Chinwag with Mesh

This time Dj Rex catches up with Richard Silverthorn and Mark Hockings, aka ….. electronic legends ……. MESH!!!!

Dj Rex; – Is there any story behind calling the band Mesh?
Richard; – laughs unfortunately its a very boring answer. Weve been in bands before Mesh and we both experienced problems of coming up with names. You spend more time trying to think of a decent name or something that doesnt sound like something else you can spend far too much time on it. So when we sat down and said we want to come up with a bandname, Mark just said Mesh and we just said Yep, thats fine. Theres no kind of real meaning. It was literally one of these words that we just liked. We didnt want a band with a the to start so it just needed to be a very short word.

Dj Rex; – In October 2006 Neil Taylor left the band for personal reasons, how did this make effect the remaining members?
Richard; – It came as a bit of a shock but if I was really honest, if somebody had said that somebody is going to leave the band I think I would have chosen Neil. At the end he didnt seem very happy in his role really. The way we worked was; – I tended to do the music and Mark was doing the lyrics but Neils involvement in the band was more of the business side. Hed be the organiser and take the phone calls and organise the money and things like that. I think it was really difficult for him. When we were going out doing live-shows I think he felt slightly alienated. He was standing there playing music that he didnt have much involvement in, so he just decided he wanted to leave. He had enough of the whole music thing and he wanted to kind of just settle down and have a normal life. I mean, both Mark and myself are married and have children and a family. And well, weve been in a band and I think Neil struggled with that so he needed to distance himself from the band and create a normal life. And now he has settled down and become a father. But it was a shock. I mean we were really expecting it but we werent expecting it when he did it. Because we just put out an album, weve done our first part of the European tour and then he decided to leave and we still had like festivals and another part of the tour. It did leave us with a big problem but we got through it.
Dj Rex; – Neil Taylor also was in charge of the artwork, right?
Richard; – Yeah, he was. And thats something else we had to struggle with. Right from the beginning he has always done the artwork for us. So with this new album we had to find somebody who understood what we were trying to achieve with it. I think we did it in the end. The artwork is very very Mesh-like and Im pleased we managed to do that using somebody else.

Dj Rex; – With the Single Only Better and the new album you seem to have a harder and darker, Shattered Glass, f.e. is heavy on the guitars, is this a total new direction?
Richard; – Ive been asked this question quite a lot lately but I think we feel more confident than we ever have before. When we started a lot of people said we sound like somebody or we sound like this or that band. But over the years I think you discover your own sound. And the whole thing with guitars is quite funny because weve always used guitars and also real drums right from the very beginning but I think we disguised them and maybe mixed them quietly and things like that. Over the years I think we became more confident that it sounds ok playing guitars and different instruments so why shouldnt we push them a little bit more to the foreground. People now think that weve changed but we havent really. Were just kind of mixing it differently now. Its the same with playing live. I mean before we were hiding behind the keyboards, perhaps we werent really confident in ourselves. Now we decided that we can do all this quite well so lets just do it. I started playing a guitar live and we have a live drummer and things like that. It does upset a lot of kind of purists out there, people who really love electronic music who are saying Oh, you started turning into a rock-band. But we havent really at all.
Dj Rex; – Maybe you could tell the readers about the new album, what is behind the title A Perfect Solution?
Richard; – Its quite funny actually. Usually the title of the album is literally the very last thing we come up with when we do an album. Weve become notorious, we were leaving it far too late and the record company was really annoyed with us because we havent come up with the title. This time we actually came up with it quite early which is really unusual for us. I think that helped us shaping the album. We came up with this phrase A Perfect Solution so we knew where we wanted to take the album. I think the title sums up what is in all relationships. Weather theyre good or bad, some people have massive arguments and fall out with each other but that might be what keeps them together in a way. And that might be the perfect solution. Specifically when you listen to the track Who Says, the one weve done with Julia, it kind of sums up the whole album to me. We all get each other and kind of annoy each other but thats what make things work sometimes. Perhaps that is the perfect solution. We love each other because of this reason so it was just a good title.

Dj Rex; – In Everything I Made it seems you are very critical of yourself, is this track taken from your own experiences?
Mark; – Its almost a self-critical song. Its about letting people down and not maybe fulfilling the things that you could have done and the things that maybe fulfilling your potential as a person and the things you do within your relationships with people. That one was almost quite easy to write in a way because thats a little bit of me. I think Im one of those people that feel like letting a lot of people down sometimes. Im very involved in certain parts my work and the things I do. When youre preoccupied with things other than family, friends and stuff that youre putting not much time into you feel like letting people down a lot. That comes out in that song.

Dj Rex; – Only Better has a quite sarcastic tone and seems to be about someone who is gone, what can you tell us about this song?
Mark; – That one is kind of difficult. Its a not really long song. Theres only a few lines in it. I suppose its about looking at someone who is about to leave you in a way and you cant understand how somebody could invest that much time and that much of their life in something and just walk away from it. Ive been in a similar kind of relationship to that but I was on the other side of it. I put a lot of time into a relationship and then you just walk away and draw a line under it. The whole life is almost like a road, its just suddenly blocked off and I think thats really where that came from. The weakness that you feel is almost like a sense of loss and the complete change of your life which can happen just over night. Its not as anyones died or anything but you almost have to start your life all over again. The song was written from the point of view I wasnt on. Maybe it was just kind of revisiting something in the distant past and writing it down. Its been a while since Ive written these. Its good because I have to sing it in the next three weeks. Its quite difficult to remember your own lyrics sometimes. I need to remember what theyre about.

Dj Rex; – “Who Says is interesting”, you work for the first time with a guest vocalist, tell us a something about that?
Richard; – Actually the way it came about was that Ive written a piece of music for Who Says which I gave to Mark and he came back with this song and sang it in the studio. Because he kept repeating the same line I had this idea. I said that this could be really good; it could almost be like an argument, one person saying one thing and another person saying the same thing. I said it would be quite interesting to get somebody else to sing this second part rather than Mark singing the whole song. Weve known Julia for a long time and she became a good friend of ours. So I rang her up and said Were in a real hurry for this, could you possibly, if I send you the track, just sing it, record it in the studio and send your part back again? She did it. Within almost two days she recorded it in a studio in Germany, sent it back via the Internet and I dropped it straight in the track. And it was really cool. It works quite well, sounding like two people talking to each other.

Dj Rex; – Where do you get the inspiration for your songs; is it all personal experiences or also stories about others?
Mark; – Not really. I think you just follow a lead sometimes. It can be anything. Theres several different things involved in it. I tend to just listen to the music and that can be something that is done or something that I just play around with. Then kind of words and phrases pop out and then you go back and try to find out what it is thats coming out of it. Its very odd. Sometimes you got no idea really. But thats the way I write. People write differently and I tend to just feel what comes out with the music. Then all of the sudden you got an idea of where its going. It kind of has a life of its own. The song writes itself sometimes. It just comes from somewhere. It sounds strange but it is like that. Thats my kind of talent and thats what I bring into the mix. I can make songs write themselves.

Dj Rex; – Lets have a more personal question, what do you regret in your life and if you had the chance to go back in time, would you change something or are you settled and happy with everything?
Mark; – Sometimes I think you kind of look at some of the things that you do and you think I could have done something different; I could have been somewhere else. But when I look back at the threads of what has happened Im in the best place I could be really. I think its two thoughts. Im happy with where I am and I cant imagine being happier but in the same breath you think you could have done something different. When I was younger and left school I did a lot of things because I almost couldnt be bothered to do anything else but in the same aspect if I havent done those things I wouldnt be where I am now. Ive always kind of worked hard. Sometimes you make decisions because youre frightened of doing something else. A lot of people do this. I dont think anyone can truly sit down and say I wish Id never done anything else other than what I did. Thats quite unusual; I think most people would be lying. Sometimes I wish Id maybe gone into science or lived abroad but when youre look at where you are and are glad that things went how they did, its a really difficult question. Yes and no laughs.

Dj Rex; – This year you signed to Stefan Herwig and Dependent records, bit of a change for Mesh, whats the story there?
Richard; – We were in a position where we had signed with Sony Columbia. After making We Collide our contract ran out. We decided we didnt want to sign a record contract again. I said to Mark that the best thing would be if wed just take our time, write a good album and then find a label later. Thats what we did. We wrote an album together without a label or anybodys money and then near the completion of the album we asked our manager to find someone to release this. Four or five label really wanted to sign us and put the album out. It was quite a good position for us, because we had the choice and could look what each label can offer us. And we had signed by Sony, but we were realising that its really not about the money or the label. Its about the people you work with and their dedication and belief in what youre doing. So when we talked with a lot of these people they didnt really come up with that. When we spoke to Stefan he was completely upset. He followed our career, knew everything about us and he really admired what weve done considering we had normal jobs as well. He said For a band coming to this level without doing it full-time is amazing. He was just very honest and a breath of fresh air for us. Based on that we wanted to work with him. Stefan is a very clever man when it comes to this scene and this whole music business.

Dj Rex; – Did you find a lot of freedom making this new album with no label, did it make the writing process more fun that previous albums?
Richard; – Yes, definitely. To be honest we have been quite lucky in the past that most of our labels really havent interfered that much. Possibly at the end they had ideas about changing little things like making it more radio-friendly and things like that. But with this album we had complete creative freedom and we did whatever we wanted to do. By the time any label has heard it, it was pretty much finished. And it feels closer to me then any other album weve done before this one.

Dj Rex; – As you say yourself, you were influenced by the early Electro-Bands like Depeche Mode or Nitzer Ebb. What impressed you the most about these bands; by what did you get inspired?
Richard; – I think it was just possibly their purpose to that all and the fact that it was just so new back then. I remember being into music, just kind of normal bands but made me really listen to music was f.e. Gary Numan. It was so different to anything Id ever heard, using Synthesizers in that way. And it was the same with all the other bands that came up in that period of time like Depeche Mode or Yazoo. Yazoo had a massive influence on me, because it was the first time that electronic music had a soul. All that what came about in that time was just so refreshing. I was so bored of hearing guitar bands and when electronic music took off it was the thing that really caught my ears. Especially the non-commercial bands like DAF, Fad Gadget, Portion Control and all these slightly weird bands.

Dj Rex; – What was the funniest question youve been asked?
Richard; – Well, I dont want to give too much about, but.. laughs unbelievably weve had three people contact us just recently. They were such big fans and they wanted to propose their girlfriends at the concert. That never happened at all. And weve got three completely different people asking at the same time. We do get awesome strange things.

Dj Rex; – What experiences have you gained and learned from the lifetime of being Mesh?
Richard; – I think playing live is a big experience. Every time you do a tour you grow in confidence and know what youre doing. I think as people weve just become aware of everything. Youre very nave when you start. You try and do anything and listen to everybody. Over the years you learn just to go with your heart do what you want to do and what you think is right and hope that people like it. Thats the position we are in now. For this reason I like this album more than anything else because weve done it ourselves. We havent followed a trend and we havent really tried to copy anybody. We just do our own thing and I think thats what every band should do, especially in this scene. Theres so many bands I listen to and when I get CDs sent to me theyre all sounding the same. They are all trying to do this future-pop stuff and are beginning to sound exactly like each other. So stop listening to it, do your own thing and hope that people like it. Thats what we tried all along. I think we havent really changed. Weve just always been Mesh.

Dj Rex; – On your upcoming tour you have Informatik as support, whats the story there?
Richard; – We were looking for somebody quite interesting to take on tour. So many bands end up using the same bands as support. Were just had to do it a little bit different. In the past we brought over people that the German audience havent already seen, f.e. we had Iris, a band from America which Ive been following for years. Were always looking for something interesting to put on the show. And Informatik approached us. Theyre involved with Metropolis Records, which is our American Label as well. I really liked it. It was different and nobody hasnt really seen them in Germany; so it was really of interest for the tour. Thats how it came about. We have never met them. We are first going to meet them in Germany next week. Itll be interesting; we will see what theyre like.

Dj Rex; – What can we expect from the upcoming tour; do you plan something special?
Richard; – Yes, weve been working on something and were hoping and praying that its all going to work because it is getting so complicated and technical now. We were one of the first bands that start using video on a big scale. Weve been doing it for such a long time now. We decided to do something else because all the other bands are doing this. The technology is cheaper so we came up with a new idea for the upcoming tour which involves multiple screens in different places. Its very complicated but we managed to get it working. We havent actually tested it which is really funny but were confident that its all going to work. Hopefully its going to be a little bit interactive. At the end of the last week we came up with the idea of taking pictures of everybody coming in. We will go backstage with the camera, download all those pictures and drop them into a folder. All these pictures will become part of the show in the background. People will be really surprised when they see pictures of themselves on the video screen behind us. We plan something similar for this tour as well. We are excited to play the new songs and weve also redone some of the older stuff. It should be really, really cool.

Dj Rex; – Do you already have any plans for the future?
Richard; – Not really. You tend to just think of a couple of weeks ahead rather than the big picture of years. None of us is getting any younger. We were completely concentrating on this album and now the album is out so were looking forward to the release. Now the next concentration is onto the tour. After that we will start thinking about whats coming next. We were talking about Singles; there is plenty that were getting on with but I cant think far enough ahead. Its just thinking about the immediate things to be honest.

Dj Rex; – Thanks for the Interview, best wishes for the tour hope it all works well!!
Richard; – Thank you very much. Mark; – I hope so. Thank you very much.