Sleaford Mods explain why bands aren’t “conscious” of appropriating working class culture

"They’re not insinuating that they’ve been hard done by; it’s just the imagery of the modern world"

Sleaford Mods‘ Jason Williamson has doubled down on his criticism of bands he has previously accused of “appropriating, to a certain degree, a working class voice”.

The frontman of the Nottingham duo sparked a feud with IDLES in 2019, after claiming that the Bristol band were pretending to be a voice for the working class within their music.

Speaking in a new interview with NME, Williamson did not mention IDLES by name but claimed that some bands are not “conscious” of the way in which they “misrepresent” themselves.

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“There’s certain bands that front a kind of music that’s been created by people from the lower division in society,” said Williamson.

“But as long as these people are treating it with respect, there’s no problem with that. Some bands who appear to be quite middle-class are posing against concrete pillars in half-mast jeans, but I don’t think that’s the problem. They’re not insinuating that they’ve been hard done by; it’s just the imagery of the modern world.”

Sleaford Mods
Sleaford Mods, 2020. Credit: Press.

Williamson went on: “But then there are some bands that play with it. I’ve come to the conclusion that perhaps they’re not even conscious of it. I don’t think anyone wants to go out of their way to misrepresent themselves. Or do they? Are people that cunning and careerist?’”

The Mods frontman went on to explain that he is baffled by the way that certain artists “keep repeating themselves” despite his concerns.

“These people come across as perceptive, observational, talented to a certain degree, so why are they then not getting this? It’s a really simple thing,” he said.

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“It’s not even down to exposing yourself to political books, social critique, philosophers, whatever – it’s down to common sense and respect. I come from a working-class background, but I wouldn’t pose in front of a high-rise,” Williamson explained.

“Generally they’re inhabited by people on low wages. That can’t be a very nice experience for them. Why would you infringe on that?”

It comes as the band prepare to release their sixth album ‘Spare Ribs’, which received a five-star review from NME.

“Williamson and Fearn unflinchingly show you life – particularly the shittier corners of it, while flashing a swift middle finger at those who create them,” NME‘s review stated.

“Here’s your prescribed dose of reality with an unmistakable and intoxicating Sleaford Mods flavour. The extraordinary ‘Spare Ribs’ is graffiti on a concrete wall; there’s no manifesto, no easy answers and nowhere to hide.”

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