Mark Mothersbaugh On The Synths That Changed Pop Music

mark-mothersbaugh-synthesizersIn a new interview by NPR, embedded below, composer Mark Mothersbaugh (Devo, The Rugrats, The Lego Movie, Thor: Ragnarok) shares his thoughts on the synthesizers that changed pop music – focusing on how the Moog Minimoog took synthesizers from the studio to the stage.

Mothersbaugh says he gravitates towards sounds that he describes as “ugly” and “aggressive.”

“That’s where I came from,” he says. “I was at Kent State when the shootings happened. And what we were observing was not evolution but de-evolution … so those kinds of sounds were important to us.”

He also shares his thoughts on the lasting appeal of hardware.

“There’s something about it that’s different than punching in numbers on a computer keyboard or using a mouse to slide a fake fader,” he says. “Everything’s so ergonomic — it’s right there at your fingertips.

For more of Mothersbaugh’s thoughts on synths, check out this behind-the-scenes tour of his synth collection:

18 thoughts on “Mark Mothersbaugh On The Synths That Changed Pop Music

    1. I had a Writing Proff that was there also and he was crazier than shit.

      All you had to do to totally derail class was mention any sort of government control or censorship issue…

    2. The things that are happening around you can have a great influence on how you make your music. Devo and Kraftwerk are good examples as are many of the pioneering synth users.

  1. How everyone keeps saying that sliders on a midi controller are fake and on an analog synth “real” escapes my logic. I thought both are technology. Different stages but still it`s all technology. To say that everything was better and realer before then you have to go further than the analog vs digital nonsense. One is an older one so it`s more “real”? So a piano player can say “touching a synth is not as real as a hammer hitting a string” and a guy hitting a rock says to the piano player “nothing is as real as hitting real rocks!” . Just a thought. Don`t want to insult anyone Btw First it was “Synthesizer. the thing that changed history!” and now “The three synths that changed a specific Genre of music” i think i will take the Blue pill Morpheus

    1. They are different. Of course they’re both technology. They both use electricity too!! A Midi Controller will be mapped to a control and will have a fixed resolution if it adheres to the MIDI standard. The MIDI controller sends a digital message that get translated whereas an analogue control adjusts a voltage. Similar results but not the same thing.

      If the Kent campus deaths (remember) affected Mark accept that. Perhaps learn about what went on there. Didn’t the Beach Boys sing about it too.

      He was in Devo. His opinion counts

    2. Mothersbaugh says it is different, not more real. Midi controllers are fine but they still aren’t the same as having an interface per product where you can see everything at once. Of course there are big disadvantages to hardware as well, like not being able to save the entire system state with one key code.

  2. So inspiring that he has kept the feeling of being truly Alive! (while others of lesser talent are spending their time trolling….)

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