In the Middle with Working Men’s Club

Last month, Working Men’s Club released their debut album. Jessica McCarrick caught up with frontman Syd Minsky-Sargeant to discuss what it’s like to put out a record in 2020 and what’s to come for the West Yorkshire band.

How have you found social media – have you enjoyed it more?
Not really no, fucking hate social media. It was nice to be able to live stream gigs though at least, we can still connect with fans on some level.

Was the project how you saw your first album?
I didn’t really want to make an album until I knew it was something I’d be happy with. I didn’t want to look back and not be content with it. I don’t think anyone envisages what their first album is going to be until it’s made, because there’s a lot of changes to writing and production when you’re in the studio. I mean, yes, a lot has changed in the space of a few years but I think it’s a cohesive record and it’s as good as it can be. I’m happy with the
outcome. Looking forward to putting new music out fairly soon but I think it’s a good starting point for the band’s career and fits with what people think we are and hopefully it won’t make people think that is all we are. It’s why I started the band, so it is the album I wanted to make when we started, I didn’t necessarily know what it was going to be.

Do you have a favorite topic that you explore on the album?
The line “mortality’s a gimmick”, people think that we’re all going to die and it’s a take on pretentiousness. The thing that annoys me is that is it’s stupid not to be political in the current climate. Talking about politics- there’s nothing special about that, it’s just opinions. We look at the fucked-up society and read into the characters that live inside it. I wouldn’t say it was a political record, it’s a take on the society.

Do you prefer listening to music rooted in reality – like this record- or escapism?
Realism, it becomes so mundane listening to stuff that isn’t. A lot of these artists these days have so much privilege with music coming out now. They can talk about what they want, they’re so middle class and London that they just get whatever they want so they don’t have anything real to talk about. So, they just talk about space without being fucking scientists, it’s just sad. I prefer to talk about things that are actually going on in my life and try and get someone to relate. It sometimes doesn’t matter what it means to the writer, it’s about what it means to the listener. Yeah, I like writing about things that are going on, like take a picture in your head and get it out. There’s quite a repulsive middle-class indie music scene, it’s always been there but it’s very obvious right now.

What do you prefer about performing live to working in the studio?
It’s just the vibe, you can play your songs in a slightly different way. I just miss being around people really, it’s for me more than anyone else. One thing I don’t miss about live performance is how heavy it is – all the drinking and stuff. After a year and a half on tour, you don’t really know who you are anymore. I enjoy both, to be honest. It’s a shame we’re not going to be able to promote this record. It is what it is though, we’re all in the same boat.

How did you balance making music with being a teenager?
I just did it really. Probably not great advice for uni students because I dropped out of college, but I tried to get what I could from the music college and left. One of them. Take advantage of the facilities and try and get your hands on as much free stuff as possible. That’s what helped me out. Just keep pressing at it and you’ll get there.

What’s next for you guys?
I’ve been writing loads, so basically back to the studios pretty quickly. We’ve all got our own side projects going on. It’s going to be a big few years for us, I’m looking forward to it. So look out for us.

Featured image by Andy Nichols.