Damian Kulash--frontman for OK Go, the current torchbearers of modern pop-rock--doesn't have enough hours in the day to explain what's going through his head. As his synapses fire and his frontal lobe sizzles with information overload, the charismatic frontman can barely spit out what he wants to say. In 60 seconds, he can bombard a listener with filibusters on topics ranging from the history of ping-pong to Hall and Oates to designing t-shirts.
And right up to the last word, it's pretty enthralling jibber-jabber.
Kulash has been getting quite the oral workout as of late with all the interviews he's been doing. And with his band's eponymous debut album receiving press that is both heavy in quantity and positive in quality, he's got a lot to talk about.
“In general I have been alternately amused and stupefied by how many other things come along with getting to play music,” Kulash says. “Most of them are really a lot of fun, but it's so weird that, taken from the most oversimplified, macro-level, we wrote some good songs and then those entitled us to make videos and make little movies and write articles for people and do interviews and travel around the country and all this stuff that doesn't seem to have any obvious connection to writing a song.”
What is directly connected to the songs Kulash and Co. (Tim Nordwind, Dan Konopka and Andy Duncan) have written is the extraordinary response people have had to the music.
OK Go managed to write an entire album's worth of catchy, finger-snapping pop songs without a hint of cheesiness in the bunch (think Freddie Mercury's heart crammed into Ric Ocasek's chest). The whole album rattles and clinks with ultra-fun pop tunes just right for preteens weaning themselves off of Britney or Goths who want to learn to smile again. But the band hasn't always been able to get by without the help of other people's music.
“Most of [the cover songs we have played] performed the function at one time of being a cover we could either open with or throw into an opening set as a kind of peace offering to crowds who had come to see someone else,” Kulash says.
“Being an opening band has that Catch-22. [The audience has] come to see someone else, basically, and if you sound like that other band, they think you're a rip-off, or you don't sound like that other band and they're like, ‘This isn't what I came to see.'”