Sleaford Mods are riding high after having reached number 9 in the UK albums chart (their highest position yet) with their latest album Eton Alive and have sold out date after date of their 33 shows on their album tour. With all this success many acts are often seen as losing their connection with fans (look at Arctic Monkeys starting as the self-proclaimed kings of ‘chip shop rock n roll’ to now, well, who knows what), but this is not the honesty of Sleaford Mods. Many of the UK dates were backed with an instore album signing where Andrew and Jason weirdly have to go to a record store to listen to their own album being blared out at speakers so that their fans can chat with them. This kind of connecting with the people that matter is so important to the band that they chose their Bournemouth signing over doing a face to face interview with Underscore Part 3 which lead to an email exchange shortly after the tour.
‘We ain’t happy happy ‘hi!’ people really and they [the fans] ain’t either,’ Jason Williamson on meeting fans.
When asking Jason about meeting fans he told us ‘they are very nice to us and it’s quite something. They are respectful to you.’ Our email exchange with Jason was short but as with everything the band stand for they express what they need to and nothing more, Jason continues describing their fans ‘We ain’t happy happy ‘hi!’ people really and they ain’t either,’ sounding humbled with the fans they’ve cultivated and genuinely appreciates their love for his band. We were witness to a particularly genuine experience seeing Sleaford Mods recently when in performance fury spit accidentally left Jason’s mouth and hit a fan resulting in Jason visibly recoiling in horror apologising. Perhaps when asking Jason for a stand out story from the tour his response of ‘We don’t fuck about.’ summed this situation up perfectly. With social media it’s very easy for a band to portray a positive image for the media but this recent tour which Jason commented ‘Tour’s been good. No messin.’ the band showed their allegiance for people less fortunate having a ‘bucket rattler’ collecting donations for the charity Refuge; it’s worth noting that this wasn’t just any old ‘bucket rattler’ it was the representative from a well known national tour promoter (the promoter for this tour).
‘It was a real buzz seeing it lurking in the Top Ten.’ Jason speaking of Eton Alive’s success.
Whether you’re a well seasoned fan of Sleaford Mods fan or reading this out of intrigue, you get the picture; Sleaford Mods make music that they’ve always been able to relate to and in many ways cult fame hasn’t changed them. When we asked Jason about Eton Alive he showed that in many ways despite this being the 5th album and that they’re clearly aware they have a following there is in a way childlike excitement about them; Jason told us that ‘it was a real buzz seeing it [Eton Alive] lurking in the Top Ten.’ We’d been interested to ask Jason about whether there is an on stage Jason character he plays much like when we spoke to Frank Carter of Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes who said that ‘fans get a carefully created version of me’ but Jason wrote without equivocation that ‘it’s pretty much me on stage.’
‘Happier perhaps.’ Jason describes the pairs current state of mind.
Behind every answer Jason gave us it feels like there’s a shift which although he doesn’t fully explain he hints at its motivations saying ‘we’re older too, happier perhaps.’ It’s very clear seeing Jason that exercise is important to him, his stature would be described as muscular and whilst many performers drink heavily throughout their performance Jason drinks only water. Trying to understand the full character that is Jason we asked him about his leisure activities which are that he goes ‘to the gym and [goes] running.’ stating that ‘I love it.’
‘We know its shit out there at the minute. With that in mind a portion of the tickets for The Hammersmith Apollo show…. will be available for £5 for those of you on low incomes… It will be… purely based on honesty- no Tory screening bullshit here…If you can afford full price tickets leave the fiver ones for those who can’t.’ An excerpt from the press release for the upcoming low income inclusive London concert.
Continuing our email, we spoke about forming their own label Extreme Eating; Jason told us that ‘there’s no major advantage really other than the deal is not as bad as being signed to Warner or something.’ And although this seems to suggest quite clearly that they want a larger share of the profits, unlike many acts we totally get it; the music industry right now only rewards the very few and Sleaford Mods recognise they’ve created themselves into a brand and getting a larger share may be the reason they can offer their 15th of November event (and possibly others in the future) aimed at being inclusive of people on low incomes. The release on their social media accounts for this show states ‘We know its shit out there at the minute. With that in mind a portion of the tickets for The Hammersmith Apollo show…. will be available for £5 for those of you on low incomes…’ The release continues to say ‘It will be… purely based on honesty- no Tory screening bullshit here’ finishing with ‘If you can afford full price tickets leave the fiver ones for those who can’t.’ At present it doesn’t appear Sleaford Mods have their sights set on global domination with their label Extreme Eating with Jason saying that ‘we’ll just keep releasing on it but purely for our own ends.’
‘if it was left up to me [with the production] it wouldn’t be as effective.’ Jason on Andrews role as producer.
Although Eton Alive could never be described as a typical ‘easy listening’ album it is a more measured mellow tone of Sleaford Mods, Jason’s thoughts on it were that ‘we… wouldn’t want to keep repeating ourselves’ but ‘I’m liking the idea of singing more but that might change I dunno.’ It appears that in all areas Sleaford Mods are not only their most successful but also their most content, Jason told us that as far as the production side of things ‘we understand each other’ and that although Jason has ‘a say on production yes but it’s mostly Andrews work.’ The media at times has been critical of Andrew’s role who appears to just push play on his laptop when playing live, but the pair recognise each other’s strengths; Jason knows this ‘if it was left up to me [with the production] it wouldn’t be as effective.’
‘I hate all this chirpy ‘look into my world, wow!’, bollocks.’ Jason on social media.
When Sleaford Mods started in 2006 we lived in a world where the word smartphone was part of common vocabulary but now we live in a 24/7 social media generation, a generation where its impact is being well documented for it’s impact on youth mental health. The media often speak about how people portray their best side on social media and how it can lead to anxiety and insecurity; in the face of this world Jason literally faces it with his face silent, staring daily on Instagram Stories because ‘I just like doing things that fit the mood. I hate all this chirpy ‘look into my world, wow!’, bollocks.’ Although this may be done for Jason’s own entertainment as a lighthearted stab at a society he is unhappy with Jason when asked for a tip for fans reflectively stated to ‘be aware of the value in mistakes and study your thing, the thing you want to do.’ With Jason earlier speaking of being ‘happier perhaps’ and his love for the gym we infer that Jason is a man who’s grown and matured with age, truly a working class idol and an idol that is revered for the right reasons. The term ‘life hack’ has become a buzz phrase on social media and memes but leads to fun fact finding about artists and is one of our questions that gets a silly throwaway insight into their world, when we asked Jason for his life hack he spoke to us (and therefore his fans) on a sincerer level saying, ‘if you’re over 40 don’t booze too much, it’s shit.’
‘if you’re over 40 don’t booze too much, it’s shit.’
To wrap up our exchange we asked Jason for acts that have caught his attention recently which he answered with no explanation as to why he likes them; Jason answered ‘Viagra Boys, Snapped Ankles, Megan Thee Stallion’ and if anyone’s ever lucky enough to find out Jason boasted that ‘I bake a great Victoria sponge.’