Jason / Sleaford Mods Interview
On ‘Key Markets’, Glasto and making family time.
By Paula Frost
You’ve just hit media frenzy over your recent performance at Glastonbury, but how was the experience for you?
I didn’t enjoy it but the promotion we got from it was brilliant. We played well but I didn’t really enjoy the performance. It was weird because it’s Glastonbury, we were being filmed, I was nervous about that. I didn’t want people to write us off if we were crap because I don’t think we are. But it worked out! It was totally different, I don’t mind big stages but it’s the fact it was out on TV and we knew it would be big exposure. The fact we were a lot of people’s highlight of the festival was brilliant. I avoided everyone backstage because I didn’t want to fall out with anybody so I stayed with my family.
What happened between you and Slaves?
I don’t like them. People think we’ve fallen out but I genuinely don’t know them. I don’t like their music and I don’t appreciate anything about it. There’s numerous bands we don’t like. I’m not going to sit there and just be polite, what’s the point? That encourages them! We’ve got our own release and that’s that.
Give us some info on Key Markets?
It’s a good album it’s the best so far. It’s our fifth album release with Andrew. There was ‘Wank’, ‘Austerity Dogs’, ‘Divide and Exit’, then we did ‘Chubbed Up: The Singles Collection’ and then this one makes it five. But it’s a bit more mature, more song structure, it’s a bit more polished but in a good way. The method of approaching it didn’t really differ greatly but it’s a great album and it’s moved on naturally.
Your new single ‘Tarantula Deadly Cargo’ what is that about? I just can’t work it out!
It’s just about touring really and being in a car with three other people and everyone stinks. Its just a little bit abstract and a light hearted subject matter really. Observations of each city you go to.
You’ve been on tour constantly over the past year, how do you make time for family?
We have struggled, it’s going to be a lot different this year. There’s going to be a lot more gaps in between gigs. We’d like to ease back a bit. We’ve put the hard work in and hopefully this album will cement the reputation for a good couple of years so we can afford to sit back a little bit.
You’ve been gigging with Steve Ignorant of Crass and you’re signed to a punk record label. I love the fact a lot of your releases have been packaged with a very DIY fanzine approach. How to Sleaford Mods tie in with punk?
It’s the attitude of putting two fingers up and not worrying about it being pretty and packaged, not worrying about getting signed to a big label, not worrying about having money there to promote it. All that’s a load of bollocks. The music travels, it takes care of itself if it’s good. You get a lot of bands who rely on promotion and a lot of money behind them. Some bands come across as being quite big when really they’re only selling about 25 records a week. Promotion can make a band look like its successful and big. That’s what pulls people in. If someone thinks they can relate to an artist or something about them, they generally go out and buy the record. It’s an inquisitive thing. That’s what record labels do they pick up a band and make them look really big and important when in actual fact they’re selling fuck all. We did it the proper way, organically.
Is vinyl important to Sleaford Mods?
Any format is important because the music is important. I don’t give a shit about vinyl I’ve got loads of it and never play the fucking stuff! The format is unimportant, it’s the music so we release it on all formats, downloads, CD’s and records. It just so happens at the minute, we started coming up in the ranks as vinyl started having a little renascence. It doesn’t cost anything to throw in a couple of posters or use colour vinyl and it makes a difference to the people you’re selling to. If you’re momentum is building people are willing to help you out and we’re getting a fan base coming to gigs because its interesting music that’s saying something. Those kinds of people want to help you out and we want to give them something for their money as well.
Did you get on with Steve Ignorant?
Yeah he’s a nice bloke, you just wouldn’t think in a million years that he is this important figure in music because he just downplays himself and he’s such a modest bloke. Obviously he is proud of what he’s done and he will stick up for that. Generally he’s just a bloke like anyone, you can sit and have a normal chat with him. He is what most musicians want to be but they become disconnected. Steve Ignorant never has. It is true what Crass said, ‘You can’t preach change from a swimming pool.’ You can’t. You’ve got to say no I’m not going to do that.
Has your crowd changed since being featured in The Guardian?
No we had a crowd like that anyway, it’s quite an intellectual crowd. It started off with middle-aged blokes coming down, taking it in, listening and absorbing it, getting their heads around it. Any press is good press really. I’m not going to do an interview for The Guardian because it’s not a very nice paper, same as most of them its tightly controlled by very rich people, but they’ve reviewed the album, which I don’t have a problem with.
What do you think about NME going free?
It’s pretty much gone isn’t it? All the articles are sensationalised, talking about how many people artists have slept with, drugs, it just centres on that which is crap.
You’ve said before that politics is pointless. What would you like to see change?
Probably the end of it. I think civilisation has got to change but I don’t think it will at the minute it’s not looking good. We’re fucked really. I’m not going to make out that something can save the day when I don’t think it can. I just think we’re fucked, simple as that and you’ve just got to try and maintain yourself in a good way rather than running after money.
What do you think of Russell Brands ideas of Revolution?
We’ve had countless revolutions. A revolution is just a valid dictatorship in a way. So no I don’t really believe in them. I mean obviously it would be nice to get the Tories out and it would be nice to see some of these rich people reduced to the type of people they are persecuting but I can’t see that happening to be honest.
Earlier this week The Sun leaked footage of The Queen doing a Nazi salute, what did you think of that?
I don’t know. Fucking hell. It doesn’t bother me or surprise me its kind of a white wash because there are British bombs going off in Syria and it’s a smoke screen for that crap. It’s winding people up but so what. The Sun is one of the biggest right wing papers in the country. I really don’t understand it so it’s just bullshit.
Can you tell us about the title ‘Key Markets’ for the new album?
To be honest I think ‘Key Markets’ is the album of the year. It’s really got something about it and I want it to be some kind of a benchmark to get bands thinking perhaps. I just want it to inspire people to be more original and to break away and reach out of this fucking mould, this stereotypical behaviour. Do something that means something and says something rather then treading the same old path. I’d like it to be known as an album that did that. Either way its going to sort us out I probably won’t have to get back to work for another couple of years fingers crossed. I just hope the public take to it, I think they will, the ones that like us will anyway, definitely. I’m really proud of it, it’s a good album. The mentality is different in the approach that we have, the psychology behind it of having no limitations and just doing it because we love it. People have lost touch with that especially in contemporary music its just bollocks, absolute pap.
What do you think about The Libertines reform?
It’s a fine line, you can carry on forever if you’ve got the right single. I haven’t heard their new song but I’ve heard its bad. Some artists can do it. Pete Doherty has obviously gone through a massive trauma and that really does fuck your abilities for a long time. You see it with a lot of bands, Primal Scream’s Bobby Gillespie when he went sober, the work after that was just so changed and quite ineffective. When people give up drugs it causes massive disruptions with the creativity I think and probably The Libertines new stuff has suffered from that. I’ve not heard it yet so I’ll reserve judgment.
Have Sleaford Mods experienced anything like that causing creativity drops?
Yeah, I’ve had issues with all of that and Andrew has. A lot of people I know have and it can really dampen the day so to speak and send you off on a course that isn’t the natural way you should be going so it can be a double edged sword.
So you’re off for 6 weeks and then on tour in September, what have you got planned?
We’ve got a full tour all over England, Wales and Scotland, then we’re going over to Germany and we’re gunna have Christmas off and then see what happens next year. Hopefully it will come off for us fingers crossed.