somewhere that John Cooper said that The Arctic Monkeys were "the gold mark of current music" something like that anyway, That's fucking stupid - I mean why? What's he saying that for? They are fucking crap man, like ya uncle and his shit mates wobbling about singing 'n stuff.
That's real talk, and its something that also runs right through your writing, lines like "arrogant cunts, Ian Beale tight trunks, tight pants, grab a wanker - walk the plank." Where does it all come from?
Always making notes if someone says something interesting or I see something. There was this bloke who had a shop near my mates years back and he just wore these fuckin 80's shorts all the time, you know with splits at the side, runners shorts hahah we used to call him tight shorts ahaha. So I put a bit of that in it, sayings are really powerful they represent a kind of anti intelligence, a big fuck off to it because intelligence is now used by most as an elitist weapon, a put down. Knowledge is now a show of strength to undermine those who may not be up on things. These clowns in trendy gear and extensive record collections with these dark personalities giving you the Aleister Crowley, do one.
Do you feel the bands vibe could scare TV, radio and other outlets from having you on? Are you bothered?
I wouldn't mind a bit of TV but I'm not fussed. I'm not gonna change the lyrics for it, sod that. We got massive Kudos at the minute and that's enough.
The whole vibe of Sleaford Mods is that you cut through the bullshit of 21st century music, culture and living. What happens if you and the band really blow up and find stardom - how would Sleaford Mods keep it real?
If you start hoarding loads of cash then for me that becomes a problem. I need money like anyone and to be honest if I could do few more things with the family then I'd take a few more quid but excessive luxury is for cunts. Noel G is the prime example of a bloke eaten away by greed, he looks like a member of the Palace of Versailles for fucks sake. I know I'm always knockin him but for fucks sake he's a joke mate. His back catalogue has been severely damaged by the last ten years of hoarding and releasing shit tunes, mate that ain't Rock 'n Roll that's fucking robbery you tit. Weak man who looks like he has his face powdered, Colombia comes on I just fuckin laugh my tits off, Butlins indie.
What about music today, where are we right now musically? We've got the whole Manchester scene back as well as this new found love for everything Mod again, are we just pillaging past music scenes for what we can't create for our selves today. The impact of the internet too has made big differences to how we relate to music don't you think?
I don't see a Mod revival again to be honest, I mean I'm 43 so I guess I ain't out 'n about anymore. I think the mid 90's rinsed that. We had hints with The Libertines I guess and early Arctic wankers but nothing else really. That Enemy band were just fucking laughable little cunts. Oasis killed it off, rinsed it well dry...nothing left. I just laugh at this little Mod clubs you find, scoots and soul discos in pubs and that...orrible.
Tell me what a Sleaford Mods gig is really like then Jason, what kind of reactions do you get live?
Every gig for the last 6 months has been packed apart from the Scottish tour, last Notts one we had to turn away 50 odd people and that's fuckin mad mate, I know its only 50 but that's big for us. The reaction at the minute is 'do no wrong' which is a bit worrying but at the same time nice I guess.
And lastly, what plans and ideas have you got for Sleaford Mods, what's next for the group and also where can we see Sleaford Mods play this year, will you be playing any of the summer festivals this year?
We are playing 12 dates in Germany a few in France and Switzerland a few English dates Bristol Exeter in Feb London Brighton in April Leeds and Birmingham in March. No English festivals though. My country is a hard one to crack.