WEB EXTRA: OK Go: More Than Just the Boys on Treadmills

“OK Go hopes to be the first band to play in space,” said the Chicago/D.C. band’s bassists Tim Nordwind. It’s a goal that may not be completely unrealistic for the highly inspired members of OK Go, a band that has been topping the American and European charts since their 2002 self-titled debut album. After taking over the Internet with their ever-popular low budget self-made music videos, the stars may be the only thing left for OK Go to reach for.

Even though the band released their latest record, “Oh No,” nearly two years ago, it is continuing to make its mark on today’s popular rock scene. Nordwind describes the band’s sound as “arty party,” inspired by The Pixies.

With such an unclassifiable musical style, OK Go appeals to fans of all ages of all genres, which explains the odd pairings of past tour-mates, such as Panic! At the Disco and Motion City Soundtrack.

“I don’t really like going to shows where all three bands have the same sound. It gets to be boring. We make for an eclectic bill. The fans seem to like it,” said Nordwind, describing their current tour with indie newcomers, Silversun Pickups, and Northern Irish imports Snow Patrol.

Known for their energetic live performances, the stage is where OK Go feels most comfortable doing what they love: having fun. “We like to create a big party atmosphere,” Nordwind said. “What’s most important to us is that the show feels like a party and that everyone is having fun there.”

Despite the band’s best efforts to shake the label of being “the band with the treadmills,” mainstream fame for OK Go stems from the popularity of their self-released music videos for hit songs “A Million Ways” and “Here It Goes Again.” Cashing in on the do-it-yourself Internet phenomenon of today, the band first video recorded a choreographed dance in their studio’s backyard and put the video on Youtube.com unbeknownst to their record label, Capitol.

After becoming one of the most seen videos on the site, the band followed the same formula, except this time, recording a dance on treadmills for the single “Here It Goes Again.” Decked out in their usual geek rock outfits, OK Go skyrocketed to mainstream popularity, garnering nearly 10 million views for their creative video concept. Nordwind described the double-edged sword of that video as a great outlet to bring their music to the masses.

“It’s funny,” he said. “The main goal is to get people to listen to the music, whether it’s through the video or a performance on television. I’m happy for people to just hear the music.”

The band seems to have embraced their treadmill label, especially in February when “Here It Goes Again” won the first Grammy Award of the night for Best Short Form Video. Nordwind describes the experience as “being shot out of a cannon or something like that.”

As for the night, he said, “We got there and we were the first award. We had been sitting no more than five minutes before they announced our award. From there on out it was just like, holy shit we won.”

On March 23, OK Go will join Silversun Pickups and Snow Patrol at the Bender Arena at American University. The show is currently sold out.

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