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For OK Go, Zoom calls are still harder than shooting in microgravity

OK Go's Damian Kulash and Tim Nordwind talk about overcoming isolation to create something unique with their latest song "All Together Now."

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OK Go has shot film clips on treadmills; in the middle of a giant, custom-built Rube Goldberg machine; and on a Zero G spacecraft. But there's one video format that's harder than all of those. 

"Zoom," says lead singer Damian Kulash. Adds bassist Tim Nordwind, "By a long shot."

The musicians are talking (over Zoom, of course) about their latest song, "All Together Now" -- an ode to isolation written by the band while sheltering in place in LA during the coronavirus pandemic. The track was conceived in collaboration, with the help of conference calls, and each band member recorded their own track alone, resulting in a layered song and a brilliantly simple video clip

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OK Go members Andy Ross, Tim Nordwind, Dan Konopka and Damian Kulash are used to working under unusual constraints.

OK Go

"Being creative over Zoom is a weird thing, for sure," Nordwind says. "We used Zoom to get as much as we could discussed, and then it was like, 'All right now go off and be creative.'"

"Luckily we're not trying to do the music over Zoom," Kulash added. "Once we had a basic structure of stuff, all that everybody needed to do was be able to play along with an MP3. So we got a basic structure for the song together and then everybody recorded the parts."

Unlike their other highly choreographed film clips -- think dancing on treadmills in "Here it Goes Again" or spinning in microgravity in "Upside Down & Inside Out" -- the clip for "All Together Now" is comparatively pared back. The band members are "all together alone," as the lyrics say, clapping on kitchen benches and playing instruments in closets. 

"Usually video making for us is the social part of what we do," Nordwind says. "Recording for us a somewhat of an insular experience... [and] video time is usually social time, like collaborating with a lot of people. This was the loneliest video we've ever made."

As for what comes after life in lockdown, OK Go isn't sure what's next. But it's clear the creative process is already changing. 

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"Over the last 100 years or so, the music industry has built up over a very strict set of concerns about concerts and record promotion and radio stations... all of which is changing so fast," Kulash says. "It's hard to know what type of thing will people will want six months from now, or a year from now. 

"So what type of emotional connection can we make, giving these new constraints?"

Kulash and Nordwind have a lot more to say, including how Kulash coped with contracting COVID-19 at the start of the pandemic. Watch the interview for the full story.

Now What is a video interview and panel series with industry leaders, celebrities and influencers that covers trends impacting businesses and consumers amid the "new normal."  There will always be change in our world, and we'll be here to discuss how to navigate it all.