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OK Go’s Damian Kulash Explains Why His Band Built Its Own Mobile Game

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OK Go (the band behind hit music videos like “This Too Shall Pass” and “Here It Goes Again”) launched its very own game for iOS and Android earlier this month.

You can play the game, titled Say The Same Thing, with one of your friends or with a randomly chosen player. (If you sign up now, you can also participate in a temporary promotion where people are randomly selected to play with a band member.) Each player types in a word, then you see what the other player said, and you use that as prompt for another word. As the game’s title implies, you win when each of you enters the same word.

It helps if you understand the other player’s interests. For example, I was playing with Graphicly‘s Micah Baldwin — after several rounds, I entered “Perry White,” he entered “Smallville,” and we won by both entering “Lana Lang.”

I also got a chance to play the game with OK Go’s lead singer and guitarist Damian Kulash. (Like how I just dropped that in casually?) I don’t want to give away exactly what happens in the video, but I will say that we totally nailed it.

This isn’t just an app that OK Go stuck its name on, either — Kulash said it was programmed by the band’s guitarist Andy Ross. Apparently band members play a live version of the game together, so eventually they decided to turn it into an app:

At some point we realized, hey, there’s no reason why we need to just put out songs. We can put out everything we want — we make videos, we make shows, why not make apps. … We’ve always been interested in tech as a sort of canvas. We try to make art for the world we live in, and this is where we live now. We live on Skype, we live on our laptops and on our phones.

Traditional recordings of music live in this space really well. Like, we’re making an album right now that will be finished sometime this summer, and we’ll probably put it out in the fall or maybe in the winter, and it’s great to listen to on your phone, it’s great to listen to on your laptop, but there’s all these other things that your laptop and your phone can do that musicians 30 years ago couldn’t imagine and artists 30 years ago couldn’t imagine. I think working in these spaces has always been exciting to us, and we’re just lucky that we have a programmer in our band, because it means that we can test things out like this.