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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

August 17, 2017   |   Ithaca, NY

Accent

OK Go aspires to make original music videos

The majority of YouTube users know indie-pop sensation OK Go from its innovative music video for the song “Here It Goes Again.” Since the beginning of the year, the band has put forth its new studio album, “Of the Blue Colour of the Sky,” dropped its old record label and started a new one, as well as created another YouTube sensation for its song “This Too Shall Pass.” OK Go will be performing at 8 p.m. next Thursday at The Haunt. Staff Writer Jared Dionne spoke with lead singer Damian Kulash about the changes OK Go is making and the inspiration behind its new album.

Jared Dionne: How do you guys come up with the ideas for your crazy videos?

Damian Kulash: We just do the things that seem interesting to us. What we tend to do is try to think of something that seems impossible and try to do it anyways.

JD: Does it ever get a little tiresome when people talk about your videos and not so much about the music?

DK: For us, videos are a thing we do. They’re every bit as much our creative brainchild as our music is. It’s almost like asking if someone’s CD is overshadowing their live performance. We wake up in the morning, and we are driven by our desire to chase down our creative ideas. Sometimes that’s purely audio and sometimes it’s video.

JD: Most of the new album seems grounded in dealing with everyday life. Was that the primary motivation behind this album?

DK: The way we wrote this record was very different than the way we wrote records in the past. What we used as our M.O. was just playing with sound and looking for the moment of alchemy to happen. We started playing with things until moments of feeling felt like they were erupting out of them, and then we’d chase that and see where that led us songwise. You get a pretty good reflection of how you listen to music rather than how you think about making it.

JD: I love the thought that went into the album title. What went into that?

DK: When we were making the record, I was reading a book of essays by Paul Collins called “Banvard’s Folly.” It’s a collection of essays about people who “didn’t change the world.” One of them was this guy who started an international craze when he thought he had proven that blue light was a life force. I just think that’s one of the most poetic and absurd things I’ve ever heard. It’s very resonant with what happens when you’re writing an album, and especially what happened to us writing this record.

JD: What do you guys hope to accomplish with your newly formed record label, Paracadute?

DK: We just want a distribution system for the stuff we make, and we’d much rather be making the choices about our own distribution than having to fit into a system that was designed for products of 15, 20 and 40 years ago.

JD: Why did you want to visit Ithaca?

DK: Ithaca is indeed “gorges.” I love those T-shirts. I’ve always had a wonderful time in Ithaca, and it’s been a while since we were there, so let’s do it.

JD: How does the energy you put into your videos translate into your live performance?

DK: We make our records and our videos and our live shows with the same passion for just making stuff. We try to make our show into an explosively emotional roller-coaster ride as much as we can. What’s great about live shows that you can’t get on records is the feeling of 500 or 1,000 people or 5,000 or 10,000 people in one space all feeling the same thing, getting on the wave and riding it together. It’s a beautiful thing.

JD: What do you hope to accomplish as a band? Do you think you’ve accomplished that yet?

DK: If you ever feel like you’ve accomplished what you’ve set out to do, you’re about to have a really awful year. By the time you’ve gotten somewhere, hopefully you’ve set your goals farther away.