Introducing: ATTRITION

Legendary UK dark industrial electronic act ATTRITION has been around since 1980 and has seen many changes within the music business. Founder-member Martin Bowes is working on their long-awaited new album, The Black Maria, and was on hand to talk us through the origins of the band.

What are the origins of the band, how long have ATTRITION been playing together?

ATTRITION started life in our hometown of Coventry, England, at the end of 1980… I have steered the band through over 40 years, releasing up to 30 albums and touring all over the world. We’ve also released a number of film soundtracks and collaborated with other bands… I also work on bands production and mastering in my studio here in Coventry, The Cage. For an overview of our history do check out our “In dark dreams (1980 – 2015)” collection on our Bandcamp site:

What should people expect when they check the band out? How would you describe ATTRITION?

It’s been a long time now and we have explored different phases and styles… from the early post-punk to more experimental industrial to later neo-classical and soundtrack works… Live it is often a mix of songs, old and new… but recently we have been performing our horror film soundtrack as an instrumental live show…. I’ve enjoyed the change!

How did you feel performing your first gig as a band, and how was it?!

I was pretty anxious I remember…we were first on the bill of six at the local theatre…I had nothing to compare it to but I think it went ok… well I’m still here 🙂

The new music scene is bursting at the seams at the minute with fresh talent, in what ways do you feel that a band has to stand out to build a name for themselves?

It may take a little longer but I would say always stay true to your vision…in the early 80’s when we were experimenting with electronics we would have people saying “get a guitar” … we didn’t… and eventually people got used to these strange new electronic sounds…. After that, we got violins and cellos and even guitars occasionally further down the line…

What are you working on at the minute that people can check out?

As part of our 40th anniversary, we have just released a vinyl and digital collection spanning ATTRITION’s mid-period…. “A Great Desire (1986 – 2004)” features 10 tracks, many of which have never been released on vinyl before… it’s out on US label Sleepers Records in LA.

Listen to it on our Bandcamp page here:

Excluding yourself, which new band would you like to see break out and become a success?

There has been, with covid interruptions, a really good scene locally here in Coventry again and I would love to see some of those bands doing well… from Futumche to Octogoth and more besides…

What are your own first musical memories? And what was the lightbulb moment that made you go “I want to do that”?

Hearing and seeing The Sex Pistols in 1977 made me want to get up and say something myself… as a non-musician (I was an art student like many before me) I started with a fanzine… writing “Alternative Sounds” between 1979 – 1981… but inevitably I needed to make music… and so I started ATTRITION in late 1980.

What was the last gig that you attended as a fan?

We played a show here in Coventry in February (at The Tin Music and Arts) as special guests of our friends in Futumche… was a great and busy night and I always love seeing them…

What current social issue are you particularly passionate about?

There are so many these days…the world is in an awful state… I was involved with Animal Rights in the eighties (in fact ATTRITION was included on the 1987 Animal Liberation album on Wax Trax)…. These days everything from climate change to anti-war (again) since Putin’s invasion of Ukraine…

The album that you have in your album collection/Spotify playlist that would surprise most people?

I have an eclectic collection from Punk to post-punk and electronic bands to 50s rock n roll and 60s psychedelia through Glam and classical works… with some soundtracks and dance tunes in there too… I think people usually expect me to have some surprises 🙂

Although 2021 was another year to forget, there were some amazing new albums released, what would be your album of last year? And, what new music have you been enjoying so far this year?

I’ve really enjoyed music from Idles and Protomatyr… great to hear some exciting new music rather than the regurgitating of old styles…

What does 2022 hold for you?

While we are getting out to play again now, at least in the UK for now…I am also currently finishing our long-awaited new album, The Black Maria, for release later this year…We put out a single from it last year, “The Alibi”…which features my first ever video production (lockdown got me into trying new things). It’s up on our youtube channel.

How active are you on social media and where can people connect with you?

I’ve always embraced the internet and social media…it reminds me of the fanzine-based scene in the eighties…. I used that too… the independence for your art you can have if you are prepared to put the work in yourself! If people want to explore further do check our various links below… audio production and mastering

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