Stefan Janoski and Mark Mothersbaugh
By Mark Whiteley
December 1st, 2008
"Finding Air Anywhere" written by Mark Mothersbaugh with Stefan Janoski on banjo
In early summer of 2007 I got a call from my friends Kevin and Hunter at Nike, who were then hard at work wrapping up their Nothing But The Truth video/movie project. They told me that they’d enlisted none other than Mark Mothersbaugh to do soundtrack work for the video, and that he would be working directly with the skaters to come up with songs and ideas. Being a big fan of both DEVO and the Wes Anderson movie soundtracks, I was more than hyped to hear what the results were going to be. We talked about me going down to LA while Mothersbaugh was working with the skaters to do an interview and behind-the-scenes kind of story on his role in the Nike project, and in the middle of July I went down to do just that. It worked out that I would be there on the days that my homies Stefan Janoski and Omar Salazar were there as well. We got a guided tour of the studio (which used to be a plastic surgery facility) and some cool DEVO/Mothersbaugh items as gifts. Mothersbaugh himself was so cool and personable—real easy to talk to, and full of great stories.
There was a rough edit of Stefan’s part that Dan Wolfe had made, and Stefan and Mothersbaugh watched it together with some musical ideas Mothersbaugh had put together, talking about the kind of sound Stefan wanted so that Mothersbaugh could get a better feel for his skating. They kicked around some ideas for a while, and then everybody went in to the studio where some composer/musician guys who work for Mothersbaugh started laying down tracks to revise and compliment what was there. It was very cool to watch. All throughout the studio were endless instruments of all types. Stefan plays guitar and banjo pretty well, and picked up a banjo and started noodling around. I encouraged him to try to play something on the track—how sick would it be to be playing on the song in your own video part, especially a song Mark Mothersbaugh had written just for you? Stefan kicked the idea to Mothersbaugh who was 100-percent into it. Stefan got in there and started playing right along with the song, ripping that banjo. Mothersbaugh was impressed. They ended up working on that one song all day and it sounded pretty darn good, but in the end Stefan opted to use an existing DEVO song in his part. Somebody, thankfully, realized that the song Stefan had worked on was cool and saved it for an extra on a CD of the soundtrack to the movie, released on a super limited basis with a book on the making of the film. Good luck finding a real copy…
That was one of the best days I’ve had where I got to mesh together skate stuff and music stuff. It was an honor to be able to interview and shoot portraits of Mark Mothersbaugh, and it was tons of fun hanging out with Stefan and Omar in the studio and just being in the midst of creative greatness.
Full length interview with Mark Mothersbaugh