Exclusive fan club audio interview - questions from the fans (radio interview)

This interview was originally planned as part of a one-hour mesh special on the radio - the first collaboration between the EBM Radio and the mesh fan club. For these purposes, we first collected questions from the fans through the fan club forum and then compiled them for this interview. In the course of the ELEKTRISCH!-festival in Berlin on 23 January 2007, Mark and Rich finally answered these questions asked by Daniel Jahn.

Unfortunately, shortly after, Daniel left EBM Radio (he needed more time for his band 'Menichal Servants'). So the interview was handed over to his successor Andre Holz with whom only a very rudimentary communication was possible. We sent numerous requests, and in the late summer of 2007 we suddenly received an answer that the interview had already aired in August 2007 in a radio transmission by DJ Harder - without our knowledge and without the planned mesh special. The disappointment on our part was understandably deep, as we had to read in the forum of EBM Radio how a couple of listeners thanked DJ Harder for this "cool interview and the interesting questions" and complimented him. The readers did not realize that he had nothing to do with it except for airing the interview.

As we do not really want that this fantastic interview go under completely, we decided to publish it here on our special page. By just clicking on the listen-button you can hear Marks and Richards answers. And for all those who have difficulties in understanding, Betty transcribed the answers additionally.

We wish you lots of fun with this interview and thank you once again for sending us the questions and Daniel Jahn for his work!

How does it feel to be on tour again?

Rich: Itís very good really. We always kind of enjoy touring. So you know itís always good to come back and play. So yeah, weíve quite up beat. Iím looking forward to play. So yes, itís great.

Mark: Weíre really enjoying it at the moment. So itís been really really good ever since we had a couple of problems at the first show. But other than that weíre really enjoying it. So itís nice. Itís like home again. It just feels like every day now. So itís good. Weíre getting used to touring I think.

Tonight youíre playing at the elektrisch!-Festival, a special festival for the new elektrisch!-compilation which also includes a remix of your "Step By Step". Do you like remixes in general?

Rich: Itís one of those things. I mean you get good and bad remixes. Sometimes they can help get the music to other people, you know. If itís a kind of dance mix you know it can be used in clubs. So it has its place you know, but I don't ever think... the remix is better than the original songs. But you know on this album Roy, from Mechanical Cabaret, has done a great job of remixing the song for us... So yeah itís cool.

Mark: We quite like doing remixes I suppose. It depends on the band. So we only really do stuff that we like, so we donít do endless remixes for people. We just kind of pick and choose what you know ... you never gonna make a fortune out of doing remixes. We do it because we like it really rather than... it tends to kill the creativity sometimes if you do too many ... if you do one remix after another. You use up too many ideas I think.

How do you decide which song you play live?

Mark: We have not really managed to do that very successfully, havenít we? Weíve kind of ... weíve changed a few things on the tour as weíve gone along, so I think primarily itís kind of ... for us itís new stuff, recent stuff, some old tracks.

Rich: This is always difficult to strike a balance I mean you know. At the end of the day, touring is about promoting something you know. So if youíve got a new album out, then obviously you gonna play stuff of the new album to kind of push that. But, youíve got kind of have a balance of playing older stuff to keep you kind of, the fans or new people happy really. And also to kind of you know...so that they get to hear some of the older stuff as well so.

Mark: And we do try things when we play a track. If it works, we we'll do it again, if it donít we kind of think again and we change it. You know when itís ... a couple of things last night we thought hmm, itís ok, not so good, maybe ... so weíll change them out tonight and just try something different tonight. So every day, thereís some kind of small changes, maybe change things around, but you know ... thereís mainly new stuff and you know mainly stuff that is fresh to us ... If weíve done something one hundred times before, sometimes itís difficult to find the enthusiasm to do it again really. I mean the big part is us really if we feel weíre getting bored at doing it, we stop doing it and we move to something else. Thatís not always what people want, but this kind of keeps us interested.

Why are most of your shows in Germany?

Rich: Well, I guess, weíve got a reasonably good following here I guess. And our crew comes from Germany, our promotional company comes from Germany, our record company comes from Germany. So I think thereís an element of they want us to tour. You know, the record company obviously likes us touring because it sells more records and...

Mark: When our record label was in Sweden, weíve spent most of our time in Sweden. Itís very, you know, Scandinavia. So itís very much based on where people can do their best job...you know Jan, Pluswelt all them, they're here, they know all the clubs, they're near the scene, they know where you can play, they know the promoters. It generally makes sense. We go all over the place but usually it's one off shows and the promoter doesn't have so much control over what happens. So you can turn up some where, it could be good, it could be bad, you don't know. Here the promotion company knows everything about all the clubs.

Rich: Just recently we've been to Russia and Amsterdam and Spain, so you know we do go to other places. But it's maybe not so kinda intense touring, like Mark said it's just one or two shows in that country then move on, so...

Do you plan to release a DVD or a CD with recordings from the "We Collide"-Tour?

Rich: Well, funny you should say that. Yeah, we are planning...we are recording a couple of shows on this tour. And for that very purpose we'd like to put out a live DVD. Weíve got a lot of people asking us for that, especially from America because we havenít done a lot of stuff in America and I think people kinda really want to see whatís it all about. And now they obviously get the chance to come and see us. So yeah I mean it was a good idea our record company were kinda really interested in putting something out. So we decided to give it a go.

Mark: So we gonna do these two shows in Hamburg and...

Rich: Hamburg? Hanover.

Mark: Hanover. Hanover and Krefeld.

Rich: Sure?

Mark: Think so.

Rich: Oh no...I mean...

Mark: Krefeld as well. So we got lots of cameras on standby. We got lots of tour footage that we do just every day, just everybody messing around and you know, just a little bit of kind of what goes on, you know, on tour. Just a bit of backstage stuff, should be fun to put together.

Which Mesh song do you think is the most typical Mesh song?

Mark: I think weíve all got kind of different things, I think weíve all got kind of favourites I suppose. My favourite is "My Hands Are Tied" at the moment. No sorry... "Can You Mend Hearts?". Thatís my favourite. I donít think itís a typical song. I think itís an unusual thing for us. Not sure about typical really.

Rich: No...I donít know what "typical" means really. Itís kind of with each album you try to change your style and try to do different things. But I suppose, inevitably people say there is kind of a theme running through things that makes us sound like Mesh (if you know what I mean?). From the last album we put out I reckon, the most typical kind of Mesh track would be "No Place Like Home". Itís obviously quite a deep moving song, just sounds like us obviously.

Are there any Mesh songs which you donít like anymore?

Rich: Yeah, there is a few. I mean thereís things like, probably when we first started things we put out as singles cause we thought it was the right things to do and a little bit too poppy. But people like them, so you end up having to do them live anyway. Iím not going to say which tracks but there are a few I think we are tired of playing and thatís possibly cause weíve played them so many times. Right from the start weĎve been chucking them into the shows, you just kind of think I need to move on. I think that same could be said for every artist. Any artist whoís got a kind of massive single, they've got to played it cause their public expect them to play it. I donít think we hate playing anything itís just like you get tired of playing it and just want to do something different.

How much time do you spend on making music?

Rich: Quite a lot really.

Mark: Depends on the time of year really, depends on whatís going on really, I mean it. You know at the moment we donít, we havenít spent a lot of time because we have been getting ready for, just touring really and it takes a long time because we reprogram everything and we change things and just to change one song is a major job, itís not easy to do. I suppose we spend a few days a week doing it, but it depends, i mean, it. When we finish this we go back and start writing again, weíve got a long time before we need to do anymore live stuff, maybe the odd show on the weekend or something so, weíre kind of looking forward to that, we got about 3 tracks already written, but weíve got another 7, 8, 9, 10 to do maybe, so weíre going to have to put a lot of time in to do that, but you need a space to do it in. If youíre touring it just breaks it up and it just makes it difficult to write anything really.

Do you still have other jobs beside the music?

Rich: We did give it up, kind a give up our day jobs as it were when we first got signed. It was nice to kind a concentrate 100% on doing the music. But eh just the way the music business is these days, thereís not as much money about as there used to be obviously. So we worked almost like part time really. We do the music as well as our other kind of day jobs.

Mark: So we have a lot of holiday, donít we?

Rich: Yeah, we do.

Mark: We take a lot of holiday to do things like this, and try to fit the writing in around what we do at home. But itís very difficult I mean unless you want to live like a student for the rest of your life. Itís very difficult really. I mean the money that comes in we use for the expenses of the recording and the various things we got to do, equipment and stuff. So we still got money coming in but is not enough to live on really. You could live on it but youíd have to live fairly simply, just a room (Rich: baked beans) a bread, canít do that every night. So itís ok. The bands that do, we know guys in the scene that live off of it.

Rich: But they havenít got families the difference we have got a kind of normal life outside of this with family and kids. So you could make it pay but youíd be on the road all the time so itís not really what we want.

Mark: Youíd have to tour for 6 months every year. You know if you want a family and you want a life you donít go on tour itís as simple as that. You canít. Itís not fair on people really to expect them to have you away for 6 months or 7 or 8 months or what ever long. Itís just not fair. So you do one thing or the other, you either have a band and you make your money out of it, or you have a family and you do the music when you can. We do the latter really. So itís frustrating sometimes.

Some days ago Stefan Herwig announced that he will close his label "Dependent" in the middle of the year because heís tired to fight against illegal downloads. What do you think about the problems with illegal MP3s?

Rich: It affects everybody, you know, right to the top of the kind of market, people like Madonna I should imagine sheís notice her sales are down. But she obviously sells enough that is still not really that bigger problem. But when you get to kinda our level, I mean it is a problem. We still sell a lot of records, but itís no where near as many as it used to be, like five years ago.

Mark: I think itís ok for the big artists. I think they made that money back from publishing because thereís more channels, more radio, more internet radio stations. Thereís video channels, hundred of cable channels and they make money back on radio plays and video plays. But unless youíve got that, you know, and this year has been quite good for kinda radio play in Germany and stuff but, thatís useful to us. But the record side of it is very hard at the moment. Itís changing, I think more people are prepared to pay to download music now, and I think with iTunes and stuff itís made it more difficult for people to, or more trouble to find things.

Rich: I think itís almost quite exciting times really. As much as itís kinda frustrating for musicians it also could be quite exciting because you know we talked recently about is it worth writing albums anymore? Or do you just write a song and stick it straight on iTtunes and sell it, and itís so much quicker, rather than having to put a collection of songs together, in an album than you put it on iTunes then somebody downloads two tracks, cause they liked it and the rest just go to waste. I donít know, I just think the whole format the way music is sold, and got out to the general public is changing. So you got to kinda embrace it really, you got to go with it, otherwise you would just get left behind. So I donít know itís just weird times, I donít think anybody knows the answer of what to do at the moment.

Do you still buy CDs to get inspiration from other music?

Rich: I donít tend to buy many CDs anymore. I used to, I used to love music. But I donít know what I find inspiring anymore. I havenít got any kind of favourites, but just like I was just saying just a minute ago IĎm one of those people who get on iTunes and download one track of an album cause I like it, rather then spend 17 Euros on buying a full album (Mark: I shall tape that.) Oh yeah (Mark: Cause Iím so skint.) Yeah.

Mark: I still buy CDs I suppose. I buy them and then I upload them onto disc then I never touch them again and thatís it. But I quite like the artwork, still like the CD. I still like to see whatís going on and what you know, whoís written what and those kind of things. Iíve not, I mean Iíve got an Ipod but I donít really use the iTunes store yet. Maybe should do, bit more. But yeah donít know. I buy anything really, anything I like. I quite like ehm. I donít really buy electronic music you know I mean, cause I hear it all the time, so I tend to buy old jazz or guitar pop something I mean whatever. Just anything thatís sounds good, a bit of Morrissey something like that. Bit a Foo Fighters or whatever anything, really. Jazz kind of stuff. Just all kinds of rubbish.

Are there any books or films that inspire you?

Mark: Iím buying old films on DVD, you know, like old spaghetti westerns. You know, just things I see... I collect the old DeNiro films and Pachino films and stuff like that. Iím just buying all these films on DVD so I can watch them if Iím in a hotel or something like that. I love all that stuff, a bit of Science Fiction as well, anything like that. Not too into the Horror at the moment. "Saw" and things like that. (laughter) Horrible...isnít it?
I kinda like reading just travel books and comic books. I donít really like stories so much anymore. Although Iíve got Michael Chrichton book at the moment, heís quite good. "State of Fear", itís quite good, Iím reading that at the moment. Things like that. Itís going to take me 3 years to read a book like that. But dunno, anything really, just donít like stories, you know what I mean? Just thrillers or anything like... just boring, you know? (laughter)

Do you have any friends around synth-bands?

Rich: Oh god yeah we got loads, we got them in nearly every band I think now. Weíve been doing it for so long you know... you inevitably end up playing with you know one of these bands somewhere, so yeah weíve got some really good friends like Apop and De/Vision and I donít know...

Mark: Covenant.

Rich: Covenant, Beborn Beton, In Strict Confidence. (mumbling) A lot of people really.

Mark: VNV Nation, (Rich: Yeah.) You know all the guys...We end up in the same clubs and the same places all the time you know what I mean so...

Rich: Well itís quite a good little scene really, I mean I think everybodyís kind of reasonably friendly with each other and its kind of...

Mark: Crüxshadows.

Rich: Crüxshadows, yeah. (laughing)

Mark: So, they're everywhere arenít they?

Rich: Yeah.

What happened with "Enchantment"? This song was played by you during the first concert. Can we hope that you will release this song later?

Rich: "Enchantment", oh my god. Yeah, thereís a few tapes knocking around. When we first started, we were obviously doing demo tapes like every band does, and we was kinda selling them, so there are some really doggie songs knocking around.

Mark: I mean the thing is when we started we didnít really know what we wanted to do, and it was like, well we kinda got similar interests so me and Neil we kinda you know we used to live, I donít know just a few hundred meters away from each other (Rich: yeah really yeah.) for years and we never knew, you know what I mean, and never knew that we had the same kind of interests you know what I mean. When we met up I suppose we didnít we kinda, we had reference points we knew what we liked but we didnít really know what we were doing, and it was kinda like the early 90's wasnít it, there was a lot of dance music going around. Dance music just starting you know all this kinda like Inner City stuff you know Alternate and all this people, do you know I mean like writing stuff, and it was kinda like that a bit unusual you know what I mean. So we were kinda influenced by some of that you know, and we like the electronic music but we also thought this dance music is quite good, and that track kinda came out of that really. So eh, I listened to it the other day actually for some reason, oh I know what is was, I think somebody sent it to me. Bizarre I was listening to it. It was all right actually, I didnít like it at the time cause itís not really what I want to do, but so I donít know. Itís a bit cheesy like you know.

Rich: Itís quite funny I was in a band previous to Mesh and we put out a single, not going to tell you what the band was called, cause I donít want people looking for it, but eh, some guy wrote to me the other day from Norway and he said "I managed to buy this record on Ebay, and it says written by R. Silverthorn. Is it you?" And I had to write back to him, "Oh my god yes it is me. Please donít tell anybody cause it was so embarrassing."

Mark: Never put your name on anything.

Rich: So Iím not going to tell you what the band was called, but there you go. My past be coming to haunt me, coming back yeah.

Mark: Pleasures of Ebay.

Do you sometimes look on eBay how much money people pay for rare Mesh-stuff?

Mark: I donít, you do.

Rich: Well no, I donít, itís a friend of mine sent a link through the other day and itís, we put out like, a white label dance kind of 12 inch, and it was on there, and it something like a £114/£115 pounds and I couldnít believe it, so I got mine out and I was going to put mine on and try and sell it, but no, I donít generally. I mean, I occasionally have a look but thereís not a lot on the UK kind of ebay thing. Obviously because people donít want to sell our records because they are so good that they wouldnít want to get rid of them would they.

Mark: Or if theyíd never bought them, they're just selling files.

Do you also look for reviews about Mesh in the internet?

Rich: Yeah, yeah I do, I shouldnít I really shouldnít because Iím the worst person for reading you know, if our album gets 4 and a half out of 5 I think well whatís the matter with that, why wasnít it a 5 you know what I mean, so Iím just the worst person, but I do look, I can't help but look you know.

Mark: Yeah I donít really, I used to be like that and I really donít worry about it anymore, I think I just look at whatís happening to us and I think well thatís good, whatís happening is good, thereís always going to be somebody who hates what you do, thereís always going to be somebody and if you listen to them you think that thatís the general opinion of everybody and I donít worry, I mean if itís criticism and itís kind of... itís justified then maybe you know.

Rich: He doesnít have to look because I tell him. (laughing)

Mark: He tells me anyway so... just look at this... I could kill him.

Rich: Somebody told me today that our album was voted one of the best or the top 5 albums of 2006 so... My god weíre on (laughter) so yeah things like that you know... itís nice to know. But then itís also kind of quite depressing if somebody says something bad.

Mark: But the thing is youíll read 20 great reviews and youíll read one and youíll be pissed off about it for the rest of the day because itís bad thatís just me, I mean... I think well thatís 20 good reviews then thereís one, somebody there donít like it but I mean thatís going to be the same in any walk of life thereís always going to be somebody that says this is rubbish or this is rubbish, you know and you know itís not really worth worrying and if everybody is saying its rubbish then yeah itís a different thing but thatís not the case at the moment, wait till the next album then.

Rich: Yep.

Do you like football? If yes, what is your favourite football club?

Mark: No, I donít. Right, thatís it.

Rich: OK. (Both laughing) Yes I do. Iím not a massive massive fan. I mean Iím one of these people who read the results and read the papers a bit. I generally know whatís going on and I support Arsenal. I donít know why because I live in Bristol and obviously Arsenal is a London team but um, I sort of generally follow the Premiership to know whatís going on. I donít go to games and Iím not one of these boring people who just sit there talking about football all the time so.

Mark: My son heís eight and he plays all the time. So I got to take him to football all the time. So Iíve kind of started playing Five-a-side.

Rich: Which I would love to see.

Mark: Causes all the dads are kinda just waiting around so we thought "letís go play Five-a-side" so. Not only do I not like football, I have to watch football all the time.

Rich: And play...

Mark: And play... (laughs) So to say that I donít have anything to do with football is wrong.

Rich: Heís the last dad that gets picked when theyíre choosing sides.

Mark: Yeah right (laughs).

Rich: "Oh weíll have to have Mark then."

Mark: Last but one that. Thereís a guy with one leg. They donít pick him. (laughs)

After all these years of making music: Whatís your motivation to go on again and again?

Rich: I guess itís because we love making music really. Itís one of those things, itís an outlet. Itís kind of escapism from real life. I don't know. I just love doing it. (I also think that) this year obviously cause Neil left the band we had to sort of sit down and think "is this the end of Mesh"? Do we kinda all knock it on the head now and say weíve had a good time? I seriously did think about it and then I kinda come away thinking "no I love doing this", you know. Itís kinda a passion that, you know, while we can do it and while people still like what weíre doing, then Iíll carry on doing it. The point where people think, "oh no I donít like it anymore", then ok weíll stop.

Mark: For me, itís a part of our life. Itís the major part of our life. Weíve probably been interested in doing this for twenty years. When we first kinda picked up keyboards and stuff and itís nice being in the studio just writing. Because you donít know what...you start the day and you start writing a song and you donít know what youíre going to have at the end of the day. It could be something great, you know. Something you really love and I think thatís kinda of the interest. Itís not like you got it all in your head and you know what youíre going to put down. So, you know, you start the day working and by the end of the day youíve got something there that, you know, youíre excited by and I think thatís the kind of buzz we get from it really. And the touring thing is really good as well; itís not just playing the shows. Itís kinda weíve got a lot of friends and we have a nice time.

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