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In this installment of Creative Inspirations, we meet music composer and DEVO founder Mark Mothersbaugh at home at Mutato Muzika, his studio on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood. This is where he and his fellow spuds (Mutato combines mutant and potato) create some of film and television's most compelling music.
Mark reveals what drives his projects that have ranged from Clio Award-winning commercials, to Emmy Award-winning music for television, to soundtracks for popular video games. Mark shows us his stunning paintings and drawings that have been shown in galleries around the world, and shares his motivation behind being an artist working in various media, his fascination with mutants and symmetry, and using Photoshop to manipulate his work. He also discusses how the unique DEVO sound, look, and philosophy first came together, and why after a 28-year break, they came back together with a new album and tour.
(Music playing) Mark Mothersbaugh: This movie her, I've really just begun it. An up and coming Mexican director who's already done a couple of films and he's hired other American composers before, named Beto Gomez. He wanted me to look at his film and I was kind of, about then I was kind of like feeling like I was done for a while with doing low budget movies. So, I was kind of-- I almost didn't look at the movie and then I watched it and it was great film. (Music playing) So, here I am now and I met with the director and producers and music supervisor, they were all from South America and Beto it turns out as a big fan of a couple of the scores I did for Wes Anderson.
He really likes Life Aquatic and Royal Tenenbaums a lot. He came in with some ideas of what he wanted it to sound like. He brought in a lot of Norte Banda music, which has got a heavy Germanic thing. I mean, even to the point with the base is a tuba, and it's lot of boom, boom, boom-bo-boom. And I don't know. He said, "take that sound and mix it Ennio Moreconi and then just give me a Mark Mothersbaugh filter on the whole thing." And I thought, okay, that said, I'm still figuring out what that musical universe is going to be.
(Music playing) The concept of the music for this one is like the second half will still have, retain a western feel to it but it'll have some middle-eastern elements in it, like either a horn or some sort of a string instrument that let's you know that they're not in Mexico anymore, they're not in the Western hemisphere anymore, that now they are in the middle east. And so, like these kind of pads, I think I'll get a lot of mileage.
(Music playing) But they have a little bit of a sitar kind of sound and although sitar is not really the right instrument, they have just enough of a drone-y kind of thing that you could make it sound mean. You know, if you're walking around what looks like Baghdad streets, like you could find danger in these things, in these sounds here. Then I'm also kind of trying to give it like a little bit of Mucho Macho, but kind of kitschy version of Mucho Macho. I don't know if it'll stay or not but I put it in a little bit of Toccata and Fugue.
So, in the melody I have it going... (Music playing) At a couple of times where the music stops, then that's the little tag and then it goes back into the song again. (Music playing) And I don't know about the beat. I'm going to take the beat out for a second. (Music playing) You also want to have a real authentic sound.
So, I really doubt I'm going to get an orchestral band for this. I really think it's going to be more like I'm going to get a banda band from Orange County or something. Some of that I'm going to have to ask the director to just give me some leeway, cut me some slack on some of these sounds. (Music playing)
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