OK Go : when video empowers music

During last weekend’s Superbowl, Chicago power-pop quartet OK Go released its brand new video clip “Needing/Getting”, from the 2010 album Of The Blue Color Of The Sky, produced with Dave Fridmann (Flaming Lips, MGMT). And I thought it was the perfect occasion to go back to a band that entails the “indie spirit” in a very personal and creative way.

Online since 5 February, the video has already reached more than 4,5 millions of views and is largely shared on social networks, generating tons of positive reactions. And let’s face it, a bit of enthusiasm in the midst of London’s freezing weather is for the best.

As usual, the band achieves to be extravagant and innovative. Wearing helmets, it drives   through a “musical course”, with instruments displayed along the road, “playing” them as they drive near them.

288 guitars, 55 pianos and more than 1,000 hand-made instruments have been used, creating a great explosion of music.

OK Go excels in indie/low-cost/DIY music videos, each of them reaching millions of views. Singer Damien Kulash explained to SPIN, when “This Too Shall Pass” video was launched (see below) : “What we want to do with our videos is have a short burst of feeling; to give you a cool little world to live in for three minutes.”

Unfortunately, it remains more famous for its crazy videos rather than its music, although as efficient as an energy drink, a combination of Flaming Lips’ extravagance with Weezer’s sense of heavy vibes.

Plus, their label Capitol (home of Death Cab For Cutie, Radiohead,…) has sometimes  interfered in their massive Web reputation, by forbidding the embedding of two of their videos. For “This Too Shall Pass”, which reached more than 30 millions of views, the band got around this by finding a sponsor : State Farm, which made no profit out of it but received a consequent publicity.

Bassist Tim Nordwind explained to IGN : “Our priority is to get our videos and our music out to as many people as possible. We’re making things for our fans, and we don’t want to make it difficult for them. (…) It does matter because that’s the way people share on the internet.”

As everything comes in threes, here is their funky first video : “Here It Goes Again”, for which they received the 2007 Grammy of Best Short Music Video and Most Creative Video at Youtube Video Awards. Here, the boys domesticate treadmills so well it could make fitness goddess Jane Fonda look outdated.

As a final, let’s not forget one of their initiatives : recording gigs on flash USB drives and then distribute them for free to fans. Singer Damien Kulash explained to SPIN : “There’s plenty of ways musicians can still survive, you just have to start conceiving everything a totally different way.”

Indeed, Ok Go has understood that there are other paths to survive in this flux of music than blindly following a major : make yourself unique and visible.

Photo : Ok Go Official Website

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