Just before their gig in the Cologne Live Music Hall, we met the three band members Mark Hockings, Neil Taylor and Richard Silverthorn of MESH and looked forward to a cosy 20-minutes-interview.
You have just played in the Saturn store in Cologne. How was it?
Neil: Unfortunately, it was cancelled. Itís a pity because we have never done such a thing before. But tomorrow, in Hamburg, we are going to do it, thatís for sure.
Richard: We are really looking forward to it. Itís definitely something different.
Neil: Our record label came up with the idea and we just thought that was funny.
You call your music "electronic mainstream crossover". This sounds quite original and unique. Where do you primarily differ from rock bands?
Neil: This also came from our record label. That description is, by all means, not our idea.
Richard: We have always done electronic music somehow. So for this reason, the word "electronic" should be included in the music description.
Where does the band name "MESH" originate from?
Richard: There is no story behind, really. It just happened.
Neil: We were looking for a band name. Mark sometime said "MESH" and we all thought this sounds cool. Thatís it, really.
Mark: We also belong to that group of bands that had a lot of trouble in finding a name (laughs). That was in 1992.
What was the reason that you were first released on the Swedish label "Memento Materia"?
Richard: Well, actually the first release was already in England. Our EP "Fragile" was released there first.
Mark: We then gave a tape to our tour promoter who forwarded it to Sweden. A couple of people liked it and so we had our first gigs there.
Neil: In hindsight, this was really pretty funny. In Sweden, we played in front of 50 people. It was not really worth it. But never mind, we gained our first important experiences.
How long did you work on your last album "We Collide"? Where was it recorded?
Mark: We have our own studio. All in all, it took us about two years to get this album ready. We are not a band that is already writing their next album during a tour. We need some peace and quiet to do that. And that is what we have in our studio. Itís also much more relaxing there.
Neil: We did most of the work ourselves and, above all, made the decisions. We not only created the music but the artwork as well.
Are you interested in the press reviews?
Richard: Well, I read them... I have to admit. And it still bothers me when I read such gratuitous reviews that are not really well-founded. Nobody has to like our music, but the review really should be objective.
Mark: But we are much more relaxed now. (laughs and looks around)
How do you respond to people often comparing you with Depeche Mode?
Mark: We are also quite relaxed about that too. We produced "We Collide" with the ex-Depeche Mode producer Gareth Jones. Originally, we had some provisos, of course. We checked out the artists with which he had already collaborated with. And then it was clear to us that he would fit in very well. In the end, we were right.
Neil: He also was glad to distance himself from Depeche Mode for a while and gain new experiences.
Richard: If you ask us, however, if we like Depeche Mode: SURE! We like their music anyway. Like so many others, we also grew up with them.
What are your experiences in Germany? Is the audience different from the one, for instance, in England?
Mark: Every time, we tour in Germany, we are so thrilled. The audience is so grateful and somehow... emotional!
Neil: Yes, thatís right. In England, people are often very cool and unemotional. In Germany, the audience so supportive and is free with its emotions. Thatís amazing.
Will you be guests at any German festivals this summer?
Mark: As far as I know itís not completely certain yet.
Neil: We will be at a couple of festivals in Scandinavia. Thatís for sure.
Richard: We like playing at festivals. So it would be great if we could play some. We should know more about it in the next two or three weeks.
Are there a certain roles assigned to the members of MESH?
Neil: Sure, there are. We used to do most of the work ourselves in the past. And nowadays, we still do a lot ourselves. I am, for instance, responsible for photos, the artwork and parts of homepage.
Mark: When we are on tour, we are just like a big family anyway which shares all tasks. We also keep, for example, an online-tour-diary.
How do you write the songs?
Mark: Well, itís me who primarily writes the songs. Normally, I like writing them when Iím alone with my guitar and a few text fragments at the beginning. Even when we do strong electronic music, I start on the acoustics guitar first.
Neil: Then Mark goes to the studio for a rehearsal and later we work together on arrangements. That works very well.
Which band do you like listening to privately at the moment? Do you know German bands?
Neil: Well, I quite like the new "Madonna" album, for example. Or the English band "Snow Patrol". But I think they are not known in Germany (laughs).
Mark: At the moment, I like listening to "Soulwax" from Belgium. Or the latest "Morissey"-album.
How intensely do you use the internet?
Mark: Very intensely! We have had, for example, a homepage for 11 years now and therefore, we were one of the first bands online. I used to work in web design and made money that way.
Richard: On tour, we are also always on wireless LAN. Yes, the network is our second home, you can say.
Are you on your page more often? Do you have personal contact with the fans there?
Mark: We really do. We try to mingle with fans regularly. There is one German fan and friend who built the German fan page and still maintains it. Some really good friendships have evolved.
Neil: Now we have an account on myspace.com, too. We also use these portals to keep in touch with people.