Reuniting with Flight of the Conchords

Ahead of their new concert special, Flight of the Conchords: Live in London, Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement talk songwriting, touring and how they keep their friendship alive. Hint: it involves not murdering each other.

HBO: How would you describe your band?

Bret: There?s two of us in the band.

Jemaine: It?s a two-person band.

Bret: So it?s a lot of duets. Guitars, bass, piano singing, flute, a little bit of flute.

Jemaine: Xylophone. It sounds like there are eight people but it?s all done by us.

Bret: Any two of those instruments at the same time.

HBO: How long does it take to write a new song?

Bret: Takes us quite a long time. We?ve got some newish songs for the special.

Jemaine: It?s not that it takes us a long time, it?s more that we don?t play very often.

Bret: Yeah, we get together once or twice a year, maybe.

Jemaine: We sometimes see each other for pizza or for our kids? playdates, but that?s on a personal level. As a band, less often.

Bret: The fastest one probably took about 6 years. It?s not that long if we condense the time of actually working on them. Probably about a few days.

HBO: What?s the secret to staying friends?

Jemaine: Don?t stab each other. Once you?ve gone over that line, it?s hard to come back. So if you?re in a band?

Bret: Don?t murder the other people in your band. That?s the longevity trick.

HBO: How is this show different from previous tours?

Bret: This is the first time we?ve filmed one of our concerts. We did a small live special a long time ago, but since then we?ve toured and developed a bigger live show with lighting and more instruments and a small orchestra.

HBO: What inspires your writing?

Bret: We?ve done quite a few songs now so it?s a matter of trying to write something we haven?t written. That?s why they?re getting quite weird. There?s a medieval one, that?s territory we haven?t covered before.

HBO: Do you still get nervous?

Bret: As long as we?ve done some practice it?s quite fun. It?s when we haven?t practiced and we try a song we don?t know it can be quite stressful, because they go quite badly.

Jemaine: But even they can be fun in a small audience.

Bret: The audience likes it more than we do.

Jemaine: That?s always their favorite bit. When we mess up.

Bret: But we?re actually trying to get it right. You?ll see if you watch the special we still make quite a lot of mistakes. We?re going to cut all those out.