Error Records to bring local music for all ages to Champaign-Urbana

Despite its name, Error Records aims to be anything but a mistake for Champaign.

The record label native to the Champaign-Urbana community is in the works of setting up shop in town. Soon to be located at 702 S. Neil St., the part-record store, part-all-ages music venue will give the five-year label a physical home and hopes to host a variety of performers of all ages and styles of music.

Nathan Landolt, sole creator and owner of Error Records, formed his record label beginnings while playing in bands at his high school in Highland, Ill. He began self-releasing his bands’ recordings, as well as those of his friends, when he discovered he genuinely enjoyed the distribution work. Named after the Destroyer Destroyer track “ERROR,” Landolt has continued the practice under the official title with a DIY mentality, releasing more elaborate packaging and forming connections within the Champaign-Urbana community in the last seven years.

“After doing the label for a really long time and booking shows and playing in bands and being in the area and seeing what the potential is, it made me want to do something more,” Landolt said. “I think there’s a great music scene here already — I won’t deny that — I just think that for some of the music that I’d like to see come through here more, there isn’t really somewhere for them to play.”

Landolt initially only had plans for a music venue to professionally continue his hobby of putting on house shows in the area. However, something else was needed to bring in revenue. Having a record store in the front of the location seemed like the logical option, expanding his already established online distribution to a greater scale.

The store will supply mostly vinyl, as well as a selection of cassettes, CDs and DVDs. Vinyl is a higher-quality sound, comes with bigger artwork and more detailed packaging, Landolt said, which he thinks many customers appreciate.

While other music venues typically have bars as revenue support, Landolt believes an all-ages venue is what Champaign-Urbana needs.

“I really want to open that door up for anyone that can’t come play at a bar (or) isn’t old enough to come see a band play at a bar,” he said. “There are a lot of great musicians that, if given the opportunity, can do a lot of great things.”

Landolt hopes to provide a safe, alcohol-free environment for show attendees as well. Some of the party elements displayed at house shows may discourage people from participating at any age, Landolt said, and he thinks people shouldn’t have to be exposed to that if they don’t want to or aren’t ready.

For now, Landolt’s plans for Error involve just getting the venue and store running. While juggling his start-up efforts with a full-time job, he still has inspections and permits to obtain before the location is ready for business. He hopes to open the store by the end of March and the venue sometime in April.

Throughout February, Error Records ran a fundraising campaign through Indiegogo, an international crowd funding website. 

Giveaway incentives were set for different donation values, including personalized thank you cards, show vouchers and limited hand-screened posters. Landolt reported the campaign a success, having raised nearly $500 more than the $3,000 goal by the end of the month.

A string of benefit shows were also used to raise awareness for Error. Adam Barnett, senior in Media and member of the “fake chip-tune eight-bit pop punk” band I Am God, participated in the first show on Feb. 16 at Garfield’s Garden.

“I knew that the C-U Collective tried to do something a couple years back and it just kind of stopped,” Barnett said of starting an all-age venue. “So I thought it was really cool that (Landolt) was keeping it going.”

Aaron Shults, senior in Media, also performed at the same show as a member of the punk-inspired pop band Kowabunga! Kid in a battle set against Dino Bravo. Shults enjoyed playing in the show in addition to helping fund what he hopes to be a future staple in the Champaign-Urbana music scene.

“Error Records was the first label I knew that operated on this DIY basis (and) I was very infatuated with that idea,” Shults said. “The excitement that surrounds Error Records is still very exciting for me and still very inspirational.”

With the Error Records location, Landolt aims to spread that inspiration to encompass arts that are as diverse as possible. While selling the work of local musicians, he also hopes to display the work of local artists throughout the store to fuse connections within the Champaign-Urbana art community. But much of that is still in the works.

For now, Landolt is looking to apply his experiences playing in bands, touring the country and self-releasing music toward something that will strengthen the community and bring attention to what Champaign-Urbana has to offer.

“I think once you make those connections and have those experiences, you have a different outlook on life,” he said. “For me, it’s not getting a job in an office, making a lot of money. … The ultimate goal is to just have it sustain itself.”

Sarah can be reached at [email protected]