“It’s a constant sea of frustration” - Sleaford Mods talk making English Tapas with hmv.com
As they return with their new album English Tapas, we spoke to Jason Williamson, frontman of bile-fuelled post-punk duo Sleaford Mods, to find out why this is an album inspired by the build-up and fallout from Brexit and just what English Tapas actually is...
How did you want this album to move on from what you’ve done before?
“This one was a little bit more thought out. This time I got Andrew (Fearn, multi-instrumentalist) to send me the music and I’d work to that, rather than improvising all the time. I felt like some of the rants were getting a bit boring, there are two or three still on there, but it’s got to the point where I felt like we were relying on a formula and I wanted to try and push it. This is a lot more song-based and the lyrics are more from my point of view, rather than every tune being about the external.”
Did you set out to make it a more personal album?
“Not really. It just came out that way. It was trying to find other ways to talk about the decline of civilisation, just a natural thing.”
You guys like to keep things topical, what was getting your goat this time?
“The fallout from Brexit and the run-up to Brexit. The idea of patriotism and the idea that we don’t need Europe, this weird sense of nationalism and how f**king sick I am of everyone telling you that everything’s going to be great again. The disease-ridden people who voted Conservative, the political in-fighting and the mood it gives off on the streets. It’s documenting the day-to-day like we always have, but those are the things we keep coming back to.”
Do you ever have to stop yourselves including something in a song because you’re worried it might date too quickly?
“A little bit. There was a lot on Key Markets about Nick Clegg and it’s not so much that it’s dated, I’m not worried about that, but I wanted to get across that politicians always break their promises and it’s a constant sea of frustration. I’m not too bothered about it, but I did want to make these songs more timeless, whether they will be is a different matter, but that’s what I wanted.”
When did you get the idea to call it English Tapas?
“Andrew saw it in a pub on a menu board and thought it was really funny. We take ages picking an album title and the ones we come up with are usually s**t. Eventually, our manager Steve remembered Andrew telling us about the menu board with it on and how funny it was. It was this weird thing, half a scotch egg, a cup of chips, a pickled egg. It’s a good way of summing up how things are at the moment, just people being cheap and trying to make do.”
How’s your touring schedule looking? Do you have much locked in?
“We’ve got three major tours, a European one, a UK one at the back end of the year and then an American run. This is the first time we’ve had a record label behind us and that’s really bolstered things. We’ve got a bit more attention this time.”
You’re signed to Rough Trade now having done things yourselves up until now, how’s that working out?
“It’s been alright, they haven’t bothered us that much. We’ve been doing loads more interviews, which is good, at least people are interested and I want this to last. We wanted to push it forward without anyone bothering us creatively, which Rough Trade haven’t, they knew what the deal was.”
Finally, you’ve done a couple of collaborations in recent years with The Prodigy and Leftfield, any more of those in the offing?
“I’ve not got anything going on and I’ve not really thought about it, there’s no one I’m desperate to collaborate with. Collaborations are a dodgy business, The Prodigy was great, Leftfield was great, but you can enter into an agreement that just involves too much compromise. I’m not sure at the moment if there’s anything like that I want to do.”