Before he was a world-renowned composer, Danny Elfman earned notoriety for his ’80s new wave band Oingo Boingo. On Monday, he waxed nostalgic by re-recording a version of Oingo Boingo’s “Running on a Treadmill” from self-quarantine.
The track is taken from the group’s 1982 album Nothing to Fear, and its original version is quite upbeat and kooky. In his home video recording, Elfman slowed down the tempo and reworked the song into something a little more snaky — though no less colorful. Elfman’s daughter recorded the whole thing for Instagram and made sure to include shots of creepy dolls that her father, a frequent Tim Burton collaborator, had on display in his home studio.
In the clip’s caption, Elfman explained that the inspiration for this recording came after his Coachella set was postponed until October. Struggling to focus on commissioned orchestral work, this song just popped into Elfman’s head and he decided to lay down a new rendition for his own sanity.
“Weirdly, as I struggled though those first few weeks, an old tune I had written decades ago began running though my mind,” Elfman wrote. “I didn’t know why, but it didn’t go away. Eventually I decided not to resist and laid down tracks, just for the simple pleasure. It’s really almost like a nursery rhyme. Maybe under all that stress that’s why it came back to me, and just the act of recording it was really calming for my brain.”
Last year, Elfman’s work made an appearance in our look back at the 10 Most Timeless Children’s Films. He’s still slated to perform at the rescheduled Coachella Music Festival later this year, and you can snag tickets here.