Errors - Big in Finland

While some bands dream of breaking America, Errors accidentally broke Finland. Now, working backwards, the Glaswegians have their sights set on us, Nick Mitchell hears

Feature by Nick Mitchell | 25 Apr 2008

Errors are a band who have buzzed, fly-like, around the electrically charged bars of the Scottish music scene for a few years without igniting in a satisfying pop. But that could all be about to change with the release of their debut album this month, the wordily-titled It's Not Something, But It Is Like Whatever. If it's not something, but it is like whatever, then what is it exactly, James Hamilton, Errors drummer?

“The stuff that we come out with is kinda like a mish-mash of our own influences. Simon and Steve come from electronic music so there's a lot of acid and house and techno but there's also a lot of hardcore, post-rock guitar influences. Personally I listen to tons of jazz and latin, which is so not cool but I think that comes through, especially in some of the newer songs.”

The Glasgow-based band first caught local attention with the single Hans Herman in 2005. It was the beginning of their ongoing relationship with Rock Action, the record label established by post-rock behemoths Mogwai. Originally a purely electronic affair, Errors soon hired Hamilton to provide live drums, and guitars also became an integral part of their sound. The EP How Clean Is Your Acid House? brought them further exposure, and they supported dance veterans Underworld on their UK tour last November. It's all steady progress, but Hamilton admits that the album has been a long time in gestation: “When I joined we were still working out different aesthetics of playing. We'd been planning on making an album for a long time but we didn't feel we had the songs that were good enough to put out.”

But having Mogwai as their artistic patrons meant they had no shortage of time and understanding to make the record they wanted to make: “It makes it a lot easier for us, because they've got that insight, they know what it's like to be on the other side of the fence.” It also meant that, when the time came to start recording, they had the run of Mogwai's own Glasgow studio, the ominous-sounding Castle of Doom, and a ready producer in the form of 'Gwai guitarist John Cummings. “John's a ridiculously good producer,” Hamilton says. “The drum sound he got was amazing. They basically boxed me in in this room, and it was a bit claustrophobic. But he said, OK, play some stuff and then come through and hear how it sounds. So I was expecting it to sound a bit dodgy but I came through and it sounded like Bon Jovi or something. He got an amazingly epic drum sound.”

As well as 'epic' drum sounds, the album benefits from the husky tones of London-based diseuse George Pringle, who guests on the track Cutlery Drawer. “We assumed it was gonna be an instrumental record,” Hamilton explains, “but we were reading this interview with this writer and performer called George Pringle from London. She does spoken word stuff over electronic music. And she said in the interview that she didn't like much new music, except for... and she said Errors. So we thought we'd just get in touch and ask her if she wanted to do vocals on a track. She said yeah and it's turned out absolutely amazing.”

Errors have planned a tour in support of the album which includes, rather intriguingly, a four-date jaunt around Finland. Hamilton says that this unusual diversion dates back to the band playing Finnish festival Qstock last year - “this kind of gothy festival with a dance tent that was absolutely amazing” - and he's keen to sing the praises of the Scandinavian nation, and its wildlife: “We were driving down this dusky, foggy road and this moose ran across and it was the most majestic thing I've ever seen”. As Hamilton observes, there are definitely worse places to be 'big' in. Soon Errors may be qualified to make the same statement about their homeland.

It's Not Something, But It Is Like Whatever is released on 9 Jun via Rock Action

Errors play Stereo, Glasgow on 13 Jun