Following the up and coming release of their fantastic new album, Dantes Kitchen, Keith Elcombe catches up with Martin Bowes, of one of the scenes most steadfast bands to date. (July 2004)
|1. So, its been a while since the last Attrition outing (and four years since Hard Wired interviewed you we were a printed magazine back then). Besides touring and performing, has all your time been spent putting together the new album?
Well, no ! like most musicians I have to work my time between my musical projects and my money making projects!!! in a lot of ways I prefer to keep them separate I teach music technology here in Coventry at a local college to pay a lot of my bills that way my music does not have to depend on any financial return I like it this way
2. Why the album title, Dantes Kitchen? Whats so special about this name to you?
It represents the space I am in right now! or was when I wrote the album its possibly lightened up a bit since then I went through some difficult times but came out the other side on the title track Im refering to Dantes inferno .and the kitchen somewhere to sustain life
I use a lot of symbolic references in my songs I blame it on being an art student in a previous life !
3. You seemed surprised that Id labelled you as a Goth band when reviewing the new album does it surprise you that you have so many Goths following you musically?
Im more than happy to admit to a love of most things gothicfrom people and places to films and music but not goth I really dont like that word and its connotations I know weve always created a dark music and Im happy that anyone likes it but its not goth music its really not
4. What would you say has changed in the Attrition world since the studio release of the last album (Jeopardy Maze)?
A lot is the same actually the same people are involved on the whole I worked with one or two different guests on the new album like Rafael on violin the technology has come on I did a lot more work on computer with this album which allowed me to get more into the heart of the sounds and manipulate more Im pleased with that way of working taking live sounds and electronic sounds mixing up analogue and digital and editing it all on the computer in the end
5. You worked with some other artists on the new album (Liz Green from Swarf for one) how did this come about?
Well as I have worked with a number of different female vocalists over the years I decided it would be good to record this album with a few different singers rather than restrict it to the one Ive know Liz for a few years now so I just asked I sent her a demo of The Ladder and she sent me a cdr full of ideas which I edited for the final track
6. Is there anyone you wouldve liked to have worked with on this release but couldnt?
I dont think so no I was happy with the way it went maybe next time !
7. Why so many snippets of differing musical styles on this album? (BTW, congratulations for still keeping that distinctive Attrition sound despite the new styles!)
Ive absorbed a lot of new influences since the last album Im always open to new music particularly new electronic music my live keyboards man Simon is into the whole warp/electronica thing and I took that on board I think that is the area of electronics that is moving things forward Im sure this will distance me from the goth thing ! Ive had a couple of comments from goth people saying that they think the new album is too modern (that they prefer the 80s things )
Well thats the same sort of thing people said about us in the 80s!!
8. Is it an experience you would repeat for future releases?
I really dont know what Ill do on future releases yet but yes Im always going to progress and try new things there would be no point in repeating myself
9. Did the final cut of the album have all the tracks you produced on it, or where some left off? If so, why?
I always work on more than enough tracks for an album as inevitably Im not happy with one or two tracks and at some point they are dropped or I sometimes combine them into new ones the intro on the album andante is actually the intro to a song that never made it on the album!
10. Care to tell us how you got to work with (relatively unknown act) Mana Erg? Youre down as mastering their new album, The blind watchmaker.
Bruno from Mana erg just emailed me and asked if I was interested in mastering the album! Ive done quite a lot of work with other bands in my studio
11. Is working closely with new bands something that you enjoy and get a sense of achievement from?
I do enjoy that working with other musicians theres something to be learned by everyone its important
12. What attracted you to Mana Erg?
I enjoyed the album some interesting stuff I like the fact that it is unclassifiable.. something I feel myself about my own music sometimes and a good thing creatively, if not commercially!!
13. What were the high and low points of making this new album?
The high points are always the potential of a piece of music when its nearing completion I can get such a creative high off a piece that is working well.. the low points are always those criticisms I will always make of everything I ever do that slight disapointment with the finished piece it never quite reaches heaven if you like but thats what drives me on to making the next album
14. Which track/s would you say are your favourite on the album, and why? (Apologies for putting you on the spot here.)
Its difficult depends on my mood and now we are starting to perform them live there is a different slant on some of them which changes my opinion sometimes I guess if I was put on the spot I would say Two Gods .lets go with that one !
15. How do you feel technology has helped shape the Attrition sound over the years? Is it as important today as it was say, twenty-odd tears ago?
Well there wouldnt BE an attrition without modern technology! it has enabled me to create music with no traditional musical skills a very empowering thing and yes its as important now as it always was maybe in different ways there is so much more technology and ways of working which I like the creative possibilities have expanded
16. Is it too early to ask whats in the release pipeline for Attrition next?
Actually I have a big box full of remixes here from a lot of different bands and an excellent DVD video production for one of them so were thinking of putting out a mid price remix/dvd/cd follow up to this album in a few months theres some interesting mixes from people in a lot of different scenes
17. What sort of tour are you planning to support the new album?
We are starting with some UK shows and then will tour around europe later this year and then most likely the USA we usually tour in smaller pieces so we can fit it into our other projects well continue with the tour for a year or so probably boosted by that remix release
18. Outside of music now, what has really got your back up over the past few years?
Well, since I split with me ex-girlfriend a few years ago Ive had a lot of problems getting access to my 2 children I had to take her to court last year over this..and won but it was something Id never considered before
The fact that in this country fathers dont seem to have any real rights when it comes to looking after their own children .you have the right to pay for them but not to see them you have probably seen the protests against these arcane laws recently .Something will have to change soon
19. Finally, if there were one thing about your life that you could change, what would it be?
Hmmm .I would change this last question!!!!!
Thanks for the interview!