The film is as much about Sleaford Mods as it is about Britain today, and at times the band feel like the soundtrack to another film, which I feel is a massively humble and brilliant approach. What came first for you - wanting to document the band or Britain's current social story?
The band were the initial inspiration for the documentary. The concept of Invisible Britain came about when the band mentioned that their next tour would visit neglected areas of the country. I thought it would be an interesting thing to document on film - a band who have given a voice to the disenfranchised, touring areas of the UK that have been forgotten and marginalised. The idea to meet with individuals and communities who are fighting to resist austerity and other unjust government policies came out of that.
How did you get started on the film?
We had six week to do our pre-production, which included getting the finance together via crowdfunding. Nathan (Hannawin, co-director) and I had a few planning sessions where we thrashed out the concept and then I started to contact people to ask if they would be willing to appear in the film.
Do you think someone who doesn't like (or doesn't know much about) the band could see your film and enjoy it, or at least have better appreciation for what Sleaford Mods are doing right now?
That's actually happened in a few instances. Most people are drawn to the film because of the band, but there have been a few who have come to see it without knowing anything about Sleaford Mods and then got into the band from there.
It's quite refreshing that most of the people you interview aren't your standard music documentary talking heads, they're regular people or fans of the band. Why was there a large focus on them?
Partly because the fans crowdfunded the film and we though it was only right that they were a big part of it onscreen. And also because we wanted to show that the band's audience is intelligent and more diverse than they are given credit for in the press. That whole thing about how the audience is white, male and middle-aged isn't accurate. A portion of the fans fit that stereotype, but it's not as significant as is made out in certain sections of the media.
Mods fans get mad and passionate at gigs, as one of the interviewees says "You couldn't argue that seeing a Sleaford Mods gig is a passive experience". What was your favourite gig of the tour? No pressure to say Liverpool... Any tour stories that didn't make it onto camera?
It's difficult to pick one gig. My top three were Barnsley, Scunthorpe and Southampton. As for stories, you know the rule: what happens on tour stays on tour...
Later on in the film the owner of Cafe INDIEpendent speaks about how his business is run and mentions his staff are all volunteers. I understood he was giving them opportunities, but felt unnerved that they were volunteering for him, is that not the kind of business that the film is against?
It's not just volunteering - they're given training on a specific area of the business that they're interested in, and I'm told that most of them move on to a paid job somewhere else within a short amount of time. It's still a new project, and my sense is that they're still establishing the venue and ensuring that there's long-term security in it.
Do you think after this year that Sleaford Mods will be able to keep playing the intimate venues, or do you think they'll meet the demand and start playing in the big ones?
They've already moved up to bigger venues. The last tour was 2,000 + capacity venues, so I think it might be a while before they play the type of intimate venues we went to on the tour.
Have you got any other projects in the pipeline?
A documentary on the causes of veteran homelessness in the UK with a filmmaker and friend of mine, Lee Skelly. In this country something like 1 in 9 people who are homeless are ex-military, which is a shocking statistic. We're in the planning stages at the moment and hope to begin filming in March 2016.
Don't miss Sleaford Mods: Invisible Britain this Sunday at FACT. See what else is on as part of Doc 'n Roll Fest here. FACT also does a lot of great work with military veterans - find out about our diverse outreach projects here.