Interview with Martin Bowes of Attrition (UK)

Photo by Holgar Karas

By Mick Michaels

The Cosmick View: Hello, Martin and welcome to The Cosmick View/MBM Ten Pounder! Thanks for taking some time to chat with us! 

CV: Describe your definition of the band’s sound and style and how does that definition uniquely describe the music?
Martin Bowes: Always a difficult one…. Genres can be a blessing and a curse…ATTRITION is somewhere between dark ambient, industrial and gothic I would guess…although some of those genres started after we did…. We played our first show in December 1980. The music has varied over the years too…from the early post punk recordings through to more detailed electronic soundscapes…and some film scores too…I don’t really worry about definitions as I never intended to be any style and I don’t feel tied to them…I just do what I need to do

CV: Today, everyone talks about artist and audience connection. Is such a level of connection actually achievable for an artist and if so, how have you made the connection to your fans?
MB: I always enjoy meeting people who are into my music…it’s interesting to hear their experience and the meaning they have taken from it…. I’ve had some wonderful conversations with “fans” over the years…. I think it is achievable…. We are all artists…and we are all fans….

CV: Is fan interaction an important part of the band’s inner culture?
MB: Ultimately I do music for myself…something I need to do…we can say things in art and music that we can never do in everyday life…and in that way it’s ultimately not about interaction, it’s about finding yourself….

CV: Can a band truly interact with its fans and still maintain a level of personal privacy without crossing the line and giving up their “personal space” in your opinion?
MB: There are times when we all need privacy…and that can be hard on tour…in some ways it’s a life skill to acquire…I love that interaction when I travel and play shows…and equally enjoy the relative solitude of composing in the studio.

Photo by Antony Weir
CV: Is music, and its value, viewed differently around the world in your opinion?  If so, what do you see as the biggest difference in such multiple views among various cultures?
MB: I think that at the core, music affects people equally…it doesn’t matter where they are or what kind of music they are listening to… there are undercurrents in all music that can be found all over the world…. The tools of the trade if you like…with our own cultural influences and then personal flavor on top….

CV: Do you feel that a band that has an international appeal, will tend to connect more so to American audiences? Would they be more enticed or intrigued to see the band over indigenous acts because of the foreign flavor?
MB: I’ve definitely seen crowds excited to see an English band make the effort to get to tour in the States…which I have done many times over the years…and vice versa…American bands coming over here to the UK often have that too…it’s the exotic flavor of something different…another kind of soul food….

CV: Has modern-day digital technology made everyone an artist on some level in your opinion? Have the actual lines of what really is an artist been blurred?
MB: I think that has happened…and it’s a very good thing…we are all artists… and these days we have been empowered…. I’m not in any way a traditional musician…but synthesizers and computers have given me my own voice…and that wouldn’t have happened years ago…I’m happy with that….

CV: How would you describe the difference between an artist who follows trends and one who sets them?
MB: We all need to follow ourselves…if you find your true voice as part of a trend…then that’s fine…but setting them is so much more worthy!

CV: Has music overall been splintered into too many sub-genres in an effort to appease fan tastes in your opinion? And has such fan appeasements, in actuality, weakened music’s impact as a whole by dividing audiences?
MB: There is some truth in that…. And people may miss out on something that would truly mean a lot to them, just because it is labelled as a different genre…but these days everything is out there to find online…and that didn’t happen years ago when you relied on the mainstream press and radio…and people are just as excited as they ever were by music, so I don’t think it’s impact is weakened in that way…but the possibility of a massive movement sweeping into popular culture anytime soon… ike say, Punk did in the late 70’s, is remote….

CV: What can fans except to see coming next from you?
MB: We have just released the new and second single, “The Alibi,” from the upcoming album, The Black Maria…which will be with us by the end of the year…. I’m also planning some special releases as it is our 40th anniversary…the reissue on vinyl of our 1982 soundtrack, This Death House, came out recently…there will be a vinyl collection of highlights from 1986 – 2004 out soon called This Great Desire (on US label Sleeper Records)…some special merchandise…and then we are really looking forward to getting back to shows and touring…. The last ATTRITION show was in Tokyo in December 2019…. That will not be the end….

CV: Thanks again Martin for taking some time and talking. It is greatly appreciated.
MB: Thank you for the interview!

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My name is Mick Michaels...I'm an artist, music fan, songwriter, producer, show host, dreamer and guitarist for the traditional Heavy Metal band Corners of Sanctuary. Writing has always been a creative outlet for me; what I couldn't say in speech, I was able to do with the written word.  Writing has given me a voice and a way for me to create on a multitude of platforms including music and song, articles, independent screenplays, books and now, artist interviews. The Cosmick View is an opportunity to raise the bar and showcase artists in a positive and inspirational light. For me, it's another out-of-this-world adventure.

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