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Interview with Attrition - conducted by Kevin Congdon - 5/97

Kevin: What first lead to your decision of incorporating live instruments into your songs?

Martin: We've always flirted with live instruments. Our first album featured electronics, percussion, bass guitar and sax. We've had guitar on some albums, although I love electronics and see them as MY instrument (as much as vocals). I see the real possibilities of other instruments too; one is not exclusive of the other!!

Kevin: Why the decision to do classical interpretations of your songs on Etude? Did you see it as a progression from "3 Arms and a Dead Cert"?

Martin: After working with Franck Dematteis on "3 Arms...," it occurred to me that I now had the chance to realize a long time ambition -- to see some of my works interpreted in a classical arrangement; I feel it worked quite well. It wasn't so much a progression from "3 Arms.." as a diversion!

Kevin: What are your future musical plans? Do you plan on incorporating even more live instruments into the mix?

Martin: The next album proper is already underway and is a step on from "3 Arms..;" it's a progression in terms of electronics and their combination with "real" instrumentation. We are exploring the interplay with violin/viola we first experimented with on "3 Arms...;" we've only really scratched the surface!! Of course there's always room for new directions.

Kevin: Do you have any desire to work on soundtracks or musical scores? Any plans to work with a full orchestra?

Martin: I have always had an interest in this area of music, but as yet have not had the time or opportunity to take up anything seriously. We don't have plans to work with a full orchestra at the moment --perhaps an idea for an "Etude 2;" but that would be a few years down the line.

Kevin: How were you received for your US tour (Darkwave festival)?

Martin: The Darkwave festival was excellent; that was our first ever US show! We did about 10 dates on the subsequent tour; it had its ups and downs -- don't they all!! But we met a lot of new fans and friends and got to see some of the country (Chicago to NY to Boston to Miami to New Orleans to Dallas). It was a little more driving than we had bargained for, but it was, at the very least, an adventure!

Kevin: Do you have any plans for another US tour in the future?

Martin: Yes, we do. We are planning to come over to the USA again this fall, maybe October. And this time we hope to get over to the west coast too.

Kevin: What is Attrition like live (in terms of equipment, members, visuals, etc.)?

Martin: As the regular Attrition line up is just me and Julie and we're singing, we bring in a keyboard synth player on stage. We've also got an evolving stage set of backdrops, sometimes slides; it depends on the size of the venue. We do tend to stick with the more uptempo or "live" songs on stage; no tracks from "Ephemera" or "Etude".

Kevin: Why did you leave Hyperium? How did you first hook up with Projekt?

Martin: The contract with Hyperium ran out and we decided not to renew it. To be honest, although they sold ok in Germany, the only other market they did ok in was the USA, and that was through Darkwave!!! I'd been in touch with Sam (from Projekt) for years (he reviewed our earliest records for various magazines). In 1990 we finally managed to cut through all the red tape and get RECOLLECTION licensed off our old labels and onto CD format on Projekt. Since then, all our early releases have appeared on Projekt's subsidiary RELIC, so it was an easy move for us to sign to PROJEKT last year.

Kevin: Do you feel more aligned towards the gothic scene or industrial scene or do such things matter to you? Do you feel you get more support from one or the other?

Martin: It varies; both these scenes unite under the Darkwave banner. We've always been a little of each (and a little of neither), but these terms don't matter at all to me; I'm a bit beyond all that! BUT they are useful reference points for anyone approaching our music for the first time. The support we get from these scenes does vary from country to country and from time to time, depending on how the fashions are hanging.

Kevin: For the most part, have you been happy with the material you've released? Was there any period of time you felt like giving the whole thing up?

Martin: I'm never totally happy with what I release!!! There's always a reason to go on and work on improving ideas the next time. I usually enjoy tracks as they near completion; once they are "set in stone" I can find so many things wrong with them; I guess that's why we have remixes. I have never felt like giving the whole thing up; I would need something to replace it. I did try painting for a while, but I came back to music; it just meant more to me.

Kevin: Do you still consider Attrition as mainly a solo project or is there now more of a collaboration with others in the creation of the music?

Martin: Attrition started out as a band project, but I ended up doing more and more. In the end I took control and things started to move along much better. I now work with people when I choose to; Julie on vocals is, of course, regular. I will be working with Franck on viola again on the next album; he lives in Paris though, so he's not normally around. And yes, I do except ideas from other people!!!

Kevin: How would you say you've progressed musically over the years?

Martin: Not at all!!!! But seriously, we have progressed in terms of the technology we use, and our skill at using it. We have, no doubt, taken in current influences on the way, but our heart is still the same Attrition that started out 15 years ago. We`re talking about the same subjects--life/death/sex/religion; we're still trying to figure them out.

Kevin: Do you have your own studio? Do you do any production or engineering work for other bands?

Martin: Yes, I have my own project studio - "The Cage" - where we have recorded the last 3 albums; it has grown a lot in the last few years. I do undertake some production and remix work for other bands, but only when I enjoy the music; I even did a little live mixing.

Kevin: Are you well-known in the UK? Are you recognized in the UK for your musical abilities?

Martin: We're known in the scene, but not well-known otherwise. Our music has always had a bigger audience in say, Germany or the USA. But that's ok, I get to travel!!

Kevin: Are you still teaching electronic music to college students? Do any of them know you are in Attrition?

Martin: Yes, I teach music technology two and a half days a week at Tile Hill college, Coventry; I teach recording techniques, synth programming, sampling, and something of the music business. I keep fairly quiet about the Attrition connection; but most students are into pop or techno, so it doesn't mean much to them anyway (and that's fine).

Kevin: What do you attribute your ability to continue as Attrition for over 15 years?

Martin: It's some kind of (stubborn) belief in what I do!!! Maybe it's because I'm still trying to get it right! I still do have a real passion for music, for my work; I still find it exciting and a real challenge. I don't do it for financial reward and I don't rely on a regular band to realize my visions, so it does mean it's very hard to stop me.

Kevin: Do you find communication with your fans much easier through the Internet? Do you feel that you can keep fans listeners more up-to-date through the Internet and your web page?

Martin: The Internet is a fantastic resource; it has helped us get in touch with more people -- as much, in that I use it to find new contacts, etc. We get a lot of e-mail now and we can manage to keep people informed of our activities much more efficiently through the Internet -- it is the future.

If anyone wants to contact us, to be put on the mailing list, or for interviews, to help set up shows, or whatever we welcome correspondence...

Attrition Information
143 Moat Avenue, Coventry, CV3 6BW. UK.

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