Sleaford Mods are an English music duo based in Nottingham, composed of vocalist Jason Williamson and musician Andrew Robert Lindsay Fearn (since 2012). The duo have released several albums to critical acclaim.
Williamson (born 1970 in Grantham, Lincolnshire) grew up in Grantham. Inspired by the mod subculture and musical sources like the Wu-Tang Clan, he spent several years pursuing music unsuccessfully both with various groups and as a solo singer-songwriter. He had also worked as a session musician with local artists as well as Spiritualized and Bent. Fearn (born 1971 in Burton upon Trent) grew up on a farm in Saxilby, Lincolnshire.
Williamson first met Fearn in 2009 after hearing him DJ at a small Nottingham club called the Chameleon, where he was playing his own rough edged and minimal grime inspired tracks. Sleaford Mods began when Williamson's friend suggested that he combine his vocals with a music sample from a Roni Size album. Originally the project was called "That's Shit, Try Harder", later changed in reference to Sleaford, a town in Lincolnshire not far from Grantham.
Williamson formed the band with Simon Parfrement, who he worked with alongside a studio engineer at Rubber Biscuit Studio in Nottingham on their first four albums. Parfrement left the music production to Andrew Fearn after the release of the 2012 album Wank, the first album to feature Andrew Fearn, but continues to play an important role in the band as their photographer and media producer.
A collaboration between Sleaford Mods and The Prodigy was announced at the end of 2014. They recorded a track "Ibiza" together which appears on The Prodigy album "The Day Is My Enemy", released in March 2015.
The Leftfield album Alternative Light Source, released on 8 June 2015, also features a collaboration with Sleaford Mods, a track called "Head and Shoulders". The video for 'Head and Shoulders' is a stop-motion and animation hybrid that debuted on Pitchfork on 6 August 2015.
Williamson is responsible for the words, Fearn for the music. Sleaford Mods songs have been described as embittered rants about such topics as unemployment, criticism of modern working life, criticism of celebrities and pop culture, capitalism and society in general. The lyrics usually contain profanity, which is, according to Williamson, the way in which he speaks and "not just fucking swearing". Writer Mark Fisher described Fearn's music as "purgatorial loop[s]" of "pugilistic post-punk-style bass; functional but unprepossessing beats; occasional cheap keyboard riffs and listless wafts of guitar."
Williamson's voice on Sleaford Mods songs is a sprechgesang, rapped with an East Midlands dialect. His vocal and lyrical style has variously been compared to Shaun Ryder, John Cooper Clarke, Mark E. Smith, Ian Dury, The Streets and Half Man Half Biscuit as well as various Punk and Oi! artists. Williamson has cited influences including the mod subculture, the Wu-Tang Clan, Guns N' Roses, rave, black metal.
The band featured in the documentary film Sleaford Mods - Invisible Britain released in 2015.