How Ad Agency Mother Got Devo to Open Up

Band crowdsources its latest work

It must be nice to have Devo as your first client. Mother LA, an offshoot of the Mother ad agency, got just that opportunity—and has hit the ground running with the cult band, getting Mark Mothersbaugh and company to change the very way they operate creatively. With the band set to release its first album in 20 years, Mother pushed to make it an inclusive affair, running a series of crowdsourcing experiments on to get input from fans on everything from color selection to song mixes.

"In the past, Devo was very insular," Mothersbaugh says on the band's site. "This time, I became intrigued with the idea of having people who understood Devo actually work on the songs, and to do to our songs what we did to 'Satisfaction' on our first record. Don't put any boundaries on their production style, let them bring what they needed to make Devo be what it should be after waking up from suspended animation for 20 years."

Mother suggested having the Teddybears do a remix of the song "Watch Us Work It." "They took Josh Freese's drums off and put on a sample from something we did back in, like, 1982. And I thought, 'That actually is better!' That was when I first really saw that Devo had something to absorb, as well as something to impart."

Devo has a new interactive out (see below) for the new song "What We Do." Mother didn't make the video but will continue to work creatively with the band. Says its sister shop, Mother New York: "We are confident that Mother LA will succeed in helping the de-evolution band reach a new pinnacle of popularity."