Exclusively for Alex Davie, Shout Fanzine, Russia
Last updated 10.07.02
Q: Well, it was the end of year 1997 when I heard your music for a first time. Your brilliant single «You Didn't Want Me» immediately broke my heart with its original sound and vocal. Sometime later another master piece «Not Prepared» turned me into your huge fan. And I was not the only one who could say it. At present nearly all army of russian synthie fans place your band in Top 5 of their favorites - with a great respect. Hard to imagine any synthie party in Moscow without your danceble tracks and remixes. So... are you surprised? [smile]
A: It's always a big surprise to learn that we have followings in countries that we have never had the opportunity to play in or have had any real promotion in. It's very exciting in some respects - it's the power of word of mouth at work I guess.
Q: Do you feel famous? What do you feel now, when you have a lot of fans around the world?
A: I think we feel 'known'. We are not famous by any means in a mainstream sense. I think people that follow certain music scenes know who we are perhaps. To be famous all over the world takes something extraordinary that we haven't achieved so far in our career. We're working on it......
Q: How do you can describe your music, your style? I think that ordinary «synth-pop» isn't suitable for your rich electro sound, it's much interesting than stuff produced by numerous «synthy-soap» bands.
A: We are definitely an electronic band. It's the reason that we got into music and it's our preferred method of delivery of our songs. But 'songs' are the core of what we try to do and that is the most important thing for us. A song has to be interesting both from the depth of the lyrics and the complexity of the music. You have to be able to listen to each song again and again without it becoming boring or feeling like you've heard everything you are going to hear after the first couple of plays. I think if you set out to play 'synth' music only, you are in danger of becoming a cliche of what has come before in the past.
Q: Your sound is really original for me, some kind of hard danceble techno or something. I could recognise any track marked «made by Mesh» [smile] How did you find this memorizing brand?
A: I think it's just the way the three of us work together. It's a sculpting process that needs the all of us to make it happen. We can all write music as individuals, but that's another thing and doesn't sound like mesh - it needs the input of the three people. We all know when a track is complete and when it truly is good enough to represent us - you keep chipping away at each song and if you do it long enough then it becomes a mesh track.
Q: Mark, where do you find an inspiration to write your lyrics? And what's first in Mesh production - music or lyrics, or they're worked simultaneously?
A: The lyrics often come from the music so that we normally start with the music. If the music has the right feeling then lyrics seem to jump out of it, or at least the ideas - perhaps a phrase or two that you can use as the basis for the entire track. It's a nice way to work and can be unpredictable. The content is drawn from life, from experience and from imagination - those are the only places that such ideas can really come from I guess.
Q: What's your favorite theme to write songs? (I guess, love?) [smile]
A: Not love always. In the past I think it's been the overriding theme, but many tracks can seem like they are about love and actually there is something happening at another level. The new album is very much along those lines and there are probably less than a couple of real love songs on it, although more can initially seem like it on the surface until the real theme is known.
Q: What music is much close to your heart? Your favorites? Your favorite Mesh songs?
A: Electronic music from the past and the present is not unsurprisingly a favourite of all of us. I guess some of the music from the pioneers of the genre is always going to be close to our hearts - it's what got us interested in performing and writing music in the first place. More generally we all like different things I guess. There would be a few surprises in our record collections from Abba through Nine Inch Nails to Foo Fighters and Radiohead. Again, our favourite mesh tracks change, and at the moment we probably would choose tracks from the new album.
Q: You're band from England, but it seems you are much popular in Germany or Sweden than in your mother land. Is it right? And if yes - please tell me what's reason?
A: We certainly sell more records in places like Germany and Sweden. We currently seem to have a big following in Greece too! Greece has given us our best chart success to date (Top 30) which is a little unexpected but nice. The support in England is very good to be honest - we can sell out big London venues which many more famous bands would find it difficult to do, but we struggle with record distribution in England and the promotion that goes with that. It's undoubtedly an odd situation but there are plus sides to not being well known in your own country.
Q: Many european synth bands are much harder now than their early stuff. They put synthie beats together with real drums & guitars. What do you think about it? Will this «desease» catch you too?
A: We have always used guitars and real drum samples from day 1 but I guess we have always used them subtly and tried not to be too cliched with them. It's all a matter of balance and not being a victim of what you think people want. You have to write music for yourself and hope that other people like it - that's all you can do. We feel what we do represents us and our personalities - if you are a hard, angry person then perhaps you need to write hard angry music - if you're not, then the clothes don't really fit. We're not going to turn into a guitar rock band at the moment, but if we did then it would be because we wanted too. That said, I can't see it happening.
Q: I always wanna know who did MESH remixes - all the band or just your band mates?
A: We have done most of the 'mesh' remixes to date. All the other remixes have been done by friends (so far).
Q: Your side work with Mark'Oh was real pop hit [smile] Although main song and b-side were beautiful (it's obviously) but tell me truly - what's reason to work with such dance pop monster as Mark'Oh? [smile] You wanted to be in pop charts for a while? [smile]
A: He-he! It was an interesting and enjoyable project for us, and the song was a true favourite of mine from the beginning of my interest in electronic music. We are essentially from two different ends of the music business I guess, but I think that we made a good record and Mark'Oh was a great guy to work with. It was of course a very good opportunity to get a higher profile for a while, but I don't think the track was commercial enough to do that. I do think we came out of the project with some new friends and our credibility intact.
Q: I note that in past you're placed some remixes for free download from your fan site. Will you continue to do it in future?
A: It is unlikely to be honest as there are many publishing issues that have forced us to remove them in the past. It's a shame because there are some interesting mixes out there that will probably never get released officially.
Q: In 1998 you were touring with great german band De/Vision. Also you did a large list of mixes for them. Do you like De/Vision anyway? Are you friends or something? Or just the same record label in Germany? [smile]
A: They are not on the same label, but we do have mutual business partners. They are really good friends and we have a great respect for each other's work. I hope we will do some more work together in the future.
Q: You will release a new studio album on April 8th - long awaited "Who watches over me?" Is it radically new from your previous stuff?
A: We like to think it is new and a positive step forward, but I'm not sure that there has been a radical change. I think there has been a big change in the direction and sentiment of some of the lyrics, and the technical quality of the recording is better and more cutting edge than we've been able to achieve in the past in our own studio (the new album was mixed in Hamburg). We hope that the existing fans will find something new and yet familiar in the record. Unusually in this business, we have done all of the recording and production ourselves so it is inevitable that there is always going to be some common ground between our albums.
Q: Please describe an idea of album (if it possible)? Something related to Big Brother?
A: The album is about the people who look after us and watch over us. This could be the idea of Big Brother or it could be friends, family and lovers. It's about the people, ideas and places that have the power to break these often fragile relationships and what happens when there is nobody to look after us.
Q: Which musicians did collaborate with your band in studio?
A: We didn't use any other musicians for this album. We used mix engineer (BlackPete) in the final stages of mixing in Home Studios in Hamburg.
Q: 3 years working on album - and it will be out soon. Your feelings?
A: It's been a long wait, and much of that time has been spent sorting out business problems so it's also been a frustrating time. We hope it has been time well spent and that the fans like what we have done - that's our biggest worry.
Q: How many new albums we'll see in Mesh future?
A: As many as we have the energy and enthusiasm to write!
Q: OK, now some questions regarding Depeche Mode... do(did) you like them?
A: Of course. They were a big influence on us when we started making music. They have always been and continue to be great songwriters and performers and they deserve more credit and respect for what they have achieved.
Q: I always ask following question... As you started your band did you want to be like Depeche Mode? Sound like them, look like them or be so famous like them? [smile]
A: When you start a band you always have the goal to be famous somewhere in your mind I guess, because famous means 'popular' and all musicians hope there music will touch as many people as possible. They are a famous band and that is something that any band should aspire to. We didn't want to look or sound like anyone in particular - we've never really worried about that side of things too much. There were so many influences from so many bands in the mainstream, synthpop and EBM scenes that we knew the direction we wanted to take, but nothing more than that really. Saying that, there is always going to be some effect on the direction of any band and their music if you look at their influences and I don't think we were any different.
Q: And one more - could you ever imagine to play show together with DM (like a support band or second headliner)?
A: No, not really. Of course you can never say never, but it is unlikely that we would ever be given the opportunity.
Q: Do you have any favorites from DM catalog?
A: «Songs of Faith and Devotion» is probably a favourite of the band in general I guess, but most of the albums are good.
Q: Sometimes I feel that your lyrics are more political than I thought before... Are you interested in politics? And its mirrored in your songs? Or you don't care about it?
A: I am interested in the effect that politics has on people. A person's politics is tied into their view on how people should live their lives, on how they should be treated and their ideas of personal freedom. Politics is entwined in every aspect of our lives and as such cannot escape getting drawn into the songwriting process. I am interested in politics because I am interested in people.
Q: Today many musiciants are very active in cultural or politic actions (Greenpeace, Live Aid, Anti Nazi concerts) Are you involved in any kind of public movements or something like that?
A: No. I have great respect for people that do get involved in such things, regardless of the cause or movement. It hints at a very selfless personality and that should be respected. I think I am too selfish at this time of my life to fight any cause with such passion. I would like to think that will not always be the case.
Q: EU make different people to be closer, do you beleave that all borders (cultural, politic etc) will disappear later this century?
A: I think cultural differences make the world a more interesting place but the extreme examples of these difference cause incredible misery to millions. The world is becoming a smaller place for the rich due to technological advances and transport and perhaps there is a trend in some areas of the world towards a more homogenised culture. That said, there are deep, deep cultural, political, ideological and religious differences between many people on the planet that I think will take many hundreds of years to melt into anything stable.
Q: England is most conservative country in Europe. Do you agree with me? How it forced on you? Was it bad?
A: The most conservative years of England are now thankfully behind us, but in that time a great deal of social damage was done to the country which will take many more years to recover from.
Q: What's your favorite place on Earth? To live, to work, to rest?
A: For me, my favourite place in Nerja, in Spain. Also a place called Seaton in Devon (South of England). I love to live in Bristol, and also to work here. To rest, I love Nerja.
Q: How many time do you spend with computers? Are they Macs or PCs?
A: All day, most days. Many evenings too. Maybe 10 hours per day on a busy day. PC's - we have one Mac which gets used for artwork sometimes.
Q: Do you like PC or video games? What are your favourites?
A: Video games. My PC is too slow to play decent games. I like Colin McRae Rally 2.0 on the Playstation and the Star Wars game (Rogue Leader) that comes with the X-Box.
Q: Do you like to surf Internet? What's your favorite sites?
A: Aimless surfing gets a bit dull but it's OK sometimes - you have to be in the right mood. Don't really have a favourite - just anything that is useful or weird. Shopping on the web is cool. I like www.chainreactioncycles.co.uk for buying stuff for my mountain bike.
Q: Is it really possible to catch you on Mesh forum? [smile]
A: We've done it once at the Electrogarden. It was good fun but a bit of a test of our typing.
Q: Hey... what is your opinion on Mesh fan sites?
A: I think they are very flattering and many of them do provide all kinds of material that fans find interesting or useful and that we either don't know about or haven't got around to publishing. Long may they continue.
Q: There are a lot of ways to find inspiration... and one sadly known is drugs. Did you ever use drugs? Did you write any of your songs being under drugs?
A: Speaking for myself, I have tried some things in the past but I'm not sure that it's a good route to go down for creativity. Maybe some drugs can have a short term creative impact, but any kind of addiction is distracting in the long term and makes you boring.
Q: Some people can't performing or clubbing without alcohol, finally they found yourself drunked as shit... What is your dose to "to get a drive"?
A: Personally I find I need a drink before a gig to dull down the effect of the adrenalin a little. I am always pretty nervous about 2 hours before a show and a beer or two takes the edge off that. Non of us have ever been really drunk during a show I guess - there is too much to remember both lyrically and technically to be like that every night! I personally think you need to care about what you are doing to give a good performance, and getting drunk works against that. This is not to say that we don't drink after though.....
Q: Your favorite way of relaxing?
A: Me and Rich like downhill mountain biking when we get the time - we've got some hardcore bikes. It's a little risky before a tour but it's a cool way to forget about the problems of the day and it's pretty good exercise I guess. I don't know if we're that good at it, but we try. Rich was a good Motocross rider too. Neil never relaxes.
Q: This one is most curios question - someone told me after he watch your live video «God, what's happened with that guy from Limp Bizkit?!!!» [smile] Your beard and cap transform you in good-looking Fred Durst, he-he [smile] Your comments?
A: We look the way we look because that is what we are comfortable with. That's the way we look off stage as well as on. We don't want to dress in black leather or whatever on stage because it wouldn't be who we are - we don't live that lifestyle.
Q: Do you drive a car? Which one?
A: Yes we all drive. We have Fords and Vauxhalls (Opel in Europe). Nothing spectacular - sorry.
Q: Parfume you wear today is?
A: «Sure for men» [smile] It's a deodorant really.
Q: Now your age is... oh, sorry, I just wanna say how you are young [smile] ... but how about your future plans? Can you imagine Mesh so old as Rolling Stones, he-he? [smile]
A: We're not young, but then we've been part of mesh for over 10 years now. I'm sure we will all have the energy to continue to write and perform as long as we still enjoy it. We are three great friends and we have so many good times behind us - we are looking forward to many more. Age is just a psychological barrier in most cases - if you have talent then people will move on with you provided you still believe in what you are doing.
Q: Did you ever want to visit Russia? With concerts or just like tourists?
A: Not yet, but we are planning to come to Russia for a show in the Autumn. That is going to be really cool. I guess we will probably be tourists for a couple of days too!
Q: What do you want to say or wish your russian fans?
A: We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our Russian fans for their support, their letters and their emails over the years. It's still incredible to us that music can travel around the world like this, without so much promotion or radio play and it's really only through word of mouth and club play that these things can happen at all. We are now hoping to come to Russia in the Autumn to do a show and we hope that will be some kind of payback for that support. Thanks from Mark, Rich and Neil. Involved!
Q: Thank you very much for interview!
A: Thanks, Alex!
Note that all questions were written in early April, answers were received at the end of May 2002.
[ © 2002 shout! - all rights reserved. Exclusively for our magazine, taken by alex davie. ]
«A Perfect Solution» details
«Only Better» details
mesh 2009: new single, new album, new tour!
A PERFECT SOLUTION
THE WORLD'S A BIG PLACE DVD
WE COLLIDE [ lyrics ]
My Hands Are Tied / Petrified
Friends Like These
Leave You Nothing
WHO WATCHES OVER ME? [ lyrics ]
mesh - Live in Moscow (April 2008)
mesh - Live in Moscow (December 2006)
mesh in Moscow (May 2003)
[ arrival ] [ press conference ] [ autograph session ] [ concert ]
Exclusive interview with Mark
WE COLLIDE TOUR