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see also our Attrition CD Review and Concert Review

Oct. 25, 2000 
~interview by Rev. Alexavier Strangerz 23.3 
(b&w photo by Blu from the Seatle Show)

It is best to read the concert review here, before reading this (just to get the mood setting. )  I had to wait a bit to get this interview, but it was well worth it!

Rev.S:  It's October 25th (technically the 26th) and we are here with Martin Bowes (pronounced like bows) of the... may I say the fantastic band 'Attrition?" 

Martin:  Yeah, you may! (immediate laughter on both our parts.) 

Rev.S:  And he is not modest (actually he is)  it was a great show, and I saw the first show in Chicago, and really the energy tonight doesn't seem like it should be the last show?  You have really been keeping the rhythm. Could you go on if you had more cities? 

Martin:  Well tomorrow is the last show, we are going to open for the Damage Manual.  It's almost the last night.  5 weeks later, or something like that. 

Rev.S:  Your going to end in the same city you started in!

Martin:  Yeah, in fact we were going to play in Madison Wisconsin, and that got canceled, because we are on Invisible, and there is the Damage Manual tour. 

Rev.S:  That's right the latest 'Attrition' release is brought to us by Invisible Records.  Martin Atkins label of many years and many artist now.  Yet Projekt has released how many of your albums now? 

Martin:  Most of the Projekt stuff was re-issues, of earlier work that was released in Europe.  We did an album last year called 'The Jeopardy Maze'  which was a new album. 

Rev S:  So how many new albums on Projekt then? 

Martin: Well besides Jeopardy Maze, there was also etudé.  A classical album. Every thing else being re-issues, that would be bout 8 or 9 total on Projekt. 

Rev S: So how many albums have you put out all together, since many may think that your full catalogue is on Projekt,  well here in America anyway. 

Martin:  Twelve to Fourteen total. 

Rev S: Twelve to fourteen, kinda lost count, eh?  Since 1982 was it?

Martin: Since 1984 actually, that was the release of our first album. 

Rev S:  In a way it seems like what I would call 'LPD' syndrome. 

Martin: Ahh yeah.

Rev S:  It's like, you've been around a fairly long time, you have a good number of releases, critical acclaim for most of them, yet there is certain obscurity and/or underground feel to the way your working!

Martin:  We are underground, we've never had a big hit record or anything.  (pause for thought.) Which I wouldn't mind, I'm not saying I'm against that, but this way I can do what I want to do, and I think that's good, that we can do exactly what we want to do.  Releasing stuff on various labels, and really when Projekt started releasing our stuff over here, that is what got our name out here. 

Rev S:  Right, Lisa and Projekt have brought a lot of music to my attention, that can be for sure.  Even beyond what they do as a label, her and Sam. 

Martin:  The first tour we did over here was 1996, this is the Fourth tour actually.  Since we have done that it has really raised our profile over here. 

Rev S:  So when do you think the next time you'll come back is, it seems like it's been about two years? 

Martin:  It's about 18 months between tours. 

Rev S: That's a little less than two years.  Great!

Martin:  Yeah, enough time to get a new album out, and then come back. 

Rev S:  What was your strongest cities this year around? 

Martin:  New York was pretty good (pause for thought) , Oh D.C. was really good.  The south, we did Alabama , North and South Carolina (laughs) it wasn't too good.  Not exactly the main places that bands play are they. 

Rev S:  Yeah I have heard some strange stories about touring that area of the country. 

Martin:  but Dallas was really good.  San Francisco was one of the best.  Seattle was pretty good, I think that was partly because we did the Convergence earlier in the year. 

Rev S: What did  you think about the Convergence experience? 

Martin:  That was great, yeah!  We really enjoyed that.  Doing Convergence in May.  So I think we had a total of 24 shows, the most we've ever done here in the states!

Rev S:  I'm glad I could be on for part of this, and see it from beginning to end.  Some highlights I'd like to touch on,  During I am (Eternity)  when Christine was alone on the stage.

Martin:  Yeah!

Rev. S: That really took me by surprise in Chicago , for some reason. 

Martin:  Oh right, it was kinda meant to be dramatic. 

Rev S:  You seem to have this thing going on with your microphone though!

Martin: (smiling at where I am heading here. ) 

Rev. S:  It's a love/hate thing,  you growl at it , you put it over you sometimes, and launch yourself towards it. 

Martin:  True yeah, I play with it!

Rev S: Did you start this in the beginning or did you progress into that? 

Martin: I think it just happened like that, yeah!  I just like to play with it, and sometimes, when I am singing about women, then it is that woman.  (laughs at the thought )   And sometimes it is something more angry, like well, I guess it could represent something I despise. It's more like an interface between me and the whole sound system. 

Rev S:  It seems productive though, and not pretentious, or showy.  Yet very real, as if you could almost throw the microphone down , and storm off! 

Martin: (matter of faculty)  Sometimes I do. 

Rev S:  Sometimes you throw the mic down!

Martin:  When things go badly with the sound,  I sometimes throw things about. 

Rev. S : Wow , I am glad I saw two good sounding shows! I guess we should thank your current sound guy.  Is he new? 

Martin: Well I have known him for a few years, but he had done the odd show or two, and this is his first tour! 

Rev S: Yeah, he seems to know what to do. 

Martin:  Most defiantly. 

Rev S:  Any other story's about the tour you want to touch on. 

Martin: well there are so many stories. 

Rev. S:  Well how about a good obsessive fan story, maybe somebody that creeped you out, or got too close? 

Martin:  Well there were some people in San Francisco, who were offering us drugs and shit, and I really didn't really want them.  It was getting a bit obsessive.  "I'll do anything, whatever you want! " , and stuff.  I don't need it.  I don't normally get it too badly,  but there has been the odd one where it's been O.K. , but I did have to walk away a bit.  I can imagine if it got to be more, you'd have to be a bit tighter with letting people in. 

Rev S:  That is part of it, especially the next step. 

Martin:  Yeah , I can see that.  It's not nice, but it did happen a little bit already. 

Rev S:  Moving on, do you tour Europe much any more? 

Martin:  Yeah we do as well, and the U.K. 

Rev S:  Britain seems like a rough place...

Martin:  It's not a big scene there really. 

Rev S:  It seems like they get into you, and are really happy about you , and then that's it. 

Martin:  It's not a really big scene and there is not a lot of money in it.  We do play shows because we live there. WE enjoy it but it is a small scene.  Germany is the big scene in Europe.  Yeah it's a big scene Germany, it's very competitive too.  That's the big scene in Europe though.  In a  lot of ways I enjoy it more over here. 

Rev S: Really!

Martin:  It's just a bit wilder to me.  I guess it's just a bit different. 

Rev. S:   Is it nice to see lots of different opening acts,  like 'Thou Shalt Not' and 'Dust'. 

Martin:  I like that , I like to see them, and get their CD's.  I like that it's a great way to see bands that would never come and play where I live. 

Rev. S : America is not bad for you then, kind of a other side of the fence kind of thing maybe? 

Martin: Could be I know a lot of American bands like Europe more. 

Rev S: Do you have a more elaborate set up while playing over there. 

Martin:  We do have a bit more over there, it just comes down to the expense of coming over here that we keep it more simple.  We have been playing more live in the last couple of years.  So maybe something more next tour. 

Rev. S:  What kind of studio set up are you using? 

Martin:  Well I do have a lot of different synths and analogues I have built up over the years. 

Rev S:  You built some of them yourself? 

Martin: Not really, I just have a lot of old analogue stuff, like keyboards and samplers, and some newer digital stuff, I use alot of things really.  I do enjoy getting other people into the studio, Violinist and what not.  April is obviously on there sometimes. 

Rev S:  You always write the songs? 

Martin: Yeah it's always my stuff, I get other people to dome work with me. 

Rev S:  In my opinion it sounds as layered as your 2 or 3 man electronica groups. 

Martin:  Well I am always working with others now as well.  I like to get others in there, and when I do the studio there might be 6 others coming to work in there with me,  but when you do it live you have to think of a different way to do it.  So I strip it down, and I keep it upbeat.  On the albums there are a lot of ambient tracks that wouldn't really work live, not in a normal venue/  So we tend to stick to the more upbeat ones. 

Rev S:  It started off fairly ambient, especially with the incense, and the presence.  A lot more smoke than Chicago.  You should have had somebody announce you.  It was almost like oh wait, there's a band going on now!

Martin:  Yeah I thought that was quite good, they didn't know we had started playing, I kinda like that, really. 

Enter Christine  (Singer with Martin, who when speaking has a lovely and thick British accent, so I may have some spellings confused.) 

Rev S: Oh look who's here 

Christine:  I thought I'd make a special appearance. 

Martin:   Christine great, I have to go check on the outload, I'll be back.

Rev S. & Christine:  BYE MARTIN! 

Rev. S:  Christine not Christina right!

Christine: Right , Just think of the car. 

 Rev. S: Oh, no!

Christine:  The car was nice, it had a nice body. (laughs ) 

Rev. S: (not missing a beat)  So I hear your staying in America with us here.

Christine:  Uhm,  NO!  I was going to stay, (shoots a big smile)  but I have a soul-mate waiting for me, bless her.  A bottle of Vodka as well, on ice. 

Rev. S:  All waiting for you at home?

Christine:  Yeah,  and a bath with candles, and I am going to cook for two hours, because I haven't cooked anything on tour, and I  love cooking! 

Rev. S:  Too bad,  We should have let you cook,  if we'd known...(snip some more chit-chat here ) 

Rev. S:   So what did you think of the tour, Martin gave us his scenario , over all a good one. 

Christine:  Well I like the Dallas gig the best .  The Dallas gig rocked for me.  I think everyone in Dallas is wonderful. 

Rev. S:   They'll be happy to hear that. 

Christine:  They should be given a badge saying, " I am wonderful because I'm from Dallas."  Definitely that was my favorite gig.  Also Indianapolis, which is one of my favorite places in the U.S.A. 

Rev. S:  Really, that one is a bit surprising (no offense to Indianapolis) 

Christine:  Well I love Indianapolis, and the big monument, it's breath-taking and worth going there just to see that. 

Rev. S:  Well I will have to go sometime. 

Christine:  The people rock too,  Hallo Gretchen! 

Rev. S:  I feel bad, I should know more about it as it is in my current region.  The Midwest,  but we are talking a region as wide as Indianapolis to Denver. 

Christine:  For some reason I really like the place.  It's like I have been there before.  Maybe in a previous life or something. 

Rev. S: things could happen! 

Christine:  Seattle was cool, it was like England and the same attitude. 

Rev. S: Oh really, I thought San Francisco would be more like England. 

Christine: Well San Francisco is more like London,  that's like London take 2. 

Rev. S:  Are you from further north then. 

Christine:  No, I lived there awhile, but I moved back to my home town of Coventry, which is where Martin is from. And it's the centre of England,  they have a stone there that says so, well actually there is two stones, because they got it wrong. 

Rev. S:  So there is two stones saying this is the centre of England,  in Coventry. 

Christine,  Yeah, it's perfect in a way. 

Rev. S:  So are you Internet savvy, do you do the web thing? 

Christine:  I am getting into it.  I have e-mail, and I am getting into Q-base and everything.  I am a bit of a baby on the Internet. 

Rev. S: A newbie...

Christine:  Yeah I am an old manual typewriter type of girl. 

Rev. S: Yeah that reminds me of the computers in Brazil (classic movie by Terry Gilliam) which had the old Underwood typewrites, and the computer displays. 

Christine:  Yeah I love the noise of them.  In our class back in school we used to type to music,  and I had to type in time. 

Rev. S:  What kind of music was it. 

Christine:  Classical, so we had to go .  da   da da ,  da dat da dat da dat,  (humming  a very familiar symphony, _______________) 

Rev. S:  That's pretty cool. 

Christine: Yeah it was it was cool, that how you got up to 120 words per minute. 

Rev. S:  So you are classically trained as a singer then? 

Christine:  Yeah, and typing. 

Rev. S:  That's the secret to Attrition folks,  we have classically trained singers...

Christine and Rev. S:  AND TYPING! 

Christine:  Yeah we trained to Beethoven, and Mozart, and Sebastian Bach right off, but there is lot of classical elements in Attrition. 

Rev. S:  Yes, absolutely.  I was talking to Martin about that earlier, how he could be a Techno-maniac one minute, and very Ambient and Classical the next. 

Christine:  He likes to blend it all together.  I like Italian Opera's , was listening a lot about  a month before I joined the band.  I have been singing my whole life without any training,  I have only officially had four weeks training. 

Rev. S:  Wow!  Four weeks can go a long way! 

Christine:  Four weeks can go a hell of a long way with me.  4 seconds can go a long way with me!

Rev. S: You've been with Attrition how long again.  You fit in so it seems like you've been with them forever. 

Christine:  I know it does!  Specially on this tour!  (laughs )   It's between two, and two and half years.  I'd have to check my dates.  Last time I was over here was March of last year. 

Rev. S:  So what is the first album we can find you on then? 

Christine:  Heretic Angels is the first album I am on.  I have done a lot of singles and compilations with the likes of The Dead Kennedy's, and Ministry.  We've just recorded Gary Gilmore's Eyes, with TV Smith (or T.B. Smith , sorry .)  Which was great fun.  I can't wait till that one comes out. 

Rev. S:  I can't imagine you with the Dead Kennedy's. 

Christine:  Oh it was the 'Dread Kennedy's' compilation, that was the title of it.  It was a dub remix, very ethereal.  We actually did a single from that kinda ethereal idea, and it was very dub.  It was the first single I wrote with Attrition called Kharb. I actually learned Swarti Hindu and Arabic, just so I could sing the song in that language. 

Rev. S:  Oh, you learned Hindu, so you could sing it! 

Christine:  Yeah!

Rev. S:  Swarti, I hope I don't misspell that one. 

Christine:  I learnt NAMASTE (nah mah stay) and other mother tongue languages. 

Rev. S:  Familiar word  Na ma stey? 

Christine:  Namaste is a way of saying hello, which is very nice, it's like 'God be with you', or one something about light.  It's is very nice though!  That's the good thing about Asian language, it is either very beautifully said, or very venomous.  But they don't have sarcasm in Asian languages, it doesn't work.  I mean it can if they are westernized Asians,  but the language itself is either very beautiful, or its like don't mess with me.  They like swearing!  Worse than Italians! 

BAR Owner:  TIME TO GO...LETS GO ( shout shout shout, blah blah blah.) 

Rev. S: Well I guess we can wrap it up.   So will you be back with Martin in 18 months. 

Christine:  I am hoping so, I've got no plans to leave.  I am planning on doing my own side project on my own.  Because I've always wanted to do that, initially. 

Rev. S:  How will we be able to find that one, will Projekt release that? 

Christine:  It's going to take me a year to get my own studio set up.   I have spent far to long working with bands.  I want to work with myself, and I want to do a side project, and be able to work with other people.  Martin is really cool about that, so I will always be a part of Attrition.  He's really a great inspiration for me, to prove that you can do something if you really want to. 

Rev. S: OK this is where we shall leave this. Thanks Christine for popping in on us here. 

As the barkeeps, and bouncers try to decree who was to be tossed out and who was part of the band.  I managed to say good-bye to Martin, and thank his as well for participating in a Starvox interview.  He assured me there would be an e-mail soon. (He is very good about e-mails. )  I have included the first 'up-date' he sent since the tour. 
From Martin:

Today is the twentieth anniversary of the first ever ATTRITION show...

"it's been a long time..."
The recent US tour went very very well. we took in 25 shows over most of the country. many thanks to all those who made it possible. For those that missed it (or those that were there!) we have a realplayer streaming video of a live version of "Acid Tongue" up at the iFilms site...,1263,431431,00.html

"The deadline...or..."
We are currently planning many new tours and festivals for the 2001... expect another very high profile year, with an album of new material and a series of re-issues...details as soon as  they are in our hands..

"Your face, my gift"
From now until the end of the midwinter holiday season we have our version of the christian hymn "Silent night" up at for free download. take it.

Finally our website is also being redeveloped and will contain far more information/reviews and photographs ...if anyone would like to contribute live photos or reviews of any of our works please send them to me for possible inclusion..

until next time...
be seeing you

martin bowes
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