New Winged Fire: Errors Interviewed

Scots trio explore their new 'Lease Of Life'

Ley-lines probably don’t exist: they’re no doubt a figment of some 19th century occultist’s tea-addled imagination. But if spiritual conduits do criss-cross the Earth, then they no doubt assemble around the Isle of Jura.

A small strip of land in the Hebrides, it juts out into the Atlantic ocean and provides home to a small, sturdy community. It’s also the place where George Orwell wrote ‘1984’, where The KLF (reputedly) burned a million quid and it’s where Errors formulated their enthralling new album ‘Leave Of Life’.

“We'd kind of taken a little bit of time off between the last record and starting to do new things again,” reminisces Steev Livingstone. “Simon (Ward) and I got together and we went for a few weeks over to Jura and did a bit of recording there, and that was kind of the starting process for the record.”

Isolation, it seems, was the key to kick-starting Errors after a period on the backburner. “We've got a friend who's got a cottage there,” he says, “and basically in November there's no one in it – because no one wants to be there at that time of year – and we just went over. We took all our keyboards, took a bunch of recording stuff and started recording for a few weeks and did a bit of hillwalking, travelling about on the island.”

Jura, it seems, is quite a different realm from the warren-like streets of their native Glasgow. “It was just to get away from things,” he continues, “and to get away from distractions. There was no internet where we were and there was barely any phone reception, so it was a good way to get away from that sort of stuff because it kind of puts you off.”

Even during their down-time each members of Errors continually made music- sometimes for side projects, mostly just for fun. So slotting back into place came as a remarkably natural act, with the old chemistry emerging almost immediately.

“There wasn't any problems,” he insists. “We were pretty conscious of the fact that we wanted to do things slightly differently for this record. For each record, in fact, we always want to change things up a bit. So we had different musicians collaborating with us, a choir and things like that. A saxophonist is on this record. I think it's always good to do new things and keep things fresh.”

‘Lease Of Life’ is certainly fresh. The band’s buoyant, day-glo fluorescence is intact, with Errors taking time to play with new sounds, adding and subtracting as they see fit. Simplifying the recording process, the band were able to lay down the spine of the album during their spell on Jura.

“We had everything set up to record,” he states. “We were recording keyboards and things like that. It's easy to record that stuff without having amps or a big desk. We're now at the point where we can record at home; we've both got home studios set up so we can do things like that.”

“There's no live drums on this record, we didn't have to go into a studio to do that. There's hardly any guitar on it, either, so we didn't have to get amps and things sorted out. And that wasn't out of convenience, it was out of how we felt at that point. Every record up until that point had guitar and live drums on it, so why not try something different? We've also bought a lot of old equipment and drum machines that we were doing. So it kind of just made sense to do it that way.”

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Which isn’t to suggest that ‘Lease Of Life’ is a spartan record – at one point Errors cross paths with a Glaswegian community-based choir.  “Luckily I've got a pal who's kind of the choirmaster for a choir – he’s also got a really good musical mind – and he was able to listen to the track and annotate everything, get it out on manuscript and give it to the choir. Which I wouldn't have been able to do – I can't read music and I can't write music so that was pretty handy!” he laughs.

“They were great. They're a community choir, they do it in their spare time -they just kind of got this music handed to them, they heard the track a couple of times, did a few rehearsals and then we recorded it. I think we nailed it.”

Curiously, the time each musician spent away from Errors only seems to have strengthened the band. ‘Lease Of Life’ is a vivid, confident return, with the trio managing to unique both abstract and quite direct elements into something seamless, whole.

“I mean, I think that we're the type of people that pick up things from all around us,” Steev explains. “Reading books or reading a story on the internet can effect things that we do just as much as listening to new music from someone else. We're lucky that we've been able to make this many records, and we're now in our eleventh year of being in a band together, and I realise that doesn't happen to everyone. We've been quite lucky, in a lot of ways.”

Out this week, Errors are now facing the difficult prospect of slicing ‘Lease Of Life’ into their live show. “I mean, that's a big part of what it's all about,” he insists. “Trying to work out how to translate those songs into a live setting is quite challenging for us because we never really consider that when we're recording or when we're writing. We're never thinking: how will this work?”

“Things like the choir: I mean, obviously we can't really take them on tour. We need to think around that. It's always good to do some things differently on record to what it is live. Without killing the tunes.”

Photo Credit: Christina Kernohan

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'Lease Of Life' is out now.

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