By now, thanks to their interpretive dance moves , treadmill heroics and Rube Goldberg machines, OK Go have basically become the premiere purveyors of gleefully ingenious, adorably low-budget music video magic.
Which is just part of the reason why their latest endeavor — leading an impromptu parade through the streets of Los Angeles for no particular reason — also proved to be their most challenging: Seems no matter how they figured it, they just didn’t have the cash to make it happen.
“We have wanted to have a big street parade for a long time,” OK Go frontman Damian Kulash told MTV News. “Our last album, we toured on for almost three years, and we were opening for these massive bands — we’d play for 25-30,000 people a night — and it would feel like a job.
“And then we spent a weekend in New Orleans and saw a bunch of second line parades, and realized music doesn’t need to be about the product you make all the time, it doesn’t have to be about recordings or videos or anything; it can be about getting a bung-load of people together and making sound.
“So we’ve wanted to do a street parade for a long time,” he continued. “The problem is: In Los Angeles, [you need] city permits, and you can’t really get a couple hundred people together to play music without paying the city a bunch of money.”
Luckily — much like they did when they made their massive “This Too Shall Pass” clip — OK Go found a corporate sponsor willing to help foot the bill. Teaming with the folks at Range Rover, they designed a parade route using the company’s Pulse of the City GPS app and invited their fans to take part in their large-scale “art project.”
“The idea is … we are going to make one giant painting, essentially, with Los Angeles. There’s a free application that tracks where you go,” Kulash explained. “We are marching a loop that spells out ‘OK Go’ through Los Angeles. We’re hoping when people see this, they’ll think, ‘That’s a great idea. I’m going to get into my car and drive all over Southeast Asia and make the Mona Lisa!’ ”
And so, last month, they marched an army of about 150 through gridlocked traffic and neighborhood streets — playing their own songs and covers, such as Outkast’s “Hey Ya” and Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger” — and assembled the footage into a video for their song “Back From Kathmandu.”
The end result premiered Monday, and, while it’s another fitting addition to the band’s already-impressive video reel, to the guys in the band, it’s also something more.
“It’s our art project, and, in a way, it’s helped me discover parts of Los Angeles I never knew existed,” Kulash said. “On the smaller side streets, people come streaming out of their houses, and all the kids join the parade. Everybody’s leaning out of their houses, and it makes you feel the community of Los Angeles in a way that’s generally hard to do because you usually drive through it.”
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