WONDERLANCER: Dan, thanks for taking the time for this interview. We are happy to feature OK Go and delighted that it is you we get to talk to (Go, drummers!) You’ve been with the band since its ‘official’ formation, back in 1998. Yours is some the most solid, earth-shattering drumming we have heard in a while, especially within the indie-rock scene.
What circumstances brought you to meet the other guys, Dan, had you already been playing or jamming with other musicians up to that point in time?
WONDERLANCER: It’s widely known that your creativity as a group, also with your music video clips, have gained you millions of YouTube hits and even a downloading breaking record, a Grammy Award and an MTV Nomination, amongst other accolades. How do Trish Sie’s choreography skills come into the picture?
DAN KONOPKA: Trish Sie’s ability to understand the threshold of our physical abilities is really the key. We aren’t really (good) dancers. She knows this, and with her experience teaching dance, and being a dancer herself, she really can tell how far to push us. She is such a creative person and when she has such untrained, unbiased dancers at her disposal like OK Go, the choreography can get very weird and I think as a result, totally new and fun.
WONDERLANCER: Both great documentary and song. From OK Go’s first self-titled album, released in 2002, to Hungry Ghosts there’s been a progression within the rock music styles from which your distinctive sound as a band seems to have drawn inspiration.
Many will recognize some reminiscence to Prince’s sound in at least two of the songs from your album Of the Blue Colour of the Sky (2010): Was this something that the band was consciously heading towards in the process of making that particular album?
DAN KONOPKA: Yes, I think when we started writing for Blue Colour Of The Sky we had a few focused influences. Definitely Purple Rain, and definitely The Pixies. We wanted to make a record that opened up a little more from the guitar driven sound we normally focused on. We felt like making more of a “dancey” record. Purple Rain was sort of a bench-mark to strive for, and Doolittle had a grittiness we wanted to achieve as well.
DAN KONOPKA: The bulk of the songwriting is done individually by each member, then, when we meet to record, we all pitch in our own ideas to the original demo. Some parts are totally overhauled if needed, and some stay exactly the same. Everyone comes to the recording session with an open mind to see how we can improve and develop the original idea.
WONDERLANCER: Very organic, it shows. Both Damian with his guide titled How Your Band Can Fire Bush and the group in general, with songs like Invincible and your overall humanitarian contributions, have made very clear that, not only as artists but also as human beings you like to be well informed and act as you can on your own convictions.
When the group gets together, do these types of discussions take place often between you, guys? What are your views on the anti-government and anti-system protests that have been taking place all over the world in recent years?
Ok Go is another example of how new technologies and social networking sites can serve creative types. You have also released at least a couple of free covers-records by now… Dan, in your opinion, does the freedom of having independent means surpass in intrinsic value the threat of possible monetary deficit in copyright violations? What are your ideas on these issues?
DAN KONOPKA: That’s an interesting question. Those violations seem to be the norm now. We need to embrace that fact and move around it. We are in a new age for making a living in music. It’s not like how it use to be. Being willing to learn and adapt and to change in every respect has allowed us to stay a band – and to stay successful. It’s the only way you can survive. It’s new uncharted territory in the music industry; if you don’t figure out how to adapt you’ll probably have to go back to being a barista somewhere.
WONDERLANCER: You nailed it, man. Many thanks again for taking the time to participate in this interview, and best of luck with everything.