More than 12 million people have watched OK Go’s Rube Goldberg-inspired video for their song, “This Too Shall Pass,” from their “Of the Blue Colour of the Sky” album. While the band keeps upping the ante for the visuals that accompany their songs, singer Da-mian Kulash says he thinks they enhance the music rather than distract from it.
“When people ask us if we’re worried if they overshadow the music,” he says of the videos, “it feels like asking if we’re worried our records are overshadowing our live show. It’s all one project for us.”
You’ve been known to recreate some of your videos at your live shows. Does this mean you’re bringing the Rube Goldberg machine on tour with you?
No. [Laughs] There’s no way. It truly would not be possible. If that machine were made reliable enough to work every night, it would also be made so boring that it would be un-fun to watch.
With all of the emphasis on videos, are you concerned that you will be branded as “that band from the video”?
We clearly already are that band. The question is, “Does that bother us?” And to the extent that it bothers me, I wonder why people make such a strange distinction there. You know, the videos are as much a part of our creative process as anything. I think that what that attitude reflects is people’s understanding of music videos as advertisements. In 1995 if you saw a music video, it had been paid for by a record label, commissioned by a record label, and more or less conceived of by a record label, and all of this just to sell the product that is the band. ... For us, our music videos are very much our own creative project and not advertisements for something else.
Speaking of labels, you guys just started one. What are your thoughts about it now? Is it liberating or nerve-wracking?
I’m very much looking forward to it. The only thing that’s nerve-racking at all is the money. It means taking on some more overhead. We have to hire a few more people to do this and that, but I can’t tell you how freeing and awesome it feels to know that whatever we make, we can do whatever we want.