“Inside a cage of sound, writhes a human soul. Cold waves of electronics are juxtaposed against voices that seep through cracks in the walls of machinery and wires. Lyrics dart out in bullets from soundscapes peppered in sharp vocals and sound bites. A viola plays in the distance, giving life to this inorganic mass…
Such is the imagery that spawns Attrition, who, with its marriage of the classic and modern, has brought to music the equivalent of a surrealist painting. From its earlier sparse and stark soundscapes, to a more expansive palette of orchestral work, Attrition has successfully melded several genres into one. The music flows – from gothic to industrial to experimental to classical – so smoothly, they might as well be making their own category.
With more than twenty albums of constant variety, and an ever-expanding sound, they remain one of music’s darker and fascinating lights.”
- Introduce us to the band! What are your names and what do you do in the band?
Well ATTRITION varies the line up… but it has always been me, on electronics and vocals, and there is almost always a female singer… originally Julia, and she has rejoined after a 20 year absence. There is usually a third person… originally Ashley, who also joins us on stage when he can (he’s now living in San Francisco and the rest of us are here in Coventry, England.) and finally Simon is our regular synth player.
- How long have you been together as a band and how did you find each other?
We performed our first show in Coventry on December 8th 1980… the day John Lennon was shot.
- Do you have a special songwriting recipe you follow?
It varies from up tempo rhythmic work to soundtrack/soundscapes (we have had our music in a number of films and TV shows). I usually start with electronic atmospheres…and then they develop with drums and bass parts, synths and often guest instrumentation from string players, piano players, guitar players… and then the male/female vocals topping everything..
- How would members of your family describe your music to someone that hasn’t heard it?
My kids always said “Your music is too scary Daddy”
- What do you have on your(Spotify) playlists you would be embarrassed for others to see?
The only Spotify playlist I have is a “best of” or introduction to ATTRITION…I rarely use it otherwise …if I’m streaming music I usually use Youtube (damn those ads)
- Do you have any pre-show rituals?
Not really, apart from a few pre-show beers… although I have a “during-show” ritual in that I always burn incense during our set… I don’t even remember when I started to do that, but it is an essential part of it now…
- Who have you met that has left you starstruck?
I’ve had a few “I’m not worthy” moments… one of the best was when Wolfgang Flur of Kraftwerk said he loved our album and added a guest vocal reading to one song on “Millions of the Mouthless Dead” (2015 – an album of WW1 war poetry
- What do you consider your greatest achievement as far as a band?
Most importantly the music… but also meeting so many people at our shows all over the world… so the travel and the adventures and reaching out to other people… I have met 2 girls called “Harmony” over the years… both names after our 1991 song, and most well known, “A Girl Called Harmony”… best review ever!
- What key elements do you believe makes up a successful song?
Being true to yourself.
- When writing, how do you know when it is finally done?
Of course not… that’s always difficult… learning to let go. I used to remix a lot but I don’t tend to do that these days and I let a song stay as it is…
- What song of yours are you most proud of?
Difficult again as depends on my mood. “Two Gods” is definitely one of them….
- Is it possible to be on the road and not eat junk food? How do you keep it leveled out?
As a vegan (for decades) its never been easy.. so I always take food with me… and I’ll always go for home cooked food if we can get it…. I love cooking and I always miss that… but I survive
- Are you able to write while on the road or do you need a calm familiar space like home?
I always write at home, in the studio, which is in my house… when I’m out on the road I think that’s a time for sharing my music…and taking in new experience and influences…
- What’s the most embarrassing thing to happen on stage or on tour?
We’ve had plenty of things go wrong over the years but I cant think of anything really embarrassing…!
- What can BleachBANGS do to help you in any way?
I always appreciate anyone showing an interest in what we do and anything to spotlight ATTRITION is always really appreciated!
How can everyone keep up with everything you have going on? Where can they get albums/merch?
We have everything on our official bandcamp pages…
and people can follow us on our various websites…
Thank you for the interview!
Martin Bowes. Coventry. England. June 2023