There are very few people who understand the viral nature of online video more than the LA-based band, OK Go.
Each video from the quartet has been a masterclass in viral production, from the insanely creative idea to the gimmicky execution (I use that in a positive way) and finally the marketing of the video on social media. Each production is tailored to achieve maximum exposure, to the extent that many know them as “the treadmill band.” For an outfit whose primary production is aural, to be more popularly known by their video work is an interesting deviation, and some might say, success.
Their latest video for Needing/Getting also included a first for the band, announcing itself with a teaser trailer broadcast during the Superbowl. The trailer hinted at the epic scale of the video, and whet our appetites for another unique idea from the band. The original concept for “Needing/Getting” was inspired by their previous production for their 2010 video for This Too Shall Pass. In the video, some elements of the song were played by various objects in motion, but lead singer Damian Kulash wanted to take it a step further, and recreate an entire song by striking objects. Years later, the idea for Needing/Getting was refined.
We are told that the Chevy Sonic was outfitted with retractable pneumatic arms designed to play the instruments, and the band recorded this version of Needing/Getting, singing as they played the instrument array with the car. Kulash admits a little post-production went in to the sound, but the band had a limit and have kept the recording as faithful as possible. In order to create such a seamless production, the video took 4 months of preparation and 4 days of shooting and recording. Furthermore, extra steps were taken to reduce the risk of a disrupted harmony. Each piano had the lowest octaves tuned to the same note so that they’d play the right note no matter where they were struck, and the course was broken in to segments rather than committing to the usual ‘one-shot’ execution favoured by the group.