The Sleaford Mods watch themselves perform in the video for “Second,” off their upcoming retrospective album, All That Glue, out May 15 via Rough Trade.
In the Robin Lee-directed clip, two actresses (Kate Dickie and Emma Stansfield) portray Jason Williamson and Andrew Fearn in the Mods’ early days when they frequently played pubs. The women are pitch-perfect, down to Williamson’s Fred Perry polo shirt and Fearn’s omnipresent beer. The electronic duo is known for their unorthodox stage setup — Fearn turns on the beats and shuffles in place while Williamson loses it. The actresses do just that in the video, which ends with the pair giving the real Mods the proverbial finger.
“We’d forgotten about it, to be honest, until Andrew found it on his laptop,” Williamson tells Rolling Stone of the song, which asks why who you are comes in “second” to what you own. “It was recorded in early 2017 just after the English Tapas sessions… We don’t really do it now, but back in the day we would be back in the studio as soon as an album was in the can. This session was typical of that. We did about six songs if I recall. I’d rather have a proper cooling-off period these days, but there were a few good ideas in that session and this was one of them.”
Sleaford Mods have been knocking around and singing about austerity-era Britain since 2007, but they took off stateside in 2017 with the release of English Tapas, their Rough Trade debut. They left the label to self-release 2019’s Eton Alive, but returned earlier this year for All That Glue. That album will feature a mix of fan-favorite tracks, plus previously unreleased songs, B-sides and other rarities.
“Although All That Glue works as a fan piece, it’s also a solid representation of what Sleaford Mods is,” Williamson says. “It contains not only unreleased material but also stuff like ‘Jobseeker,’ ‘Jolly Fucker’ and ‘Routine Dean,’ tracks that are storming live favorites. We never take these tunes out of the set and it’s crazy you can’t listen to them anywhere, apart from YouTube. It would have been good to play them to a new audience.”
Sleaford Mods is currently scheduled to tour the East Coast in September, a trek that may be endangered now due to the spread of COVID-19. “We managed to tour Australia in March and just managed to leave before everything went into lockdown,” Williamson says. “We were then supposed to be in the U.S. playing Coachella and a West Coast tour, including a sold-out L.A. show but we couldn’t do it which was really disappointing.”
“We love playing live and I’m hoping it isn’t crippled too much,” he adds. “It’s most musicians’ main source of income. Worse still is the effects it has on smaller acts who are literally hand to mouth, although the same could be said for many vocations. With the live arena shrinking there’s a potential backlash against streaming services as artists need to make a liveable wage out of their music. That said, big business always wins, doesn’t it?”
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