Modern rockers OK Go have found the viral world to be a healthy way of making noise these days.
The group’s second album, “Oh No,” did top Billboard’s taste-making Heatseekers chart when it was released in August 2005.
But it’s a subsequent series of cheeky and inventive Internetdistributed videos — the backyard dance routine of “A Million Ways,” the award-winning treadmill choreography of “Here It Goes Again,” the moving wallpaper scheme of “Do What You Want” — that have really caught fans’ attention.
“Here It Goes Again,” in fact, won a Grammy Award for Best Short Form Video and recently took the Most Creative Video prize from the inaugural YouTube awards.
“It was the opportunism of seeing a chink in the armor of the music industry,” frontman Damian Kulash, who cofounded OK Go in 1998 in Chicago, says of the group’s viral video strategy. “We certainly are not Machiavellian geniuses who planned this all from the outset and knew this (success) would happen.
“But on the other hand, after we released a backyard practice tape of us doing a dance routine and saw how successful it was, we certainly were quick to see what else we could do with the medium and the format.”
But Kulash says he and his OK Go bandmates — guitarist Andy Ross, bassist Tim Nordwind and drummer Dan Knopka — also are confi dent that people are listening to the songs as well as watching them.
“There are many more people coming to the shows, certainly, than there were before,” he notes. “It feels like we’re getting a pretty honest response and that people are paying attention. I guess we’ll really know a couple years from now.
“Any sort of success you have, I think, comes with a whole lot of people who jump on board temporarily and are gone the next day. You just hope that some decent percentage of them stick around to see what you do next and are interested in the larger project and care about the same things you care about.”
The future is very much on Kulash’s mind these days — especially after spending nearly 20 months living with “Oh No.” He says no more singles or videos are planned from the album, but OK Go will be busy; the quartet is currently on the road opening for Snow Patrol, then will open for the Fray on July 1.
After that, however, the band plans to take much of the summer off in order to write new material and then enter the studio in the fall— most likely in Sweden with “Oh No” producer Tore Johansson.
“We’ve been writing on the road,” Kulash reports, “but we find that a lot of what we write on the road sounds like covers of ourselves, like us trying to do that thing that OK Go does as opposed to a more honest refl ection of something within.
“We’ve certainly raised the bar, but we also are not going to judge the things we make in the future by the same terms that we judge what’s going on (now).”
OK Go performs with Snow Patrol and Silversun Pickups at 7 p.m. Sunday (April 1st) at the State Theatre, 2115 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Tickets are sold out. Call (313) 961-5450 or visit www.livenation.com.
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