Viral video masters OK Go come home to Chicago

OK GO album cover

It’s been four years since their last album and three years since their last tour, but OK Go has not been forgotten.

The alternative rock band — known for its eccentric and creative music videos —came back to Chicago in August for a sold-out show at Lincoln Hall to promote the group’s fourth album, Hungry Ghosts, out Oct. 14.

“It’s really nice to be in front of people again,” said the band’s bass player, Tim Nordwind. “You connect with the audience, being in the same room together.”

The band, which also includes front man Damian Kulash, Andy Ross and Dan Konopka, has spent the last few years recording new music and working on video designs.

Their latest video, “The Writings On the Wall,” features a single take of 28 optical illusions. 

“It was a very intense video to make,” Nordwind said. “There was a lot of building involved, but it was fun. I think it turned out well.”

If there’s any indication of the video’s success, it can be found in the number of YouTube views — more than 10 million.

OK Go had its beginnings in Chicago. The band officially formed in 1998, but Nordwind and Kulash became friends at summer camp in their preteen years. Years later, Nordwind studied theater at DePaul University and fed his interest in music at the Empty Bottle and Metro. The band relocated to Los Angeles three years after becoming official, but Nordwind remembers the city that launched them.

“Chicago is great,” he said. “I lived there for eight years, so I got to explore a lot of the city. There are million super fun things to do there.”

It’s not unusual for Nordwind to reflect on the past, considering that he describes the latest album as nostalgic, modern and electronic. “It’s very dancey, in the way of pop music we listened to growing up in the ’80s,” he said. “We processed them and spat them back out in a modern, electronic way.”

A taste of what’s to come on their new album can be heard on the Upside Out EP

OK Go treats music, videos and concerts as three separate art forms. So there’s a lot to expect from their shows, but what to expect is unknown — perhaps something as unconventional as everything else they’ve done.

“It falls under one large umbrella, but we deal with those things as their own specific project,” Nordwind said. “We go into all of that stuff with a very similar spirit and energy, but they’re just very different.”

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