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Suicide Girls Interview

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Suicide Girls Interview

Postby Venus » Wed Nov 04, 2009 9:40 pm

Jemaine Clement: Gentlemen Broncos
By Fred Topel
Nov 4, 2009

Flight of the Conchords fans know that Wednesday is business time. In their song “Business Time,” Jemaine Clement sings that Wednesday is his weekly love making night, so it’s business time. It follows then that for an interview with Clement on a Wednesday, it is also business time. “I suppose so, according to my own rules,” he said in a roundtable interview with a group of reporters.

His Flight of the Conchords character might not be much of a stretch. In person, unscripted, Clement carried himself and spoke the same way as his folk singing counterpart. He sat stiffly upright with hands folded and shoulders tight, and spoke in stunted fragments.

He didn’t get any more relaxed in a private, one on one interview either, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. That awkwardness makes sincere, innocent comedy in his songs with bandmate Bret McKenzie and their TV show on HBO. It also works for his new movie, Gentlemen Broncos.

Broncos casts Clement as sci-fi author Ronald Chevalier. Chevalier was a big shot with his Cyborg Harpies books but these days he resorts to plagiarizing work from kids at his writer’s camp. The film from Napoleon Dynamite writer/director Jared Hess combines his quirky real world characters with their bizarre sci-fi creations. Fans of the fictional Ronald Chevalier can find out more about him on the official website the filmmakers set up.

The Conchords also have a new album out, “I Told You I Was Freaky” which includes songs like “Sugarlumps,” about their male organs, and “Hurt Feelings,” a sensitive hardcore wrap. This interview contains a lot of inside jokes about Conchords songs so if anything sounds strange, listen to their music to find out what we’re talking about.

Suicide Girls: Did your hair grow out to Ronald Chevalier length or was that a wig?

Jemaine Clement: That was my own hair. I just sit there and someone does it but it take a lot of hairspray and a lot of back combing. Usually you do a screen test or a costume test before you start and at first I got there, the makeup artist was local. They try and hire local people as much as they can and she didn’t have a brush. Firstly, she wouldn’t look at the photo. I had a photo of a guy. I had all these different ideas which I went over with Jared. There were different ideas but I wanted this really big poofy one. I showed her and she said, “Okay.” She was doing it without a brush. She didn’t have a comb, she didn’t have a brush, with her fingers trying to do it and she wouldn’t look at it either. I remember like, “No, it’s not like that. You’re not looking at it.” “No, I saw it.” She got fired for a different reason. She insulted one of the actresses apparently on the same day. She got fired. If you’re a hair stylist, you’ve got to at least have a comb.

SG:Is Chevalier’s wardrobe comfortable?

JC:Well, it’s mostly comfortable but the jeans were very, very high so they could get uncomfortable at times.

SG:With the Chevalier websites providing more Chevalier beyond the movie, how long will you continue playing Chevalier?

JC:Well, I don’t really continue doing it. I did a thing in Austin and I think I might introduce the film tonight as Chevalier but it’s not really my character. It’s Jared and Jerusha [Hess]’s character so I can’t take it and have his own life without them.

SG:Are there musicians as pretentious as Chevalier is as an author?

JC:I’m sure there are. I’m sure there are.

SG:That you’ve encountered?

JC:Yeah, I knew that you were getting at that. Well, I started off doing theater and by that I mean putting on ridiculous shows with my friends with very little money. I meet people all the time that are just awful, just awful and just opinions of solid steel, just unchangeable.

SG:Have you been looking to have a career outside the Flight of the Conchords?

JC:We kind of started the Conchords as something else to do while we were doing other jobs, so it was more the other way around. The Flight of the Conchords was just an outlet for something fun to do.

SG:Well, you’ve been in several movies now. Are you more famous than Bret?

JC:I don't know. Bret’s got a different interest really to me. He mostly does music. We split up and I usually go and do comedy and he goes and plays gigs. He started a massive ukulele band. Almost every member plays ukulele and they do covers. They’re really successful in New Zealand. They travel around and he’s also in this reggae band which is one of New Zealand’s biggest bands actually. They play these big gigs and he plays with them too. So that’s what he does. He had a solo album and he’s probably writing some more music.

SG:I will have to check out his solo album.

JC:Yeah, check it out. It’s not a comedy album though. It’s dance. It’s about dancing.

SG:My favorite Conchords song is “Mutha’uckas” because I also have too many mutha’ucka’s ‘uckin’ with my shi’.

JC:Yeah, who doesn’t?

SG:What can we do about all these mutha’uckas ‘uckin’ with our shi’?

JC:‘Uck them up.

SG:Well, that’s simple.

JC:Yeah, that’s all I can say.

SG:It was also great how you covered every era of David Bowie, including Labyrinth. Were you a big Labyrinth fan?

JC:Yeah, I was actually. I remember when that movie came out in my town. The line was right around the block. Even the line to the movie was exciting. It was just the biggest line you’d ever seen. At that time, it was probably one of the biggest groups of people I’d ever seen all together, were lining up for Labyrinth.

SG:Were all movies like that in New Zealand?

JC:No, I don't know why. I guess because of Bowie. I guess there was a lot of hype around that movie.

SG:Is “Sugarlumps” your answer to Fergie’s humps?

JC:Yeah, and Kelis’s milkshake and a few other things. I thought it was time men objectified themselves.

SG:What was the idea behind a sensitive rap about hurt feelings?

JC:Usually the ideas for the song come first so a song about hurt feelings. Because our characters in the show think of themselves as rappers even though they’re pretty far from it, they’re pretty serious about rap.

SG:Have you ever recorded a proper version of “Who Likes to Rock the Party?”

JC:No, but I remember the first time that we did it live. I mean, the first time was all right but then the next time we did it, we used to do it like this: One of us would go, “Mmph, kjj, oof, who like to rock the party, kshh, who likes to rock the party?” We were trying to do a dance tune but with no instruments. We just bombed, but we brought it back to life for the show.

SG:When is the robot uprising?

JC:Yeah, it’s late. It’s late. It’s nine years late. Robots are surprisingly badly organized.

SG:Do your love songs actually woo women?

JC:Once someone came up to me and told me that she had sex listening to our live album and she thanked me. So I don't know, I guess.

SG:I’m wondering if I tell a woman she could be a waitress or a part time model, would that work?

JC:Try it. I’d love to know.

SG:Do you start with really good music and then think of words, or do you start with funny words and then add music to make it work?

JC:I think we’ve done every approach that you can do. Even more than that, sometimes we think of a character and we think of a song as a character. Say, like the song we did, “Bus Driver Song,” it’s about this bus driver who was driving around the country. That’s not in the show so it’s not as well known. Yeah, sometimes it’s a tune. Definitely when we first started it was always the tune. We’d make up words and sometimes they were funny and we’d try and add more jokes and stuff. So it definitely began like that but usually now it starts with the idea of the song.

SG:Why does so much music take itself so seriously?

JC:Man, once I was doing this interview in Ireland and it was quite bad because it was over the phone, like on a cell phone. We were playing some sh*tty gig and we were trying to promote it. There was a serious musician on the show so the DJ was asking me, talking about funny music, “So you do funny songs?” And then the serious musician was really offended. He hadn’t heard any of our stuff but he’s like, “Why are you hiding behind [humor]? Do you not have emotions?” Really accusatory. I don't know why they’re like that. Also, a lot of our songs actually do come from serious things. Some of our breakup songs have come from breakups. We just think of it like that. We play in comedy clubs so we’ll talk about real breakups but we’ll disguise it. I don’t even know if I could do that myself, actually go and put my heart out there.

SG:In a way, you can relate more to the real emotions of funny songs. “I’m Not Crying” is really about pretending you’re not sad.

JC:There’s so much interpretation open to music anyway. A lot of people think Leonard Cohen is the most depressing singer but he’s one of my favorite singers. No, my favorite singer I’ll say, and I find a lot of his lines really hilarious and clever and funny. But other people don’t connect to them like that.

SG:Is there style the Conchords haven’t done yet? There’s been rock, techno, hip hop

JC:Well, for all the talk of folk, we hardly ever do folk. So maybe it’s time to do some folk. Bret, when he does his own music, it’s as I said dance music so he loves high production and stuff like that, always adding instruments. If I was more in charge, because Bret’s more in charge of that side of it, if I was more in charge it would be more like a folk album.

SG:“If You’re Into It” is folk, right?

JC:I guess so, in the instrumentation anyway.

SG:You’ve said you don’t want to do a third season of the HBO show because of the high demand to write scripts, write music and perform them both. But, hasn’t the show allowed your music to thrive more than it ever would have without that exposure?

JC:Yeah, definitely. Yup, but I mean, usually we used to write one show a year maybe. I’m talking about a live show so it was like an hour’s worth of songs. It would take about a month, but it’s quite hard to do and then we’d play those songs for years along with other songs that we developed. If we had a whole lot of new songs ready that we loved, then we might go and make a show or a movie or something.

SG:Did the show inspire the songs or did the songs inspire plots for the show?

JC:Mostly in the first season we had the songs first, so sometimes we’d think of a storyline to incorporate the song like the Bowie one. We had the Bowie song so we thought of a storyline to incorporate Bowie. But still, we would just write storylines and see if we could fit [the songs] in. Sometimes they worked really well, just coincidentally, and sometimes they didn’t. Sometimes they seemed very forced. Hopefully people laughed at that.

SG:It’s a musical. You don’t care what the reason is for breaking into song.

JC:That’s right, you don’t care. We care, but who knows? Perhaps we take it too seriously ourselves.

SG:What happened to the R in your name?

JC:When my mom had me, she was 17 and it was in the mid ‘70s at the height of Jackson 5 fever. I think she may have even been to a Jackson 5 concert sometime before she knew she was pregnant with me. So I was kind of named after Jermaine Jackson and my parents didn’t want me to be called Jerm in school, so they took the R out. In New Zealand you don’t really say your Rs.

SG:That is really thoughtful of them. Most parents don’t have that foresight.

JC:I think you do think about that. I think most people do think about it but they were so young, they were just out of school and stuff.

SG:Can I be the second Flight of the Conchords fan?

JC:Yep, sign up.

SG:Is the sincerity of some of your ridiculous lines an important part of the humor?

JC:Yeah, yeah, that’s the fun part about doing it as well. It’s hard not to ham it up. It’s hard to resist.

SG:You often end up being the response guy in the song. Is that a role you take on purpose?

JC:Yeah, well, “If You’re Into It,” I wrote that one so I gave myself all the jokes. I definitely did that one on purpose, gave myself all the funny lines.

Gentlemen Broncos is now playing and “I Told You I Was Freaky” is available in stores and online now.


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Re: Suicide Girls Interview

Postby Amanda » Wed Nov 04, 2009 10:05 pm

Thank you V :D i shall call you our press girl :yawinkle:
I really liked this interview.. it was about time that the interviewer knew what he was talking about!!

:rolls: a hair stylist without a brush or a comb! where do you have to apply to get to comb Jemaine's hair with your fingers..every day ...as a job!

the jeans were very, very high so they could get uncomfortable at times.
:lol: :whistle:

Once someone came up to me and told me that she had sex listening to our live album and she thanked me. So I don't know, I guess.
:o what? ..well i wonder what she was thining about :whistle:

If we had a whole lot of new songs ready that we loved, then we might go and make a show or a movie or something.
:D

I was kind of named after Jermaine Jackson and my parents didn’t want me to be called Jerm in school, so they took the R out.
:lol: well i really prefer Jemaine to Jermaine.. plus it makes him even more unique.

:clap: great inerview :clap:
But if you did I'd hold you tight / Into every single night
And we'd fall asleep together / And we'd wake up in the sunlight
Well, maybe I'm a dreamer / But maybe one day you'll see / That dreams are...
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Re: Suicide Girls Interview

Postby DaMango » Wed Nov 04, 2009 10:14 pm

I loved this interview! The description of Jem's body language was so honest, and totally believable. It was cool to hear him talk about Bret's music, and how they write together. I was actually thinking recently about how their songs are in so many genres OTHER than folk. :lol: Its cool to hear him admit that.

Also, very cute story behind his name. His mom did a good job. :D
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Re: Suicide Girls Interview

Postby closet jemainiac » Wed Nov 04, 2009 10:23 pm

What can I say, other than .....I love him! :love:
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Re: Suicide Girls Interview

Postby Venus » Wed Nov 04, 2009 10:36 pm

Yep I enjoyed this interview because you can tell the interviewer knew his stuff and asked pretty good questions :nod:

Suicide Girls: Did your hair grow out to Ronald Chevalier length or was that a wig?

Jemaine Clement: That was my own hair. I just sit there and someone does it but it take a lot of hairspray and a lot of back combing. Usually you do a screen test or a costume test before you start and at first I got there, the makeup artist was local. They try and hire local people as much as they can and she didn’t have a brush. Firstly, she wouldn’t look at the photo. I had a photo of a guy. I had all these different ideas which I went over with Jared. There were different ideas but I wanted this really big poofy one. I showed her and she said, “Okay.” She was doing it without a brush. She didn’t have a comb, she didn’t have a brush, with her fingers trying to do it and she wouldn’t look at it either. I remember like, “No, it’s not like that. You’re not looking at it.” “No, I saw it.” She got fired for a different reason. She insulted one of the actresses apparently on the same day. She got fired. If you’re a hair stylist, you’ve got to at least have a comb.


:roll2: What a hair stylist!

SG:Why does so much music take itself so seriously?

JC:Man, once I was doing this interview in Ireland and it was quite bad because it was over the phone, like on a cell phone. We were playing some sh*tty gig and we were trying to promote it. There was a serious musician on the show so the DJ was asking me, talking about funny music, “So you do funny songs?” And then the serious musician was really offended. He hadn’t heard any of our stuff but he’s like, “Why are you hiding behind [humor]? Do you not have emotions?” Really accusatory. I don't know why they’re like that. Also, a lot of our songs actually do come from serious things. Some of our breakup songs have come from breakups. We just think of it like that. We play in comedy clubs so we’ll talk about real breakups but we’ll disguise it. I don’t even know if I could do that myself, actually go and put my heart out there.


That 'serious musician' :tsk:

SG:What happened to the R in your name?

JC:When my mom had me, she was 17 and it was in the mid ‘70s at the height of Jackson 5 fever. I think she may have even been to a Jackson 5 concert sometime before she knew she was pregnant with me. So I was kind of named after Jermaine Jackson and my parents didn’t want me to be called Jerm in school, so they took the R out. In New Zealand you don’t really say your Rs.


How considerate of his parents ;)

SG:You often end up being the response guy in the song. Is that a role you take on purpose?

JC:Yeah, well, “If You’re Into It,” I wrote that one so I gave myself all the jokes. I definitely did that one on purpose, gave myself all the funny lines.


:lol:
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Re: Suicide Girls Interview

Postby closet jemainiac » Wed Nov 04, 2009 10:46 pm

“No, it’s not like that. You’re not looking at it.”

I can totally picture him saying this.... :lol:
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Re: Suicide Girls Interview

Postby SheWolf » Wed Nov 04, 2009 10:51 pm

Venus wrote:
SG:What happened to the R in your name?

JC:When my mom had me, she was 17 and it was in the mid ‘70s at the height of Jackson 5 fever. I think she may have even been to a Jackson 5 concert sometime before she knew she was pregnant with me. So I was kind of named after Jermaine Jackson and my parents didn’t want me to be called Jerm in school, so they took the R out. In New Zealand you don’t really say your Rs
But if they don't pronounce the R in NZ he wouldn't have been called Jerm in school. I actually think it's the opposite, the way he says his own name in the Mugged episode sounds like there is an R in there. I'm confused. :rolleyes:
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Re: Suicide Girls Interview

Postby closet jemainiac » Wed Nov 04, 2009 11:06 pm

All I know is Im glad its Jem and not Jerm....Its a good name :)
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Re: Suicide Girls Interview

Postby songbird » Wed Nov 04, 2009 11:18 pm

SG:My favorite Conchords song is “Mutha’uckas” because I also have too many mutha’ucka’s ‘uckin’ with my shi’.

JC:Yeah, who doesn’t?

SG:What can we do about all these mutha’uckas ‘uckin’ with our shi’?

JC:‘Uck them up.


:love: :love: :love:

Great interview!! :D
"We're addressing the issues but we're keeping it funky."

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Re: Suicide Girls Interview

Postby vmh » Wed Nov 04, 2009 11:19 pm

If I was a hairstylist and I showed up only to find out that I would be working on Jemaine's hair, I might ditch the comb too. I'd start to use it but then it would "accidentally break."

Oh, darn! I don't have a spare! I guess I'll have to use my fingers.

It's a tough job but you have to be resourceful to stay in this business. :wink:
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Re: Suicide Girls Interview

Postby LauraK » Thu Nov 05, 2009 12:10 am

I'm a hairstylist and I can tell you that even with a comb, there'd be plenty of scalp massaging and fingers-through-the-hair going on, lol.

That's my favorite interview so far...I don't know how to explain it but he "felt" more relaxed in this one! Probably since, as you guys already pointed out- the interviewer knew his stuff!

Thanks, Venus! :hug:
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Re: Suicide Girls Interview

Postby SheWolf » Thu Nov 05, 2009 12:22 am

That's an interesting observation considering that the person who wrote the article talked about Jemaine's uncomfortable body language in the round table as well as one on one.
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Re: Suicide Girls Interview

Postby LauraK » Thu Nov 05, 2009 1:04 am

I somehow knew you'd be the one to catch that, SW. :lol:

That's why I said it was hard to explain. That's just how Jemaine came across to me. He seemed a bit more personal in his answers, a bit more open and relaxed. The answers weren't as...I don't know...clipped. Rote. Just mo. :)
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Re: Suicide Girls Interview

Postby Red » Thu Nov 05, 2009 1:15 am

I've never heard him says that he wrote a specific song before. He usually he just says that he writes some and Bret writes some and some they write together. He did seem a little more candid or maybe less guarded in this interview than a lot of the others.
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Re: Suicide Girls Interview

Postby SheWolf » Thu Nov 05, 2009 2:56 pm

We are seeing a side to Jem in these interviews that we really haven't seen before as he was previously always part of a duo and answering questions related to that.

When I watched the Q&A from Book People I'd say J's body language read as fairly shy/uncomfortable but when he spoke he doesn't hesitate or seem nervous. Reading words without seeing the expression/body language of the speaker gives you only half the story.
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