Sleaford Mods | image: Facebook

We wanted to go independent again,” declares Jason Williamson ahead of the release of Eton Alive. Although it “has been stressful and a bit of a struggle, I think we’re getting there.”

Looking at the design process of the SLEAFORD MODS latest full length, he admits “it is hard to go back to an independent environment. We’re popular, so we didn’t want to lose that momentum. Really we have just put into place most of the things Rough Trade would have done anyway.”

Revealing the reasoning of the removal from Rough Trade and the introduction of Extreme EatingJason says “a couple of people in the camp weren’t too sure about being with a label and to be honest I could have taken or left it.” There are no hard feelings towards Rough Trade and the door has been left open for a return to the label post-Eton Alive, as is explained when he gives praise, saying “I’ve got full respect for Rough Trade and this isn’t showing anyone that we can do it on our own. It was just a choice not to go with them on this one.”

Alongside the new record and move to their own label comes an extensive UK tour that will see the band play cities and towns that are often missed by bands. Admitting “we’re not a stadium band, so we just end up playing the same places” gives perspective of why instead of churning tracks out at the likes of Newcastle‘s O2 Academy, they’ll be hitting Northampton’Roadmender and Ipswich‘s Corn Exchange. With the fans in mind, he continues “it is also a chance for people that live in areas that wouldn’t necessarily be able to get to central London or Bristol to reconnect with us. We did it a few years ago and people really appreciated it.”

There are perks of visiting some lesser trodden towns whilst touring, as Jason points out “you get to see places in England that you’d otherwise never see” before jokingly adding “ok. They aren’t glamorous as most places, but you get a bigger idea about everything.” The “bigger idea” Jason mentions has come in the form that you get an idea about people’s ways and customs. It does change between people in various pockets of the country and it is quite interesting. You just get a bigger idea of the country you’re from.” Offering an example, he adds “I learnt that you don’t call people from Manchester ‘Mancunians’ because a lot of people are from Salford and it really does insult them.”

Another thing Sleaford Mods have noted to be of importance since starting their touring career is “in the north AND the south there are forgotten pockets where modern culture hasn’t tapped in. Maybe because it doesn’t really deem it as an attractive place to spread its germs. I don’t know.” Doused with a tongue in cheek tone, Jason simply suggests the main difference between the north and the south is that “the weather is a bit harsher up north.”

On the topic of the age old debate about differentiations between the north and the south, the subject of whether the south and London in particular is saturated with ‘posers’ and gig-goers that are there simply to take a photograph for Instagram and not engage with the bands on the night is brought up. Jason is quick to declare I’m not going to tell anyone what to do with their phone at gigs, they’ve paid for a ticket they can do what they want,” but he is equally aware that this does happen. “Some people take too many drugs and just yap. Some people aren’t interested, some people come because they’ve come with friends and don’t get it.”

He notes too that if there is enough of a hype about a band, “they [‘posers’] will go. If it is a popular band gaining momentum people will go.” Originating in Nottingham, the band are conscious of the importance of being part of a scene where, in their words, “people will go.” Although, reminiscing, Jason explains “there was a local band scene, but there wasn’t a uniform or sound that dominated it.” Looking at the ‘scene’ nowadays he gives the opinion that “there aren’t fields of talent in Notts, but that’s the same everywhere now. There isn’t one city now that is renowned for having a great deal of creative hopefuls.”

This is not meant with malice, but simply in a sense of “everything’s kind of been done. Grime and drill are still popular and at the forefront of creativity – any genres other than that are treading old water or not really doing anything great.” It is a fair comment and one that is understandable when Jason adds “everything has kind of been covered.” Instead of bands regurgitating what has come before them, there is an urge for them to come up with something new and make their mark on a scene.

Sleaford Mods might not be everyone’s cup of tea or go-to band, but they have always kept true to themselves and will continue to do so. The move to Extreme Eating will certainly be interesting, and closing with a sense of uncertainty, Jason leaves us saying “we’ll see what happens – whether we release another one on our own label or go with another one, we’ll see.”



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