Attrition return with a new album titled “The Unraveller Of Angels” (read HERE for more)
and are back on the road. We had the pleasure of asking Martin Bowes a few questions about
the album, the past and future plans.
1980 – 2013. You have been active for 33 years. From post punk to the internet era. How much did the changes affect the music world Attrition?
I get asked this a lot these days!… and i always say the same…of course…on the surface a lot has changed… technology in particular has totally changed things… the way we work… from writing to recording to production and mastering…and even cover designs… its all much more possible and affordable….and then how we promote and distribute our work that’s all changed too with the internet…. i really can’t imagine now how i used to organise tours in europe in the 80’s… writing letters to booking agents and saving up to call them from a phone box!….
so that’s all changed and is mostly positive… but… whats stayed the same are the skills you need and the amount of work you need to put in… and having the software does not mean you have the ability or time or energy to do everything… its no good making it all yourself if you don’t really know how to do it… well it is..we can do whatever the hell we want to….but maybe its not something anyone else wants to hear… and throwing a song out on iTunes and getting 13 likes on facebook does not make a promotional campaign… in those ways nothing has changed….
For “The Unraveller of Angels”, the latest Attrition album, you teamed up with US singer Tylean on vocals. How did this cooperation come about?
I came into contact with Tylean a few years ago through a mutual friend… and liked what she did… so i asked her if she’d like to perform in the live line up…and we did the UK and WGT in Leipzig and a Canadian tour… then had a little break…and i was bringing in guests for the “Unraveller of Angels” and she joined me again on vocals…. and i am very glad she did…she did an amazing job !
Guessing that you spend a lot of hours in The Cage Studios and apart from working on your own albums, what excites you the most when producing other artists’ music? How many albums have you produced so far?
Oh god i cant remember how many album’s i’ve produced so far… a good many… and a lot of remixes and mastering too… keeps things varied… i love working on other artists music..especially when i get free reign on the musical ideas…or at least a fair amount of freedom… which doesn’t happen all the time… and i learn from them too… which is how it should be… i used to teach music technology part of the time but now that’s rare and the studio is my full time thing… my “proper job” if you like…(even though i never wanted one!…)
i recently put out a free downloadable compilation of my work in my studio…to celebrate the first 20 years…. if you would like to listen to it…click HERE
What is the story behind “The Unraveller of Angels”? What inspired you and how long did it take to finish it?
I took about 4 years over “the Unraveller…” which was quite some time… after all the albums i made i decided i wasn’t going to rush this one… and i didn’t…although i was also distracted by my other studio work…and spent a while writing our first full length film score last year too…”Invocation“… i think that slow growth helped “the Unraveller…”…i had time to take the ideas further than i had done on previous albums…
Like all the albums i’ve made they are inspired by my life and my experience of everything around me… social, political, emotional… they are very often like audio photo albums of the times they were made when i look back at them… “The Unraveller of Angels” refers to that search for beauty and love and purity and the attempt to set it free from that binds it… something i think we all do…
You also do soundtracks for movies. How did this come up? Is it because you like watching movies in general? If so, which are your favorite ones?
I’d done some short film scores before and had my music used in a lot of independent films…but the first full length film score was last years “Invocation”…i wrote with my wife Kerri… it was a challenge… quite scary to start with an 85 minute long blank canvas to fill…. but we did it… and i am very proud of it…. it was released on CD last November through Russian label Infinite Fog…
I do like films…its often a welcome change to music all day to watch a film… and i love horror films… well ones that challenge me… and Zombie films i cant get enough of….and surreal and dark TV series and movies… the original Prisoner series from the 60’s is incredible…and David Lynch is one of my favourite directors… and comedy… i started on Monty Python when i was a kid..staying up late to watch the series with my dad in the 70’s…. not a bad start to life…
Attrition played in most of the countries of the western world. How different is the feeling of recording in the studio and playing live in front of an audience? Which gig of yours will stay with you for the rest of your life?
I love recording as much as performing live…they are totally different experiences…one is more internal and intellectual… one is the taking what you have found and created out to the world… for all the good and bad in that…. its hard work on the road…but the rewards are so worth it…the experience…the people…the places… most of my best friends i have met on tour…
i remember most of the shows…. i have a good memory like that… and there’s a thousand stories to tell… i wont name any one in particular…they all mean a lot in different ways…
Which artists influenced you?
so many…. musically it started with Bowie and the Velvets and Roxy Music… then punk came along and that really changed my life…. Pistols and Clash and Crass and Wire and TV Smith… so many… then post punk ..PIL and Magazine and i don’t even need to mention Joy Division do i….and then the electronics… Kraftwerk…early Human League… Cabaret Voltaire… and then i looked back at classical music and early Dylan and rock n roll…. Cash to Presley to Holly… oh thats enough of a shopping list
You have a number of great guest musicians on “The Unraveller of Angels”. What made you chose them? (Some ask for the help of friends, some just go directly to the ones that would play the right thing for an album…some other times you just listen to someone playing and you want to work with him…)
Well as i worked on songs i would be talking to friends…and a lot of my friends are musicians…so it just came about…i’d ask them to try something…it didn’t work with everyone… i am really pleased to have Mona Mur on guest vocals on the “Karma Mechanic” and Anni Hogan on piano on some songs (she’s worked with Marc Almond and Nick Cave in the past)…and Matt Howden on violin… and Erica Unwoman on cello…and Jyri and Joanna on violins and Ian Arkley from the amazing doom metal band My Silent Wake on guitar… i was lucky to have them involved,…they added so much to my musical ramblings…
What is next for Attrition? I know you’re currently working with filmmakers on a documentary and music videos to accompany “The Unraveller of Angels”, and you plan on touring Europe, North and South America, and New Zealand…
Always something coming…. there is a documentary being made with french film maker Daniel Gouyette… it will take a year or so to complete…there are interviews with other bands and labels to include in it……it will be worth it!…. and he is also completed 4 music videos we did the filming for… more short films…we plan a special DVD release for these…
and then here i am working on the first release for a side project..Engram… and various Attrition rarities…including the recording of our first ever show in decemeber 1980… totally unreleased songs… i think its about time they see the light of day in all their rawness…
Live we started touring for the “unraveller..” in Greece/UK and Canada so far this year and plan the USA/Germany/Chile/Brazil and other European shows soonish… then there’s new material i have only just started on….
Its busier than ever here… and its a damn fine way to be
Thank you for the interview Tribe4mian
here is the link to listen to “The Unraveller of Angels“
Martin Bowes. Coventry. England. 2013
Thank you very much for this interview Martin…