This Music Made Me

This Music Made Me: Sleaford Mods

Sleaford Mods

Sleaford Mods: Andrew Fearn and Jason Williamson (Photo: Simon Parfrement)

At the end of 2019, in a pre-coronavirus world in which people could go to gigs and connect with other people, East Midlands’ Sleaford Mods headlined an incendiary show at London’s 5,000 capacity Hammersmith Apollo. In so doing they laid down a marker for an operation born of independent spirit, thought and labels.  

With their most recent album’s title Eton Alive giving a clue as to the themes therein, the show was a much-needed touchstone in a time of entrenched Tory hegemony, the Brexit wars and ever-increasing social and economic division.

As they release the retrospective All That Glue, described as “an array of crowd pleasers, B sides, unheard tracks and rarities for fans and the curious” covering the last seven years of their career, front man and lyricist Jason Williamson mined his music memory for the albums – and other things – that have influenced him most for Sleaford Mods’ This Music Made Me


After looking at this list it is worth noting that the absolute lack of female artists is quite depressing. Of course, this could have been different. It could’ve included some Women, but it has not, and I apologise for that in advance. My listening habits today, however, are far from male orientated.


The Sex Pistols - Never Mind The Bollocks, Here's The Sex Pistols The Sex Pistols – Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s The Sex Pistols

At the age of 10 The Sex Pistols part horrified me, and part excited me.

They were more than the horrible image of the UK they conjured. More than Punk. They were a tease. A suggestion that life could be more than what your immediate surroundings told you it was. 



Two Lone Swordsmen - (Tales from) The Double Gone Chapel Two Lone Swordsmen – (Tales from) The Double Gone Chapel 

Andrew Weatherall and Keith Tenniswood introduced me to this idea of Post Punk. Of having bass lead tracks.

Post Punk is not on my radar. This album gave us that sound. It’s in the complete disregard to careerist motives that I also love this album. The whole point is to satisfy those influences that have obsessed you. If you want to be cool you have to listen to The Two Lone swordsmen. 


Raekwon - Only Built For Cuban Links Raekwon – Only Built For Cuban Links

The raps on this album got hold of me so badly that I was convinced ‘singing’ had no place in contemporary music.

I was very late to the Wu Tang Clan and its solo releases.

This is a masterpiece.



The Meteors - In Heaven  The Meteors – In Heaven 

The Meteors debut album never got bettered by the band.

Line-up changes and the such altered their sound too much for me.

But this is a classic, not only in Psychobilly but in Punk, Oi and general standards of good song writing. I was greatly influenced by Nigel Lewis’s vocal technique.  


Roachee & Trim - The Nangest EP, Vol 1 Roachee & Trim – The Nangest EP, Vol 1

Really like Roachee, Loved his ‘Roach Material Vol 1’ EP too. This album too, which features Trim.

So much to go on with Grime obviously, I float from random discovery to random discovery. Some of it hits, some of it misses. Big influence though as a genre. But this early stuff I got into definitely helped shape my vocal approach.



The Jam - The Gift The Jam – The Gift

I could’ve gone for any of The Jam’s studio albums in-fact ‘Dig the New Breed’ their Live release shortly before they split is also very good.

But I think ‘The Gift’ is arguably their most accomplished sounding album with its varying selection of sounds from the steel drum through to the bold horn sections. And none of this detracts from what The Jam were. Still sounds aggro.

I love Paul Weller’s aggro vocals more so than any other reincarnation he has done since (Style Council, Solo career). His style really shaped my own vocal style too. 


Wu-Tang Clan - Enter The Wu Tang (36th Chambers) Wu-Tang Clan – Enter the 36 Wu Tang Chambers

I was a late starter to the Wu. 2003 I think.

As mentioned above I became obsessed with the raps from all of them, that and the chaos you got from these early recordings. It’s more than just paying respects to the culture of Hip Hop here.

It’s a brand of punk too. Mafioso Rap surpasses punk, though, really. It’s the scream of entrapment behind a cultural and racially oppressed landscape. 


Oasis - Definitely Maybe Oasis – Definitely Maybe 

I got back into this album around the time we became successful. It felt right to listen to this then, it still does, I think. It reminds me of escape, of dreams realised and by 2014 myself, and Andrew had certainly managed to escape our former lives.

It’s a classic album obviously, notably for Liam’s singing and also for his brother’s song writing. The production is brilliant, Paul Arthur’s guitar work is also not to be over-looked as it made their sound really.

I used some influence from this album via Liam’s singing on Key Markets, especially in tracks like Silly Me and In Quiet Streets.


The Stone Roses - The Stone Roses The Stone Roses – The Stone Roses

Obviously to anyone from my generation this album remains one of the true hallmarks of that period.

For many it showed us how to reclaim a normality in creativity through the disregard to be anything but ourselves. It fully realised the idea of ladism which arguably morphed into a resurgence of working class identity.

I think it gave a lot of people, both female and male an identity that had been more or less forgotten in the shadow of ’80s pomposity. 


Guns N' Roses - Appetite For Destruction Guns N’ Roses – Appetite For Destruction

There are lots of faults with this album clearly. Misogyny, racism and homophobia followed Axl Rose’s lyrics around and it’s not to be forgotten when looking back at the creative successes of this piece of work.

Guns N’ Roses were a brilliant club band, a punk, metal, glam, rock n roll, pop experiment that cared about detail and tradition. Their peers were little more that LA preeners. To clean. Guns N’ Roses reintroduced that old ’60s biker/psychedelic thing too.

I was bang into the garage feel of it all, in the music and in the stage show. Wicked.   


Photek - Modus Operandi  Photek – Modus Operandi 

The late ’90s threw up a lot of Drum n Bass acts but Photek’s Modus Operandi perfectly captured that end of century anguish.

The growing array of surveillance being forced onto the masses is nicely sewn into the creeping beats on this bit of work.

The pace, monotony and minimalism all had big effects on my tastes.


All That Glue: The Ultimate Collection Of All Things Sleaford Mods is out through Rough Trade on 15 May 2020. Tour dates and further information can be found here.

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More on Sleaford Mods
Sleaford Mods – UK Grim
Sleaford Mods – Spare Ribs
Sleaford Mods – All That Glue
This Music Made Me: Sleaford Mods
Sleaford Mods @ Hammersmith Apollo, London