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Type Two Error reveal latest single “Echoes”

Former Cooper Temple Clause duo Ben Gautrey and Kieran Mahon discuss their latest project

Nov 10, 2021 Web Exclusive
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Meet Type Two Error, the latest project from London based musicians Ben Gautrey and Kieron Mahon. Perhaps better known as 2/6 of The Cooper Temple Clause, who amassed a reputation as one of the most exciting bands to emerge from the UK in the early 2000s. Alongside Valencia-based drummer Jonny Pumphrey, Gautrey and Mahon have spent the last few years writing and recording a bunch of songs that will go onto become their as-yet untitled debut album.

Scheduled to come out in the early part of 2022, it follows the release of the two singles Type Two Error have issued so far this year. Namely “Pushing Up” which came out in July, and “Your Castle’s In The Sky” which came out in September. With a third single “Echoes” released this week, Two Type Error are gearing themselves up for an exciting 2022.

Under the Radar caught up with Gautrey and Mahon to discuss all things Type Two Error and a certain twentieth anniversary that’s imminent in the early part of next year.

Dom Gourlay (Under the Radar): When did Type Two Error start?

Ben Gautrey: It’s had quite a slow, organic build. Its conception was just Kieran and me. We were both studying at university after The Cooper Temple Clause broke up. Kieran went to Queen Mary’s and I was at Goldsmiths. We were both in London, both based around Hackney. So, every Friday we’d catch up with each other. One of us would cook some food while the other would bring lots of bottles of booze. We’d just catch up, and then at some point towards the end of the evening or early hours of the following morning we’d bring out the guitar or a little keyboard and start playing. We had no pretence of where we wanted to go. We were just doing it for the fun of making music. Being in a band and making music was the only thing we’d done since leaving school, so we just started playing organically with no pretence of forming a band or playing live. So that started about ten years ago. It’s been a slow journey to get to the point where we’ve finally got songs and an album ready.

Your first Bandcamp releases as Type Two Error were as far back as 2014 and 2015 but then nothing until “Pushing Up” earlier this year. Why the long gap between releases?

Ben Gautrey: I think we were very fortuitous to have had such an amazing time in The Cooper Temple Clause. We achieved so many of our dreams and got to travel the world. Meet so many wonderful people and play with some great bands. Some of them are still going. Biffy Clyro and The Cure. We achieved so much and I don’t think we really had that drive to go out and release a record. We were both very much exploring different interests. Kieran had his architecture and was pursuing a doctorate. With me it was pursuing psychology. It was something I’d never studied before but now I’m fascinated just seeing if the brain cells are still working. We recorded a couple of songs and put them out on Bandcamp, then we were encouraged to write some more. So, we were writing and recording in between working and bringing up a family and a few hospital visits for me as I have Crohn’s Disease. So, it’s been a very different journey and pathway towards getting the album ready to release compared to when we were in The Cooper Temple Clause. It’s been a much slower, long and winding road.

Kieran Mahon: Definitely. I don’t think we had a grand plan. We were just doing it for the pleasure of hanging out, and slowly building up a body of work. There might have been something in the back of our minds knowing that we did want to make an album, because we had a lot of ideas floating around in different places. Probably not finished for songs, but we had jams a bit like we did with the Coopers where a lot of ideas were just floating around. As Ben’s already explained, the timeline was very stop-start but we did have this desire to get a body of work together. I think it was maybe three or four years ago where that became a lot clearer in our minds, that we got to that critical mass of songs. Particularly one weekend when we went to our drummer’s (Johnny Pumphrey) place and just focused on finishing the last four or five tracks to compliment the album. So, we’re pretty relieved to have gotten to this point because nothing’s guaranteed in music. Collaborations can stop and start without any guarantee they’ll ever finish, but there is an end in sight for us getting this album out.

“Pushing Up” came out in July to a wave of positivity from fans and critical acclaim from the media. Did you expect such an overwhelming response after being out of the spotlight for so long?

Ben Gautrey: You never know what to expect, especially when you haven’t released anything in about fifteen years. I remember the feeling when we were releasing music in The Cooper Temple Clause and it’s the same with Type Two Error. It’s never really been about wanting to go out and be centre stage while playing music. It’s actually making music that really intrigues us, and if it’s igniting a spark within and connecting with us emotionally and the people that we share it with then there will be an audience out there. I’m not suggesting it’s a huge audience but there’s definitely people who are fans of our former band that also like the two songs we’ve put out so far. People who’ve discovered us that didn’t even know about our former selves, so it’s always nice when people connect with it. You never really know what to expect, because we’re not part of the zeitgeist right now. It’s a bit more obscure, but that’s what we’ve always enjoyed operating in. Being outside of the centre.

The debut album is scheduled to come out next year. Will there be any more singles beforehand and does it have a title?

Ben Gautrey: We’ve got twelve songs on the album. I’m a bit OCD so I always like going back and working on them over and again which I think drives Kieran mad. We haven’t got the title yet. We’re working on the sequencing tomorrow then we have another single coming out in November, “Echoes”. We’re just finishing the video for that. There may be another single before the album comes out in 2022 as well. We haven’t decided yet.

Will there be any live shows to coincide with the album’s release?

Ben Gautrey: Our amazing drummer Johnny lives in Valencia so we’re hoping to play a show there at some point. We were talking about playing live but the pandemic’s obviously shaken everyone up. Gigs have started up again but we don’t know what this winter’s going to be like, especially under the present government. We don’t really know what’s ahead of us, especially with our nation’s Covid rates compared to the rest of Europe. We’d really like to play live, and we did play a few shows in London and Manchester pre-Covid. I guess it’s more a case of getting into that mindset of how we’re going to do it. We have been asked to play live by a few people, but it’s also about time and getting into the mode of how we want to do it. We’ve got nothing booked in the diary.

Was there ever a point where you thought about quitting music altogether?

Kieran Mahon: For me there was a bit of that. It’s a funny one really. Our old guitarist Fish (Dan Fisher) was the first one to come out and say he found it quite difficult being in The Cooper Temple Clause. We had such an intensive experience and actually were all thinking similar things but Fish was the braver one to come out with it. Ben’s mentioned it before in other interviews, but we weren’t really mature enough to know how to manage that project and step away from it to go off and enjoy other parts of our lives, then come back to the music refreshed. We’d just done eight years non-stop of writing albums to promoting to releasing to touring then repeat the cycle three times. So, I think we were relieved to be in a position to be able to explore another angle. We left it a couple of years before Ben and I started writing as Type Two Error, but we came back recharged and with a desire to do it in a much stronger, independent headspace as well where you know why you’re doing it. You’re not caught up in a bubble. It’s just one part of your life among many other aspects, and I think that actually fuels creativity. You need that stimulation.

Looking back on your time in The Cooper Temple Clause, is there anything you’d change or do differently?

Ben Gautrey: I think we were incredibly lucky to be in a band with our best friends. When the band broke up, a lot of us were struggling with our mental health. I don’t think we really appreciated just how burnt out we were. We weren’t really communicating. Men in their twenties aren’t the best at talking to each other. Most of us had been in the band since were seventeen, just recording in the studio then playing live. No breaks. It is the best job in the world, but I think it caught up with us by the time of the third album. We were going straight into the studio, then straight back out on the road. So, I think with hindsight and a bit of guidance it would have been easier with a bit to have just taken a break then come back recharged and refreshed. The records are a true testament to where we were at that time so I wouldn’t necessarily change anything. I think we’ve been extremely lucky to keep a lot of the friendships. Tom (Bellamy) and Kieran were the best men at my wedding. Fish was the Master of Ceremonies and we still catch up and speak a lot. Didz (Hammond) we’ve started to speak with a lot more recently. So, it’s really good that we’re not in that state where we’re bitching about people, we spent such an important part of our lives with. We still have an underlying friendship and kinship that’s always been at the heart of our band. We still keep in touch with members of bands we used to tour with that hate their former bandmates, so we’re very lucky not to be in that position.

Kieran Mahon: I agree with Ben. There’s nothing I would change. How we interact with each other has definitely been a big reason why we’ve stayed in touch. In terms of creative process, the second album was where we found a sweet spot when it came to collaboration and our writing process. With hindsight, I think that’s something we’ve taken into Type Two Error. We’re much more confident now about what works and what we enjoy. What we want to get out of it. You don’t let people come in and start interfering with that writing process. I think if we had a bit more confidence, we might have done things differently on the third Coopers album. It makes you wiser and stronger as you move forwards and it’s definitely informed us for what we’re doing now.

The music industry has changed considerably from when you first started with The Cooper Temple Clause over twenty years ago. With the advent of streaming, more reliance on the internet, less impact of the printed press and far more focus on playing live as a source of regular income for instance. Would you say its better or worse now than it was back then?

Ben Gautrey: I think change is good. As we get older, we fear change, but I think there are more opportunities now for bands to get their music heard to audiences where they can bypass certain avenues. They have a more direct line to their audience or in finding who that audience may be. But at the same time, my wife is a journalist so I’ve seen first hand at how the printed press has almost died a death. People expect content for free which is also true of music. People are happy to spend money on streaming platforms without perhaps realising that the people responsible for making that music aren’t receiving enough money to sustain themselves or be able to tour live. So, I think the value that people place on purchasing musical outputs has changed. It was changing when we were doing The Cooper Temple Clause from where it had been twenty years before that, so there’s lots of things that are very positive. But I do worry how musicians and people within the music industry can sustain careers because the commercial model has changed. We’re starting to learn about algorithms and content posts which takes you further away from why you’ve poured your heart into writing something and making music. So, while I’m always open to change and finding new ways of connecting with people, there’s also a lot of things I’m not a fan of. It’s like a lot of other creative arts and creative practices where there’s still this imbalance with some corporations. Particularly the streaming platforms that are now monopolising the way music is monetized and released. We experienced that unequal relationship in our formative years working with BMG. You see that immense wealth that’s been collected by a few individuals and there are different models out there to explore. More cooperative led, democratic modes of distribution for instance. But then, is it really evolving in that direction? I’m not sure. It’s still similar players who are very good at making profit through artistic practice.

The Cooper Temple Clause debut album See This Through And Leave turns twenty in February 2022. Will you be doing anything to commemorate that anniversary and would the band ever reform if the right offer came along?

Ben Gautrey: I think it’s very unlikely that we’ll ever reform the band and play live again.

Kieran Mahon: Two of the band have got tinnitus.

Ben Gautrey: So, for different reasons I don’t think that’s going to happen. Although we are still very close and see each other regularly. But we do have plans to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of See This Through…

Kieran Mahon: We upset a lot of people because our first album was released on a vinyl that meant you had to change it over after every song. Avid vinyl listeners have complained that although they like the songs, they don’t like having to get up and change the record over after each song. So, we’re looking at a way to put it out on one piece of vinyl for the anniversary. There have been some discussions and Didz is leading on it. He’s very much immersed in the music industry as he now manages Suede. He’s also got the energy so is the best person to make it happen in reality. So, there is a plan to do something on vinyl if time allows and pressing plants can squeeze us in.

Ben Gautrey: It’s nice to think we can celebrate that record next year. I’m looking forward to it. You realise just what a big investment and important part of our lives it was, so its nice to feel that album still has some relevance for people out there. We’re somehow building on that with Type Two Error and continuing the conversation. Because music’s a bit like that where you can backtrack and immediately become connected to that time and place. It has that nostalgic quality and while I don’t think there will be a launch party, we’re certainly hoping to put something together for the twentieth anniversary.

What advice would you give to a new band just starting out? What would you tell them to avoid?

Ben Gautrey: Try to keep control as much as possible. What we’ve done with Type Two Error is try and control the narrative. Because you might strike it lucky and work with some great people like we did in The Cooper Temple Clause. But we’ve also worked with some people that we really didn’t get on with. That didn’t understand us or connect with the music, and that caused a lot of dissonance as you might expect if you’re working with someone that doesn’t get or believe in what you’re doing. Also, try to keep your touring crew members down. Because its quite costly touring the world with more band members. It’s also important to stay true to yourselves, because the best artists and ones that stand the test of time are those that have genuine intentions. That’s key, especially when thinking about music you connect with. It might be out of kilter with everything else that’s going on but there’s something radical about it because its conveying something past words or that other forms of communication can’t do.

Kieron Mahon: I’d agree with that. You’ve got to be true to yourself. That goes without saying. A lot of musicians have massive self-belief so you’ve got to find that and nurture it. The other tip I’d give – and this came out in mild frustration when Ben and I were trying to plan our social media strategy, which you might have gathered we aren’t the most prolific! – is to make sure you have all your content in place, whether that be images, photographs, diaries or anything that goes beyond the music itself. The world has changed rapidly from when we started with The Cooper Temple Clause so its something we’re still adjusting to. Younger generations might not have any problems with that and it might seem second nature to some, but its definitely something important to hold onto.

Remaining true to yourselves has been a key aspect throughout your musical lineage with both The Cooper Temple Clause and Type Two Error.

Ben Gautrey: I think so. When you consider mine, Kieran and Johnny’s musical tastes they’re all very different. They’re very eclectic and I think that’s something very positive about where music is now. There isn’t so much pigeonholing where artists are just versed in specific genres and that isn’t sneered at, which is brilliant. It’s so good to have ambition and walk across different styles that influence and inspire you where you want to connect. It’s where we see Two Type Error, outside of any pigeonhole and that’s why we’re really excited about the tracklisting for this album. It’s also incredibly daunting knowing we’re one step closer to it finally being released, because trying to put the songs together in a coherent fashion without them all sounding like they were made by different bands can also be very difficult. It’s important for us to be able to create a journey from start to finish rather than just have twelve individual songs on a streaming platform. It’s what we always did with our previous records and is still very much how we like to sit down and listen to albums from start to finish. Each song does sound different which is great, but it definitely sounds like us which is the main thing. It’s quite ambitious and bold, so I’m really excited to finally be able to put it out and see what people think.



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