It’s been six years and 25 million views since OK Go went viral with an epic choreographed treadmill video, and the band is showing no signs of slowing.
In addition to a new album, Hungry Ghosts, and handful of other video antics, The band kicks off a spring tour in Santa Cruz this week before driving up the coast for a headlining show at the Warfield on March 21.
We spoke with vocalist and bassist Tim Nordwind about the band’s latest projects, aspirations for the moon and his favorite jams of the moment.
What’s left on your to-do list before you go on tour?
We’re flying to Shanghai to film a commercial there. It will be remaking one of our previous videos as a commercial. It’s kind of a crazy, slightly absurd project. It’s not the normal rock band thing. Then we’re headed home to do pre-production for the tour.
Home is Los Angeles and we’ll be revamping the show a little bit. It will be a bit different from what we did over the summer—scaling the size up a bit and adding a couple of new multimedia mash-ups.
What music will make your “On The Road” playlist?
Over the summer I got super into this band Jungle. It’s super neo 70′s funk and soul done in a modern production. The best way I can think to describe it is the music Rocky Balboa would have jogged to in Rocky. It’s got that Philadelphia soul kind of feeling.
Dan, our drummer, also turned me onto this producer/DJ that goes by the name 813. He does a lot of future stuff and trap production. He lives in Russia, so he has a unique Russian twist to the whole thing. It doesn’t quite sound like American future step or trap. It has a special character to it.
Which dream collaborations are on your wish list?
We’d always be open for a collaboration, but I don’t think we always know exactly who. Doing something with Daft Punk would be super cool because we’ve been fans for 15 years now. There’s another British producer/songwriter Jai Paul. I admire his production a lot. It would be weird and fun to do something with him.
I’m sure there’s a million people we’d like to collaborate with. It would be fun to some day write a song with a super posh Swedish producer, like those people who produce all of Britney Spears’ songs. I think just doing something incredibly hyper-pop would be fun some day.
OK Go currently has more than 1 million followers on Twitter and over 150 million total YouTube views. What’s the band’s next milestone?
The first band to go to the moon or something like that would be awesome! We’re currently working on a project where we will be storing our record as DNA. I think we’ll be the first band to do that. That’s a good start.
What has been the craziest idea for a music video that got shot down and why?
I don’t know if I can actually tell you that. We have a bunch of projects that I think conceptually are very sound but we’re looking for the right collaborators or looking to find the funding for it. Some ideas are expensive.
Of all the awards OK Go has received for music videos, which recognition has surprised you the most?
Well, I have to say, my answer holds true for any of our videos. I remember in our early days, when we first started realizing that people enjoy these homemade, self-made videos that we were doing. Up until that point, we had struggled with that traditional thing that you do as a band to get noticed.
There was something really heartwarming about realizing that if we just do things that we do as friends anyways—things that make us laugh, bring us joy, give us a sense of awe and wonderment—that is what people really take to. We can just be ourselves and that’s what people like the most. People like that more than pretending to be a super cool rock band with leather jackets, which we never totally did.
It wasn’t until we started doing things we truly love doing that we started getting noticed in a way that felt right and felt true to who we were.
We’re also incredibly lucky to come along in a time of YouTube and user generated content and new spaces online for creativity and all that stuff. It’s having that space that really allowed us to make stuff we wanted to without going through middle men. Share them directly with our fans. Up until 2004-2005, that was a much more difficult thing to do.
OK Go performs March 21 at the Warfield. More Info.