interview april 1995 conducted by mail
Martin – well, itís only what people say, or rather journalists say – all the genres are fictitious really – just a handy label to tag you with. industrial/gothic, whatever – I guess we feel more akin to a kind of industrial sound, if we had to make a choice -- although the term means something different now to when we started out....
QRD – who currently contributes most creatively to Attrition songs?
Martin – I write 99% of Attrition material now – music & lyrics – itís been like that for the last three albums -- since A Tricky Business in 1991.... Julia then comes in & does her vocals & maybe makes some suggestions... we do have other people drift in to help us from time-to-time... the new album has a guest viola player & a guest guitarist....
QRD – generally in writing songs, do the words or music come first? what instrumentís first & what oneís last?
Martin – the music starts usually with atmospheres – abstract sounds I work on – they then give a feeling for the piece, & out of that I develop rhythms, then bass, sequences, & chords... the lyrics are being written all the time, concurrently... I then realize which lyrics belong to which music & they develop together from that point – I never write a complete set of verse & chorus anymore, I havenít done that for years – everything must grow a bit more organically!
QRD – you have two albums being released in 1995, how long have you been working on them?
Martin – Ephemera, our album of instrumental soundscape works, has just been released on Hyperium. we worked on that one as a complete change after we had finished the previous album in 1993 (Hidden Agenda). it took a few months. the new album "proper" (songs!!) we have just finished recording & had been working on for most of the last year – it will be released later this year on Hyperium & is entitled 3 arms & a dead cert.
QRD – over the years what label have you most enjoyed working with?
Martin – I can honestly say that Projekt has been the easiest/friendliest/most honest label we have ever worked with! they are currently re-issuing our earlier albums on cd & are our US distributor (through their Darkwave distribution set up) as we are currently signed to Hyperium records in Germany for our new releases -- they are a pretty good label too! Iíve got no big complaints!
QRD – when you play live how do most people react?
Martin – it varies immensely! we do do the more upbeat-rhythmic material live, so, then obviously people will dance – it depends on how many people are there – you know how reserved people can be when thereís a small audience! but then I donít dance much at bands, usually I prefer to stand & watch....
QRD – what types of clubs do you usually play in?
Martin – clubs vary a lot in size & type – we started out in back rooms of local pubs around england!... then moved on to the european club circuit – decent places of between 200-1000 capacity or so, weíve done open air venues – from a farm in england to an old roman spa in italy – but I prefer the indoor club scene – the sound, visuals, & atmosphere are all better!
QRD – when you play live how many people are on stage?
Martin – again, itís varied over the years -- our standard line-up is me & Julia & a keyboard player – but weíve occasionally augmented this with a percussionist or guitar player -- itís all down to how it fits with what weíre doing at the time. we also take our own soundman with us, as itís vital to get outfront sound right -- heís probably the most important guy!
QRD – what kind of show is happening on stage besides your playing?
Martin – we use slide projections, & sometimes films or video – it depends on the show, & each tour has been different – it used to be a big thing when you are an electronic band – to do something visual as you didnít have drummers & axe-men jumping around on stage! something to add to the musical element – now it does seem to be the norm – but I still think itís a much more interesting way to experience a band....
QRD – might there be an american tour any time soon?
Martin – weíre working on it (weíre always working on it!). itís a matter of getting a hold of a reliable promoter -- but with us getting a higher exposure these days through Projekt -- itís going to make the possibility much more imminent.
QRD – what kind of shoes do you normally wear?
Martin – vegetarian Doc Martin boots!
QRD – whatís your favorite Attrition song?
Martin – the next one I write!.. itís easy to say, I know – but Iím too critical of my own work to actually like any of it!... saying that, weíve just finished recording the new album, & at the moment I like a few on that!... weíll see how it goes...
QRD – do you do any covers besides black tape for a blue girlís "memory uncaring friend?"
Martin – yes. we covered Elvis Presleyís "His Latest Flame" on our "Lip Sync" maxi, & we did a cover of John Foxxís "Underpass" for a covers compilation of early 80ís tunes coming out in sweden on Energy Records... itís only the last couple of years that we ever did any covers – I wouldnít want to make a career out of it! itís fun to see what you can do...
QRD – what bands/music have been most influential & what are your current favorites?
Martin – through the years Iíve been into everything from Elvis to Kraftwerk to Beethoven to the Velvet Underground to the Sex Pistols... music has got to have something to say to me, to have power & emotion for me to be interested in it... thereís a lot of new bands I like, & Iíve been hearing a lot of stuff recently since I set up my own promotion company – The Cage – to promote industrial music here in the UK. some recent favorites... Bleak, Stoa, Pain Emission, Mind Pop, Ordo Equitum Solis, etc. etc... I hear new stuff I like every week!
QRD – are there any particular authors that influence you or your music?
Martin – authors! not a great influence -- I think I get more from films nowadays (but that may just be laziness on my part!)... I have enjoyed Kafka/Clive Barker/Bram Stoker... & Stephen King!... mmmm must be more, but I canít remember...
QRD – do you have a chemical influence of choice?
Martin – well I gave up smoking on new year's eve! Iím sure it helped me get a low "singing" voice!! didnít do much else for me though! Iíve had good times with hallucinogenics – Iíd recommend those (in moderation!) to anyone... otherwise itís beer (& lots of it!)...
QRD – are you involved in any side projects?
Martin – Iíve completed an album of experimental techno music with a friend, under the name XYZ, & itís due for release on Hyperium later this year... Iíve got a few other things on the go -- Iíve been doing some remixing & production work recently – including Die Form in France & Regenerator from LA... itís a busy time in all...
QRD – is there anything else important going on right now?
Martin – yes, weíve begun working with Franck Dematteis – a violinist/viola player with a french national orchestra (he guests on the next album) – & we are at present working on an album of classical interpretations of Attrition songs!! the initial recordings sound great, & we hope to have this out as an album by the winter... so with all these new recordings, plus the re-issues & side projects this year, weíre having the most prolific period ever for the band....
QRD – if you were a candy, what kind would you be?
Martin – Mind Drop.