OK Go: YouTube Is The Main Medium For Videos Now, Not MTV

OOK Go. I’m sure that even if you’ve never listened to their music wilfully, at least one of those 49 million plays of “Here It Goes Again” on YouTube belongs to you (yes, I’m talking about that treadmill video).

The Internet phenomenon and the masters of viral promotion, the band did it again – this time creating a weirdy video for the new single “WTF?” and uniting with Design Miami/, FENDI and technologically-pioneering designer Moritz Waldemeyer to stage a “groundbreaking” design performance at Design Miami/ this week (Design Miami/ is an international fair for limited edition design).

OK Go in LED suit jackets

OK Go in LED suit jackets

The fair is taking place right now, December 1st through December 5th in Miami Design District. While the topic is hot, I decided to leak few excerpts from a just conducted by UG’s Amy Kelly interview with the band’s singer Damian Kulash.

Damina talked the live show at Design Miami/, the band’s album Of The Blue Colour Of The Sky, coming out in January, and his thoughts on music marketing. Be sure to check out the full interview on Ultimate Guitar when it’s up later this week – interesting stuff.

What are the specifics involved with that show?


We’ve been dreaming years of making these laser guitars. The guitars themselves, they have lasers out of the headstocks. So it’s kind of like an extension of the strings. We talked about this back and forth for a couple of years. Fendi, the ultra-fashionable, Italian designer and Design Miami/ approached Moritz originally and said, “We want to do an event that would be something that no one has seen before.” He was like, “Well, I have an idea. I’ve been talking with this band for awhile and we want the guitars to do this.

They were just awesome. The head designer for Fendi and Moritz got together, and they talked about what a Fendi guitar should look like. We asked Gibson if they would build guitars for us because they have been wonderful supporters. Gibson gave us some guitars, and Fendi covered them in leather and fur. Moritz then covered them in LEDs and lasers.

You created quite a buzz with both “A Million Ways” and “Here It Goes Again.” After those began to circulate, did it make you realize the limitless opportunities that were available for bands who think outside of the box?

It opened a whole new world for everyone else. We as a band have always been trying to chase down our crazy-ass ideas. The thing that unites OK Go and makes it easy for us to make decisions together and get along and work together is to have the opportunity to chase down our creative ideas. We love music, but we don’t particularly want to have to write the same song over and over and over again. So every time we have an opportunity that makes us say, “Wow, I’ve never thought of that before” – then that sounds like a story I’d want to tell my grandkids. That’s the thing that makes us go.


OK Go in a video for "Here It Goes Again"

OK Go in video for "Here It Goes Again"

If you’ve got Pearl Jam selling, you have to find yourself the other 30 bands that have singers that sound exactly like that. The last thing you’re going to do is put the money on the guy who is dancing in his backyard. You’re certainly not going to be like, “Yeah, that’s a great idea!” There’s a lot of money you could lose. I remember when we first turned in our backyard dance video to our label, the person whose job it was to promote that, his word-for-word response was, “If this gets out, you’re sunk.” There’s a whole different crew of people who work on the label. This was years ago before people realized the power of videos on the Internet.

I’m not saying that we had this all figured out. It’s not like we had some big Machiavellian game plan. We did know that if you make cool shit, crazy shit, shit that people aren’t expecting… if we like it, our friends will like it. If our friends will like it, then our fans will probably like it. That’s why a band exists. That’s how a band exists. There are people out there who like your shit. I don’t think any of us had any idea that our video could be downloaded 50 million times or that dancing in our backyard would be an Internet sensation. At the same time, why not?

What would you recommend to new bands in terms of marketing? Are methods like YouTube and webcasts still viable methods?

At the end day, make cool shit. It’s so ridiculously oversimplified. It’s true that YouTube is no longer outside of the box or cutting edge. It’s become the main medium for videos. People make their videos for YouTube now, not MTV. Music videos had to exist for a very particular reason, and they would be released on that show Friday Night Videos or whatever. People made videos that made sense in that format. Now that world doesn’t really exist anymore.

So we’re thinking of new ways like events, something like a totally insane performance. Instead of shooting a video ourselves, you have 1,000 people show up with flip cameras and that’s your video. Then you have 1,000 handmade shots. You don’t get what to control what they’ll look like, except you get to control the performance.

So is that a video? Is that an event? What is that? It doesn’t really need a name. It’s just a cool idea. Things are exciting. Thinking about it like, “I have a band and I need to figure out a clever marketing plan” – that will always fail. If you look at it like, “I have a band and I want to make cool shit” – if you’re really good at that, it will market itself.

Here is a bonus: a “making of” video for “WTF?“. It’s called (oh dear) “HTF?” (stands for How The Fuck). Recommended for checking out: