OK Go has always been one of my favorite bands. The band broke big when their second record Oh No (EMI Capitol) came out five years ago and haven’t slowed down since. Their pop hooks, killer stage prescene and hillarious videos are a force not to be reckoned with. Late last week I had the chance to talk to bass player Tim Nordwind about everything from their split with their long time record label to the future of the band. Oh here we go, here we go, here we go again……
Modern Mystery: What is the inspiration behind the songs on the new record?
Tim Nordwind: A lot of this record was written during the Bush administration and in the economic downfall. It seemed like the world need help. Also stuff that the band was going through, personal times. We had just come off the road after two and a half years. It was what we were going through, that sort of thing.
MM: There was a long span between Oh No and Of the Colour of the Blue Sky (EMI Capitol). What was the reason?
Nordwind: Well the second record, since we toured a lot, it took about a year for us to come up with stuff, and with the label putting it out in the world. We ended up touring with Oh No for two and a half years and that’s three and a half years already. When we got home, we got our heads together and we started to write songs for the next record. And so when we first sat down we realized what we wanted it to sound like. So it took a little while longer and we wanted to go in organized. By the time we got it together and had the label distribute it, it was five years right there. I hope we don’t take as long next time. I don’t think we’ll be on tour for two and a half years with this record. We’ll make and another one and it will pick up I guess!
MM: Did you feel any pressure going into the studio since Oh No blew up pretty big and fast?
Nordwind: All the pressure we were feeling was self inflicted for sure. The label was more or less hands off. At that point they had let us do our own thing. We often feel a lot of pressure, but the pressure was totally self inflicted. We spent a lot of time asking ourselves “It this good?” “What do you think?” We put a lot of time into it. No one else gave us pressure.
MM: Yesterday it was announced that you had cut ties with EMI and Capitol to form your own label, Paracadute. What was the decision behind that and how much involvement does the band have in it?
Nordwind: It was definetly something the band wanted to do. We needed to make a change and start our own business. It seemed like a good time to do it. Our label, it was a very amicable split and they were pretty cool about it. It’s definetly an exciting moment for us. For the first time in eight years we’re an independent band, really an independent band. We started out as an independent band anyway. We’ll now distribute our records ourselves. It’s exciting.
MM: Your videos are always amazing. How do you come up with the concepts?
Nordwind: Concepts come from all sorts of places. Sometimes it’s born out of an idea one of us will have, or a friend of ours will come and say “Hey I have an idea,” and we kind of just go from there. It’s really a collaboration and we don’t do traditional film making. We like to sort of, well we like to act, and like if you want to make a video, what do you do? We try to figure it out rather then going to someone who makes traditional films. We started having friends of ours make our videos. Our ideas come from all over the place and then we work on them.
MM: How do you create your songs? Is it a collaboration or does everyone come in with seperate ideas?
Nordwind: Usually the way we write songs is that we all kind of do it alone. Then we’ll bring it to the band and we all sort of work on it and make it sound just right. Then we sometimes take ideas and sort of jam them out. Usually by the time a song is done, everyone in the band has touched it one way or another.
MM: Where do you see OK Go in ten years from now?
Nordwind: I don’t really know, and the exciting thing is that we don’t what it is. I hope we don’t go the way of we run out of good ideas. Like the new record company, that makes us very excited, and that’s awesome. If we’re still as successful, that’s a fifty-fifty chance. Hopefully we’ll all be there working on songs.
Take a listen to OK Go’s “This to Shall Pass” (Passion Pit Remix)