Sleaford Mods at Glastonbury 2022: “Keith Urban’s a fan? Fantastic! We want more of that shit”

The punk-rap duo on why they should be upstaging Macca, finding a fan in American country megastar Keith Urban and progress on their new album

It’s Friday at Glastonbury 2022 and Nottingham punk-rap duo Sleaford Mods are gearing up for their afternoon set on the West Holts Stage and reflecting on their relationship with the festival. It’s the fourth time they’ve played here and although frontman Jason Williamson has previously expressed his admiration for the shindig on Worthy Farm, he added that its scale “fucks with your ego”.

Later on, though, their set proves to be something of a love-in, with Williamson periodically checking on the audience’s enjoyment levels before he and producer Andrew Fearn take snaps of the audience to capture the moment. It’s a heartfelt end to a deliciously – and typically – savage set of politicised rage. “Believe it or not, we’ve been here four times!” Williamson announces at once point. “You wouldn’t fucking think it would ya!”

Before all that, though, we have a quick catch-up with Jason and producer Andrew Fearn (making a rare NME interview appearance as he usually lets the frontman do the talking – we’re honoured!) to unpick their knotty feelings on Glasto, finding a fan in massive American country star Keith Urban – AKA Mr. Nicole Kidman – and the impending follow-up to their five-star album ‘Spare Ribs’.

Welcome to Glastonbury 2022, Sleaford Mods! How are you feeling about playing the West Holts Stage today? 

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Jason: “Good, yeah! We’re just in and out so I’m quite happy. It’s an early gig! We’ve gotta go to Belgium tomorrow [for Mods’ appearance at TW Classic festival in Werchter, Belgium]; an early start.”

This is part of your ongoing European jaunt around European festivals. Having fun?

 Jason: “Festival season innit! [Jason wildly flails his arms] We’re kind of up and down, up and down, up and down.”

You headlined End of the Road festival last year – your first festival headline slot. Does headliner status your perspective? Do you think, ‘We should be on the Pyramid Stage after Macca now, really’? 

Andrew [laughs]: “We should be really, shouldn’t we!”

Jason: But we’re not…

Andrew: “I don’t know why. Maybe you can find out!”

Jason: “I mean, that’s the idea: to get as big as we can. So far, so good. It seems to be working! [Laughs]

Keith Urban, the massive American country singer who’s married to Nicole Kidman, recently told NME he’s a massive Mods fan and is “obsessed” with the band. What do you make of that, then?

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Jason: “We heard about that. It’s fantastic! We want more of that shit, you know what I mean? All we need now is Sylvester Stallone or someone!”

Can we expect a Keith Urban and Mods team-up?

Andrew: “No.”

Jason: “I don’t know; I’m not sure. No offence, Keith!”

Andrew: “It’s not gonna be happening is it, really?”

The last time we spoke, you were working on new music – presumably the follow-up to your critically acclaimed 2021 album ‘Spare Ribs’. How is that going?

 Jason [to Andrew]: “Good, innit? We’ve been at it for about a year-and-a-half, two years”

Is that a long time for you to work on a record?

Jason: “To be honest, going back, all of the albums have probably taken that [amount of time] but I just view them as when we go in an record. But you forget about the back bits, don’t you? Writing the music…”

Andrew: “Yeah, there’s loads of songs that don’t make it on albums that have gone on other releases since then, like the ‘Chubbed Up+’ [their 2014 compilation] thing or the singles… [To Jason] We still work really quickly, don’t we?”

Jason: “Big time, yeah.”

Can we expect something soon?

Jason: “The album’s gotta be done by September, which it will be. Next year!”

That’ll do for us. Thanks Mods!

– Check back at NME here for the latest news, reviews, interviews, photos and more from Glastonbury 2022

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