Sleaford Mods

photo by Alasdair McLellan


After several months of a repeated and continuous lockdown, what one needs is escapism. Well, good news, lads. The new album of the British punk duo delivers as such. 

No doubt that, in times like ones we live, ignite musical resistance. An extraordinary example of it has been released via Rough Trade. Spare Ribs by the Sleaford Mods.

Vocalist Jason Williamson and, since 2012, musician Andrew Fearn provide their well reputed abrasive, minimalist musical style along with their scorching sound. “Spare Ribs” features Billy Nomates and Amyl and The Sniffers' Amy Taylor.

In the first place, I didn’t feel that comfortable in the idea of a home-listening record from the Sleaford Mods. On the other side, nowadays, Sleaford Mods is a quite ideal listening. A dose of reality with an unmistakable recipe. Cynical, ironic and angry. The pure charm of the duo. Williamson's speaking voice is glorious. The suffering of the working class that politics have kicked in the ass throughout all these years is once again the central subject of Williamson's lyrics. Although Andrew Fearn is often described as minimalist, his performance on this album is an enormous step up. Especially in the second half of the album with a faster tempo. Sharp beats and a much more musical record.  I can feel an adventure in the instrumentation, which is enrichened with synths. 

The Tories have been in administration in Britain since 2010. Long enough. Perhaps too long. Austerity, Brexit, incompetent handling of the pandemic is only a few of the catastrophic results of such a useless power. And Sleaford Mods, while witnessing the situation through all these years felt the need to respond, in their own way.

Spare Ribs is the first great album of the year, and the band’s best album so far. I give them the thumbs up with this one.

To this view, we had a rather interesting conversation with Jason Williamson, who mentions that we’re in a constant state of being spare ribs. Human lives are always expendable to the elites, right Jason? Us vs Them,

So here it goes, The first big interview of 2021 for the first great album of 2021. Ladies and gents, Sleaford Mods are doing the Basement for the first time!

The Basement: Jason, welcome to the Basement! Your name has always intrigued me. Why Sleaford? And why Mods?

Hey, hi mate.  Sleaford comes from Grantham, which is a town where i'm from. Sleaford is only 20 miles away from me. So, i used to go there as a kid. I don't know why i called it Sleaford Mods. Obviously, i am in the Mod thing, but i just thought the obscurity of it, really kind of suiting in what we are doing, d' you know what i mean?


The Basement: Do you see yourselves as the voices of the working class or anything like that?

Well, no. Never often. It's just that i've got working class roots. My experience is mainly working class (laughs). I didn't stop working until 7 years ago. I come from that background. That's as far as i go. We are sending no voice to the working class, no. 


The Basement: Since I was a young boy, I recall people having a great need of a working class hero. Back at the time it was Oasis or else. Several years later, this need is emerging as well. Why is that? It’s the Tories, right? I mean the conservatives dominating the world.

I think there is a need for truthful voices constantly, across the board. Modern politics is increasingly becoming one thing and there is no other option, unless you just wanna keep going around. So, i think there is always route for voices from the bottom of the pile, to come up and to communicate in an articulate way, so definitely i agree, yeah.


The Basement: Let's go back to the band. Do you accept the claim that the opposing traits among the band members are clear foundations for their successful musical pairing?

I think this is an intresting point, yeah. It's what makes a lot of bands, isn't it? The differencies in personality. I think that's what drives a lot of good creativity, you know. I think if me and Andrew were the same, it wouldn't work, right?


The Basement: The deep shit that we are in, with the pandemic, does that give you inspiration? Obviously, the new album was recorded during the first lockdown and I can feel the anger innit. Just a kick in the ass, right?

Yeah, exactly, it was born out at the lockdown and it did inspire the album to some degree. I didn't want to be obvious with it and, you know, tell people about what they already know. So, i wanted to try to put in a way that meant something to me. And that was more creative, d' you know what i mean. 


The Basement: You know, during 2020 as the world seemed to fade away, In the midst of a pandemic — and amid political and social turbulence, I was like “oh please I need a Sleaford album talking out this creepy season. Then I heard “Top Room” and I felt a happy man. I am not alone. Is this album special for you as well?

(Laughs) Well, this album, surprisingly, turned out to be the best, surprisingly known with a lot of people. I didn't think it would. For us was just business as usual, you know, but i am really pleased it means a lot you. Well, yes, for me as well. Yes it does, of course. All these albums mean a lot to me. I think perhaps because everyone is sharing the same experience in lockdown currently. And perhaps this album is more powerful because of that. 


The Basement: How are things in Britain, mate? Here in Greece, every day we check on the news to see what new idiocy the government has come up with. I guess yours is pretty much the same, huh?

(Laughs loud) But at least you are in the EU, right? You know you had a really hard time. My mother comes from Greece, so i have an affility with your country. So, well, let's say it's horrible here. We feel trapped, the Government is useless, they are lying every day. It's really incredible. The corruption is too much, it makes me angry. 


The Basement: What does the government’s Brexit deal mean for touring musicians and bands?

I think it looks quite grim. I am sure that there will be some kind of allowance. There has to be, There has to be. If not, i think millions in the country will just go. I think ot would start to get really nasty in this country. I mean it already has! And it will get even worse. People's freedoms are being chipped away and it's not good. 


The Basement: Spare Ribes. New album. it’s a solid piece of work, from where I’m standing. Is it a protest against the government’s uncaring treatment of the public?

Yeah, the name of the album, Spare Ribs, it talks about the about the idea that we are all collateral for the sake of the economic model. We are all Spare Ribs, we are all potentially momentary sacrifices for the greater body of capitalism. And the pandemic - in this country especially - showed that. In a way that man deaths being recorded, i mean we are the highest in the world i think? So many people. That;'s what inspired the album title, yeah. 


The Basement: Did you enjoy recording sessions? We would appreciate a story you recall from that time.

It was good. We were in good laugh, you know. Business as usual. We just got home with it, we worked hard. We knew it was a good album, but we didn't think it would be received the way it has. It's been unreal, really!


The Basement: My fav one off the album is Mork n Mindy (feat. Billy Nomates). Dirty and depressing in a good way. Wanna share the story behind the song?

(Laughs loud) It is about being younger in the early 80s, when there wasn't a lot to do. Boring. And it just talks about the landscape which was uninspiring, depressing, sad, optionless and i wanted to talk about that. I wanted to try put forward in a song.


The Basement: Do you believe that we shall be lucky enough to attend a Sleaford Mods gig touring the new album, anytime soon?

We are hoping so. We are announcing a European Tour on Monday. We have UK tour at the end of the year, that will go ahead i think. So, we are hoping we'll be ok!


The Basement: You are coming back to Greece, aren’t you? Huge fanbase around, bet on that.

Yes, hopefully we are, yeah. Fingers crossed!


The Basement: Jason, i can't thank you enough for the time spent on this one. It's been an honor.

Thank you very much, the honor was all mine. 


The Basement: See you soon, mate!

Bye bye, take care.

Spare Ribs (out 15/1 via Rough Trade)

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