OK GO Comes Home
By Zuzanna Skwiot
Dan Konopka attended the first Lollapalooza show in 1991. Tim Nordwind saw it in ’92, ’93 and ’94. And on the festival’s twentieth anniversary, Dan and Tim, along with their group OK Go, were one of the show’s main headliners. Returning to Chicago and being able to perform in their hometown was an honor for the Windy City natives.
“We started the band here in Chicago and I grew up here and Tim grew up not too far from here,” says Dan. “And Lollapalooza is huge and in high school, we would think ‘can you imagine being a part of that roster?’” “It was a pretty big honor,” adds Tim. “It was nice to come home.” Seeing how the festival has progressed (for it’s first six years, Lollapalooza was a traveling show), is an interesting idea. “I remember, there was a freak circus that used to travel with Lollapalooza,” says Tim. “It would feature a lot of bands that hadn’t become mainstream and it was cool that we had an event that would speak to us and our culture.” “It’s now taken on a new personality,” he adds. “But it’s still celebrating a lot of bands that don’t have mainstream success.”
While in Chicago for the show, the band also had the chance to perform at President Barack Obama’s 50th birthday party in Chicago and had the opportunity to meet him. “He’s a cool cool dude,” says Tim. “He’s handles everything very diplomatically and very smoothly.” The band’s visit to Chicago did not end there. Tim, who also DJs, headlined at both Debonair and Bedford throughout the weekend. The group, which also includes Damian Kulash and Andy Ross, recently released their first live album, dubbed 180/365. They have also recorded the Muppets Theme song for the upcoming Muppets movie. “It’s a Healthy collaboration between our world and the Muppet world,” says Dan. The OK Go world, which features performances on treadmills and Rube Goldberg machines that encompass entire warehouses, is a clever one. Their music videos to songs Here It Goes Again, WTF? and This Too Shall Pass have become viral hits among the internet community. And the band works to pursue new idea for the videos. “Usually, someone has a good idea or a crazy idea that seems impossible,” says Tim. “If it sounds like its awesome, we’ll generally chase the idea and see if we can make it a reality.” “It usually comes from internal, there’s discussions about it or from people close to the band,” adds Dan. “That’s usually the genesis of it all. It’s pretty organic and starts with the four of us. That’s the important thing, is that we’re excited by the idea.” And while they’re not making videos for their latest studio album, Of The Blue Colour of the Sky, both Tim and Dan have taken on side projects. “I have a project that I’m working on: Pyramids,” says Tim. “It’s actually with a girl from Chicago and we just recorded some songs and we’ll probably do a few more. I hope to release it sometime around Halloween.”
“I have another bedroom recording project called People which is really lo-fi and it’s just me and then I make all of the videos on the iPhone,” he adds. “And I’m making babies,” adds Dan. “My wife and I are expecting around Christmastime.” “I also just started getting into remixing songs,” he says. “I’m excited getting into the electronic music world.” And though both Dan and Tim have taken on side projects, fans can be ensured that new OK Go music will soon be started. “In the fall, we’re going to go back in and start on a new album,” says Tim. “It’s time. We’ve been touring and making videos for two and a half years. It’s time for some new music.”