Yeah Yeah Yeahs Shoot The First Music Video Atop The Empire State Building

Yeah Yeah Yeahs Karen O

Yeah Yeah Yeahs have become the first band to shoot a music video at the top of New York City’s Empire State Building. The clip for Despair – a small part of which has been posted online – was made in the early morning, 373m off the ground, before the tower’s viewing platform was open to the public.

“It’s like the American dream for us, singing your song on top of the Empire State Building,” singer Karen O told the New York Times. “It’s hard to do something like that and not feel like it’s symbolic … Feeling like: man, where were we 10 years ago, when we were sitting around in some punk-rock dive bar, thinking about what to name our band … and now here we are at the top.”

It was certainly “an iconic moment”, she said. But it was also the 34-year-old singer’s first visit to the summit of the legendary skyscraper. The same was true for the video’s director, Patrick Daughters. “I don’t like heights,” he explained. While Yeah Yeah Yeahs performed on the 86th floor, a camera crew circled in a helicopter. “It was plenty loud,” Daughters said. “I don’t think they had to worry about the neighbours.”

Although bands have applied before to shoot videos at the 23rd-tallest building in the world, nobody had met the production requirements. “[The review] was not casual,” said Anthony E Malkin, president of the Empire State’s operators. “[The video] had to be appropriate for the building.” But Malkin is still surprised it took 84 years for the first video to happen. “Credit to [Yeah Yeah Yeahs] for having the gumption to ask.”

“It [was] definitely not just another cool day in the life of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs,” Karen O said. “Anything I say is not going to do justice to how cool it was.”

Despair is the latest single from Mosquito, Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ fourth studio album. It reached No 9.

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