Mö Jö’s Inspiring New International Collab

Mö Jö's Inspiring New International Collab 1
Mö Jö's Inspiring New International Collab 2

Mö Jö is the professional name of multifaceted composer and producer, Mark Jansen. The veteran musician’s career has spanned five decades, spawning numerous bands, collaborations, and solo projects. His latest is an international affair, involving musicians performing remotely from all corners of the globe.

The project debuted this summer with a pair of original singles. However, Mö Jö was born three years earlier. Jansen was preparing to record a new collection of songs when the COVID-19 lockdown cut off his access to local recording studios. So, the resourceful producer went online and recruited an international roster of talent to perform on his songs.

“Rise to the Moment” is the first of two singles from Mö Jö, released worldwide via all major streaming services on July 10, 2023. A string quartet opens the track on a melancholy classical vibe, before a Nashville ensemble drops the beat on a mid-tempo Americana groove. Mark steps to the mic, and in a cool conversational tone that recalls some of Iggy Pop’s mellower spoken-word stuff, he delivers a psychological breakdown of the bullies among us, and a reassurance that good people will prevail over their oppression. A chorus of vocalists provide ethereal backing harmonies, and then join together for the song’s anthemic chorus.

“Con Man” is the latest single from Mö Jö, released on July 24, 2023. From the first beat, this track rolls on a chilled funk vibe. The bass, drums, and percussion lay down a mesmerizing syncopated groove as electric piano chords, guitars, and horns paint the edges of the mix. The lead and backing vocalist rap and sing a soulful and blues-infused commentary on the titular Trumpian archetype.

Check out both songs below. You can also hear “Rise to the Moment” on the Deep Dive : Pop & Rock playlist, and “Con Man” on Deep Dive : Hip-hop & R&B. We had the chance to chat with Mark Jensen about the new project. Check out his answers to our 8 questions below. Follow the links at the end of this article to connect with Mö Jö.

8 Questions with Mark Jansen of Mö Jö

Mö Jö's Inspiring New International Collab 3

Where are you from?

I’m from Cleveland Ohio which is an area which has had a very strong music scene since the early 60s. The radio stations were active in breaking new acts (international, national and local) and played music irregardless of if the music had label support or marketing. The DJ’s could play what they liked so the listener was constantly exposed to high quality new music. The local live music scene was very active. You could see everything from international superstars to rising local talent in small venues where you were “up close and personal” with everyone in the room including the talent.

How long have you been making music?

I started in cover bands in the mid 60s.

Who are the musicians involved in Mö Jö?

I started working on “Rise to the Moment” and “Con Man” right during the Covid episode. I couldn’t get into a studio so I decided to try to develop the project remotely. I laid down some basic tracks on a digital platform and then started to recruit musicians. 

I previewed their work online and then contacted them to work on the tracks. My recording experience is from a band perspective so I’m used to running ideas by someone, rehearsing, critiquing and then coming up with a final direction. The project evolved just like a band-oriented recording project with the exception being that I never met the people in the band.

Rise to the Moment

Lead/Background Vocals – ATAH 1*

Lead/Background Vocals – ATAH 2*

Background Vocals – ATAH 3*

Narration Vocals – Mark Jansen

Piano – Philipp Krätzer

Bass – Payam Ghasemi

Drums – Fede Gucciardo

Guitars – Giacomo Pasquali

Violin 1 – Dmitry Filatov

Violin 2 – Maryana Ptashnik

Viola – Nastya Filatova

Cello – Igor Kovalchuk

String Arrangement – Anatoly Shmargun

Con Man 

Lead/Background Vocals – ATAH 1*

Lead/Background Vocals – ATAH 2*

Clavinet – Paolo Durante

Clavinet Wah/Rhodes Piano – Philipp Krätzer

Bass – Payam Ghasemi

Drums/Percussion – Fede Gucciardo

Guitars – Giacomo Pasquali

Trumpet – Matan Gov Ari

Keyboards/Strings – Mark Jansen

Who are your biggest musical influences?

Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Marvin Gaye, James Taylor, The Who, AC/DC and Joe Walsh.

What is your greatest non-musical influence?

Baron Baptiste, the founder of Baptiste Yoga. I am a yoga teacher and practitioner. I find that the ethics and philosophies as practiced in yoga give me a firm, well grounded foundation for my life and the way I interact with others. I highly encourage the practice!

What inspired you to create Mö Jö?

“Rise to the Moment” is a response to the emergence of the strongman bully. The strong man model is nothing new to the world (think Hitler, Stalin and Mussolini) but I am dismayed at the explosion of this type of behavior in the 2020s. The Bully needs a victim and we see a whole range of victims being singled out, the women of Iran, women in general, Uyghurs, the entire population of Myanmar, minorities in India, Tibetans, the entire population of North Korea,

Kurds in Turkiye, women in Saudi Arabia and Ukrainians. 

The list goes on and on. The leaders of these oppressions are inflicted with a toxic form of masculinity and a general disregard for human dignity and freedom. They all seem attracted to photo ops which over inflate their “manliness” to the level of a romance novel cover boy (without the looks). When people join together and support each other these bullies lose their power. The more the bully is exposed by the truth, the less power he has.  

“Con Man” is inspired by the astronomical level of lying which is employed and accepted by so many people in the U.S. Trump’s favorite go-to action brought out every manner of follower… conspiracy theorists, racists , deniers and all manner of antidemocratic individuals. 

All of this lying was brought on by an individual of dubious integrity with a track record of misogyny, racism, religious prejudice and bigotry. Did anyone remind him that in the U.S. women voters outnumber male voters, and that many of the male voters have common sense?

What are your plans for the future of Mö Jö?

We are currently recording songs for an album release.

Is there anything else you would like to say?

I would urge everyone to do something that helps somebody. Little things or big things. Just make an effort to improve another person’s situation. We are all in this together. Namaste-Mark