Dimitrios Kambouris, Getty The Lonely Island released a video today for their new…
- Posted on May 13th 2011 11:00AM by Joshua Ostroff
Universal Music Canada
Now that they're legitimate musicians, the BFFs are back with their sophomore album, 'Turtleneck and Chain.' They sat down with Spinner to talk about being taken seriously, why they're not too macho to say "no homo" and how Michael Bolton punched them in the face.
You got nominated for a Grammy which is both awesome and ridiculous. How did it affect making the new record knowing that people were going to take it that seriously?
Schaffer: In the song 'We're Back,' we mention that we're Grammy-nominated. It made for a very pretentious recording experience: a lot of sage and different things being used to purify the recording room; a lot of massages and oils.
Taccone: We all have crazy attitudes now.
Did you notice a difference between your song 'I'm on a Boat' and the songs you were nominated against?
Taccone: Yes. Those were real songs.
Samberg: Ours was a fake song.
But what is a fake song? I've been on dance floors where the DJ spins 'I'm on a Boat' and people just lose their s---.
Samberg: That's awesome.
Taccone: Maybe it's just intention. Our intention was to make people laugh, and we might have won if we were up for a comedy category instead of being up against, like, 'Run This Town' and some of the best songs of the year.
I'm sure you would have won if you were nominated for a comedy award, but it's funnier that you weren't.
Taccone: That's true.
Why parody genres as a whole rather than doing specific songs like 'Weird' Al does?
Samberg: He kind of has the market cornered on that in a great, consistent way. Also because when we started out, we started doing it the other way.
Schaffer: Nothing against his way. And he makes original songs too. We just started by making original songs loosely inspired by pop music.
Samberg: We were also heavy into Tenacious D and stuff when we started. That was kind of like our inspirado, if you will.
Taccone: And we had equipment lying around so we could sample records and make beats out of them and that's how we started making music basically.
How similar is this to pre-'SNL'/Channel 101-era stuff you were doing?
Samberg: Not that dissimilar. It's just that the budgets have gotten bigger and the guest-stars have gotten bigger.
Schaffer: But in terms of how the stuff is created, it's very similar. It's just the three of us in a room coming up with ideas and then executing them and editing them to their completion.
Did you ever think back in the day that you would be making albums?
Samberg: Well, we certainly hoped!
Schaffer: I don't think we were thought we'd be doing it at this level.
The lyrics are funny and the delivery is funny, but the music itself sounds like something you could totally hear on the radio.
Schaffer: Thank you. That is certainly our intention. Comedy obviously comes first by a long way, but it's kind of like doing an impression where the more accurate the impression, the funnier the jokes are. We tried to do our best with our limited musical knowledge to create songs that feel like real songs. The more real the songs, the better the comedy is going to be.
It also sounds like you're not just making fun of the genre. Remember the Darkness? They were totally reveling in hair metal's excess but they also loved it.
Taccone: We love the Darkness! And that is an important part of it. We obviously love music and love hip-hop and that is a part of it. So hopefully, there is a respect for music that comes through where we're just using that form of music to tell jokes, basically.
Is there something about rap and R&B that makes it easier to parody?
Taccone: I think it's more that we don't play instruments and we grew up listening to it and loving it.
Samberg: And we can't sing.
Schaffer: We can't sing. We listen to a lot of indie rock now, but really just as fans. But with rap, because it's something we've listened to our whole lives, I think that our knowledge of it is just a little deeper.
Samberg: It comes easier to us. We're more steeped in it, for sure.
Part of it is that modern rap takes itself so seriously compared to, say, Biz Markie talking about picking boogers back in the day.
Schaffer: Rap takes itself seriously kinda like the way metal takes itself really, really seriously -- which is what Tenacious D were aping. Rap is very macho, it's very much bragging, so it's always funny to make songs that are making fun of ourselves, kind of the opposite of what those songs are.
Samberg: I will say that there's still a lot of rap out there now that has a sense of humor, it's just certain kinds. I'm not saying we're making fun of rap. We're kind of relishing in it, I think.
Hip-hop's machismo often comes out as homophobia, which you address in the song 'No Homo.'
Samberg: No homo has become so ubiquitous a phrase that we felt like it had to be addressed. We saw little kids saying it, like, "Wanna come over and play, no homo" and it just seemed ridiculous so we wrote the song. We hope the reaction to it is laughter. That's always the desired reaction.
You've worked with Akon and T-Pain, who are ridiculous but at the same time their hooks totally rule. It doesn't matter what they're saying, they sing it exactly the same way.
Samberg: Akon and T-Pain are both pretty funny guys. I think that they know that they're being over-the-top more than people give them credit for.
Look at T-Pain's hat. You can tell he's gotta know.
Samberg: T-Pain is straight-up hilarious. He did this whole special for a cartoon I worked on and he has an 'Aqua Teen Hunger Force' chain.
Awesome. I hear that Odd Future are doing a pilot for Adult Swim.
Samberg: That does not surprise me at all. I would love to watch that.
Did you ever consider trying to work with them.
Taccone: We're friends with those guys.
Samberg: They weren't even out when we made this record.
How do you decide which songs get music video treatments?
Schaffer: Almost all of our songs we'd love to make music videos for just because humor is much easier to "get" when it's being told visually and through audio.
Samberg: There are still songs from our old albums that we'd love to make videos for. It's just about time.
Let's hear an anecdote about one of the guest stars you made this record with.
Schaffer: I can tell you that Akon is a delightful guy that is always smiling, totally got it. He would show up as a ray of sunshine on set. Delightful to be there and just super fun all day.
Taccone: When we hung out with Beck all we did was watch B-movies in his little music-making area that were all like Jared Hess, homemade movies by these kids in the Midwest who get their boss and their cousins and their friends and they make a move for literally zero dollars, like a sci-fi epic in the woods behind their house.
Samberg: Or like medieval dragonslayer styles.
Taccone: We just hung out there and nerded out with him.
How about Michael Bolton?
Samberg: Punched me in the face! An-nec-dote! That was a craaazy day.
Schaffer: That's his thing. He has a tan. Not like a weird one, but one that makes him seem very worldly, like he's seen the sun from a lot of different angles from all over the globe and at different levels from the equator or whatnot that gives him a well-rounded, sunny look -- he's the man.
Samberg: I don't want to say "cut from marble," but I want to. Some sort of precious stone.