TRCH Soundstage

Sleaford Mods' Jason Williamson Talks New TCR EP and The UK Tour

2 November 16 words: Bridie Squires

The frontman of the Nottingham duo got on the blower to tell us about what he's been up to lately...

photo: Dave Parry

Has any stop on the tour topped Nottingham in terms of chaos?
No, no there hasn’t. I don’t think there ever will be. We’ve got The Roundhouse in a couple of weeks and that’s about three and a half thousand people, but even then I don’t know if it’ll be chaotic. The London crowd are quite reserved. We’ll see what happens. 

Why did you pick VVV as support for the tour?
Cappo’s a Nottingham rapper, so are the other geezers. They’ve been going down really well. It’s good to have acts – no disrespect – but acts that aren’t massively well-known, who are just coming up. I really like Cappo. We asked him so it gives them an idea of what it’s like to tour and stuff. 

They’ve done their own gigs and they’ve worked their own way up in their own right, so it’s nice to give someone the experience and opportunity of doing a big tour. We’re trying to do people favours, because we can really. We haven’t got a big record label barking at us, telling we have to do this and that. I prefer it that way to be honest.

Considering your close relationship with your previous label, was it a tough decision to move over to Rough Trade?
No, Steve who runs Harbinger Sound’s our manager anyway, so we sat down and figured we should try and see how it goes. We only signed to them for one album, so if it doesn’t work out, we can move on. But I think it will work out – they’re a good label and don’t interfere at all really, but if we wanted advice then they’re more than willing to give it.

Did you have any offers from other labels?
No, I don’t think so. I dunno, I can’t remember. We certainly haven’t gotten any off the big ones, the big ones aren’t necessarily interested in two forty-somethings ranting on about this, that and the other. They cater more to the youth market really, the younger market. So no, we’ve not been approached by many of them, and I’ve slagged most of them off anyway. That probably leaves a bad taste in people’s mouths.

You said in a previous interview that Rough Trade will open a few more doors in terms of touring internationally. Is there any country in particular you’d like to gig in?
Yeah, we’re gonna go away and do a tour. It’s a US tour for five dates, starting in New York and goes all of the way to Los Angeles so I’m looking forward to that, it’ll be busy but yeah it’ll be cool. Our manager reckons it’ll do really well. We played in New York before and sold it out, but that was two years ago when we’d just come up and there was a big buzz. Now we’re more established and the focal point really isn’t on us I suppose, but we’ll see what happens.

The new TCR EP is about the cyclical nature of boozing to escape. Do you pick themes and write around them or find familiar narratives and thread them together?
It varies really, it depends. I’ve got loads of lyrics that I know will fit a certain type of song. Sometimes I’ll say to Andrew “Alright, I want it like this” and then I’ll just hum the melody to it or he’ll make something that’ll inspire me to write something. Other than that, we just get together and bosh something out. It’s a combination of all of that really.

How heavily is your writing based on your own experiences and that of fictional characters? And has that changed much over time?
I think it was a mix of both before and it still is now… it’s more me, I’d say. I wondered if I wanted to do that, because you can fall into a trap of sounding like you’re going up inside your own arse. But as long as you do it right and word it correctly, and it’s not too boring, then I think you’ll be alright.

Simon Parfrement directs a lot of your videos. What is it you most like about working with him both on a personal and creative level?
I’ve known him for years. He helped with the Sleaford stuff in the beginning. He just knows what I want and we’re mates as well. He’s not fussy, his head doesn’t go up his arse, he just gets on with it, and he’s really talented, so he’s ideal for what we do. There’s not really anybody that can capture it like he captures it. He’s part of it.

You got kicked out of the Labour party for gobbing off on Twitter, then Jeremy Corbyn was elected as Labour leader. What do you reckon now the smoke’s settled?
I’m not falling out about it. I mean, I got thrown out. I was like, I’m just not bothered. It’s great that he’s in, he’s clearly the best leader this country has produced for a while without a doubt. I’ll vote for him when the next general election comes up obviously, but I’m not bothered really. I’m not bothered about politics on a day-to-day basis anymore – that’s in the sense of governmental politics, looking at who’s doing what and who’s not doing what. You’ll just drive yourself mad with it.

There was a crowdfunded film you were set to feature in called Lost Dogs the film raises awareness of prejudice against people with disabilities. The crowdfunding target wasn’t met, is the project still going ahead?    
Yeah, it’s still going ahead – we’re still looking for funding but that’s looking really positive I’ve been told. We’ll see what happens. I’m more than confident that it’ll get made sooner rather than later, because it needs to. It’s an important film so fingers crossed that it will come through. I play a kind of lead role in that. I play the disabled guy’s friend. It’s quite a big role really, so fingers crossed that it’s alright.

Have you done much stuff like that before?
I did it for A Level years ago, but I always enjoyed it. I got talking to a few people and they offered the role. I went down and did a screen test for it, and it worked out.

You champion a lot of causes...
We’ve got a food bank going at all the gigs with Trussell Trust, and they operate a lot of the food banks all across the UK, so we are getting people collecting for that every night at the gigs, trying to raise awareness of it. If you’re in the position where you’re pulling a lot of people into gigs, then I think it’s only right that you try and help. Especially now, because there are some dire times of need.

You put out a book of lyrics as well have you got any more plans to do anymore literary stuff?
No, I don’t think so. I tried my hand at writing at the start of the year but that just didn’t work out, and it made me realise that you can’t just put your finger in every pie. I’m alright at writing the old lyrics and that’s fine, but short stories or whatever, I’ll leave that to people who have proper dedicated a great deal of their life towards it.

Is that what you were writing earlier in the year? Short stories?
Yeah, but it just didn’t work for the particular publisher that wanted me to do it. He wanted to try and mould me into kind of an Irvine Welsh-type character. It just wasn’t working, and I just felt like they were being rude. I must’ve knocked out about six or seven out, but they weren’t up to scratch, so to speak. A short story is not an easy task, it needs to have a plot and needs to roll in the sense of a commercial short story. I’m just not really into that crap, it didn’t come natural to me, so I binned that idea straight away.

I would love to give them a read.
No, you really wouldn’t.

Have you been listening or watching anything decent recently?
I’ve been watching Narcos. That’s wicked. I’ve been listening to lots of hip hop, r ‘n’ b, folk, and, when the mood takes me, a bit of grime as well. I can go for long periods of time without listening to music. Sometimes, you just don’t feel inspired. Your attention shifts away.

Is there anything else you wanted to say to LeftLion readers?
Thank you for the support if you’re coming to the gigs and buying the records, thank you very much.

Sleaford Mods play Rock City on Thursday 3 November and Friday 4 November. Thursday is sold out, but you can get tickets for the Friday here.

Sleaford Mods website

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