In today’s divisive cultural, political, and social landscape, people need a band they can get behind. A band that speaks to them about working class struggle, the treachery of politicians, police brutality, corporatism’s bane on our existence, and wading through the crap of everyday life. Past generations have had The Clash and Rage Against The Machine, but what about the people of today? A duo who have already become this kind of voice in the United Kingdom are Nottingham minimalist post-punk act Sleaford Mods, and they’re primed to get heard in the United States with their new compilation All That Glue, released through Rough Trade Records on May 15. Andrew Fearn records drum and bass tracks and plays them from a laptop while Jason Williamson’s borderline spoken word vocal delivery is intense and pierces through various established inequities in today’s society.
Williamson and I recently has a chat about the strategy behind releasing a compilation versus a new record, his songwriting partnership with Fearn, his thoughts on livestreaming, the similarities between American and British politics and what’s already being planned out for next year.
When it comes to putting together a compilation like All That Glue versus a new studio album, do you view the former as an opportunity to serve an introduction to new listeners?
Yeah, that was the idea partly to use it as a springboard to a showcase piece to those who aren’t familiar with the band. We haven’t had mass appeal and we haven’t been launched on a massive commercial platform so we’re the kind of band that people are still finding out about. All That Glue acts partly as a good reference point for people who aren’t familiar with us, definitely.
It’s a lot like when you put out Chubbed Up, which is another compilation you guys released in 2014.
How would you describe the songwriting partnership you have with Andrew Fearn? Does he strictly handle the instrumentation while you handle the lyrics or do you both have creative input on what the other is doing?
To a certain degree, we’re pretty much letting each other get on with our own respective roles within the band. We both got a vision for what each other is doing, obviously. If things appear to be something that might be an issue or one of thinks it isn’t working necessarily then that gets discussed.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, livestreaming has become an increasing trend among musicians to either make a little bit of money or support a charity helping those in need through donations. You’ve done a few of these streams, so what’s your opinion when it comes to the experience of it and do you see livestreaming as a viable medium post-crisis?
Livestreaming at home isn’t great because you’re depending on wi-fi signals that cut in and cut out but if you have a proper team behind you to do it then I think it’s a great idea, but only on a temporary basis. A lot of bands can’t afford to pay for a film crew to be able to do it properly so it’s a bit sketchy. I’m not totally sold on the idea but it’s definitely effective in a temporary sense.
I can totally see where you’re coming from. A lot of musicians have been doing it via their phones or the camera on their computer so they obviously can’t afford a film crew, especially since these days people are losing money one way or another because of the pandemic.
You’ve never been afraid to speak your views on politics whether it’s in a song, an article you’ve written or an interview you’ve done. America currently has Donald Trump as President and Britain have Boris Johnson as Prime Minister, both of them have similarities due to having messed up hair and a habit for saying stupid shit among other things. As a British person, what’s your opinion on American politics and do you see both countries sharing certain characteristics in their political spectrums?
I think both leaders are veering towards a hard right ideology, a fascist ideology. America has always had problems, as well as England, with corrupt leaders and that continues. Boris Johnson and Donald Trump aren’t trying to hide anything, it’s in plain view that the corruption is in real time for everyone to see. That’s part of the mechanism of it, isn’t it? Fascism and the traits with it are renowned for completely surprising people, completely shocking them and causing mass fear. How they’re doing it is in that similar vein.
It plays on people’s emotions.
Yeah, completely. I would say that your President is probably worse than our Prime Minister to a certain degree but I would say that they’re both similar characters. Our Prime Minister would not have a problem in going along with whatever Donald Trump wanted to do, so to speak, which in my eyes makes him just as bad. It’s a bad time, you know. It’s a really, really bad time.
There’s so much uncertainty with everything going on as well. Sleaford Mods have always had a prolific output of new music, so when can we expect the next record?
In 2021, we’ll have a new album coming out. We’ll be in the studio soon to record it so I would imagine that they’ll definitely be a new release next year.
Do you plan on releasing it through Extreme Eating like Eton Alive was released last year?
We’ve signed back to Rough Trade Records and it’s where we should have been all along. We left Rough Trade prematurely two years ago but that’s all been sorted out now so we’re back with them.
All That Glue is available here
Photo credit: Greg Jacobs