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Issue 12
Soul Whirling Somewhere int
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Attrition interview October 23, 1997
Attrition is the longest running QRD band having been around since 1980.  they're an electronic project that varies from dancey to atmospheric & are as cutting edge now as when they started.
QRD – what's become of your side projects Engram & XYZ & do you have any others currently going on?

Martin – well Engram we just started & did a couple of things & basically when I started teaching at the college & had a little baby girl it just became that I didn't have the time to do the thing so much.  it's just on a bit of a hold, it's not been canceled, but we've not had the time.  it's just purely not having the time.  XYZ or XYZed was finished, the whole album, to go on Hyperium & after they'd had it for a year & not done anything with it, we just said to them, "are you gonna send us the tapes back or put it out?" & it ended up we asked for the tapes back even though they'd signed the contract.  that was when things were all falling apart with them.  so really I should look for another label, but because it's a joint thing....  the problem with me doing side projects is if it's just me it might as well be Attrition.

QRD – what's your favorite Swans song?

Martin – I don't know any.

QRD – you don't know the Swans?

Martin – I do know them, but I've only ever heard something from Raping a Slave & it went "wrrrrr."  I didn't really like them much at first & then I heard them a few years later & it changed from "wrrrrr" to acoustic guitar going doodlie-doodlie & I don't really know about them.  I should know them.  the bands I'm supposed to like I don't.

QRD – do clubs in europe treat you better than the ones in america?

Martin – it varies really, like it varies here.  you get better treatment certain places, like if you ask for certain things in germany you tend to get them.  like we'll get a hotel & all the technical stuff we want.  but here it's lucky if you get them.  it's a bit more hit & miss.  so here the tour's a bit more dodgey in america.  but it depends on the people, you get just as friendly people.  so it just depends.  in germany it's like that, that you get a mixture.  so I don't think it has to do with the country, but germany's more organized than here, which helps when you're doing a tour.

QRD – are there particular movies you like to use as sample sources or do you prefer to get them from actual people?

Martin – I don't really like the popular films, although I did use Wild at Heart for "One of These Mornings..." & Pacific Heights.  but normally I like the old black & white 1930's films where they always speak perfect english.  I've actually got some stuff for the next album from Curse of the Cat People, the original one from the 1930's & that's quite nice.  I like old black & white movies.

QRD – what about using random sample sources from actual people?

Martin – oh, like answer phones? well, I've got a track on the new album called "I Am a Thief" & I stole everyone's' voices for the introductory bit.  it's like a long ambient piece that turns into a song.  the first bit is stolen off of my answer phone & including famous people.  not very famous, but a little bit famous & they won't know until it comes out.  that'll be interesting.

QRD – will there be a collection of your recent b-sides & comp appearances soon?

Martin – there've been quite a lot & I think something like a Recollection 2 would be a good idea because there are some singles that are deleted.  you could put singles, even the a-sides because they're no longer available & lots of rare ones & re-mixes & I could easily do an album of those.  it wouldn't be a "best of," it would just be a compilation.  in a way that's what Recollection was really.  so I think it would be nice to do it, but I don't know when.

QRD – what kind of monster would you most like to be & what kind do you most identify with?

Martin – not zombies, I read your fanzine.  I don't know if it would be a vampire.  that's not a monster, just kind of a monster.  a vampire alien type of thing.  maybe an american.

QRD – what's the closest you ever came to stop doing Attrition & why?

Martin – I never really came that close.  I did have a time when I moved to holland & got married in '88 & then I came back & left the equipment back in holland & I got a divorce & I wrote "A Girl Called Harmony" about it & my equipment was in holland for so many months & I took an art course & that was about six months I didn't do any music; but I did paint, which was really good because I did a lot of things.  at home in my portfolio I have paintings called "A Tricky Business," "3 Arms & a Dead Cert," "Hidden Agenda," "Ephemera," & they're all paintings.  all those titles have come from paintings.  not Etude, but all my album titles since 1990 have come from paintings.  so it was nice to have a break, but it doesn't really matter, it's still art.  maybe one day I'll have six months & just paint again.  I think that's quite nice & quite healthy, but I never wanted to stop the band.

QRD – what job would you most like to have that doesn't involve music?

Martin – I want to run a restaurant, a vegetarian restaurant.  I've actually looked into that.  but id I did it, it'd take too much time to do music as well I think.  it's a really busy job, but maybe one day I'll do that.

QRD – who would you like to play with that you haven't played with before?

Martin – I don't know really, I'm not really bothered about that.  that's just like saying musicians that you like.  I'd like to meet lots of people, but I don't really care if I play with them or not.  it doesn't really mean very much.  it's like fame by association.  I'd rather meet them or maybe even work with them doing some music, but there're so many people & no one in particular.

QRD – what's your favorite love song?

Martin – my favorite song, I don't know if it is a love song, my favorite piece of music is Beethoven's Ninth Symphony which is called Ode to Joy.  I don't know if that would qualify as a love song.

QRD – how old were you when you formed Attrition & why did you decide you needed to?

Martin – I think I must've been about 21.  I was always into music a lot & then I started a fanzine & wrote about the bands & then I got a bit bored with writing about them.  actually I always knew that I had to be in a band even before I started the fanzine...  I just knew I had to do it, so I did.  I just thought I'll have a go & that's how the band started really, just from experimenting.

QRD – you seem to have moved from ambient soundscape song structure towards a more beat driven dance-ish structure, do you prefer one over the other?

Martin – no, not really.  Etude isn't like that.  I almost do one beat one & then one ambient one.  I did Hidden Agenda, followed by Ephemera, followed by 3 Arms, followed by Etude.  so it's almost fifty-fifty.  live I do the lively things because it's fun to jump around & get paid for rolling on the floor.  I would get bored if I just stood there & did Ephemera, just going "nyaaah."  but if I do some dancey beat tracks, then I go, "the next track's gonna be some ambient thing,"  because I get a bit bored.  I want to do everything really.  on the new album I have a quite nice mix.

QRD – have you had any interesting dreams lately or other surreal experiences?

Martin – I dreamt I was on tour in america the other day with a band which is ridiculous.  I don't think I've had enough sleep in the past two weeks to dream.  it was weird actually last night we left the keyboard stand & when I phoned home my girlfriend Jenny told me how she left the stroller in the car park yesterday as well & that was a bit strange, a bit too much for coincidence because we don't normally loose things & we both lost something on the same day.  apart from the accident with the aliens recently, I can't think of anything.

QRD – are you going to move towards using more live guitars & the viola?

Martin – no, not guitars.  I'd like to bring in the viola, but obviously Frank plays in the opera & he'd have to be paid because that's his job & he needs the money.  so I'm not going to drag him on a tour for a few weeks.  also being in Paris it's not so easy to rehearse with him.  that's one idea & the other is Richard who's our driver has electronic drum pads & I wouldn't mind including those because we've had percussion before.  it all comes down to the expense of running a band really.  if we get more money, which we might next year, we could bring an extra person & perhaps a percussionist would be good.  but something like violin I'd like.  I'm not so bothered about guitar because even if we use them on the record they're never going to be a major instrument with Attrition.  because although I like big noise guitars, I don't like them all the time.  they get a bit boring I think.  but violin would be interesting & percussion would be nice.  but then I'd also like a regular soundman & a lighting person & so we've got a big van then & we'd have to charge four times as much money.  so we have to see how it goes really.

QRD – do you have a date for the next record coming out yet?

Martin – it's next year, but it won't be for about a year or something.  I won't have finished it until about Easter.  I'm not going to rush it, because I feel we've got the time & people have enough albums to get into.  I don't know when it will be, maybe the middle of next year or something & we should be back anyway to tour.

QRD – what do you think your maximum sales potential would be?

Martin – you could always say a million I suppose, but realistically I don't know.  I'm sure we could sell a lot more than we do, we sell a few thousand, but I'm sure it could be tens of thousands if it was promoted properly & everything was done right.  a lot of things need to happen with investment & people with business heads which a lot of people in the indie world don't have.  it's important to try & sell a lot so you can accomplish some of the aims of your music.  at the end of the day though, it's the music that matters most so I'm not going to worry too much.