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A Quietus Interview

Real Talk: A Film About Sleaford Mods
Louis Pattison , August 20th, 2014 10:45

With Divide And Exit, Sleaford Mods made one of our favourite albums of the year, an original, visceral portrait of the UK in 2014. In a short film, Louis Pattison meets the duo, Jason Williamson and Andrew Fearn, in Nottingham to discuss their writing process, mod culture and being gobby

Much has been written these last 12 months or so about What Sleaford Mods Represent – the voice of austerity Britain, the triumph of the geezer, anarchists, prophets, the best band since the Sex Pistols, yadda yadda yadda. I'm not going to say this isn't a good thing, as the Nottingham-based duo are unquestionably one of the best and most original groups in the UK. But their sudden ascension feels surprising. When I first e-mailed Jason Williamson back in early 2013, around the release of their vinyl-only compilation Austerity Dogs, he seemed surprised to be contacted by a member of the press, his many years of striving to make it in music – not just in Sleaford Mods, already then five albums old, but a number of lost projects such as an ill-fated mod group called Meat Pie – having provoked merely indifference from the national media at large. Why have Sleaford Mods suddenly caught the public attention? Perhaps it's something to do with the climate – Cameron, zero-hour contracts, indie rock as heritage industry or middle class career path. Or perhaps it's that with Austerity Dogs and this year's Divide And Exit they've really found their sound – a baleful and hilarious rant that reminds you of the Sex Pistols, Wu-Tang Clan, Conflict, Ian Dury and Happy Mondays without actually sounding like any of them.

Earlier in the year, me and my friend James went up to Nottingham with a video camera, and met Williamson and his musical partner Andrew Fearn on home turf: an arts café called the Chameleon, which has played home to many of the duo's early gigs. In person, Jason is softer and more thoughtful than you might venture from his lyrics, or indeed his Twitter feed; that's not to say the anger of Sleaford Mods is false or staged – the opposite in fact – but simply that it's born out of experience, a thing of wisdom and integrity. We've made what we shot into a short film. The older bloke in the video is Nick Turner, veteran of the Nottingham DIY scene, and landlord of the Chameleon since 2007, who has a few stories of his own to tell. Hope you enjoy it.