Sleaford Mods - interview
"Q. Did you really have a tug in that bloke's toilet?"
"A. Nah...I tried to though."
We asked Jason Williamson the first, erm, twenty-six questions that came into our collective minds.
These are the answers we got. Yeah, it could only be the Sleaford Mods...Read on
This time last year...
Just over twelve months ago, as far as Norman Records were concerned Sleaford Mods were just another obscure group we argued about in the office.
The first time the needle dropped on 'Austerity Dogs' here at Norman Towers, some time in late spring last year, it lasted less than twenty seconds. Fast-forward to November and even those of us who had been dismissing it as some puerile, MC Pitman-style comedy rap were beginning to change our tunes. We too had realised that beneath the swearing and ranting were highly intelligent lyrics that took a gruesome peek into the neglected undergrowth of modern day UK life.
To cut a long story short, British music had been needing a massive boot up the arse for a very long time and Sleaford Mods were the band to deliver it. Office arguments were re-ignited when Phil decreed it 2013's Album Of The Year, but since then Sleaford Mods have won over a good chunk of the UK’s disaffected music fans. With raucous shows the length and breadth of the UK, a work ethic that puts lazy-assed bands half their age to shame, and an album (Divide and Exit) that won plaudits from a range of publications as far and wide as NME, Pitchfork, The Guardian, New York Times and Rolling Stone they are now pretty much every-fucking-where.
But they ain’t no sell outs. Next year, Sleaford Mods tour forgotten, out-of-the-way places like Leamington Spa, Ramsgate and Stockton-on-Tees. They continue releasing records on a slew of independently-minded labels, noticeably Harbinger Sound (whose head honcho, Steve Underwood, deserves an immense amount of credit). And, of course, they continue to speak their minds. In short, they are exactly the kind of heroes we need at the moment.
So, following the announcement of 2014's Album Of The Year, let’s speak to front-man / ranter / sharp lad / gobshite, Jason Williamson.
Hiya J. We asked around the office and these are the burning questions everyone wanted to ask...
1. Are you two ever at home?
Are we fuck. Always gigging ain't we, the idea being that we need to sow the seeds, spread the word n that. The old way.
2. When can we expect the backlash to start and how will you deal with it?
I think that geezer Alexis, in the Guardian, was hinting at hating us in about six months as he thought we were gunna find it difficult to break the mould of current releases.
Fuck it, to me it changes with every new tune, the decent ones anyway. I reckon the third album will usher in a backlash, media-wise. I won't deal with it brilliantly at all I'll tell you that now. If someone do much as tickles me on Twitter I'm Googling the cunt's house.
3. What's the deal with the Yardbirds sample disappearing from 'Jobseeker'? Was there some kind of legal 'issue' with it?
We didn't even try to find out. Just thought it would be better to re-invent it.
4. Saw you mention Richard Dawson. Any other people you see as kindred spirits out there?
I like Richard, still ain't bought his new album yet but we've met on a few occasions and live he's very good. I respect his approach a lot.
5. Favourite records this year?
Don't mind the Fat Whites album.
BJM's new one works.
Coming round to Dean Blunt.
Quite fancy Wylie's new one too.
6. Would you go on Jools Holland if asked? How would you get round the obligatory 'honky-tonk piano' accompaniment?
He wouldn't invite us you can just tell. Fuck his piano too.
7. Who would you award 'Twat of the Year' to? (We know there's stiff competition.)
Noel G for saying he doesn't camp at festivals because he's sold 25 million albums. That's proper cunt that is.
Loads of others. I reckon I'd push for a 'joint award'. Wankers.
8. How has your rise to fame affected your lifestyle? Will it affect your lyrics in the future?
We've got French doors, decking and have just had grass laid. It's really nice our back yard now, but I've worked hard for that.
The next album has all but been recorded, and that was done whilst I was still at work so it will once again (in places) mirror the life of a white collar worker.
I'm only telling ya this so ya can't slag me off for not being real when it comes out, alright? Apart from that, I'll find things to write about. Your music has to change a bit.
9. Jason: where do you get your hair cut and how long does it take to do the fringe?
My sister does it you cheeky bastards! She has done since I was in me 20s. Takes her about 40 minutes for the lot. The fringe is done in seconds you just have to keep your head dead still.
If I take it to another barbers they shit themselves. You wouldn't believe how many so called trendy barbers cannot do a French Crop. Often think about a new angle but look what happened to that patronising cunt from the Arctics. No thanks.
10. You are often photographed with beer bottles. Do you really drink all the time or are they sometimes props?
No, I've cut down a lot since going 'pro'. It's my bread 'n' butter now, I can't fuck about (even though sometimes you do if you know what I mean). In fact, I'm writing this in the hotel room whilst those cunts are out destroying Amsterdam, pre gig.
I would never use things like that as props you cheeky bastards.
11. Has your success allowed you to shop at Waitrose?
Did anyway #donttellthefans
12. Any advice on not resorting to violence when dealing with dickheads? You did a remarkable job of not punching that bloke's face off outside Rough Trade...
He was homeless so I believe and clearly weighed down with lots of problems. I never once felt threatened so it was easy to just politely retrieve the mic, he was alright, the video sparked loads of misjudged hate towards the guy whilst painting me as some cool n collected rockstar twat which was a bit distasteful to be honest. I'm also no fighter, believe me, fighting is something you need to do a fair bit to get right as I'm sure you are aware, and I never have. I'm better with words.
13. Did you really have a tug in that bloke's toilet?
Nah... I tried to though.
14. Why do you feel the need to swear so darned often?
It just falls right with most vocal takes. I know what you mean I do but it just feels right a lot of the time, saying that though I'm moving towards swear free stuff a bit more, I think.
15. How do you think your music may possibly develop over the coming years or are you quite content with the minimalist aesthetic?
Not sure, no real plans or new inspiration but I do know that if I hear a highly produced, 'busy' record I don't like that as much as something with one or two elements. That could change though, you never know. Andrew really is the music man but we are quite similar and will only release stuff if we are both happy.
16. Is Mike Patton actually a fan (Ipecac label boss)
Yeah he rates it.
17. How do you juxtapose having your albums released by a local DIY/noise orientated record label with your increasing success and recognition?
We have distribution in place, a repress system, we have links to PR when we need it, all gigs are handled in house, etc etc. All of these things we sort directly more or less. To me this is what a major label gives you but for a lot less.
The main thing is people like the records so if you have got that demand already you don't need some gigantic stepping in and giving it the large one.
18. Do you think one day the recycling bins on the sleeve of Austerity Dogs will be as iconic as Salford Working Mens Club?
Be nice wouldn't it?
19. When does Andy get to sing a song?
Next album he drops a Kurt Cobain type choras thing. I'm still not sure if it works but fuck it. It's a bit different but yeah, we'll see.
20. Proudest moment of the last 12 months (personal or band related)
Seeing my wife smile at me because she realised we'd achieved what everybody thought was fucking impossible. Nobody can cuss us now, even if it ended tonight. We are respected.
21. Favourite SM songs
Mine is 'The Corgi'. Andrew's is 'Middlemen'.
22. Is Ibiza (with the Prodigy) going to be a single and what will you do if it charts?
Dunno if it's gunna be a single, and if it was, well, it's not shit so I suppose some gigs with them or summat.
23. Are you ever going to stop touring?
I'd like to, it's shit.
24. Favourite member of The Specials?
All of them. Beautiful men.
25. Has Andy Weatherall expressed interest in your music?
He played R'nB Paul off the first CDr many years ago on his rotters podcast and I gave him a copy of the last album at beacons. He keeps his thoughts close to his chest. I think he's the business, very influential man.
26. Finally, you are by some distance our top-selling band this year. Do you have a message for your devoted Norman Records fans?
Just fucking thank you. Really, me 'n' Andrew are so very, very honoured you like our stuff. It's what we want to do but it's just been mad as fuck getting all this as well. Thank you.
I'd like a new car next year BTW.
Cheers for that! Looking forward to you kicking 2015's arse as well.