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This article is from Issue 54: Nov/Dec 2011

The Quirky Rockers of OK GO

There's more to these rockers than just viral videos.

While OK Go has been making music for more than a decade, they’re now known just as much for their innovative videos as their music. Chances are, if you own a computer, you’ve seen an OK Go video— there’s the treadmill video, the Rube Goldberg video, that one with all the crazy-talented dogs and many more. Here, the band reveals their “formula” for approaching art and where the inspiration for their quirkyvideos comes from. They also talk charity work, parades seen from space—and, oh yeah, they have a few theories on how to fix the music industry, too.

Every time you guys put out a new video it becomes a huge Internet event. Why did you start to approach your videos that way?

TIM NORDWIND, Bass: I think one thing that sometimes is overlooked about our videos is that we make them ourselves; it’s part of what we do as this band. It was never a clear decision to focus on videos, because for us it doesn’t necessarily feel like we turn all of our attention to videos. We make music, we make videos, we do all sorts of weird, crazy art projects, and it’s fun doing it.

DAN KONOPKA, Drums: We’ve never really acknowledged the constraints of, “What is a rock band?” or, “What does a rock band do?” So many bands will just tour, make a record, tour on that record, do a one-day video shoot for their single. These music videos are just another part of the artwork we do. We love making those just as much as we love making music. All the stuff, regardless of whether it’s videos or music or charity—we dive into each one equally.

NORDWIND: It’s a pretty interesting time, I think, for music, and also the music industry. The traditional music industry we all grew up with, I think, is crumbling. Something else is emerging—but what it is, no one has the answer for. One thing that’s pretty clear to us is that a lot of the traditional rules about what it means to be a traditional band, or what it means to have a record out, those definitions are changing. So it’s kind of a fun time to be in a band, because you don’t have to just do the traditional things we grew up with anymore; it’s all getting redefined.

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