Can you first introduce the band and give us some background to how it all started?
I started ATTRITION way back in late 1980… I’d been running my punk/post punk fanzine “Alternative Sounds” here in Coventry from ’79 – ’81 and I knew I always needed to make my own music… it began with me and my then girlfriend Julia… added a drummer and my brother on guitar… soon changing to Julia’s brother Ashley on synth and I bought a drum machine…so we quickly turned from a traditional guitar/bass/drums/ vocals line up to a more electronic sound…
Have you been involved in other bands before?
I had always been a visual artist (painter/sculptor at art school) and knew nothing of writing music… so this was my jump in the deep end… see what came out of it… we just experimented with our sound over the first few years in particular…. But still do from time to time…
What inspired the band name?
It came from “War of ATTRITION” … after the first world war…I’d always been fascinated with it as my Grandad was wounded on the Western Front at Ypres in 1917…. And I had always heard about it as I grew up…. in 2015 I finally wrote an album of interpretations of WW1 poems, from all sides….”Millions of The Mouthless Dead” – something I always had to do… I wrote it with Anni Hogan (Marc and the Mambas etc.) and was happy to have a special guest reading in German from Wolfgang Flur on there (ex Kraftwerk)
Was there any specific idea behind the forming of the project itself and how you wanted it represent your thoughts and emerging your sounds?
A burning desire to say something…. There was too much going on I really needed that outlet…. I still do
…and that desire still leads the way?
A lot is the same… we can never recover our naivety and things have obviously got more professional over time…. And maybe I’m not the angry young man I was in 1980…but yeah… not so very different J
Since your early days, how would you say your sound has evolved?
I’ve always used technology a lot…it’s my instrument…I never learned a traditional one… and that has evolved massively over time… and that has made a difference to the sound. I’ve also taken on more musical influences… dance, classical etc… and have met so many amazing musicians over the years that have come on-board… added their talents… moved on…. It’s been an evolving project… which is how I like it..
Has it been more of an organic movement of sound or more you deliberately wanting to try new things?
A mix of both… I never know what I will come out with when I start a track…and I like to see where the twists and turns lead me… there are no real rules…. But I have written soundtrack scores so that is a different approach from the outset… and in instrumentation there have been times I wanted to try working with someone new.. .for example when I introduced real violin and viola and cellos on some songs… the old samples hardly got used again…. I think that experiment worked pretty well
Presumably across your years being involved in music there is a wide range of inspirations; are there any in particular which have impacted not only on the band’s music but your personal approach and ideas to creating and playing music?
Well ATTRITION is mostly me… but I take on influences from people I have worked with…and that is often as much an approach as it is the style… I love learning…. If I ever thought I wasn’t doing that any more then it would be time to stop..
Is there a process to the songwriting which generally guides the birth of songs?
In all of my work… regardless of the final piece or style… I start with abstract atmospherics… electronics usually… and gradually rhythms and melodies emerge… alongside the words if there are to be any…. Much like order from chaos…. I believe in that
Where do you, more often than not, draw the inspirations to the lyrical side of your songs?
From my personal life… philosophical and religious thought… political ideas… “sex, death and religion” as some would say..
Would you give us some background to your latest release?
The new single, ‘The Great Derailer’ , has just been released (on CD, download and streaming) and will be part of the forthcoming album, ‘The Black Maria’…much of my lyrical work is inspired by my subconscious thought…. And in a simple way “The Great Derailer” is my anarchist God…if you like…. I released it on Brexit day J
Do you go into the studio with songs pretty much in their final state or still provide room for them to develop as you record?
Since I put my own studio together in the nineties, The Cage, I work all the time on pieces of music and they gradually develop into an album… (and this is between my mastering and production work for many other bands and labels… so I never get enough time for me!…. but it is my day job so I am always surrounded by music…. And I love that) …but yes in the early days of the eighties we had very limited studio time paid for by the various record labels and we had to have everything pretty much ready to put down for the time we were in there…. Not always a bad thing actually…we learned a lot from that!
Tell us about the live side to the band, presumably a favourite aspect of the band?
I do love recording as much as live but yes touring is such an inspiration… I have a varying line up as I work with people all over the world, and I’ve been lucky to have toured on most continents at various points in my career… a wonderful experience… apart from my 2 beautiful kids I would say a highlight of my life…
It is not easy for any new band to make an impact regionally let alone nationally and further afield. How did you find it back in the day and see it now?
Coventry had a great live scene when I started… after the buzz of two Tone but as much for all the other acts… personally my experimental electronics was a bit too much for the local scene back then… so we moved away to London and later I moved to Holland for a while where there a much more receptive scene…. I’ve been back in Coventry for years and I’m pleased to see it really picking up for live music, especially music with more of an edge… I think it’s true everywhere… it’s such a big thing to do making a band work… and it’s hard… but it’s so worth it if you can dedicate yourself to it
How has the internet and social media impacted on the project to date? Do you see it as a necessary ‘evil’?
The internet in all its forms has been really helpful… having started with the fanzine I was always used to networking myself and the internet is such an opportunity for that…I can’t even imagine how I arranged tours in Europe in the eighties before email…. But maybe the reason I am still here is because I did… It’s never been easy…it never should be.
Once again a big thanks for sharing time with us; anything you would like to add or reveal for the readers?
…and thank you very much too. As I said, the new album will be out later in the year… and I am currently setting up dates for 2020… So far confirmed…
April 3rd: The Tin, Coventry, UK
June 13th: Woodgothic Festival, Sao Thome Das Letras, Brazil
June 17th – Gothic Ba, Buenos Aires, Argentina
June 19th – Producciones Mortem Collec-tions, Santiago de Chile
June 20th – Tumbas Eternas Producciones, Lima, Perú November
28th: Winter Ghosts Symposium, Whitby, UK
…and do check out our various sites…
http://www.attrition.co.uk/ https://www.facebook.com/ATTRITIONMUSIC https://attritionuk.bandcamp.com/ https://www.youtube.com/user/attrition https://twitter.com/attritionuk https://open.spotify.com/artist/5yAtVvdaWrTxW4GPC18643 http://www.thecagestudios.co.uk/
Thank you! Martin Bowes. Coventry. England. 2020
Pete RingMaster 27/02/2020
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