Try to Count the Optical Illusions in OK Go’s Puzzling New Video
Indie band OK Go has released yet another one of its signature quirky music videos for the single “The Writing’s On the Wall” from upcoming fourth album Hungry Ghosts, which is set to be released in October.
OK Go rose to fame in 2006 with the video for the song “Here It Goes Again” from its second album, Oh No, which features the band’s members performing a choreographed dance on four treadmills. That video went viral and ended up winning the Grammy for Best Music Video in 2007.
The band’s complicated videos are more notable for the fact that the band refuses to use any sort of Photoshop or special effects and shoots them all in one take. Knowing that everything for “The Writing’s on the Wall” video was done in one take makes the complicated group of illusions and visual tricks even more impressive. The video was shot in a warehouse in Brooklyn, where the band also lived for a month while conceptualizing and designing various aspects of the video alongside the crew.
“Doing everything in one take is both exhilarating and totally nerve-wracking all at the same time,” said bassist Tim Norwind in a behind-the-scenes interview with Mashable on the set of the video shoot, for which Norwind shaved half of his face. “I think what’s nice about getting it in one take is that you’re actually watching the experience unfold, like a magic trick or a sporting event. But I think the thrill of watching those things is that you’re like, ‘Oh my god, I can’t believe this is happening right now, right in front of me.’”
“This video is all about illusions and perspective. We do these videos because it’s part of sort of the larger project of OK Go. I mean, we’re a band and we started as a band, but we’re four people who are very interested in music, art, video, books. We’re lucky enough to have a job where we can combine music and video and art and fashion,” Norwind said.
“When one of us messes up, generally we don’t get pissed at each other. It’s a lot of work. We’re all under a lot of duress, usually, on these things. So if someone messes up we just gotta say, ‘All right, let’s just go back to the top, try it again,’” Norwind said of the frustrations inherent in the one-take approach, per Mashable.
The video’s forced perspective changes and illusions reflect the song’s subject matter, about the time when a relationship is ending and both parties are beginning to see the it in a different light than they previously had. Frontman Damien Kalush spoke about how the song inspired the video to The Wall Street Journal: “It’s about that moment in a relationship when you realize it’s coming to an end and that it’s inevitable. It’s that feeling of having something coalesce and fall apart, like chaos and order. The song is melancholic and jubilant at the same time, and it felt like the illusions were a good visual corollary to that.”
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