1991 - 1993: The early years
Mesh were founded in 1991. Richard Silverthorn used to be in a band with Neil Taylor. It was then that they met Mark Hockings on a concert. Mark was also a keyboardist but in a different band. During conversations, which were mainly about music, they got along together right away. Later, they decided to try a few new ideas in the studio because it was obvious for them that the bands they were in didn’t have a long life expectancy. The first song they recorded together was "Waste Of Time".
Mark had never sung in a band before. But as he was the only one who was willing to sing, he took over the part of the vocalist. Moreover, Mark believed that only a writer, who sings his songs himself, can put the right feeling into the piece. Rich and Mark normally write the rough structure of the tune. Mark then adds the lyrics to it that develop during their sessions in the studio. Neil doesn’t get his creative inspiration until he is either in the studio or when he indulges in his hobby, photography.
Over the course of time, quite a collection of equipment had been accumulated in the house of Rich’s mother. This provided the basis for their recording studio (only a small room at the beginning). With huge racks full of studio electronics and three sweating bodies, it was soon far too small. The singing was originally recorded in the attic, but finally, they moved to an extension, with an integrated room for recordings of vocals. There was not only enough room for their complete equipment setup, but also for a sofa, TV, VCR and a Nintendo to have a bit of diversion. These luxuries were used often while spending long evenings and weekends recording in the studio.
In the meantime, their demo tapes were already popular enough to allow them to play early small concerts. Mesh’s first performance was in the Mauretania in Bristol, then in the Flag Club in London at a later date. The band tried hard to get a record contract with a label at that time, but met with limited success. Although they attracted lots of attention, nobody wanted to sign them. But the band carried on playing concerts, recording chart compatible material to impress the record labels, only to set up meetings and then get rejected again. During that frustrating time, the band had released three tracks on a CD for "Future Music", a leading music magazine. "Headstone", "Hurt" and "Crisis" were very well received by magazine’s readers. After that, the popularity of the band rose so much that a mailing list was created. That list strengthened the band’s faith that there was a market for their music. And as nobody wanted to sign them, there was only one way...
1994 - 1996: From Tolerance Records to Memento Materia
Tolerance Records was founded and the band began to write new songs and to record the sound for their first Mini-CD. To start their own record label involved more work than they had imagined. Neil started to design the complete artwork and merchandising material for the band and label. With persistence and insistence, they eventually finished their project. In August 1994, their first CD "Fragile" was released. A number of live performances followed, starting in the Bristol Watershed. This venue was considerably larger than the Mauretania which the band had outgrown (many disappointed fans only could view the shows from outside the club). The successful concerts were another confirmation that their music was appreciated by the audience. Further performances in London followed. The CD "Fragile" was distributed by Mesh, family members and other volunteers in Bristol, London and Reading directly to the record shops. They reached their highest turnover, however, through mail-order or by sales at concerts. The album sold so well that Mesh almost started to produce a new album on the spot. In the meantime, the demand was so considerable that in November 1994 they founded the "Mesh Information Service" that supplied the fans with newsletters, information and merchandising from that point of time.
It was obvious for Mesh that there was a market for them in Great Britain and an even bigger one in the rest of Europe. The band was finally appearing in a lot of European scene magazines. To tour on the continent was another chance to increase their popularity. Therefore, they now sent demo tapes of their CD "Fragile" to concert promoters and labels in Europe. One of those demo tapes ended up in the hands of Memento Materia, a Swedish label specializing in electronic music. The label was quite impressed by the demo and asked them without further ado to send the complete album. The upshot of all this was a signed record contract at Memento Materia in autumn 1995 when the second album was almost completed. "Fragile" was, at that time, almost sold out at Tolerance Records. Therefore, Memento Materia re-issued it including a booklet of eight pages with the complete lyrics which was not included in the original version of Tolerance Records.
Mesh also contributed to some compilations, e.g. "Monument" ("Hurt"), "Electromagnetic" ("Last Breath Of You", "I Don't Expect To Be Right"), "Electronic Fields" ("I Don't Think They Know"), "Strangelove", "Strangelove 2", "Zillo Club Hits", etc.
1996 - 1998: In This Place Forever
"In This Place Forever", the first full-length album, was released in June 1996 by Synthetic Product Records, 17 months after they had started working on it. The waiting was worth while, however: what follows is an excerpt of a CD review by Eclipse: "They have got great melodies, sing along choruses and a very distinctive singer with recognition value. The three Britons own what many other lack: originality and their own style."
Mesh’s first single being released was "You Didn’t Want Me" from "In This Place Forever", a club-hit that still fills the dance floors in discotheques.
Mesh embarked on a number of concerts throughout Europe. Their first German concert was in the "Vier Linden" in Hildesheim on 10th January 1997. After this, Mesh returned to Germany for two tours. The first one was with "Beborn Beton" in October 1997 as part of the Electrofusion-tour. Among the enthusiastic audience were the members of "De/Vision" amongst others. Without hesitation, Mesh were hired as support for a tour in May 1998.
At the same time, in April 1998, the "Best Of"-album "Fragmente" and the second single "Trust You", which became another club-hit, were released. The beat of this song, a catchy melody and the charismatic voice of Mark Hockings, became the trademark of the band. For all those who hadn’t known Mesh before, "Fragmente" offered a compilation of the highlights showcasing the varied musical production of Neil Taylor, Richard Silverthorn and Mark Hockings. The band presented their "pop side" without exception. It not only contained massive up-tempo pieces, but also slower tracks like e.g. "So Important" or electronic/melodic songs featuring complex rhythm changes like "Someone To Believe In".
1999: The Point At Which It Falls Apart
After a short break from touring but hard work in the studio, the album "The Point At Which It Falls Apart" and the advance single "People Like Me (With This Gun)" were released in February 1999. With this album, the boys from Bristol departed from the hard side of the electro pop and continued the melodic and harmonic structure they begun with "Fragmente". The lyrics clearly showed one of the most important sides of Mesh: the well-thought out, self-critical and questioning demeanour.
The album was in the Top Ten of the German Alternative Charts for several weeks. The single "People Like Me (With This Gun)" even climbed to number 3.
Due to their increasing popularity, it was quite easy for the Meshies to organize their first complete tour in April. Along with Melotron as support, fans could see them live in ten discotheques and venues across Germany. It seemed that Mesh finally hit the big time.
The second single "It Scares Me" came out right after the tour, in May 1999. On the one hand, Mesh were now being played more often in the discotheques and on the other hand, a semi-professional video clip of "It Scares Me" was shown on free German television.
Mesh had their first festival performance at the Zillo-Festival in 1999. The band was praised frenetically by 7,000 enthusiastic fans in a location that was obviously too small given their new popularity. It was also the first time, they played the song "Safe With Me" live and it had everybody singing along. Mesh played a further concert at a Depeche Mode party in Hamburg. It was recorded and then released as live VHS and CD in May 2000 – known as "On This Tour Forever".
The third single release from "The Point At Which It Falls Apart" in October 1999 was "Not Prepared". It was the first time Mesh shot a proper video clip that was shown on various German music channels like Viva, Viva2 and MTV. But for many the highlight of that year was definitely the appearance of the band on the show "Chart Attack" on ZDF in November 1999.
During their first small tour across Europe from October until December 1999, Mesh rocked the venues in France, Switzerland, Belgium and Germany. As the main act for the Synthie-Pop-Festival in Krefeld, Mesh played in front of 800 fans in the Kulturfabrik which was completely sold out. The most successful year to date since the creation of the band was brought to a close with a sold out show in London and a performance at the Heavens-Gate-Festival in Strasbourg, France.
2000 - 2002: Change of the label
Because of the great demand by the fans for songs previously unreleased, Mesh decided to remix these older tracks and released them in April 2000 on the album entitled "Original 91-93".
At the same time, the "Live Singles EP" appeared at the record shops due to the great demand by the fans for live recordings. It reached number one in the German Alternative Charts in June 2000 and stayed in the Top 10 for several weeks. The expectations of the band and fans were therefore more than adequately met.
In May 2000, the concert that was recorded at the Markthalle in Hamburg in September 1999 was released as video and CD in a collector’s box. In addition to these live recordings, two video clips, "Trust You" and "Not Prepared" (along with Making Of) were also included on the video. As of October 2000 the concert recording was also only available on CD.
In spring/summer 2000, Mesh were guests at a couple of festivals. In Goeteborg (SAMA-Festival), Great Britain (Whitby-Festival) and in Arvika (Avika-Festival), Mark, Rich and Neil played in front of thousands of fans.
In autumn, Mesh changed their management and signed to Orbit Records. Thanks to this contract at a major label, they could give up their jobs and concentrate on their music wholeheartedly. In collaboration with Mark’Oh, they released the single "Waves", a cover version of Blancmanges hit from the 80s, shortly thereafter. Unfortunately, this "experiment" wasn’t very commercially successful, although they entered the charts (83) for the very first time and a video was produced again.
After that things quieted down for the band because they were already working at full steam on new material for the next album.
The first US concerts in Chicago, New York and Orlando as well as performances in Hamburg, Krefeld, London and Zurich were official highlights for the band in the year 2001. Mesh spent endless hours in the studio (Urban Studios, Channel House in Bristol) until the new album "Who Watches Over Me?" was finally completed at the end of September. In October, they spent three weeks in Hamburg to re-record and remix the new album in collaboration with the producer Peter "BlackPete" Schmidt (Depeche Mode) at the Home-Studios. Subsequently, they spent three more days at the Galaxy Studios in Belgium for the mastering of the new album by Ronald Prent (Rammstein).
"Who Watches Over Me?" was finally released in 2002 through Home Records (the new name of Orbit) and Sony/Columbia. The album was a milestone in the bands development and together with the singles "Leave You Nothing" and "Friends Like These" (a chart entry in the German mainstream singles chart as well as a number one in the Deutsche Alternative Charts) helped the band reach a new audience.
2006 - We Collide and Crash
Successful tours of Germany and headline festival spots throughout Europe followed. A combination of touring, re-assessing and record company changes slowed progress on the follow up album but March 2006 finally sees the release of the band´s new album "We Collide".
For the band this was their proudest achievement to date. Taking their trademark sound and focusing on the song-writing, melodies and production that combines their electronic roots with their love of guitars and 'real' instruments has helped them stand out once more. Calling on the experience of Gareth Jones (Depeche Mode, Futureheads, Embrace) for the final mixing has helped the band achieve their vision.
The single "Crash" from the album entered the German Top 100 at number 88
New distribution deals in several countries combined, a major publishing deal in the USA plus touring helped the band reach ever more people over the coming months.
On September 13th, 2006 Neil Taylor announced that he was leaving the band to pursue other interests, saying "15 years is a long time and for me the time has come to move on and I need to give some headspace to other things in life". Mark Hockings and Rich Silverthorn have unequivocally stated their desire to continue making music as Mesh.
Mesh has recruited keyboardist Geoff Pinckney to act as a replacement for Taylor during their live performances.
2009 - Only Better / A Perfect Solution
After three years of Silence, Mesh reported back with "Only better", a smashing Single Track. "Only Better" shows the band in a harder, grittier and more mature style compared to their earlier Synthpop releases. But fortunately they managed to keep the killer hooks, catchy melodies and great vocals by front man Mark Hockings. As usual, their B-sides are also hidden gems, and this also shows in their current treat "Shattered Glass", one of the hardest tracks they have done so far, yet equally catchy. Also, don’t miss out on the great Club mix, beefed up by german producer wizard Olaf Wollschlaeger.
After its release "Only Better" instantly entered the German Top 100 at number 84 and is the advance single from the highly acclaimed forthcoming new Mesh album "A Perfect Solution" which will be released in October 2009.
"A Perfect Solution“ is possibly the most mature, mutable and yet toughest album of their career. While no one doubts Mark Hocking’s status as an exceptional vocalist, a complete listen to this album also serves to highlight the band’s songwriting and arrangement skills. Once pegged as a purely retro synth act, Mesh have mutated into a true live band, and the resulting versatility in the arrangements transforms what might have merely been 11 good songs into outstanding ones.
Thematically, „A Perfect Solution“ is a bit darker than previous releases. The tone of the album is typefied by „If We Stay Here“, a tale of broken relationships between people who once loved each other but who now just exist in the same space. The massive housing facade pictured on the cover further symbolizes the painful dramas which take place behind its windows. The wires running throughout the artwork are both safety lines and shackles – anything but „A Perfect Solution“.
Were the album musically as dismal and hopeless as it is lyrically, „A Perfect Solution“ might be too much to handle, but luckily Mesh know how to strike the delicate balance between „bitter“ and „sweet“.
Fragile (Mini Album) 1994
In This Place Forever (Album) 1996
Fragile (Album) 1997
You Didn't Want Me (Maxi) 1997
Fragmente (Compilation Album) 1998
Trust You (Maxi) 1998
It Scares Me (Maxi) 1999
Not Prepared (Maxi) 1999
People Like Me (With This Gun) 1999
The Point At Which It Falls Apart (Album) 1999
Live Singles EP (EP) 2000
On This Tour Forever 2000
Original 91 - 93 (Comp) 2000
Waves (Maxi) 2000
Fragmente 2 (Compilation Album) 2002
Friends Like These (Maxi) 2002
Leave You Nothing (Maxi) 2002
Who Watches Over Me? (Album) 2002
Crash (Maxi) 2006
My Hands Are Tied / Petrified (Maxi) 2006
We Collide (Album) 2006
Only Better (Maxi) 2009
A Perfect Solution (Album) 2009
biographie credits to mesh-fanclub.com
Great success for the first single release after the reopening of Dependent: The Mesh single "Only Better" climbed the German Media Control charts to position 84 this week!
Mesh have produced a video message for their fans and made it available on their fansite www.mesh-fanclub.com. There you can also hear parts of the new single “Only Better”, to be released on September 4th. In the video, Rich Silverthorn describes the style of the album as harder and dirtier and calls “A Perfect Solution” a “dark inspirational love album”.
Upon hearing it we can confirm that it indeed sounds darker and more raw than one would otherwise expect from MESH. This can already be noticed with the “Open Better” single, which is not just changing gears with its A-side but whose B-side “Shattered Glass” is also among the roughest songs that the band has ever recorded. The single also includes a remix by their fellow countrymen from KLOQ. We are anxious and excited at the same time...