‘Click Interview’ with Olaf Wollschläger Vs. Mesh: ‘I think it is really important to understand the artist in what they want to achieve’
Less bands are working with a producer today, but great bands know a producer can add this little extra to your work. Olaf Wollschläger is one of the most respected contemporary producers. He produced bands like Melotron, Beborn Beton, Neuroticfish, In Strict Confidence, Psyche, Seabound, Edge Of Dawn and others. He also produced the last 3 Mesg albums. I thought it was essential to get his opinion about the new Mesh album (cf. Looking Skyward” released on Dependent).
The new 13-track Mesh album “Looking skyward” will be released in no less than 4 formats including a normal CD (available right here), a 2LP set (available right here) and a 2CD set (available right here) which comes with a hardcover book. But next to that there is also a super deluxe boxset (available right here) including the 2CD hardcover book, the gatefold 2LP, and an additional LP with bonus tracks of the bonus CD and a numbered certificate.
(by Inferno Sound Diaries)
Q: How did you get in touch with Mesh and what did they expect from your ‘job’ as producer?
Olaf: I knew the music of Mesh long before I got in touch with them. I have seen them live on festivals and heard their songs in clubs.
The record company got in touch with me and asked me if I could help them by mixing their album. That was the album “A Perfect Solution” in 2009. In the end it was a bit more than just mixing. To make it sound right for me I changed some sounds and made some suggestions about the arrangements. But we had a limit in time, because there was already a tour booked. I think I had 4 weeks for the entire album.
As we talked afterwards I told Rich and Mark that I had loved to work out things more in detail and we said we could try that on the next album. That happened on “Automation Baby”. “A Perfect Solution” is a great album though, there are some great songs on that.
Q: How long did it take to produce the new album “Looking Skyward” and what’s your way of working together?
Olaf: Rich told me about starting a new album in November 2014 on a festval in Krefeld. Then it was March 2015 when I heard the first demo-song entitled “Tactile” and I thought it was brilliant. From then on I got some more stuff from the guys but did not work on it yet.
I think for me the whole process started, when I went to Bristol in August 2015 and worked on the songs with the band in their own studio (witch has some really good and rare synths in there). The album was finished by the end of May. So you can say it took me one year and one and a half for the band to achieve it
Most of the time we worked online, but this time Rich was here with me in the studio much longer than on the other albums. It was good to have him around, to have this direct communication.
Q: Can you reveal the different aspects of your work regarding the Mesh-releases?
Olaf: This is the third album I made with Mesh. I think even though “Automation Baby” was a big success and everybody said ‘you can’t do it better’ with “Looking Skyward” we made our best work so far. The reason is that we know each other much better now.
When we made “A Perfect Solution” there was not only time-pressure. We didn’t really know that much about each other. I think it is really important to understand the artist in what they want to achieve, what their favorite bands, films, books etc. are. Now with the third album we got a real good relationship in creativity. I know much better what they like, but more important what they don’t like. And they know me much better, the way I work.
Q: What kind of band is Mesh and what makes the chemistry between you and them?
Olaf: Mesh is a great band to work with. They got a lot of experience in making records and know exactly what they want. That makes things much easier when we are working.
My role is to make it sound right. It is not only the mixing. The whole thing starts with the recording. So we made all the vocals here in the studio with the most accurate equipment you can buy for money. The same with the guitars.
Then there are the synths. We are all sound addicts. And the band has got some really good instruments and software to work with. Rich is the guy working with some classic synths like the Pro-One and SH-101 but also the NORD Lead and the Virus. He is getting some real good sounding stuff out of this machines and you can say that is the typical Mesh-sound.
Mark is more the software guy. He has tons of apps on his devices and he uses them for writing songs. Some of those weird sounds really made onto the album. And then I got a lot of synths here in my studio. In the last years I found my love for modular synths again. And now we have a real playground of creativity here when it comes to sounds…
Q: You’ve produced a lot of bands and productions, but what makes Mesh maybe ‘different’ from other to work with?
Olaf: As I said before, it is the experience that makes the difference. I have a lot of bands here that have great songs and great voices but some of them don’t really know how it should sound like. Nowadays a lot of artists work in a box, on their laptops with softsynths. But they rarely change the sounds or even know how to do it. I think that is a generation thing.
Mesh and myself come from a time where you had to connect everything with MIDI and with your desk and had to know your equipment that costs thousands of Euros. Today it doesn’t matter if you don’t really know or use the app for just a few Euros.
Another big thing about Mesh is the voice of Mark. He is a brilliant singer and has such a unique timbre of voice. It is pure fun to work with audio-material like that. You can’t really make that much wrong with it.
Q: Do you have a favorite Mesh-song you produced and why?
Olaf: Oh, that is hard to answer. If you worked on all of them for a long time they are all your babies. If I had to pick some from the album I would say “The Fixer”, “Before The World Ends” and “Two+1”. But that could be another three tomorrow…
Courtesy by Inferno Sound Diaries