Flight of the Conchord’s Jemaine Clement is Our Guest DJ
Posted February 18, 2015 by RR
Jemaine Clement by Larry Hirshowitz
I had already booked Jemaine Clement to tape a Guest DJ Project set when the news came out that Flight of the Conchords would be touring in 2015 (with new material!).
Jemaine ended up choosing many of the artists that inspired the comedic duo as part of the set — including Prince, Beck and Harry Nilsson (fun fact: Bret also picked Harry in HIS Guest DJ set)
As expected, Jemaine was very funny.
He just made his directing/writing debut with the vampire comedy “What We Do in The Shadows“. It’s a hilarious movie with a great cast and many laugh out loud moments. I highly recommend it.
With the exception of a 2013 tour, Flight of the Conchords has been on the back burner since their HBO show ended in 2009.
Celebrate their return by giving this 10-minute show a listen!
Jemaine Clement is best known as part of Flight of the Conchords. In his Guest DJ set, he shares some of the artists that inspired the Kiwi comedy duo and delves into a couple tracks that scared him as a kid. Flight of the Conchords will tour the U.S. later this year and Jemaine currently stars in the vampire comedy What We Do in the Shadows, which marks his directing/filmwriting debut.
For More: https://twitter.com/ajemaineclement
1. Kate Bush - "Wuthering Heights"
2. Supertramp - "The Logical Song"
3. Harry Nilsson - "Coconut"
4. Prince - "Housequake"
5. Beck - "Debra"
Dan Wilcox: Hey, this is Dan Wilcox from KCRW, and I am here with Jemaine Clement. He is best known as part of the comedy duo Flight of the Conchords, who just announced they are touring together later this year with new material. He also is the star two new films, People, Places and Things, which just premiered at Sundance, and the vampire comedy What We Do in the Shadows, which marks his directing/filmwriting debut.
We’re here to talk about some of the songs that have inspired throughout his life as part of KCRW’s Guest DJ Project. Welcome Jemaine.
Jemaine Clement: Thank you. (whispers)
DW: What do you have for us?
JC: I thought I would start with fear.
This song used to freak me out when I was a child, “Wuthering Heights” by Kate Bush.
You know when I was four or five, this thing would be on TV the whole time, she’s a ghost, floating out to the window of this poor man. I even remember being about 15 and I would set my alarm to PM instead of AM or something and the radio came on, and it was that song and it was a stormy night and still as a teenager it freaked me out.
I lived in a house in the country, with big trees outside of my window. I can’t remember if they scraped on my window, but the combination of this song and the trees...this song had a big effect on me. I knew that she was speaking as a ghost. She wants to drag him into death, that’s what she’s talking about. She’s asking him to go with her into death...that’s terrifying.
DW: Now I’m freaked out.
JC: Rightly so.
DW: Let’s give this a listen. This is "Wuthering Heights" by Kate Bush here on KCRW’s Guest DJ Project…
Song: “Wuthering Heights” -- Kate Bush
DW: Well, let’s get into the next one you’ve got for us. Why don’t you tell us about this one?
JC: This wasn’t themed intentionally, but this is another one that used to scare me as a kid, “The Logical Song” by Supertramp.
JC: I know it’s quite a bouncy song, but if you listen to it, which I did, he is describing what it is like as a kid. When I was young, life was so magical and wonderful, all these kinds of words…
Song: “The Logical Song” -- Supertramp
JC: And then...they sent me away, told me how to be logical, clinical, you know all of these things that…just the idea of growing up is this scary thing.
That’s how it seemed to me in the song, anyway. And it made me think a lot as a kid about the difference between adults and kids. All kids wanted to play, but not many adults did.
There seemed to be something in this song that was describing what happened between childhood and adulthood that scared me.
And I think it actually, subconsciously, was kind of always in my head as a thing. You know, something to avoid, being too serious or clinical.
DW: Alright well let’s give this a spin, this is Supertramp with "The Logical Song" as selected by Jemaine Clement.
DW: Okay Jemaine, we just listened to Supertramp’s "The Logical Song," where are we going next?
JC: Now we are going upbeat. The “Coconut” song by Harry Nilsson.
What I like about the Coconut Song is it says that any problem can be solved by putting a lime in a coconut and drinking it all up.
DW: That’s not true?
JC: No, I think it’s true. I think it’s partially true, you can forget about problems quite easily with a distraction or with a refreshing drink. It’s not even alcohol, it’s just lime and coconut.
DW: I know, I’m like, aren’t they missing something…
JC: You have to drink it all up...it does seem like there’s an ingredient missing, I guess you can add it yourself.
DW: And here it is, “Coconut” by Harry Nilsson.
Song: “Coconut” -- Harry Nilsson
DW: We’re here with Jemaine Clement on KCRW’s Guest DJ Project. What’s the next one you got for us?
JC: Next is just a song from a great album, Sign O’ The Times by Prince, it’s a classic. And I think “Housequake” is probably the one that I’ve played the most. I enjoy the funky beat. (Imitates Prince.) Something like that. I’m no Prince. As much as I try.
DW: That was pretty good.
JC: Prince kind of back-chats with himself, you know.
DW: What kind of an influence is Prince on Flight of The Conchords?
JC: He’s a big influence on us. We’re often trying to sound like Prince and failing, but failing enough that sometimes people don’t realize that that’s what we’re trying to do and they think that’s just our general sound.
But I think a lot of bands are doing that, you know. They try to make one thing and their own personality or style turns it into something else. That’s quite often for us, we’re try to be Prince.
Song: “Housequake” -- Prince
DW: Okay that was music from Prince. And what’s the last track you got for us?
JC: So, when Bret and I formed our band, this was the CD that was playing quite a lot. It’s from Midnight Vultures by Beck and the song is called "Debra".
Song: “Debra” -- Beck
JC: We kind of had a discussion at the time, why isn’t there an album that just has songs like this? You know, sometimes people put one funny song on, like Harry Nilsson would, but why isn’t there music all like this?
And I think that’s kind of what we were trying to do.
And I think people have noticed that, yeah, we’re very influenced by this one song.
And, you know, when we came to LA for the first time to play a few shows we’re extremely excited just to see things like a sign that says “Glendale”... “it’s Glendale like the song!”
And Zankou Chicken was one of the first places we had a meal because of the song. We went to Zankou Chicken and had fluorescent food from there. Very tasty though, but it’s an unusual color.
DW: Well here is some clever wordplay from Beck with his song “Debra”. Jemaine thank you so much for joining us.
JC: Such a pleasure.
Jemaine Clement, comedian and actor, @AJemaineClement
On my radar: Jemaine Clement’s cultural highlights
The comedian and actor on one of history’s worst films, a touching British drama and Australia’s answer to Thunderbirds
Jemaine Clement: ‘I bore people at parties with things I learned from Adrienne Mayor’s book First Fossil Hunters’. Photograph: Jim Spellman/WireImage
The comedian and actor Jemaine Clement was born in New Zealand and studied drama and film at Victoria University of Wellington. There, he met Bret McKenzie and together they created the comedy duo Flight of the Conchords, which later became a BBC radio series and, in 2007, an HBO TV series. Clement created another double act with Taika Waititi, the Humourbeasts, and won the New Zealand Billy T award for comedy in 1999. In 2007, he starred in Waititi’s film Eagle vs Shark, and in 2014 the pair co-directed and starred in the comedy horror mockumentary What We Do in the Shadows, out now on DVD.
I think this film from 1983 is underappreciated. It’s got a transatlantic mega-cast –with Cheech and Chong, Peter Cook, John Cleese, Graham Chapman – so it looks like one of those films that you would have seen at the time that was terrible. And John Cleese did describe it as one of the worst films ever made, but I love it. It’s truly silly, like a Python film that you didn’t know was made. The plot is basically just about a mad pirate, a “blond Blackbeard”. There’s more antics than plot. I found it by accident, but I fell in love with it and I’ve watched it a few times.
Theatre: Every Brilliant Thing
This is on in New York at the moment, but it’s a British production. I found it very touching and funny. It’s a one-man show about a boy, from the point of view of an adult looking back. The story starts off with him talking about how, when he was a child, his mother attempted suicide, so he compiled a list of all the great things to live for and the list just became huge over the years. He describes how he started the list and how in different times of his life he’s needed that list.
Website: The Fox Is Black
This is a compilation of art, music and design. It’s one of the few places you can go on the net that is free of cynicism; everything that’s shared on it is positive. But it also shows you amazing buildings from around the world and art pieces … and they compile music playlists that you can download and listen to. They have designers to put in things like desktop wallpaper with interesting designs that you can use on your computer.
TV: Danger 5
This is such an unusual show, but I’m trying to let as many people as I can know about it. It’s an Australian show about a squad of international spies, sort of, and in every episode their mission is to kill Hitler. It’s shot as though it was made in the 1960s, but it’s from 2012 and set during the second world war. It’s almost like a live action Thunderbirds, the way it looks. It’s very strange and brightly coloured, but it’s very funny. And it’s out in the UK, on Netflix, so you can watch it there now.
Book: First Fossil Hunters by Adrienne Mayor
I bore people at parties with things I learned from this book. Adrienne Mayor is a palaeontologist and is kind of the first person who popularised the connection between mythology and fossils. So in places such as northern Africa, people would describe gryphons, which guarded gold in caves, as having the body of a mammal but the beak of a bird. And in this area they found the skeletons of Protoceratops: dinosaurs with bodies that look like a mammal and with a beak. Actually, these people weren’t making these things up: they were finding these fossils and explaining them in their own way.
Album: Laura Veirs – July Flame
Laura Veirs performs on the indoor stage during day two of the tenth Summer Sundae Weekender in Leicester.
I’ve been listening to this a lot. It’s an album that passed me by at the time, when it came out in 2010. I was aware of her and I had her albums, but I didn’t notice this one come out. It has these beautiful melodies. I really enjoyed the guitar playing on it, that’s one of the things that appealed to me. Yeah, pretty guitars and beautiful melodies. My favourite song on the album is I Can See Your Tracks. It’s pretty.
Too many dicks - er, kids (damn dyslexia) on the set of Strangers with @AJemaineClement today. #osbrink
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