What was the beginning point for your music career? How did it all start?
After being inspired by Punk in the late 70s I began by starting a music fanzine here in Coventry in 1979, called Alternative Sounds, it ran for 2 years and 18 issues… in 1980 I knew I had to give that up and start making my own music. ATTRITION was born at the end of 1980… none of us had any real musical experience and so we carved out our own left field sound…influenced by punk and the post punk of bands like Joy Division, PIL, magazine, Cabaret Voltaire etc etc…there were so many amazing bands here in the UK at the time… I used my fanzine contacts to start us off getting gigs and we soon set up a small 4 track demo studio so we could also record and we began to release our early works as a part of the cassette scene in the early eighties…
Was there any bumps on the road? What kind of challenges did you have to deal with?
There are always bumps… it’s part of the process, and learning how to deal with them is a good thing… from dealing with dodgy labels and promoters to the daily hassles on the road or even in the studio…
If it doesn’t kill you, it makes you stronger, as they say… the good parts of the musical journey far outweigh the bad….
What was the most fulfilling and satisfying moment so far?
Many things… I have toured all over the world… playing in 4 continents so far…. Incredible to arrive in places like Hawaii, or Tokyo or Siberia or Mexico…I love to travel and being in a band has enabled that in such a wonderful way….
How would you describe the music that you typically create?
In over 40 years there have been some changes of course… technology and line up changes happen all the time… but I think we have kept true to our initial feeling… making music that deals with the dark, and spirituality and political events from time to time… a review from 2000 once wrote of us..
“Forever there will be the speculation that the exploration of darkness as a beautiful place will lessen our fear of it all, ease the pain a little…”
We use a lot of electronics… and vocals amd sometimes guitars ands sometimes piano and cello and violins… bringing in guests when they are needed… producing anything from “songs” to film soundtracks… (usually horror)
What is your creative process like?
I often experiment with sound textures, create an atmospheric background from which rhythms and melodies, and finally lyrics emerge ( if it is to be a vocal track)…at this stage I will bring in a female vocalist and various guest instruments if I feel they will work… so guitar/violin/cello/piano etc will be added to the mix…and eventually I will mix and master it here in the studio (the Cage…I run a studio here for producing and mastering…my “day job” if you like))…If you could change anything about the industry, what would it be?
A difficult question… it has changed in so many ways over the past 40 years… but in other ways it is pretty much the same… its always about dedication and hard work and belief in yourself… I do like the way that
there is a lot more independent control of your own career now… although it still needs the same amount of work as record companies and booking agents would put in.. I think sometimes bands think they can bypass everything… and I don’t think they can… i like the fact that there are so many formats for music these days too… from Vinyl to streaming and youtube and merch sales… I like it…so in answer I don’t think there is much I would change right now!
If you were asked to give a piece of advice to upcoming bands, what would that be?
Be strong and follow your dreams… and don’t be distracted by quick money or chasing fame… it means nothing in the end…
What has been the best performance of your career so far?
They are all so different… the whole experience of the night, of the tour is what counts… so it could be a small gig at a cowboy bar on route 66 or a headline performance at a European festival… they all give you so much … and its important to be able to work any event and what it throws at you!
If you didn’t become a musician, what would you be doing now?
I started out as an art students, painting and sculpting… dropped out for music… so I guess I would still be an artist… I often think of returning to that later in life… during lockdown I started to learn to make videos and made my first last year for our last single… do check it out here…
ATTRITION – The Alibi
What is new with the band at the moment? What are you currently working on and would like to share with the world?
We are so pleased to have started playing shows again post covid… played 4 in the UK since last September… and are talking about more and Europe and our first full South American tour at the end of this year if all goes well..
We are also finally finishing our new album, “The Black Maria”, for release later this year…. And in the meantime we have a vinyl and digital collection of mid period ATTRITION, released on LA label Sleepers Records for our 40th anniversary. “A Great Desire (1986 – 2004)
Thank you for the interview!
Martin Bowes, Coventry, England. March 2022
audio production and mastering