First of all, I would like to thank you for giving this interview.
Mark + Neil: You're welcome.
How did you get down to music? How did you discover your love for music?
Neil: My interest in music started with punk. This might have been around 1976/77. I felt enthusiastic about The Clash and other bands at that time. Then electronic music with Depeche Mode, OMD, Gary Numan came up and I started to play a bit of keyboard. And the sounds simply inspired me.
Mark: I was rather into the 50s. Like Elvis, for example. Fats Domino. This was the stuff I liked at first when I started getting interested in music.
We can still feel that, canít we? On the DVD (of the Limited Edition of "We Collide"), we can watch how you start writing a new song. That strongly reminds me a bit of that now.
Mark: Yes. I really like the older songs. They were simple and beautiful melodies. Simple but catchy. I used to work in the summer time to
earn money for a keyboard because I thought I could deal with it easily. It was not as simple as I thought... Then I borrowed a drum machine for
about four years from a friend who bought it without any reason.
Neil: We even found one!
Did you ever expect that mesh would become that famous?
Neil: I would say: No. Of course, you always hope that...
I remember: At the beginning of the 90s, when you had just released "In This Place Forever", you couldnít presumably even imagine it.
Neil + Mark: Yes, thatís right.
You are on tour again. What are your feelings and the reactions of the fans? Have your expectations been met?
Mark: Really good. We played at places where we have never done that much before, like the Switzerland and Austria. But the response was really good everywhere. Cologne last night was the best so far.
Neil: Of course, you always hope to get every club full of people. But it was great, very comforting.
I wish you, of course, all the best for tonight. You have not only changed your show but also your set list. You now play more guitar sounds and you have even got a drummer now. But there are two very popular songs missing "Trust You" and "You Didnít Want Me".
Mark: We decided to play as much as possible from the new album. We also toyed with a couple of other things. We played those songs at every performance really...
Did you get bored by them?
Neil: Yes, a wee bit. Maybe also because they already accompanied us since the beginning, this means for a very long time. Also because, until this tour, we havenít played anything of the new album yet. So it means you have got quite many new songs, strong songs, so others have to go.
Mark: We also donít want to play too long. Not two and a half hour.
Neil: We have new versions of a few older tracks that are quite good and all in all everything seem to be fine so far, with e.g. "Crash" and "From This Height".
You are particularly known for your special live versions of your songs. Good examples are the versions of "Confined" during the WWOM Tour or of "From This Height" during this tour. I always thought itís a shame that you can listen to these versions at a concert only.
Mark: You learn quite a lot when you play live, what works. And sometimes it doesnít have the same effect on an album. But we will give it some thoughts after we have finished. Normally, it doesnít happen when we write a song.
Have you ever thought about releasing it on an album yet?
Neil: Recently, maybe. But it was not planned. It should be something special. We had always thought that when we had seen bands playing different versions.
That really differ you, of course, from other bands because normally, they just play the same versions as on the CD.
Mark: We also re-programmed all the songs for the tour.
A very long time passed between WWOM and "We Collide". Was it only because you needed to take a break? You have got your jobs and your families. Or was it also because of some 'political' components due to the change to another label? As far as I know the album was already finished a bit longer.
Mark: We took our time.
Neil: The reason why we had a rest was that we partially needed it a bit. And due to the change to a new label, the insecurity, we didnít really have a deadline. It was always uncertain when it should be released. There was no date when we had to finish it.
Now after the release: Have your expectations been met? After all you even managed to get in the German Charts Ė at least for one week.
Mark: The feedback was great. We produce what we want. It looks cool and sounds great. It is really that what we always wanted to do. We have profited from it quite a lot. As far as the selling of the albums is concerned, we have to rely on the others.
Have you ever thought about reviving Tolerance Records?
Mark: We do that every night. (laughs)
Neil: Yes! (laughs)
Neil: Not seriously.
Mark: The record company invests a lot of money and time in it. And we have already too much to do now.
That means Tolerance was only relevant as long as you had the time to manage it?
Neil: Yes. At the beginning, it was a possibility to release our stuff. And we had revived it once more for the "Originals 91-93". It was old material that belonged to us. So we could do with it whatever we wanted. It was easy at the beginning. But now as everything is much bigger, you need more structure. Itís not that easy any more.
It strokes me that musically, the "We Collide" and the "Originals 91-93" album are quite similar. But itís rather the "Fragile" EP that made you popular in the end that sticks out.
Mark: Thatís right. "Fragile" is much more jerky.
The limited edition of "We Collide" will be only released in Germany. Are there any reasons for this?
Neil: This was the decision of the label. Itís a shame, though, of course... In Sweden, thereís also a different version available. The album comes with the "Crash" single as a bonus.
Do you have a favourite song on every album?
Mark: That would be different ones...
Neil: My favourite is "Soul" Ė a b-side of "Crash".
Mark: "Can You Mend Hearts" is my favourite at the moment. But also "Four Walls".
Maybe also "Friends Like These"? What do you associate with this song?
Neil: Itís a great song for live gigs.
Mark: There are many memories associated with it. It was a single. We also shot a video. There are so many associations that you partly forget why you wrote the song originally. I like to play it live. We create a special connection to the people when we play it. I like that.
What are your plans for the future? Have you already started with a new album?
Mark: Yes, we have. We have already finished two, maybe even three songs.
Will you take your time again?
Mark: We will take our time.
Neil: But not that much time.
Mark: Now we are signed to a reliable label and know that we can do this record with them. So we hope that the next album will be released a bit quicker. We have learned quite a lot. We have learned that we can do 90% of the work ourselves. The quality is good Ė if not even better than the last release.
For me, it sounded very clean and polished at the beginning. But after listening to it a couple of times, the songs continued growing on me. And I had to listen to them again and again.
Mark + Neil: Thatís good!
Neil: Thatís a good sign.
At first, I was a little bit disappointed, I have to admit. Because I was taken by an album like e.g. "The Point At Which It Falls Apart", that is a bit harder, right from the beginning. But consequently, I think that "We Collide" is one of your strongest album so far. Are there any people you would like to collaborate with in the future?
Mark: To be honest we donít know...
Neil: ...with each other...
Mark: With Gareth [Jones] to be honest. We have valued his work. But you can never know Ė he might not like it. We are not sure yet.
Neil: We have to wait and see how the songs work.
May we also expect the intensified use of real drums?
Neil: We have already worked with real drum sounds a long time. That was one of the reasons why it was so easy to work with a live drummer now. The possibility exists. But we havenít reached this point in the development of our songs yet. We have a couple of demos. There could be the possibility for some songs.
Do you have plans to release the Live Video ["On This Tour Forever"] as DVD or to record a live DVD of the current tour?
Neil: Yes, people are asking for that. Technically, it would be possible, of course. We were not sure, however, if there was any demand. Itís not only expensive and complicated because it also affects the old labels. Therefore, itís not that easy to release it on DVD. I think after the tour we will discuss this topic and possible suggestions we received from people and will see what is possible.
Any plans for another tour this year?
Neil: Maybe later this year. Itís just too early to say anything. Itís a lot under discussion: Festivals and so forth. We will return from this tour to England this Monday and will be on our way to Greece for a show already this coming Saturday. Then there will be the gigs in England in mid-June and Iím sure we will play a couple of German festivals. Itís enough work for us.
Your wishes for the future?
Mark: Universal peace! (making the sign for peace and grinning) This! I would like to continue with this. I want to have enough money to do this. To make it without financial pressure that it works.
Neil: I guess we all wish for satisfaction. When you are getting older, you notice that itís about human beings. Itís about enjoying things and not about material things. But yes, to be able to continue what we have started as Mark already said, to have enough money to do that. To continue to enjoy, continue to do what the people like. Itís great to get all that feedback, to see people at the shows. We feel as if we had been away a very long time.