First of all, taking the new title literally, what do you see when you're „looking skyward“?
Well if i look skywards at this moment I can see broken clouds in a blue sky over Bristol.
Where does the title came from?
The title comes from the lyrics of "The Fixer". It just seemed to conjure up the whole feel and sentiment of the album. Although there are many dark places to hide within the album there is always a sense of hope or something to aspire to. Some light at the end of the tunnel.
Like the marvellous cover showing a little kid looking through a hole in the attic...
Again the image is to depict that sense of hope. In the gloom there is some beautiful light. The location was a disused and derelict factory in a small village near us. Everything had that look of abandonment. The colours and the feel of the place was really cool. A few weeks after the photo shoot Mark and myself returned to do some video but it was already being demolished. Im glad we got the pictures now.
For me the cover is also a symbol enlightenment. Something, that is also in your songs...at least emotional enlightenment?
Yes definitely. The songs have a very melancholic feel and atmosphere about them but also has a sense of fulfilment and hope.
This is now your eighth album, compilations and remix-albums not included. After such a long time in music business, how dificult (or easy) is it for you to be inspired?
Its been a very long road to get where we are today. There has been many highs and lows along the way.
Its a tough business to be in. We have always felt confident in what we are doing is good and would appeal to a large audience and I guess that has been our inspiration to carry on relentlessly. We have just battled on ignoring the trends of what you should and shouldn't do with your product. The media control the whole business and getting yourself established is a tough job but eventually people do start to take notice.
Were you sometimes afraid, that all is said and done?
Yes on many occasion. I think when Neil left the band back in 2007 that was the closest we came to finishing it all. Mark and I sat down and thought....what now? I think the idea of not having music in your life after so long was a scary thought. I think as long as we still have the desire to go back in the studio I don't think its all said and done.
Back in ninteenhundredsomething, when you start your career, someone wrote, that Mesh are clearly influenced by Depeche Mode, but in the near future, other bands will be blamed for sounding like Mesh. Do you think, you have found your „musical centre“?
Yes I think so. In the early days like you said we were compared to Depeche Mode but I think a lot of that was lazy journalism. Its easy to look at us and say “hey these guys are using synthesisers they must sound like Depeche Mode” but i think we have shaken that off now.I have seen a lot of reviews of bands now that use us as the comparison or say that they sound like Mesh. To us this is quite a compliment to think that people know how we sound and are citing us as the originators is really cool. Certainly in the last 5 years people have seemed to hold us in high esteem which is quite an honour.
Would you describe yourself as a Popgroup, or are you still „independent“?
Pop music means its popular? Im not sure we fall into that category. Yes I think we are kind of alternative/independent but have mainstream appeal. In fact this has been our aim all along. The music we loved and influenced us were bands like Yazoo, DM, NIN, Placebo, Garbage etc... They aren't exactly pop bands but have had mainstream chart success. The best of both worlds. Recently with our entry into the Media Control Charts at number 12 with Looking Skyward I guess we have achieved our aim.
For your new album, you were also recording some noises. Was that an impulsive idea? Or perhaps inspired by Depeche Mode, who were als recording samples from the environment in their early years?
It came from the fact that at the start of recording Looking Skyward we listened to some of our old albums and realised that the art of sampling has disappeared. Software and plugins have replaced synthesisers and samplers. The beauty of sampling is that it sounded gritty and imperfect and this was its appeal. So many artists in this genre spend ages trying to perfect their productions making them sound lifeless. What we wanted to try and achieve was so imperfection again. We used to spend hours recoding things and sampling them into Emax’s and Akai samplers so we took a step backwards and got back into this only this time using digital recorders and Maschine (a pad based sampler drum machine). It is so much more rewarding creating something completely unique rather than going to your favourite soft synth preset.
Were you searching for special ones? And how are these samples integrated in your songs?
There was the usual bashing things for percussive loops or doubling up drums but also a lot of everyday atmospheres. Just recording noise in the street adds so much character to a song it completely changes the mood. On "Two +1" on the album Mark recorded the original vocals in his summer house in the garden in the middle of a heavy electrical storm with thunder and lightening. Although this was completely unintentional it sounded so good and atmospheric we left it on the finished recording.
Although "Kill Your Darlings" is the single, there are songs I like more. "Tactile" and "Before This World Ends" are tow of my favourites, they have the typical melancholic Mesh-sound. Seems that you love being melancholy or at least singing about?
Yes i think they have so much more depth and heart felt meaning to them. Everyone can relate to them in one way or another. Its not that we set out to be melancholic it just kind of happens.
Were there also some songs who were really hard for you to sing or compose as they are very personal to you?
Obviously Mark writes the lyrics so I can't answer for him but for me doing the music yes some of the songs are from the heart. It depends on my mood or what I'm thinking about to how it comes out (perhaps thats why they are so melancholic Haha). The weird thing is on a few songs Mark has written lyrics that match my mood whilst writing the music. Those are the track that stand out for me.
|| INTERVIEW: DANIEL DRESSLER | DATE: 09/20/17| CONTACT || READ THE ARTICLE IN GERMAN>
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