Damian Kulash and OK Go Seek Brand Partner for a Year of Crazy Adventures

Who's in for the new record?

What else would you like to try?
I'm really excited to swing with the fences with the live show. I feel like there haven't been really dramatic changes to what people do in rock shows in a while. People have gone from good lighting to LED screens. But if you think about what you can do with 5,000 people in a room for two hours…

With their devices…
With their technology in hand. You just have to liberate yourself from the idea that it's got to be four people up there playing instruments. The best show I've seen in a long time is a Daft Punk show. It might not even be them up in those suits. I have no idea. You certainly don't know if they're doing anything live or not. They're just two guys standing up there, and awesome stuff is happening to you. Audio-video awesomeness is occurring, and you are super excited, and that's what matters.

Obviously, the experience you'd have at one of shows would be different. But there's so much to take from theater and technology and film. I feel like that experience could be really fucked with. And I'm hoping we'll find a brand that gets that.

Is there a dream brand that you'd love to work with?
It's usually brands that sell ideas, primarily, and whatever they make is just the instantiation of that. Apple and Google are both pretty good ones. While Apple is clearly selling stuff, it's an environment, not a product. In general, it's easier for us to imagine gracefully coexisting with something where we can all get behind innovation, or wonder and joy, or nerdiness and math and science—something we can all believe in, as opposed to "But it's this potato chip, isn't it?"

Are companies ever scared that your brand might overshadow theirs?
Not so far. There's just a lot of negotiation on how something is going to be rolled out. No matter what they say, most people have a conservative history. And so, even if they want to be super new world about everything, at the end of the day it's mostly about exclusivity and "We should be driving traffic to their YouTube page" or something. You don't really want that. If we make a video and it shows up on your YouTube page and seems like an ad, then people don't see it as a video anymore, and they don't engage with it. There's a lot of hand-holding to get people to overcome their fears of existing in such a nebulous space, to have marketing out there that isn't specifically controlled and trackable.

Tell me about Nelson's video, and what you liked about it.
It was a really good, simple idea. It was the closest to something we might have done. It's a very simple idea, very well investigated.

What will success look like with this new record?
I hope I don't know. Over the last record cycle, I knew we wanted to make videos and keep chasing these weird directions, but I certainly had no idea it would play out the way it did. In the most traditional description, the record is really electronic. There are not a ton of organic instruments on it. There's a guitar here and there, and there's drums every once in a while. But it's a really synthetic and very poppy sound, and I'm really into it. It's not a wild, wild departure, but it definitely is new and different for us.

Now you just need the "Brought to you by…"
Exactly. I mean, if we put the record out ourselves, we'll be fine. We have enough fans that I'm not too worried that we couldn't pay our bills by selling records. But the scope of things we like to do with videos and stuff is definitely beyond our own pocketbooks. So, it would be good to find the right partners.

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