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OK Go: Superstars of YouTube

OK Go bassist Tim Nordwind, on his band’s viral video successes

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Nordwind, third from the left, not counting the dog.
Jeremy and Claire Weiss Photography

OK Go-This Too Shall Pass - from YouTube.com

"The record industry in general is kind of crumbling, and networks like MTV have announced they're not even going to play videos anymore. [So] there's no need to make a music video that fits into the old-fashioned ideas of what a music video is.

"It used to be that labels looked at videos as advertisements ... We look at making videos like we look at making records — it's part of the art of what we do. We like to direct them ourselves so we can come up with a concept and work with our friends on concepts, and go out of the Hollywood system to make these things. We make them because they're fun and we like to do it."

Why did you make two separate videos for the single "This Too Shall Pass?"

We had two concepts that we really liked a lot, and when we listened through the record to try to figure out what songs fit best for the visual concept, both times "This Too Shall Pass" fit the bill. The marching band video was like, "What song do we have that is simple enough that it will translate when arranged with a 200 person marching band?" ... With the Rube Goldberg machine, I remember sitting around one day watching other people's Rube Goldberg machines on YouTube, and we played our album sort of watching models go down tracks and dominoes fall. ... We listened to every song on the record, and some songs made the machine feel too slow and some songs made the machine feel too goofy. "This Too Shall Pass" made it majestic and epic.

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What's the worst injury you guys have had doing your music videos without stunt doubles?

Luckily, there's never been any hospitalization involved. Most of the damage is emotional. [Laughs.} The treadmills [from "Here It Goes Again"] are a lot of scrapes and bruises and treadmill marks on people's backs and stuff like that. At one point we had to stop the shoot on "This Too Shall Pass" because I got shot with paint and for about a minute and a half I thought my nose was broken because I got hit so hard. We had to have the onset medic stop everything and look at my nose. It was really hard to tell whether or not I was bleeding because I got shot with red paint and my face was covered in red.

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