Monday, December 22, 2008

Andy Samberg - Performed Iran So Far live with Norah Jones (CD Interview)

Pitchfork interview...

Andy's parts are bold below.

Here are some tidbits:

- Andy says he's more important than Akiva and Jorma.

- Andy's first song was Kablamo in 2001.

- Andy doesn't know he purposefully sounded bad on Ras Trent. =^)

- Andy admits they can't sing.

- They want to work with Fleet Foxes.

- Andy thinks Jorma brags.

- T-Pain is a Hot Rod fan.

- Akiva admits that Blizzard Man has a solo CD coming out, and then he wisely denies his own statement.

- Andy thinks they had too many horrible-sounding characters on the album to include Blizzard Man.

- “We Like Sportz” is a sequel to “Just 2 Guyz”

- They might put Bing Bong Brothers and Just 2 Guyz on the DVD for the fans.

- Andy doesn’t like to deal with Jorma when he’s caffeinated.

- “We Like Sportz” has a music video.

- Andy says they recorded “Junk in a Box” on a Thursday night, edited it on Friday and early Saturday, and showed it Saturday night.

- Andy says “Jizz in my Pants” got recorded in the summer, video shot in September, and edited around Thanksgiving.

- It took about an hour to write “Junk in a Box” and two hours to record it.

- Andy directs some of the shorts, but Kiv does most of it.

- Andy thinks should do hologram comedy shorts for SNL.

- Andy’s buddies with Justin Timberlake.

- Justin Timberlake makes them watch N*Sync videos and watches them watch it, to see their reactions.

- Andy talks about album covers: a girl throwing up sprinkles, wading in blood, and Big Lurch’s cannibalism.

- A lot of people don’t know that Andy Samberg is in “Junk in a Box.”

- Jorma doesn’t mind not being on SNL.

- Andy loves Will Ferrell’s The Landlord.

- Andy didn’t expect Dear Sister to hit (yes, he calls it by the unofficial, common name)

- They get pressure to take a PR class because they don’t answer reporters’ questions honestly.

- Andy thinks the class would be like Princess Diaries.

- Andy performed Iran So Far live with Norah Jones at the UCB writer's strike in New York.

- The Aphex Twin issue with the Iran So Far music got ironed out.

Andy Samberg's the Lonely Island Tell All!

"Saturday Night Live"'s Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer, and Jorma Taccone announce their debut album, reveal their deepest secrets

"In a Box" or "In My Pants", the Lonely Island-- the comedy team of "Saturday Night Live" cast member Andy Samberg and "SNL" writers Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone-- have got... joke music videos on lock.

"It's getting a little embarrassing," Schaffer said in a recent conversation with Pitchfork. "We're like, 'We have so many other songs, but they're not the popular ones.' People seem to like the potty humor. We're a mirror. If society sees it and goes, 'Too much (potty) humor,' they need to look in the mirror and go, 'Why am I demanding this?'"

The world is about to discover how much more Lonely Island has to offer, as last week it was announced that Universal Republic will release their CD/DVD debut, INCREDIBAD, on February 10. The album is set to include "SNL" Digital Short classics like "(Junk) in a Box [ft. Justin Timberlake]", "Lazy Sunday [ft. Chris Parnell]", "Natalie Raps [ft. Natalie Portman & Chris Parnell]", and "Iran So Far [ft. Adam Levine]", plus newer tunes like "I'm on a Boat [ft. T-Pain]", "Sax Man [ft. Jack Black]", "Boombox [ft. Julian Casablancas]", "Dream Girl [ft. Norah Jones]", "Santana DVX [ft. E-40]", "Who Said We're Wack?", "Punch You in the Jeans", "We Like Sportz", "Shrooms", and first single "Jizz in My Pants", which made its debut on "SNL" a week ago. It's also on iTunes now.

In addition to INCREDIBAD and (potty) humor, we talked to Samberg, Schaffer, and Taccone about the music they love (including their favorite T-Pain songs), their roles on "SNL", amazing/bad/horrific album covers, and being forced by Justin Timberlake to watch 'N Sync videos on YouTube.

Pitchfork: Just for the sake of our transcriber, could you guys each take turns saying your names?

Schaffer: Yeah, hi, I'm Akiva. We've done this before, by the way, and it never works.

Pitchfork: [Laughs] Okay, cool.

Jorma Taccone: We all sound identical. Okay, so do it again.

Schaffer: I'm Akiva. This is my voice. This is the sound of me talking.

Taccone: Okay, he sounds bored.

Schaffer: Yeah, I'll try to keep this tone throughout.

Taccone: This is Jorma. I have kind of a deep, manly, sort of commanding voice.

Andy Samberg: And this is Andy. My voice is the kind of voice that somebody who is in the cast of "Saturday Night Live" would have.

Schaffer: It's a really famous-sounding voice.

Taccone: He's like a total (jerk).

Samberg: Like someone who's way more important than the other two.

Taccone: You'll put all of his quotes in bold. And then a parenthetical "(dick)" afterwards.

Schaffer: Yeah, write anything he says in a gold, sparkly font. Instead of quote signs put dollar signs.

Taccone: Sort of like a champion (jerk).

Pitchfork: Done. So you guys are watching Kanye rehearse right now?

Schaffer: It's on the feed in the building, yeah.

Pitchfork: Is there anyone dancing with their shirts off?

Taccone: Oh, God, I really wanted to, but I wasn't sure if he'd be into that idea.

Schaffer: I betcha he might-- well, except he wouldn't want anything leaked of his performance before it's on the air.

Taccone: I was thinking we would do a follow-him shot into his dressing room, he goes into his bathroom, and then I've been dancing, like, naked in there, and it's all blurred. And then he gets into the act. And then we... we make love.

Samberg: Wait, what was that last part?

Schaffer: This was already approved by Kanye, as I understand it.

Taccone: Yeah, he'll be way in.

Pitchfork: Let's talk about INCREDIBAD. How long has it been in the works? I know you guys have been doing music stuff since "Bing Bong Brothers" and "Just 2 Guyz", even the "Awesometown" theme song.

Schaffer: The first one we ever did was "Ka-Blamo!". I think that was the first song we ever made, actually, wasn't it?

Taccone: It was one of them.

Schaffer: Yeah, it might have been 2001 or 2002.

Taccone: I think it was 2001.

Schaffer: Those songs, pretty much everything you just mentioned, is not on the album necessarily. But, in a way, it's all part of the journey, so it's really pretty beautiful to think about it.

Taccone: Make sure you quote Kiv on that one.

Schaffer: Well, you'd have to use the sarcastic font; we haven't quite figured out which one that is yet.

Samberg: I support that statement, too.

Schaffer: Yeah, who cares? Just put dollar signs around that one, too. But in the practical sense, well, kind of three years, because "Dick in a Box", "Lazy Sunday", "Natalie Raps", those appeared, some of those, as early as 2005. So, that's technically three years ago. But the bulk of this album we did last summer, over three months.

Pitchfork: How much of the album is entirely new stuff we haven't heard before?

Schaffer: On the actual audio side of the album, I would say, it's probably, eight--

Taccone: It's 70% to 80% new.

Schaffer: No, but-- All right, let's call it 70% new.

Taccone: I'd even go with, say, 60% never before heard.

Pitchfork: So about 40% is what you're saying?

Taccone: Well, because we did-- some of the songs that we did over the summer like "Ras Trent" and "Space Olympics" have become digital shorts.

Pitchfork: I'm just kidding, because the number kept getting lower.

Samberg: I'd say it's about 10% new.

Schaffer: Let's say there are 20 tracks on the album. I would say people's ears would have heard eight of them already. Is that fair?

Taccone: Yeah, that's fair. Because right away with "(Junk) in a Box", "Natalie", "Lazy Sunday", "Iran So Far", which is hopefully going to be on there.

Pitchfork: Is there a problem with that one?

Taccone: No, we're just debating with the tracks and everything. We're trying to figure it out.

Schaffer: So, 20 divided by...

Taccone: So there's four right there that have been on the show, plus now "Space Olympics" and "Ras Trent", so that's six that have been on the show. And "Jizz" is there. That's seven that people have heard.

Pitchfork: And you're going with "Jizz in My Pants" as the first official single?

Schaffer: Yeah. That was the first one we did for the album. We made it outside of the show, and then just kind of showed it to ["SNL" creator/executive producer] Lorne [Michaels], so that's our first real thing from the album.

Pitchfork: Was it the kind of thing where you recorded it and were like, "Yeah, this is definitely the single"?

Schaffer: Yeah, I would say so. After people listened to a lot of stuff, people seemed to tend towards that one, and we thought it was a very--

Taccone: There's a couple of other ones on the album that we're really, really excited about. But I think for the first go-around, everyone kind of-- humor-wise and sound-wise-- agreed that that was the first one. But there are a couple others that we're really excited about.

Pitchfork: "Jizz in My Pants" sounds really good, especially the end when it gets sort of Timbaland-ed out, if you know what I mean. I heard that you, Jorma, were talking about how you were really excited to get people to hear "clean", good versions of the songs.

Taccone: I don't mean clean as in censored but actual cleaned up, mixed down, mastered-sounding. We spent a lot of time working on the music for the show, just in our room, like, mixing to the best of our abilities. But now that we're doing that incorporating a professional mixing and mastering process, we're really excited.

Pitchfork: It's great how much attention you guys are paying to the musical part of the thing.

Schaffer: Just to be really clear, the comedy is coming way, way first, and a lot of times at the cost of the music. For instance, in "Ras Trent" where the guy has to sound terrible, because that's the joke, he doesn't know what he's doing. I mean, we're on a real Sly & Robbie track there. It's as official and good of a reggae track as possible. With, like, Capleton on it, you'd have an awesome reggae song, instead of Andy purposefully sounding really terrible.

Samberg: You'd be cooking with more fire, with Capleton on there. Wait a sec, can I stop you there, Kiv? You think I sound terrible on "Ras Trent"?

Schaffer: I mean, you sound perfect. Does that clear the air?

Taccone: That clears it right up.

Schaffer: Just so you know what I mean, just to be clear: The comedy's coming first. But then, it is what it is from the beginning with us, which is that we're super big fans of all the genres that we're parodying and that we grew up with all this music. We're not really trying to take it down a peg. We're just using the music we love to tell jokes that either have to do with the music or sometimes have nothing to do with the music, so it's being told to the music, kind of.

Pitchfork: Judging by the number of bands Jorma has danced shirtless to on YouTube, it seems like you guys are fans of a lot of different bands and genres. But most of the songs that you have made yourselves are really aggro rap tracks or really slick R&B songs.

Samberg: I mean, I can tell you why.

Pitchfork: Sure!

Samberg: We cannot sing.


Taccone: That was the truth. I was so waiting to hear that answer and then I was like, "No, well, that's true. That's correct. That's accurate."

Samberg: And play instruments, too.

Taccone: I think the other thing is that we're huge fans of those two genres of music.

Samberg: But I mean, Jorm, we listen to a good share of, say, indie rock.

Taccone: Yes, we do.

Pitchfork: So when's your Fleet Foxes collaboration coming out?

Samberg: Dude, whenever they're ready. We're lying in wait for Fleet Foxes to come and hang.

Taccone: If you could please extend a hand to them, through this interview, that we would like to--

Pitchfork: For real? Because I'm sure they'd be totally into that.

Samberg: I'm psyched to drop a verse on "Blue Ridge Mountains". The remix.

Pitchfork: I'm wondering which direction a lot of the collaborations come from. Do you guys reach out to E-40, like, "Hey man, we really like you." Or is it E-40 or Norah Jones coming up to you guys and being like, "I'd really like you to do to my career what you did to Natalie Portman's career?"

Samberg: It happens all kinds of ways. E-40, we reached out to him, because we grew up in the Bay and he's one of our heroes. But, like, Norah, we are friendly with through "SNL" circles and mutual friends and stuff. And we just kind of had a hunch that she'd be into it, 'cause she's a silly lady. So sometimes it happens through stuff like that. A lot of times it's happened by just meeting people through the show. Like, we're buddies with [the Strokes singer] Julian [Casablancas] now because he and the Strokes played, and we've kept in touch since then and that kind of thing.

Taccone: And stuff like-- Arcade Fire we just obviously love as a band, and we invited them to be in a little spot in a digital short, so when they came and filmed a little thing, we sort of became buddies with those guys.

Schaffer: For the record, they're not on the album.

Samberg: That was more just Jorm bragging.

Taccone: You wonder how I end up naked in front of these people.

Samberg: I guess all he's saying really is, if you talk to Arcade Fire some time in the next year, you can say "Do you know Jorm?" and they'll probably say yes.

Pitchfork: Is there anyone who annoys you about getting involved that you really don't want being involved?

Taccone: Springsteen is like constantly hounding us to get on a track.

Schaffer: And we're like, "Go away, the Boss!"

Samberg: Springsteen texts me pretty much every day going, "When can I get Kiv to come drop a verse on one of my tracks?"

Schaffer: Has any ironic DJ done a mashup of the Boss and the Boss? Meaning Rick Ross and Springsteen?

Pitchfork: I don't think so, but I'm pretty sure that will happen shortly after this interview runs.

Schaffer: It seems like Rick Ross is challenging him for the title of the Boss.

Pitchfork: T-Pain is on the record, too, right?

All: Yes.

Schaffer: He came here to do something with Mariah Carey last season, and we kind of hit it off with him.

Samberg: He's a big Hot Rod fan.

Taccone: Yeah, he's a huge comedy fan.

Schaffer: We were already into his stuff, so then, all summer when we were making these, we were thinking, "How can we make a good one for T-Pain to be on?" So then, when we got one, we reached out to him, and he was happy to do it, which was awesome.

Pitchfork: Do you guys have a favorite T-Pain song?

Samberg: What is your favorite T-Pain song?

Schaffer: Probably "Karaoke". And then I've been into that Thr33 Ringz mixtape [Pre33 Ringz --Ed.]. There's some good stuff on there.

Samberg: "Talla Ho Walk" is pretty jammy, too. I mean, really? "Kiss Kiss" with Chris Brown, and his chorus on "She Got It" with 2 Pistols.

Pitchfork: Yes! Yes.

Schaffer: That was actually one of the first ones, last year. Before we ever met him, that was the one we were playing. It's that vocal chorus, where it goes, "Oooh oooh." That's what makes it, like, larger than life. It makes it cinematic.

Samberg: We tried to do a little of that on our album. Don't listen too closely to the pitch and timbre of the choir in the background. 'Cause it's basically me and Jorm, 25 times, doubled.

Pitchfork: So Ras Trent does some chorus vocals as well?

Samberg: Yeah, it's a lot of Ras Trent on backup.

Pitchfork: Does Blizzard Man show up on the album?

Samberg: No.

Taccone: We flirted with that idea.

Schaffer: He's got his own solo project coming out. No, he doesn't.

Samberg: But he could! We kind of reached a cap of characters on the record that sounded horrible on purpose.

Schaffer: Speaking of which, there's a "Just 2 Guyz" sequel. We didn't want to put old things [on the album] like "The Heist" or "Just 2 Guyz" or the ones that you mentioned. We didn't want to just ride on that and put them on the album, so then we were thinking, "Let's do more songs from this character," so there's one called "We Like Sportz" which is me and Jorm doing a--

Taccone: With a "z".

Schaffer: Yes, doing the same characters, but now they're trying to convince you about how much they're into sports. Oh wait, speaking of which, so that we don't seem like liars, on the DVD-- we're still ironing out what's going to be on it so I can't actually say necessarily-- it looks like it'll be somewhere around six to 10 videos, somewhere around there. Just as a bonus, we may put "Bing Bong Brothers" and "Just 2 Guyz" [on the DVD]. I'm thinking it may go that way. So they're not on the album, but they might be on there for the people who wanted them.

Taccone: We decided we needed more (potty) references.

Schaffer: It's getting a little embarrassing. We were looking at them, and we're like, "We have so many other songs, but they're not the popular ones." People seem to like, you know, the potty humor. No, it's like we're obsessed.

Pitchfork: So that's your excuse, that people like it. You're just playing to the populace.

Schaffer: We're a mirror.

Taccone: No, we're playing to ourselves. So apparently that's what we like.

Samberg: I like Akiva's answer, that we're a mirror.

Schaffer: No, we're a mirror. If society sees it and goes, "Too much (potty) humor," they need to look in the mirror and go, "Why am I demanding this?"

Samberg: Are you drinking coffee, Jorm?

Taccone: I'm drinking decaf.

Schaffer: He's checking up on him, because he doesn't want to-- "because I don't want to have to deal with you later if you're all caffeinated!"

Pitchfork: Are there going to be any unseen digital shorts on the DVD?

Taccone: Well, "We Like Sportz".

Schaffer: We've made a video for "We Like Sportz" already. We have it in our back pockets, so we know that will be on there, and no one's seen it yet.

Pitchfork: How long does it take you to make a song or video, from conception to the actual finished product?

Samberg: 30 minutes.

Taccone: For every idea, it's 30 minutes execution.

Samberg: You sure that's decaf?

Schaffer: It doesn't sound like decaf.

Taccone: I haven't really let him finish a question. 25 minutes!

Pitchfork: It's okay. I'm just letting the famous people run the show.

Samberg: Oh my (gosh).

Schaffer: No, he wasn't the famous one. He's got the cents sign around his name. Not the dollar sign.

Samberg: Uh, it depends. Like, at the show, for example, we recorded "(Junk) in a Box" on a Thursday night and then had the video airing on Saturday night. It can be that fast, or it can be as slow as "Jizz in My Pants", which got dragged way out because we recorded it in the summer and then shot the video before the season started, and they didn't have time to edit it until Thanksgiving break, really.

Taccone: It sort of just depends on if it's a show week or not. Like, the stuff that we did over the summer, we painstakingly went through, and then if it's something that we do for the show, it has to be done by Saturday, so we do it as fast as we humanly possibly can. How many hours did it take to actually record "(Junk) in a Box" would you say? Three? Two?

Samberg: Two, maybe.

Pitchfork: What about to write it?

Taccone: Write it? Maybe about an hour.

Schaffer: As with most things, when you see it clearly you can do it super fast. When it's an idea that you don't see that clearly, sometimes-- like, it's the same with sketches, or with screenplays. I'm sure some of the best screenplays were written in two weeks and some of the best ones were written over 10 years, you know? You just never know. Like, "Dick in a Box" we wrote fast-- but that was after four days of sitting still not being able to think of anything, and then when we finally thought of it, I think we had all of the lyrics written in just under two hours. It was just like, "This is what it is. Oh okay great, let's try this out." And then other things, you could have that idea by Monday, but then by Thursday you're still not done with figuring out how to do it right.

Pitchfork: Do you guys keep to yourselves at the show? You were all brought on at the same time, right?

Schaffer: Yeah, yeah, 'cause we grew up together. So we all got hired together.

Taccone: Uh no, it's sort of everybody-- you float around, you sort of write with different people and stuff like that, but for the digital shorts, we primarily do those unto ourselves. But we'll always take ideas from other writers and work with them on stuff.

Pitchfork: Was there a feeling-out period where you guys figured out who you work best with?

Schaffer: Eh, sort of, but I'd say everybody here rotates a lot to keep it fresh. There are certain things where you can recognize, "Oh that's obviously written by these three people," because you can recognize tones and stuff. I'd say people kind of have a tendency to work with the same people, but there's always wild cards where somebody comes in and goes, "I just had a really great idea for this," so it bounces around.

Pitchfork: How much control do you guys have over the digital shorts?

Schaffer: From the start we pretty much had total control over them. That's the thing about this show in general-- it's too fast for there to be too many notes. The fastness is the blessing and the curse of the show. The fastness also kills you because you can't get done half of what you want to get done on time, because you just don't have enough time. But on the plus side you don't have a lot of bouncing stuff back and forth that most shows get bogged down in.

Samberg: It was also, when we first got here, sort of realizing what our strengths were and obviously trying our hand at writing live sketches, which we still do all the time, but sort of realizing that what we're really good at is making the videos that we had been making for years and years before that. So within the first couple of weeks of being here we went out and shot "Bing Bong Brothers" and then just decided to write stuff for the show and see if they were interested in putting it on.

So we made two little shorts, and then I think our third one was "Lazy Sunday" for the Christmas episode in our first year. Because we presented that stuff to them and kind of did everything ourselves, that kind of set the precedent for allowing us to do everything a little bit more in our own kind of way. And Kiv directs almost all the stuff we do. I direct some of it, but we edit everything ourselves, which is really a lot of the creative, comedy decision-making.

Schaffer: That's definitely where the control comes in.

Samberg: That being said, they always reserve the right to be able to tell us to change (stuff), you know what I mean? We're certainly not above the law. But honestly it's almost the same way that it would be if somebody is very particular about the sketch they write and they want to carry it through in a specific way. It will either work or it won't, and that's kind of the beauty of the show in that they let you try your thing the way you envisioned it.

Pitchfork: Down the line, is the SNL Digital Short something that's going to exist after you guys leave the show, or is it your baby and will end with you whenever you guys leave?

Schaffer: There's no way to know that one. I'd say as of right now, if you see that [name], that generally means that one of the three of us was involved in it. I don't think somebody here would feel comfortable using it right now. But I would say once we're gone, maybe. It's too broad a title to claim forever.

Taccone: I would hope that they would at least change the font.

Schaffer: Old shorts used to be analog, like film and stuff like that, and now they're digital, but maybe if someone invents a new way for media to be sent out to people that's, like, much cooler than digital, like hologram or something, then they could change it to "SNL Hologram Short".

Taccone: Oh, but they have invented that. I don't know if you saw, but yeah--

Schaffer: Yeah, that's what I'm saying, so in the future when it's all like, then that will work out for us.

Samberg: I'm pretty sure they're working out a deal to get to do a bunch of comedy shorts for the show.

Taccone: It'd be great to have a " Hologram Short" come up. "An SNL Hologram Short".

Schaffer: I'm not going to leave the show until it's fully presented in hologram.

Pitchfork: The question is, will there be a YouTube for hologram shorts?

Schaffer: Oh, everything's going hologram. In the year 2020, they're already sending out those press releases that, like, in 2020 all of broadcast TV is broadcast in hologram.

Samberg: I like imagining "SNL" in the final sequence of that movie A.I., where, like, the world is completely changed. Kiv is still there with a really long gray beard and like an oxygen tank, being like [old man voice] "No, the hologram's not reading properly!"

Schaffer: I give it four years for this to be broadcast in hologram. That's a full-on prediction. You can quote me on that.

Pitchfork: Going back to people you guys have worked with, I'm curious about your relationship with Justin Timberlake, because he's done a few different things with you guys. What is that relationship like?

Schaffer: Lovers? Is that a fair way to put it?


Samberg: Uh, yeah, I mean, he's just tight. Everything about him is super tight, like in all definitions of the word. Um, no, he's our buddy.

Schaffer: We're just excited any time he's willing to come slum it with us, basically.

Samberg: Yeah, basically.

Taccone: I like to hang out with people whose talent dwarfs mine and makes me feel really insecure at all times. That's why I like hanging out with him.

Samberg: But you know, it's the kind of thing where that dude can do anything he wants and he's really good at a lot of things, and he's super funny and he likes hanging around with us and every time we hang out with him and do something it seems to work, so we kind of just take it anytime he's around and in the mood.

Pitchfork: It's way in the past at this point, but do you ever remind him, "Hey man, remember when you were in that boy band?"

Samberg: Uh, we don't really have to. He's a fairly self-effacing dude. He'll make jokes about that (stuff) himself, so we don't really need to.

Schaffer: He constantly reminds you he was in it. He'd like pull up old YouTube clips of *NSYNC and be like, "Hey, you ever see this one?" and I'll be like, "No man, I never saw that one." "Aw, you've got to sit down," and he'll make you sit down and he'll watch you watch it so you know you have to watch it the whole time. He makes you watch old clips of *NSYNC.

Samberg: [To Pitchfork] Do you do reviews as well as interviews?

Pitchfork: No I don't, but I did just do "The 20 Worst Album Covers of 2008" feature.

Samberg: Oh, I looked at that already.

Pitchfork: Yeah, that was me. [Silence.] can just reserve your judgment, I guess.

Samberg: It's funny, I was having this discussion the other day about how, on Pitchfork and Stereogum and likeminded places, the best and the worst of the year are always pretty much the same bands, which is so indicative of sort of the tone of it all.

Schaffer: It was "Most Overrated slash Best."

Samberg: Oh right, on Stereogum, all the overrated bands were also the top bands of the year.

Pitchfork: People confuse the overrated bands for the most underrated as well.

Schaffer: They were literally saying, "This was the best!" and giving it its overrated quality and then going, "Unh, it's so overrated" like on the very next page.

Pitchfork: But then the next day, since everyone said it was overrated, it's now underrated.


Schaffer: As if someone is keeping it on a scale, the "rated" scale, ready to knock (stuff) down when it gets too big and ready to build it up when it gets too small.

Samberg: You know, Dave, the one thing I'll say about your bad album covers, I really like that Santogold album [cover].

Schaffer: With her barfing sprinkles on it?

Samberg: Yeah.

Pitchfork: Really? Because some of them I can see people liking. I mean, honestly, they were just the ones that I could make jokes about, you know?

Samberg: Right right, that's true.

Pitchfork: But really? You like that one?

Samberg: [Meekly] I do like that one.

Pitchfork: Okay, fair enough.

Schaffer: You know what? I will say, as a gut reaction, I don't like that one. I remember before I had even read about her or anything and I just saw it for the first time, I was like, "Oh geez!" But then under closer inspection, realizing what was happening, "Oh, a kind of pretty girl on her own big album cover made herself barf sprinkles." And then I'm like, "Well, I have to love that."

Samberg: Kiv knows where I'm coming from. Also, it's just, I really like that album, so I guess it's influenced by that.

Pitchfork: Totally. Well, I'm not judging the music therein, at all.

Schaffer: We still haven't figured out our album cover. We did photo shoots for it or whatever, and there's a guy working on Photoshop trying to figure out our cover for us, so we'll have that in a little bit, but we should email you versions to make sure you're really on board for it.

Pitchfork: The thing is, do you want it to be a good album cover? If it's a comedy album, maybe it needs to be bad.

Schaffer: Well, ours is certainly bad in some ways already. Like, it'll look pretty, but the concept is certainly...retarded.

Pitchfork: The other thing I noticed is, it's really hard to have a good album cover. I mean, I guess Abbey Road looks pretty nice, but...once you get graphic design involved.

Schaffer: You almost want it to be as simple as Abbey Road, where it's just like, "Let's go out and do a photo shoot, really simple without a lot of lighting so it doesn't look like a magazine, just go around the city until we find something that kind of speaks to who we are a little bit, like Abbey Road, and just throw it up there."

Pitchfork: Yeah, totally.

Schaffer: But if we did that, that would be too self-serious. A comedy group [album cover] can't have, like, a candid of us having beers. Like, what the (heck)?

Samberg: That theory about how it's hard to have a good album cover, it goes and eats itself so much that an album cover like Lil Wayne's becomes the greatest album cover ever. Because you're like, "Oh yeah, this dude just threw that... together, and it's great."

Schaffer: The new Lil Wayne is pretty great, the mixtape with the baby--

Pitchfork: Where he's like swimming in blood or something?

Schaffer: Yeah, and he's got wings and (stuff).

Samberg: Since we're on the topic of album covers, we have to bring this up. Our friend J-Zone pointed us to an album cover called Slam Dunk'n Hoes. It's a rapper named Top Dog, and the album is called Slam Dunk'n Hoes. Full credit to J-Zone for this.

Taccone: That guy has the greatest taste.

Samberg: We do want to go out of our way here to try and bring people's attention to this album cover, because it's spectacular in many, many ways and on many levels.

Pitchfork: One of my favorites of all time, not for just visual reasons, is from Big Lurch, a rapper who went to jail for killing and eating parts of a woman while on PCP. The cover of his record has a skull on a silver dinner platter, and the record is called It's All Bad.

Schaffer: Wait, so that guy really did--

Pitchfork: Yeah, he really did.

Schaffer: Was that before or after this album cover?

Pitchfork: I don't know.

Samberg: [Typing] Big Lurch...

Schaffer: Dude, do you think he did it to back it up? Like, "Now I made the album cover, I gotta do it."

Samberg: Jorm, is that a microphone in the upper left corner?

Taccone: Uh, I don't think so. It looks like the top of a building. I think you're just looking up.

Samberg: Right, it's a low-angle shot on Big Lurch.

Taccone: [Laughs] It's All Bad. That's a very appropriately-titled album.

Schaffer: He does look hungry.

Samberg: Not so much anymore.

Taccone: That's satisfied.

Samberg: That is crazy.

Pitchfork: Let's switch gears a little bit and talk about the idea of "branding."

Schaffer: Oh, finally our area of expertise.

Pitchfork: Exactly. Are you feeling the pressure to differentiate between the Lonely Island and "SNL"?

Schaffer: Not differentiate, I would say, as much as connect, in terms of, you don't want our album coming out calling it the Lonely Island, having everyone go, "What the *heck) is that?" and then if you went, "It's '(Junk) in a Box'" they would go, "Oh I like that!" So it's more of making sure people [know], when they see the Lonely Island, that means if they do happen to like "(Junk) in a Box," they can get it.

Taccone: It is surprising though, how many people I've talked to that have no idea that we do the digital shorts.

Schaffer: It's not that surprising.

Samberg: I meet people who have no idea I'm in "(Junk) in a Box" constantly.

Pitchfork: You were in "(Junk) in a Box"?

Samberg: Thank you. Thank you for proving my point.

Pitchfork: So it doesn't sound like it's that big of a concern? Maybe you have to put a sticker on the album cover that says "(Junk) in a Box".

Samberg: I mean, we're gonna find out. We're gonna do our best, and Universal will do their best, obviously. But it's something that we are. We can't actually worry about it, because it will either happen or it won't.

Schaffer: But I bet you there will be that sticker you're talking about. It's going to be quite a sticker.

Pitchfork: It's going to be glittery, and it's going to have Santogold's face on it.

Schaffer: I didn't read what you wrote about Santogold, but you have to appreciate a girl putting herself barfing on her own album cover, even if it is gold sprinkles. What did you not like about it? Just that it was gross?

Pitchfork: No, it just seemed-- it just looked sort of crappy.

Samberg: I see what you're saying. It's that arts and crafts kind of vibe.

Schaffer: Yeah, it looked like a collage. She looks a little bored, though, too, in that. She looks like a zombie. It's not the most flattering photo. I'm saying, my gut reaction to it was, "Ew! No thank you!" but then my second reaction to it was, "Wait a minute, what was the thought process behind this?" and now I'm on board.

Pitchfork: So just pretend I'm speaking to the gut reaction.

Taccone: It kind of looks like millions of bees coming out of her mouth to me.

Pitchfork: Another thing I'm curious about, in terms of you guys at "SNL", is how comfortable you are in your current roles, Andy being mostly in front of the camera and Akiva and Jorma being mostly behind the camera. Is that something that you guys planned going into it, or is that just how it shook out, and are you still into that set-up?

Samberg: Uh, it's how it shook out. It's definitely not how we planned it.

Taccone: It's not how we planned it, but I will say that I think we're all comfortable with it at this point. I mean, it's been a number of years, and I can say, speaking for myself-- I mean obviously I love doing acting...

Pitchfork: You were in Role Models.

Taccone: Yeah, so I've been sort of able to feed that part of whatever I have wanted to do in my life, but I've also had a great time being a writer here and being able to do other stuff. Being able to direct stuff as well, occasionally.

Samberg: I will say this, too. I have from the beginning said and believed still, and recently I think it's showing a lot more, that somebody like Jorm who is really good at acting and performing-- and I'm allowed to say it because I'm not him-- it's going to happen. You know what I mean? The important thing to us was to stay together, and I think that's definitely been working out. And Kiv is not always as anxious to get in front of the camera, but he's definitely into directing.

Schaffer: Yeah, directing was always kind of what I wanted to do. So this was just fine. I didn't audition for the show or anything. I just took the writing job.

Taccone: [Ironically] Yeah, I didn't either.


Taccone: Also me not. Also not.

Samberg: You guys, check out Jorm in Entertainment Weekly this week.


Pitchfork: I'm also wondering if you have any theories-- maybe you don't-- about what makes a truly exceptional online video, as opposed to just, like, another funny online video.

Taccone: No. I mean if anybody really knew that they'd just do that every time, right?

Samberg: I would say that a key ingredient for us has been production value, but then, you know, something like "The Landlord" is the hugest crusher of all time and that's really thrown together. It's just super funny and awesome and everybody loves Will [Ferrell].

Schaffer: I will say that a lot of times before we have one that does really good, we do know that that one is going to be the one that does good, and a lot of times we know when we do one that doesn't get much notice, we know ahead of time, "Oh this won't get much notice but we like it." But we have to do so many, we have to do one every week, so a lot of weeks we'll finish one and go, "Oh yeah, this will not crush on the internet. This will just be for people who kind of like it." And we'll put it out the same.

Samberg: I would say that's true for the most part, but a few snuck up on us. Like "Dear Sister" we did not think was going to be much.

Schaffer: Yeah, we thought that one was way too weird. We thought that would just be for the few people who got it and that it would be way too dark for most people. And apparently it was okay.

Taccone: How many have we done at this point, Kiv? Is it like 60 or something?

Schaffer: No, I think it's under 50 still.

Samberg: I think it's over 50.

Taccone: I think it's over 50 at this point.

Schaffer: I don't know.

Samberg: This is an interesting conversation.

Schaffer: Just percentage-wise, of what becomes a thing. It's like, you know, we're not batting 1000!

Taccone: This guy's good.

Samberg: PR wizard!

Schaffer: Before we had this interview, we took one of those PR classes that they give new celebrities. They're like Media Relations 101 kind of classes.

Pitchfork: For real?


Schaffer: No. There was a moment when we freaked out this one lady so hard that she swore we were going to need to do that class, or we were going to be screwed.

Taccone: We got a letter from Paramount, right? Saying that we were too green.

Schaffer: We were being so sarcastic, and we wouldn't answer a single question with any kind of honesty. She got so frustrated and thought it was going to make her look bad, like, "What the hell are you doing? You didn't get a single honest answer out of these guys." I think she was so worried for her own job that she wrote this long letter to Paramount to like cover her ass about not being able to get any footage that had any honesty to it. So that's the one time that, yeah...

Pitchfork: That's funny, because people who just give the honest answers and nothing else are usually the most boring interviews. They actually have media training classes?

Schaffer: I guess. We never did one. I kind of feel like it would be funny to go to.

Samberg: I know, we should have said that we would do it just to see what it was all about.

Pitchfork: It sounds like Drivers Ed.

Samberg: It would have been like The Princess Diaries.

Schaffer: I think they have classes just for public speaking. You know how you can go take a class on public speaking that teaches you how to hold your hands and how to stand upright and how to speak loudly? I bet you it's the same sort of thing. They just kind of look at you and tell you how to smile and be nice or something. I don't know.

Pitchfork: They want to give people who perform on national television tips on that kind of stuff.

Schaffer: Charm school.


Pitchfork: Also, Jorma, in an Entertainment Weekly interview, you were asked about a tour, and you said you were all super busy but you'd love to do an INCREDIBAD tour. If you guys could do one, what would it look like?

Schaffer: That's a great question.

Taccone: I don't know. I think that's some of the problem with the whole time frame thing, because I think if we were going to do something, we'd really want it to be thought-out and very entertaining, and that takes a lot more time than just throwing something together, you know what I mean? So I don't know what it would be, but I'm sure if we had--

Samberg: Lots of costume changes.

Taccone: Yeah, lots of costume changes. We'd want it to look like the Oscars, I'm assuming, right? Lots of Billy Crystal quick change stuff.

Samberg: Or maybe this year's Emmys.

Taccone: We'd basically be like the reality show hosts, just nailing it.

Schaffer: Yeah, that's our idea of nailing it.

Pitchfork: Have you performed live together before?

Taccone: No.

Samberg: I don't think we ever have, right?

Taccone: Certainly not ever done a song.

Samberg: The only one we've ever done was when I did "Iran So Far" at the UCB writer's strike show with Norah.

Taccone: Adam Levine was not in New York, so we called her up at the last minute.

Pitchfork: Is that the one that borrowed from that Aphex Twin song?

Samberg: Yes.

Pitchfork: Did that situation get ironed out?

Taccone: Oh yeah, it's no problem.

Schaffer: [The problem] was not Aphex Twin. He's a good dude, and Jorm emails with him directly, so that's one thing I will say. He's delightful.




Anonymous said...

God I love him so much. anyway's- I like your blog alot and I advertised it a little on my website (which isn't as good as this) but I just was wondering if you could check it out in return. I'm trying to get a bunch of members and stuff, but it's my first ever website so please go easy on it. Thanks alot.

I can't wait for the cd. I already have it on order!

sex shop said...

It cannot have effect as a matter of fact, that's exactly what I suppose.

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