July 9, 2024

Click Interview with Attrition: ‘It Was High Time For Another Attrition Album!’


Click Interview with Attrition

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Martin Bowes and his main music project Attrition have been part of the collective memory of many Electro fans since the 80s. This year, Attrition released their first new studio-album in years. “The Black Maria” sounds on the one hand like a ‘classic’ Electro-Wave-Pop album but on the other hand also as a refreshing and sensual production with some Cinematic parts. The work became a truly collective production with the contribution of female singers Emke (Black Nail Cabaret), Yvette (Vaselyne), Joanne Wolf and the return of the original Attrition-singer Julia Niblock Waller. Guest musicians Alia Miroshichenko, Annie Hogan, Vancorvid and Marietta Fox, Ian Arkley, Steve Clarke and Kris Force joined forces together with Attrition. I asked Martin Bowes some questions about this new and fantastic work released on Two Gods. (Courtesy by Inferno Sound Diaries)

Q: Attrition has now been active for over 40 years. Can you draw up a preliminary and concise overview of this exceptional career with the highs and lows that spontaneously come to mind? And how do you feel Attrition and its work has influenced the music scene over the years?

Martin: I started out in music inspired by Punk… first running a local music fanzine here in Coventry, between 1979-81 (Alternative Sounds ran for 18 issues). I knew that I had to make my own music so started Attrition in 1980 with Julia Waller, and her brother Ashley. We were totally influenced by Electronics and Post-Punk by then. It wasn’t easy to get gigs for music like this in the early 80’s, at least not around here… it would take a while for the music to take hold… and Industrial, Dark-Wave, whatever you may call it gradually became a lot bigger; lot was so good to be there at the beginning.

We have gone through many record labels, booking agents and even band members since those early days. It’s never been an easy road but it has taken us all over the world and we have released a lot of albums… and scored some film soundtracks along the way.

I hear that Attrition has influenced bands and the scene… I remember Skinny Puppy writing to us back in the mid-eighties… which is a wonderful thing to know.

Q: “The Black Maria” is your first new studio album in quite a long time. Why did this take so long and what sparked the new work?

Martin: The last full studio album was the “Millions Of The Mouthless Dead” album of First World war poetry and sounds I recorded as Attrition with Anni Hogan (of Marc And The Mambas amongst many projects she has done over the years). Since then we have toured a lot and released various singles and live recordings, and I have put out a side project… The Engram-album of 2018, and the DPM improvisational collective I was a part of in more recent years.

Recordings were slowed by covid, and the tragedy of my ex-wife, and Attrition collaborator Kerri Bowes untimely death in 2022. And also by increasing production and mastering work for other bands here in my studio The Cage. So yes it was high time for another Attrition album!

Q: I think I can say that it became a collaborative album. Tell us more about the choice of singers and other musicians? How did this collaboration go and did you discover new facets of yourself as a musician and producer?

Martin: I have been the main person in Attrition for many years, and with knowing so many musicians after all this time, and the ease of recording remotely these days, I found myself working with guest musicians more and more. Since our original singer Julia dropped out of the music scene 20 years ago I have recorded with a succession of guest female vocalists…  I think “The Black Maria” is the peak of that phase… as Julia… and her brother Ashley… after decades… have rejoined the band! They came back recently and have been playing live again with me and Julia sang on 2 songs on the new album… so Attrition is now the original line up, augmented by more musicians… a good place to be.

Q: “The Black Maria” is an interesting title with a whole background and meaning. What exactly inspired you and what did you try to express with this title and entire album?

Martin: “The Black Maria” was the name for a mythical figure that would come to take away ‘wrongdoers and miscreants’. Later it was used for the name of the  UK Police vans in the 1970’s… Kerri and I had a clash with our local corrupt Police a few years ago… hence the inspiration for the title… The album is, like all our albums, very personal… like an audio photo album of the time if you like. And it also looks at issues of state and religious corruption and control. Nothing really changes…

Q: What comes next after this album and what dreams or expectations do you have for the coming years?

Martin: Next on the agenda… we are planning shows and tours in The UK, Europe (next is The Castle Party in Poland July 12th – 14th) then The USA (Cold Waves festival Chicago and Dark Arts Festival Salt Lake City and more) then we are looking at Australia/New Zealand and Japan for the end of 2024/start of 2025…  Meanwhile I am releasing a double album of remixes from “The Black Maria”, also on my own label, Two Gods. And have started recording a Dark-Ambient Soundtrack work.

After all these years I can still get that same feeling of excitement with music and of only just beginning… and I love being a part of a wonderful world community.  I never have expectations, but plenty of dreams.

Thank you for the interview! Interested parties please check out our online sites!

author avatar
Inferno Sound Diaries
I have been working for over 30 years with Side-line as the main reviewer. My taste is eclectic, uncoventional and I prefer to look for the pearls, even if the bands are completely unknown, thus staying loyal to the Side-Line philosophy of nurturing new talents.

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