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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.
Johnny Brewton: My skill sets, which are print making, limited editions, publishing, it seemed like a perfect fit here, and working with Mark is great because he's so prolific. He has such great ideas and it just makes it a lot of fun to watch his process. You know I feel like I'm learning something by working with him. John Enroth: Working With Mark is great, because when he lets me just do what I want to do, it's great, because he trusts me and that's awesome. When he wants something done specifically, he just says, "hey I need you to do this, this and this, and it needs to sound like that, that and that." With Private Perez specifically, he handed me a bunch of files and said, "hey can you put real guitar on this and then try and find places in the movie that it can work?" So, with that one, I haven't written anything for it and I don't know if I ever will because he handles a lot of the movie writing, but I'm definitely going to be adjusting his stuff to the picture and try and find places that fit. Show it to him.
If he likes it, then great. We can move on. Albert Fox: It's a really wonderful experience and not only seeing how he works and how, you know, pretty much how he thinks. I mean, it really helps me out to not only watch him, but to be able to participate in the projects that he is doing. It's wonderful. From scoring aspects to just how he generates ideas, you know how he works quickly and comes up with stuff. My musical horizons have expanded exponentially since I've been here. I mean, I started pretty much as the synthesizer programming guy and now it's anything that gets thrown on me, I'm confidential that I could do it.
James Sale: Mark and I, Ifirst worked for Mark in 2004. I did some orchestrating on Rugrats Go Wild. After we worked on Herbie, I bugged him and said I wanted to work with him again and I liked working with him and we just hit it off, and I think he also likes my temperament. I think the thing he is probably best at is in the course of the film, there are a lot of revisions, there are a lot of changes, there are a lot of requests for things that Mark may not necessarily agree with or like that he has to do.
He never-- I don't think he ever makes the film maker feel bad for that. He kind of says, "whatever you need to do we will do." I think that makes a big difference. And likewise when he's working with me, I never feel like I'm pulling teeth or doing anything difficult. So I don't deal with temper tantrums or anything like that. He's is very levelheaded and easy to work with.
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