For the release of their new album, "We Collide", which will be released on 31st March 2006, "Mesh" alias Mark Hockings, Neil Taylor and Richard Silverthorn granted an interview to

How do you define the Mesh sound?

Mark: We try to avoid defining it where possible. Our roots are firmly in the electronic music genre I guess - that's where we took our inspiration and that's why we started making music, but our influences are broad and cover all genres. We write songs with emotion and energy which are sometimes mainstream, sometimes underground. Our songs are always written as an honest reflection of who we are and what we would enjoy listening to.

Rich: I think primarily it's the songs that touch peoples emotions and the music is there to reinforce the mood or atmosphere. Over the years we have honed our production skills and we have carved our own distinct sound. We do spend a lot of time sampling and programming the right sound for the tracks, but foremost is the song itself. It has to stand up on its own before we even consider programming the music. I read other bands reviews where people say "they sound very Mesh-like" which is quite a compliment, implying we have our own unique sound.

How are work tasks defined between you?

Mark: We have always tried to split the music input between us but inevitably roles emerge. Rich probably spends the most time in the studio and is responsible for much of the programming on "We Collide". He is pretty much programming all of the new tour material too. Rich also writes music and plays guitar. Neil is also a programmer and writer. He takes all of the photographs and produces all of the artwork for the band - that's EVERYTHING! He produces all of the tour video material and some of our promotional video clips like those on the Limited Edition bonus DVD. Neil sorts out the business side of mesh for which we are all very grateful. He is also learning the bass guitar... so watch out! I (Mark) am a programmer and writer and singer. I write all of the lyrics for our songs and a proportion of the music.

Why did it take so long for the release of this new album to be announced?

Mark: We kind of took our time with this album to give us a bit of breathing space and to re-evaluate things. We've been doing this a long time and it was time for a break to be honest. We have also had some record company issues, or rather the record company have had some issues which they needed to resolve. The business problems are sorted out and we are refreshed and ready to move forward so things are good at the moment.

It's the first time you work with a producer. What did Gareth Jones bring along? Is it because of his influence that the contribution of guitars is higher than in previous albums?

Mark: True, we did work with a producer, but he wasn't a producer on our album this time. Gareth was responsible for mixing just over half of the album and he produced a couple of vocal sessions. It's a decision we made quite late in the process and after we had already recorded and produced "We Collide" in its entirety. He was a great guy to work with and a legend in our eyes - he made a dramatic difference to a number of tracks and we have only praise for his work.

Rich: Gareth's name came up for the last album and our record company were very keen to use him but we had our concerns. We knew he was exceptionally good at what he does because of his vast C.V. of albums he has worked on, but because of his close relationship with Depeche Mode we were unsure as to whether it was the right move for us. When his name came up this time we thought we would do a bit more homework and see what else he had been doing. At the time of looking it turned out that he had been doing quite a varied selection of bands and musical styles. He had also just finished wotking on the Embrace album which was number 1 in the UK charts. We met with Gareth in London at one of our shows to talk things through and made the decision that he was the right guy for the job. It was a great experience working with him, he was very in tune with what we were trying to achieve with this album. He came to our studio in January and we spent an intense week of mixing. It was great to have an outsiders view on what we had been doing for the last 18 months. Gareth is a very precise and fast worker and has a good ear for pulling the right elements of the songs to the foreground. Although he had no musical input in the album the way he balanced sounds really brought some tracks to life. We certainly made the right choice.
Regarding the guitars, we have always liked the sound and energy you can get from the guitarand felt it suited the songs. We have never been one of these purist electronic bands, if it sounds good we use it. The guitars were intentionally mixed high by us and Gareth was more than happy to leave them that way because he's a bit of a rocker at heart...

What are your projects after the release of the album?

Mark: Well, we've started recording demo's for the new album - we would like to avoid the same time scale as this album ran into. Other than that, I think there will be plenty of work to do promoting our music in all the countries that don't know anything about us yet (that's most of them I think...). It's difficult to make plans too far in advance really - things are never that predictable.

You made many remixes for the other groups (Camouflage, De/vision... ), do you have other remix projects?

Mark: We did mixes for the Cruxshadows, Carolmasters, Thermostatic and for OBK in Spain. We did at one point think of getting more into this but it didn't really work out from a time point of view. I guess we'd do more if the right things come along.

Is a DVD re-release of "In This Tour Forever" scheduled?

Mark: I certainly know it's been talked about. Maybe it's too old now but I think it's a definite possibility. We will certainly be releasing a DVD of our coming tour and some of the other things we have been doing in the last few years. In the meantime there is a DVD with the Limited Edition of "We Collide"... Did I mention that?...

Your tour happens mainly in Germany. How are you perceived in England?

Rich: The tour kicks off in and around Germany but there will be additional dates announced for other countries and festivals later. The UK is quite a strange market for us. I think the problem is the scene itself. It is still seen as "Dark or Industrial" and the press don’t understand that it is not all like that. There is a lot of melodic and dare I say it "commercial" bands in this genre of music that just do not get a break or exposure.

Mark: We have a pretty big and very loyal fanbase in England which seems to be growing steadily though we rarely play here and have little distribution in the UK. I think the internet allows that to happen really. It looks like we finally have distribution here for the new material so I hope that situation will help us to move things forward. That would be great for us - it's nice to be so successful in other places, but it's always good to be appreciated at home.

What are your CDs of the moment?

Rich: Madonna - Confessions On A Dancefloor, Soulwax - Any Minute Now, Apoptygma Berzerk - You And Me Against The World, NIN - With Teeth.

Mark: K.T. Tunstall - Eye To The Telescope, Apoptygma Berzerk - You And Me Against The World, Kate Bush – Ariel, Chet Baker – Let’s Get Lost, Massive Attack – Live With Me (Single)

Do you know the French musical arena? Which bands? How do you define the French musical arena?

Mark: We know very little about the French music scene in the same way as we know very little about the German music scene apart from what we learn when we are there. Unfortunately the UK gives very little airplay to anything other than UK or US artists. It’s a form of musical ignorance I suppose of which we should be a little ashamed.
I remember reading that France has to have a certain percentage of French language songs in the chart? Is that true or an urban myth?

Rich: Ermm... Daftpunk, spring to mind.

Have you ever performed in France? Where would you like to play?

Rich: Yes we did play in France a few years ago now, in La Locomotive with Apoptygma. It was a good night didn’t really get to see Paris though. We would love to come back and do some more shows, here’s hoping.

Why does Mark always wear a ski cap?

Mark: I've pretty much always worn hats when performing with the band - it's grown into an obsession I think. Now I've shaved all my hair off it keep my head warm too...

Rich: To hide the battery pack. He’s an Android.