Track By Track with Errors

 

This week finally sees the highly anticipated third record from Rock Action band Errors’ being released. Since the first rumblings of the record were heard via the ‘Magna Encarta’ single which appeared back in March of last year, Errors fans have been chomping at the bit to be able to hear Have Some Faith In Magic in its entirety.

We caught up with Errors multi-instrumentalist/tasker Steev Livingstone ahead of the album’s release to find out where the band have been, and how this sensational record came to be.

“We’re pretty excited about the album coming out and finally getting to play the new stuff live, the rehearsals having been sounding good and we’ve had the addition of live vocals for the first time in a lot of the new stuff. So i’ve been rediscovering my own voice and trying to teach myself how to sing, with varying levels of success, but it’s been a good challenge, one i’m sure I will live to regret in the coming months touring.”

“The last year was probably the hardest we’ve ever worked. We started the year doing a short UK tour with the release of ‘Magna Encarta’ single, then SXSW in Austin, then back out to the States for over a month of touring then wrote an album from May ’til September whilst doing a handful of festivals in some amazing and exotic places. I think the highlight of the year has to be our trip to Brazil. It became a bit of a holiday but the shows were amazing and the response from the audiences were insane. It was a good feeling to have someone shout “Magna Encarta!!’ during the opening bar of the song, considering how far we were from home and given that the song wasn’t ever released in Brazil.”

“Compared with previous Errors records, HSFIM came together in a relatively short amount of time. Mostly being written and recorded between May and September of 2011, in the living room of Simon’s flat in the west end of Glasgow. There were parts which had been floating around for some months that became proper tunes within this time. I was also trying to experiment by writing music in different modes of transport. I think I managed car, plane, train and ferry on this record. Tunes like ‘The Knock’ came together whilst we were away on tour in the US with Mogwai, though I found the experience of trying to write on tour pretty frustrating. I think a big difference was what we were listening to in terms of other bands, I think the year or so running up to the record being made was probably the most I’ve gone out and listened to music both old and new.”

“From the outset we wanted to make more of a feature of vocals. ‘Magna Encarta’ had already hinted at this but we kind of wanted to expand on this, but still treating the vocals as another instrument. I think the main difference on this record is that where there may have been a synth melody or guitar part in the past, we’ve used vocals instead. I think that was the only conversation we had about how it should sound though I think there was an unspoken conversation between Simon and I who had been listening and downloading similar music from new artists, so it seemed like we maybe had a concept of how the record would be aesthetically. At the start of the process we also bought a whole bunch of mostly mid-late 80s synths from a farmer in Ayrshire and from various other sources which I think helped to shape the sound of the record somewhat.”

“I hope the new record opens us up to new fans which I reckon it should do because the outcome is quite broad in terms of influences, though probably our most accessible and consistent in many ways.”

Tusk

“This tune was the first tune we wrote when we officially started the recording process. The twin guitar sound is probably as a result of listening to a lot of Michael Rother’s solo work, his fuzz guitar tone
is one of my favourite sounds in the world. Originally it had electronic drums on it, then James came along and suddenly the tune was finished. It’s the only tune on the record that doesn’t have any
vocals on it.”

Magna Encarta

“This was written in may 2010 and was finished within a week, which is almost certainly the fasted we’ve ever worked. We released it as a single in February 2011 and then recorded some live drums on it for
this album version. The guitar parts of it, I recorded all at home using a guitar which is literally taped together, I think it adds a pretty rough feel to the sound overall.”

Blank Media

“One day on my way to the studio on the bus, I decided to get off early and walk through the Barras Market. I walked past a vendor selling a ”box of mp3s” and “Blank Media”. I was listening to the Cocteau Twins as I strolled through. When I arrived in the studio I started a new project and called it ‘blank media’. I think the guitar part was the first part I wrote, the melody being inspired by an Eli et Jacno song. It was one of the few tunes that I can look back at and say where almost every element of it came from.”

Pleasure Palaces

“Due to nerve pain, I had been given prescription strength codeine which I was taking throughout the recording process. I remember being quite light-head and blissing out around the time of writing ‘Pleasure Palaces’ and can only assume that the ethereal nature of this tune was partly due to the effects of the painkillers. The working title of this tune was ‘Ben Vane’, named after the Scottish munro in the Arrochar Alps, but I didn’t think it represented the tune very well so we named it ‘Pleasure Palaces” which is the name of a programme about historical British buildings of pleasure and leisure, by the engineering enthusiast and historian Fred Dibnah.”

The Knock

“The title of this tune came from another Scottish hill, in fact I think the word Knock means ‘small hill’ in Scots. A lot of this was written while we were on tour in the US. The end section reminds me of John Carpented, it’s pretty sinister sounding, made even more so by the ‘creepy-child’ vocal effect we’ve used. The start of the tune has a sample from a Terrahawks video which is kind of warped and creepy too.”

Canon

“This track is like a halfway point in the record. It was written about 6 months before we started recording and I’d completely forgotten about it. At the time of recording it I was into the idea of one-take recording and that one-take being the version you use regardless of any mistakes. I think I like it for that reason, it’s not perfect and it’s a more sub-concious way of doing things.”

Earthscore

“‘Earthscore’ is probably the most complicated tune we’ve ever written in terms of arrangement. I think this took well over a year to finally get to a point that we were happy with. It has so many different sections and we just didn’t know where to take the tune at all. We were even at the point several times where we were going to abandon the tune altogether because we couldn’t agree on where it should go and how the drums should sound. I’m really happy with the way it’s turned out though and I’m totally glad we persevered with it. I think I’ll be able to use it in the future as an example of why you shouldn’t give up on tunes, even if they seem to be going round in circles; “Ah, but remember Earthscore”.”

Cloud Chamber

“This one was being completed right up to the final moments of the deadline for the record. I couldn’t help thinking of Enya when I was recording the vocals for this, I think that’s pretty evident when listening to it. This tune made most comprehensive use of the synths that we had recently purchased. The working title of the tune was ‘Nervous’. On this tune, more than any other, listening to the original demos of it and comparing it to the final draft, you wouldn’t be able to tell they were the same tune, it took on many forms, being deleted and undeleted several times. It’s one of those tunes that could have gone in many different directions.”

Barton Spring

“This tune features guest vocalist Kip Ulhorn, who plays in one of my favourite American bands Cloudland Canyon. I met him at SXSW in 2011 and asked him if he’d be up for recording some vocals at some point. I was struggling with a middle section for this tune for ages and asked if he’d help out. He’s got quite a similar vocal style to me so it fits pretty well. I liked the idea that it was a kind of Transatlantic duet we did together.”

Holus-Bolus

“This tune was one I had more or less finished a year prior to writing the record but I didn’t have an ending for it and I had stupidly tuned all the synth parts and vocals to a guitar which I hadn’t bothered to tune which lead to problems when we came to record parts again, as everything was in “Not-quite-E”. The vocals were probably influenced by the religious choir music I had been listening to around the time. The working title for this was “Shallow Tears” but we decided that sounded like a terrible emo bands name so we changed it to Holus-Bolus, which means all at once and kind of suits the nature of the tune as there are so many instruments all playing the same parts in unison. The noise-out at the end was fun to do.”

Have Some Faith In Magic is out now through Rock Action Records