To celebrate the founding of the official Mesh fan club Mark, Rich and Neil gave us the following exclusive interview. As there are already many interviews about the new album "We Collide" in various magazines at the moment, we decided to put the emphasis on other interesting questions. Due to the intensive preparations for the tour it took a while to get the answers. But now the time has finally come and we wish you lots of fun while reading!

The new MESH fanclub will be online in a few days. Why didn't you have a fanclub yet? Was there nobody who wanted to do this?

Rich: In the past we have had people write to us and ask if it is okay for them to do a website about us and we have always said yes. I think a problem has been on our side in giving people up-to-date information! Also while we are between writing and recording albums things tend to go a quite quiet and so there are periods when there is nothing that we really think of as news. We are slowly realising these things and hope to make life easier for the fanclub in the future.

What's your opinion about the fanclub? Which expectations or wishes do you have?

Rich: It is very flattering for us to know people want to run a fan club for us. We are such down to earth kind of people that when fans and fan clubs are mentioned we still find it hard to come to terms with it. Having said that, we understand the importance of having a place where fans can discuss mesh and things they like and dislike etc. I must admit that I do read a lot of internet forums and discussion groups to see what people are saying about us. I think itís quite a true reflection of what people think about you.

Mark: The fanclub is very important for us. Itís a way of sharing information between people of like minds that we as a band cannot really put in place. Itís better to have somewhere independent that is not edited by the band and reflects the fans wishes.

How important are the charts for continuing the band?

Rich: Hmm... thatís a difficult one. Obviously we would love to go in the charts as high as possible but that isnít why we make music. We make music for ourselves and hope that we touch others in their lives with what we do. Unfortunately it is a business and we need money to cover recording and promotion costs, so that can only come through selling albums. So as long as there is ambition and drive in us to make music and enough money to make it possible, we will continue.

Neil: The charts are a strange thing and not always a great indicator of the success of a band. As Rich says, it is a business and record labels expect a return on their investment. Some artists do well in the chart but itís cost a lot of money to get them there so the label has actually lost money. Itís nice to tell people that you got to a certain position in the chart but it doesnít always mean much in business terms. Because the Charts are made up of the sales from only certain shops then itís possible to sell quite a lot of CDs but not get a good chart position because the places people buy your records do not count for the charts. Which is especially true if people buy from smaller independent or specialist websites or shops.

Mark: If you do well in the charts then you might get more plays on radio and TV Ė this leads to more sales and more plays Ė it doesnít matter 'per se' but the rewards are self perpetuating which means we get to make more music.

Your new album WE COLLIDE will be released soon. How much songs have you written for it? Do you have some more material in stock e.g. for B-sides of a second single release?

Neil: We usually only start working on songs properly if we intend to finish them for an album or a single etc. So we donít really have a 'stock' of songs. We do have some different versions of songs and of course some rough demos of new songs so weíll see whatís possible... :-)

Mark: As Neil says, we tend to finish what we start so it is good enough to be on an album or a single. Little is wasted really. Ideas for songs donít come along too often Ė it always seems a waste to just throw them away. We are currently working on a B-side for the second single.

On your present albums are short instrumentals between some songs. On the promo of WE COLLIDE I missed that. Do you have renounced of the instrumentals this time? And if yes, why?

Rich: Well we really didnít want to become predictable, listeners expected us to do the linking pieces of music, but for "We Collide" we decided not to put them in and make a more conventional album. We sometimes wondered whether they distracted the listener from the flow of the album.

Neil: And I think too that we really just wanted to focus on the strength of the songs without distractions.

Mark: I love the links (we actually do have hours of these recorded Ė maybe an album in itself...) but in this case I think it may have ruined the flow of what we had. This album is faster paced and we didnít want or need to set up any atmospheres before the tracks.

Can you explain in one or two short sentences each song of the new album (incl. the two b-sides)?

Mark: I generally donít like to talk about the themes behind the songs. Iíve always tried to write in such a way that the interpretations are open. On this album there are some songs that might benefit from an explanation however. These explanations have appeared elsewhere.

'Into This World'
I guess is self explanatory in itís lyrics. I had a conversation with a good friend once about how they could never have a child because the World is no place to bring a new life into. I didnít agree but I guess it made me think how lucky I have been in my life.

'No Place Like Home'
is about the break-up of a family that is close to me. There is a lot of personal stuff in it that doesnít need expanding on, but I guess itís like the conversation Iíd like to have had with the eldest daughter but never had the opportunity or the courage.

'Can You Mend Hearts'
was written during a high profile murder of two 10 year old girls in England a couple of years ago. The girls had been missing for several weeks. There was a news flash featuring a high ranking police officer saying that they had found a shallow grave and that they expected to find their bodies. It was so sad. I wrote the song as a question to the poor guy who had to make the announcement Ė youíve found the bodies, but can you mend the hearts that have been broken by the news? I know I dwelt on this for a while because "This Is What You Wanted" also came out of the later court case that resulted in the murdererís eventual conviction. One of the girlís fathers seemed so tired and hollowed out by the whole ordeal and I pictured how I could ever cope in that situation, especially when the reporters and the cameras have gone. Iím not sure I could really.

is another favourite of mine on the album. It looks at the way that even successful people who seem unstoppable, confident and happy can just break down and fall apart. It never seems to be the ones you would expect it to happen to either. Itís like a plane crash Ė what seems impossible can happen without warning, often as the result of the most trivial event and cause incredible chaos and pain.

'The Worldís A Big Place'
is a kind of hidden track on the album. I was asked to re-master and clean up an old World War II copper record which contained a message from a soldier to his wife and daughter back home. The soldier eventually came back from the war but this message was the only recording of his voice that the daughter now had. It was a strange feeling to be listening to the message late at night on my own as the voice became clearer and clearer. It made me feel quite sad if I was honest. I hoped there would be some intimate message Ė some advice from a father to a daughter for when she was old enough to understand. There wasnít. In my song there was.

The bonus DVD of the new album will contain three live videos. Have you ever thought of a complete live DVD?

Rich: Yes, we really hope to shoot enough material from our shows this year to put together a live DVD. Itís just one of those things you tend to forget about until after a tour has finished and then think "oh I wish weíd recorded a few shows". This time we are a bit more organised, so cheer really loudly and you may end up on the DVD...

Neil: Weíd want to do a good job of a live DVD so sometimes it makes more sense to just film one or two shows and then base the DVD around them.

On the past concerts the live versions of FIREFLY, MY SADDEST DAY, MY PERFECTION, WAVES and CONFINED were well received by the audience. Is there a chance, that these versions will be released on CD, either the live version or as studio re-recording?

Rich: Pretty unlikely I think. We have always tried to put together different versions of songs for the live shows to make it interesting for the audience. I know when I was growing up and watching bands play live, it was the different version they did that would stick in your mind and make the whole thing so memorable. Hopefully if we get a live DVD together some of the new live versions will be on there.

Neil: Mmmm. Itís an interesting idea and if fans were interested maybe itís something we or the label could consider for the future.

Mark: I love those versions of the songs but itís unlikely we would ever release them unless in a live show DVD.

On the album ORIGINAL 91-93 you released songs of the early days of MESH. In fan circles there are a bootleg which contains further songs of that time, e.g. DIVORCE DETECTIVE or RADAR INDICATION. Is a continuation of ORIGINAL 91-93 thinkable?

Rich: Ahh... you know about those then? When we compiled "Original" we didnít think that those tracks fitted in. Some of them were early experiments so are maybe not songs we are so comfortable with now. Perhaps I will put them on Ebay anonymously and try and make a few ££. It was good putting together an album like "Original" because there was some interesting stuff that our record company wouldnít have been interested in as a proper release, so it gave us the opportunity to release it ourselves on Tolerance Records. So maybe we might do a second part in the future of old live introís and all the linking parts that didnít appear on "We Collide".

Mark: Some things are better left undisturbed...

Are there any song you would like to do a cover-version (except WAVES)?

Rich: Only You Ė Yazoo... no only joking. I like the thought of doing a cover version but nothing springs to mind at the moment. Mark has done a great version of an Assemblage 23 track "Document" as a demo, so who knows...

Neil: It would be interesting to do something but perhaps to do a track that is not necessarily an 'electronic' song.

Mark: "Whatís So Good About Goodbye?" by Smokey Robinson.

Thank you for the interview and that I got the permission to do this fanclub.

Rich: A huge thank you for putting in the time on this fan site. It is an honour.

Mark: Thank you for spending the time doing this for the fans and for us. For a band like us itís essential and we canít thank everyone involved enough. Thanks Claus and talk soon.

Neil: Yes itís really, really appreciated by us and we hope as many people as possible will visit the site and use the forums Ė we will do our best to publicise it.

Claus Wöhrle, mesh Fanclub