ON THE MENTAL SOFA WITH MESH
By: Johan Carlsson
This music journalist gig, it doesn't suck. On top of spending a great weekend at the Arvika Festival, I also got to have an interesting chat with the guys in Mesh. They're a lot jollier than their music hints at, let me tell you. With the new, brilliant full-length "We Collide" under their belt, the Brits are out playing it to the masses.
Rock the record
It was fun to talk to the whole band – Mark Hockins, Richard Silverthorn and Neil Taylor – at the same time, and they were all in a good mood.
We start talking about the new album, "We Collide", released this April. This time, Mesh brought in the mixing talents of Gareth Jones, a music industry legend that’s worked with Erasure, Depeche Mode, Einstürzende Neubauten, Nitzer Ebb, Nick Cave and many more. He didn’t produce the album, but I have a feeling he influenced the sound quite a bit. Neil tells about the experience.
– He’s a really nice bloke. He could tell by our body language when we weren’t happy with a mix, haha. He’s very honest, and will always tell us what he thinks.
– Sony is a good label, but they’re only in it for the big money, Mark says. We have almost the same people working for us now, but we have a new distributor. Hopefully, our records will be more available.
Speaking of records, Mesh has a brand new single out, a double A-side with “My Hands Are Tied” and “Petrified” from the album. Richard tells me a bit about the release.
– Well, there are some more dancey versions of the songs on it, and a cover of Assemblage 23’s track “Document”.
– We have actually had a lot of radio play in Germany with this single, which didn’t happen with "Crash”, Neil fills in.
What about the cover version?
– The cover happened
a bit by accident. I made
an acoustic demo of it,
and discovered what a great
song it was, Mark says.
I like the meaning of the
lyrics as well; kind of “I
made my mark on the world,
and this is what I leave
behind". So we made it
into a full track.
Where's the big
– Yeah, well, pretty much. We feel like we’re getting bigger and bigger with each album, relates Mark.
Would you say you are a bit hindered by your genre?
– That is probably true. A lot of people won’t listen to us when we’re pigeonholed into the electronic genre. We get that a lot.
Mesh use more guitars and real drums on the new material, and that might help bring in new fans, perhaps. Still, they headlined the biggest stage at the Arvika Festival already in 2003. Even though not all of the 16 000 festival goers watched them, it was a huge crowd to entertain.
– Haha, yeah we were really surprised too, laughs Neil. They must have gotten the wrong band! But it was amazing.
Is that your biggest gig ever?
– Hmm, no I think we played for about 18 000 people opening for The Cure in Germany once. But Arvika was really big. However, once you get over 10 000, it doesn’t really matter any more. It’s just a huge mass of people.
Can you work full time with music?
– Well, we used to be able to do it, when we had “the big record deal”. Nowadays we have to do other stuff as well. Pay the bills, and eat, Neil begins.
– We all have families now, so at a certain point you need to get a steady income. If you’re a student, you can live like this forever, but we can’t, Richard goes on.
– You need to make a lot of money to live comfortably and to know that you can retire. You can’t just live on selling merchandise, says Mark.
have a lot of T-shirts
though, Richard guffaws.
– The lyrics are a kind of therapy for me. I just need to get some stuff out. It’s like a psychiatrist.
A kind of mental sofa?
– Hehe, yes, that’s it, says Mark.
– That’s a good phrase! We should use that!, Richard laughs.
Hey, I want 50 percent!
– Well, it was in our hometown and it just really got to me. I have a family myself and it was a really big story. I needed to let that out somehow.
That mental sofa seems to be working well for him.
So what do they listen to these days? Any influences? Neil starts off.
– Well, Madonna’s latest was good, I thought.
– I still listen a lot to Radiohead and Manic Street Preachers, Mark continues.
– Thing is, with all the bands in our genre… we sort of know all of them, Mark explains. Like Covenant, Apoptygma etc. I like their latest album actually. A lot of people are saying he sold out and went crap, but I don’t think so.
Yeah, I feel he’s always made pop songs, he just changed instruments.
– Well said, Richard agrees.
– Yeah, he’s always made good songs. I also hope to see Covenant playing here later tonight, says Mark.
Finally, what’s with the hat Mark?
– Umm, I just started wearing hats some years ago, and it sort of stuck. I don’t want to expose my scalp to the audience, hehe.
With that, we rise up from the grass. My feet have gone to sleep, and I stumble away, while Mesh go get ready for the show.
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