Errors just can't help themselves. Less than 12 months after their last studio album - and it's accompanying remix compilation - the Glasgow group are readying yet another release. 'New Relics' is a mini-album, and finds Errors driving ahead with their fluorescent tinted electronics. Out on October 1st, 'New Relics' will be available on CD, 12 inch vinyl, digital download and VHS. Yep, you read that correctly - good ol' fashioned VHS. The contents are typically experimental. Woozy, outlandish pop music 'New Relics' is yet another stopping off point for the group's feverish imagination. With output like that, you could be forgiven for assuming that Errors are big readers. As it turns out, you'd be right. James Hamilton enters Their Library...
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What is your favourite book and why?
Difficult opener, okay… It depends on what mood I’m in, I have certain books that are almost like comfort blankets which I tend to take away on tour to dip in and out of, the main ones being 'Thus Spoke Zarathustra' by Freidrich Nietzche and 'Brain Droppings' by George Carlin, both are easily dipped into and life affirming in their own desolately hilarious ways. But favourite outright, hmmm… Probably 'Slaughterhouse 5' by Kurt Vonnegut; I’ve likely read that book more times than any other, it’s so short but brilliant that it demands to be read over and over again.
What other authors do you like?
Quick glance at my bookshelf… Paul Auster, Chuck Palahniuk, Stephen Donaldson, George RR Martin (yeah, I was reading ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ long before they started making the ‘Game of Thrones’ TV show, bitches) Phillip Pullman, JG Ballard, Philip K Dick, Isaac Asimov, Raymond Chandler, Douglas Adams, HP Lovecraft, Iain Banks, Arthur Conan Doyle, Neil Gaiman… I have a pretty wide cross section of literary taste. I read a lot of non-fiction too but for fiction I tend to fluctuate wildly between gritty contemporary, classics and really dorky trashy shit. I have a soft spot for Laurel K Hamilton’s 'Anita Blake' series of really trashy supernatural adventure books. Steev’s face upon seeing me reading one of those in the van one time was a picture. Minus fifty respect points.
What draws you to certain books?
Really just recommendations from friends usually. Or if the cover has like, I dunno, a fucking mad dragon riding a surfboard through space, I’ll probably check that book out.
Have you ever discovered a real lost classic? What is it and why?
A book was recently delivered to my flat which was addressed to someone else who has a similar but as it turns out non-existent address. Once I’d gotten over the Lynchian / Lovecraftian implications, and being the good Samaritan that I am I got in touch with the book company and told them they should check out the address again, find out the real address and assuming it’s on my street, I’d deliver the book there myself. I received in return a lovely email telling me I could keep it and they’d dispatch another copy to the customer, so I opened it and lo and behold! What mythical tome was there! 'High Street', an illustrated guide to the 1930s British High Street. It’s an odd little book but it has some really beautiful lithographs, and contains the passage "If you look up 'Fire Prevention' in the Encyclopaedia Britannica it says that every person should have 'at least an opportunity of learning how to throw a bucket of water properly, and how to trip up a burning woman and roll her up without fanning the flames'".
Do your literary influences have a direct impact on your songwriting?
Not really… I mean, I write myself, I’ve written a few scripts and some short prose, so for me reading and/or writing is a chance to pretty much escape from music for a while. I do shamelessly rip off my favourite authors for writing though, it’s appalling. Steev though is particularly fond of speculative non-fiction books about archaic subjects like Stonehenge and ley lines etc and I think that definitely impacts his songwriting.
What are you reading at the moment?
'Emma' by Jane Austen. It’s my girlfriends fault. She was working on stuff for University one dreary Sunday afternoon and so as not to disturb her I watched TV (a rare occasion, I never watch TV because I don’t have an aerial, and because 99% of tv is fucking mind-numbing dross) and there on ITV3 was the 1996 ITV adaptation of Emma. I watched the whole thing and thoroughly enjoyed it, so since then I’ve been on a bit of a Jane Austen kick.
What is the first book you remember reading as a child?
'Fluke' by James Herbert. My parents had loads of trashy horror novels and I tended to pick them up at an inappropriate age and delve into them. I was big into horror as a little ‘un, anything by James Herbert or Shaun Hutson or Christopher Pike or Clive Barker…
Did you make good use of your library card as a child / teenager?
Yeah, I stole fucking loads of books from my local library! Joke. I did make serious use of it though. The library where I grew up is shut down now, all the kids in that town are probably growing up into sub-literate fucking half-wits. More libraries please mister bastard governments.
Have you ever found a book that you simply couldn’t finish?
No, but I was really, really close with 'Dune' by Frank Herbert. What an utter insufferable pile of shite that book is, it’s possibly the worst written thing I’ve ever read. Well, apart from the preview of 'Fifty Shades of Grey' which I read, which to be honest seemed like it was written by a twelve year old girl who was suffering a slow brain aneurysm. “And then I did this and then I did this and then there was a sofa and it was all chrome and white and the sofa was chrome and white and this and this…” And later, presumably “And then this happened and it was on the couch which was white and then I got double fisted”.
Do you read book reviews?
No. I don’t really read reviews in general. I’m not a very trusting person I guess, and I begrudge getting/watching/reading something on the strength of a good review and then hating it, I feel like I’ve been lied to.
Would you ever re-read the same book?
I do, frequently.
Have you ever identified with a character in a book? Which one and why?
If I say Patrick Bateman, does that make me a bad person..? But seriously, it happens all the time, I usually find myself identifying with characters who are the classic stranger in a strange land, which probably says a lot about my personality… Although rather disappointingly I can’t think of any one in particular. I’ll tell you who I could not empathise with though, which surprised me because he’s such a famous literary character, is Holden Caulfield from 'The Catcher in the Rye'. Biggest dickhead in literary history.
Do you read one book at a time or more than one?
I usually mainline books one after the other, though as I’ve mentioned I have certain books I’ll dip into now and again regardless of what else I’m reading. I keep meaning to get a kindle for on tour because my bag is always full of fucking books and the app on my phone makes the battery run out after about three seconds. If anyone has a hookup with a free kindle they can throw my way, I’m all up for it.
Is there an author / poet you would like to collaborate with?
I’d love to collaborate with Neil Gaiman in some way. Myself and Greg met him at a talk he was giving at last years Edinburgh festival on 'American Gods' and we dorked out and gave him copies of the first two albums, which I presume he’s using as novelty coasters, but anyway, yeah, Neil Gaiman, big fan, would love to work with him. Maybe having Chuck Palahniuk being angry on a track would be amazing too. Can we resurrect Hemmingway for a collaboration? No? Okay. Thanks a lot, “science”, you fail us yet again. Oh, speaking of Science, maybe we could get Professor Brian Cox to play keyboards on our next album.
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'New Relics' is set to be released on October 1st.