INTERVIEW: Errors | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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It’s hard to think of a band that you could label as having ‘cult status’ – it doesn’t really exist anymore. Even the most obscure indie artists have aired their latest single on Letterman or been shot to fame through a Citroën advert. Glaswegian electro-nerds Errors however, have managed to keep themselves hidden. They’ve floated just under the radar for over 10 years, making weird euphoric electro-dance music. Although they may have gained a decent amount of attention in recent years, their name still brings up blazoned red symbols of frozen computer screens on Google images.

Errors have always seemed to occupy the undergrowth of alternative electronic music – combining glistening retro 80s synths with thumping live drums and shadowy echoes of vocal that seem to have no meaning. From their 2008 debut album It’s Not Something But It Is Like Whatever to 2012’s brilliant Have Some Faith In Magic, the band have maintained a strangeness that, in many ways, makes them something a bit special. “2012 was the last time we did anything, it’s two and a half years since we’ve done a tour.” Says guitarist and programming whizz Simon Ward. “It’s amazing how quickly music moves on to other things, there’s so much happening I can’t keep up with music anymore.”

Singed to Rock Action, the band’s bosses are technically Scottish post-rock veterans Mogwai. “They are running a label, but they are very supportive and they let you do your own thing. They’ve got the bands that they like on the label so it’s more about quality for them than trying to shift units.”

A relaxed label is a great fit for Errors, as they’ve never really taken themselves too seriously. Two of their early EPs were named How Clean Is Your Acid House? and Come Down With Me respectively. In their darkly comic universe chickens explore space (see the video for Magna Encarta) and street gangs pull a wooden Trojan horse past a block of flats (Toes) to the sound of duelling guitars and wormy electronic twiddles. Simon insists that there isn’t much to the track names. “There’s not really any meaning to the titles. I normally worry that it sounds like an advert.”

Their last release, New Relics, was an 8-track mini-album that also came in VHS form and included absurd, dreamlike music videos. Although the visuals accommodate Errors’ music with perfectly off-kilter imagery, their sound alone has the power to induce hallucinatory visions.

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If their older material was robotic, then Lease Of Life seems like a step towards more human possibilities

The band’s writing methods are not what you’d call consistent. The randomness of their surreal aural universe may have something to do with the fact that they really have no idea what they’re doing. “I feel like we’ve always worked backwards. I’ve never really had any formal musical training or had lessons or learnt an instrument properly. So I think working backwards, you do everything the wrong way – you start making music for a laugh and because it’s fun and then it turns into something else. You make a song and you’re like ‘I’ll put some vocals on this’ like you’ve learned to make this piece of music in a roundabout way. Whereas you get people who write music from the opposite point of view like they want to write a song about something; I’ve never looked at it that way, it’s never been conscious.”

During the writing process for new record Lease Of Life, released on 23rd March, the band shacked up on the Hebridean Isle of Jura – a place where George Orwell penned Nineteen Eighty Four, which is just one of the many reasons the band thought it would be the perfect place to seclude themselves. “I don’t know if you’ve heard about some of the weird stuff that happened there. KLF…this band from the 80s and they burned all their money there. We couldn’t really afford to do that.” He laughs.

Lease Of Life will be the band’s fifth album and yet again they seem to have taken their sound through a deliberate process of evolution. “We’ve made a conscious effort to try and change the sound each time. The sound on this record is maybe a bit more synthetic and I think the artwork tied in with that as well.” (The album’s artwork is a realistic image of a plant that is actually computer generated).

As the title suggests, Lease Of Life is teeming with optimism. New Winged Fire is a mind-bending tribal journey of bouncing rhythms and jungle chants, whilst Colossal States and Genuflection are massive, spacious post-electro tunes that belong in a crowded warehouse of waving arms and intersecting laser lights. On first listen, a noticeable feature of Lease Of Life is the inclusion of clearer vocals that drive the melody of certain tracks more directly than their other work. “We got guest vocalists in too. It makes sense to showcase them a bit more, because they can actually sing!” Simon admits. Tracks like Slow Rotor open up the band’s sound to a more pop aesthetic, not too dissimilar to recent tour mates Chvrches. If their older material was robotic, then Lease Of Life seems like a step towards more human possibilities.

It feels like Errors have accomplished something big with Lease Of Life, but Simon is adamant that they’re still the same bunch of mates making music for a laugh, with no idea of what lies ahead. “We’d love to have more people come to our shows and obviously buy the records and stuff, but I think you can get quite obsessive about that and forget to have fun. We’re pretty realistic. If we make another record, that’ll be great but I don’t really have a plan or a future that I can imagine. It’s best to just play these things by ear.”

Lease Of Life is released on 23rd March. Errors play The Cluny 2, Newcastle on Thursday 26rd March.

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