Artist Of The Week: OneRepublic

After several years of unsigned ups and downs and singer Ryan Tedder writing hits for other artists (including Jennifer Lopez and Ashley Tisdale), OneRepublic struck gold with "Apologize," the first single off their debut album, Dreaming Out Loud. The song, which was featured on Gossip Girl, One Life to Live and the season 3 premiere of The Hills, peaked at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart back in November and is still hovering in the top 10.

Of course, 1R owes much of their meteoric rise to the Midas touch of Timbaland, who remixed "Apologize" on his album Shock Value. But now the band is stepping out from behind Tim's hulking shadow with their latest video, the epic "Stop and Stare." And as MTV's Artist of the Week, they're showing off their lighter side by making fun of the Spinal Tap-type moments they've encountered along their road to success -- which have apparently included run-ins with wizards, wenches, swords and a vulture feast.

We caught up with Ryan and his bandmates -- Zach Filkins, Eddie Fisher, Brent Kutzle and Drew Brown -- when they were at NYC's Roseland Ballroom last week and got an entertaining earful about what it was like delving into the Middle Ages and getting all medieval.

"The shoes hurt," Ryan quipped about his costume, adding that he thought the medieval theme suited them well. "We find absurd humor to be the funniest. The British version of The Office is our favorite show. We love the Farrelly brothers and Will Ferrell. The idea for shooting at Medieval Times came from the movie The Cable Guy, which we all love. We're into funny, awkward moments."

But wait a sec ... isn't OneRepublic all serious and stuff? "Between the two videos we have out, some people might think we're this brooding, depressing band," Ryan responded. "But that's not the case. We wanted to show people that there's a whole other side to us. We actually don't take ourselves seriously."

If they did, they probably would've never made it through their real-life awkwardly absurd moments on the road. Like when they performed at a crocodile-themed restaurant or on a stage set up like a giant dollhouse, where they rocked out in the kitchen and bedroom. "Touring is really the most absurd thing in the world. Like, we have to take ourselves seriously while playing in a playhouse," Ryan told us with a laugh, noting that he's not expecting everyone to understand the band's medieval sense of humor. "Either a) it'll be funny or b) we'll look like idiots. Or it could be a little bit of both. Either way, we'll be making a statement!"

Get to know OneRepublic better by watching the "Stop and Stare" video and some Artist of the Week performances below (you can see all of their Artist of the Week clips here); peeping some behind-the-scenes photos of their medieval antics; and heading over to their artist page for videos, live TRL performances and tour dates.

And read more inside scoop on what went into OneRepublic's Artist of the Week shoot and find out what they'll be up to next here.