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A walk through OK Go's new music video death machine

February 11, 2010 |  5:11 pm

GiantBall A fiendish contraption that may well send Damian Kulash to his death lies in the basement of an Echo Park warehouse. The OK Go singer has spent the last month as part of a dozens-strong team designing and building a giant, convoluted contraption for the band’s new video for “This Too Shall Pass,” whose reason for existence is succinct.

“Its only purpose is to be awesome,” Kulash said while leading a tour of his two-story Rube Goldberg behemoth. “When I was a kid, all I did was play with Legos and Transformers. This isn’t Optimus Prime, but it’s cooler.”

OK Go has made other charmingly homespun videos in its career – perhaps you’ve seen them? On the Internet?  But this second version of “This Too Shall Pass” (one was a goofy live take) looks to break ground in its nerdily stylized clips.

It starts on the outdoor stairwell, with bassist Tim Nordwind soaked in red paint knocking over a chain of small objects (dominoes, steel balls, etc.). That eventually coalesces into car tires, skateboards and pianos on pulleys all flinging about the warehouse and triggering new gadgetry. The machine takes a turn for the perilous with the introduction of a crossbow and a volley of rat traps, but gets downright harrowing once it descends an elevator shaft and culminates in a wayward car careening about and Kulash being launched via slingshot across the entirety of the warehouse into a waiting mattress. Banana Republic is probably glad it got to his great bone structure first.

The video’s full of sly little allusions to the band’s other videos -- its famous “treadmill” clip is playing on a TV that meets an untimely end. But Kulash said the biggest obstacle wasn’t surviving the slingshot, or the physics of the whole thing.

“Thinking of 700 different objects for a five-minute video has fried my brain,” he said. “The whole time I was telling the team, ‘No, this is too good. You have to theoretically be able to build this at home.’ ”

We promise to keep you posted on the progress of the official Pop & Hiss Blogger Catapult, Damian.

-- August Brown

Photo courtesy Big Hassle Media