Flight of the Conchords

  

Flight of the Conchords

"The almost award-winning fourth-most-popular folk duo in New Zealand” is how Bret Mckenzie and Jemaine Clement describe their musical project titled “Flight of the Conchords”. The comedy duo have gained an international cult following which has resulted in worldwide tours, CD releases and even an American television show that aired two seasons on HBO and has the potential to make a comeback with a 1 hour special expected to air this year.

Originating from a university flat in Wellington, the pair formed Flight of the Conchords in 1998. They originally performed as part of a five-man group called “So You're a Man” which also included director of Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Taika Waititi. Their career as Flight of the Conchords was kick started when they performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2002 and 2003. Shortly afterwards, in 2004, the band created a radio show for BBC Radio 2 which focussed on the duo looking for success in London in a fictional role. This featured Jimmy Carr as a devoted fan and Rhys Darby as a manager, and was followed by the release of their HBO television series which follows a similar plot, only in New York. The plot focusses around the pair looking for commercial success and struggling to pay rent, struggling to communicate effectively with their manager, and struggling to deal with a single lovestruck diehard fan who is stalking them. Their low-key attitudes and passive aggressive personalities are contrasted by their vibrant and enthusiastic music which often provides a sort of inner-monologue when the characters fail to express emotion otherwise.
Their music is a delicious blend of multiple genres, mostly centred around folk, hip-hop and rap with comedic themes and wild, over-the-top references. The music was integral to the television series with episodes revolving around the songs and the music being woven into the storylines. Some of the more popular hits include “Hiphopopotamus vs. Rhymenoceros (feat. Rhymenoceros and the Hiphopopotamus)” which is a quirky rap battle between the duo including the comedic line “there ain't no party like my Nanna's tea party”, “Business Time” in which Clement describes his clumsy sexual misdemeanours with a partner and the true meaning of “business socks”, and “I told you I was freaky” which is perhaps the pinnacle of the duo's weird lyrics, creating absurd situations out of easy rhymes and their vibrant sense of humour.
Both Clement and McKenzie have had successful film careers alongside their musical projects. Often working with Hollywood actor and fellow New Zealander Rhys Darby, the two starred together in the horror comedy “Diagnosis: Death”. McKenzie starred in the Lord of the Rings trilogy as well as The Hobbit. He worked as a music supervisor for two of The Muppets movies, winning him an academy award for the dramatic musical moment “Man or Muppet” where the two protagonists question the meaning of their existence. Clement is perhaps most well known for his award winning Mockumentary “What We Do in the Shadows” which he wrote and acted in, directed by old friend Taika Waititi. He has provided voice recordings for various animated movies such as the crab Tamatoa in Disney's “Moana”.
While the musical duo have been sitting quiet for a fair few years now, in various interviews the pair have expressed the desire to bring Flight of the Conchords to the big screen in movie format. HBO, who own the rights, have stated in 2011 that they have no plans to do so. Since the end of the second series on HBO, the pair have embarked on a reunion tour around the larger venues in New Zealand and in 2016 embarked on a North American tour with new material played alongside some older favourites. Indiewire published an interview in 2015 stating that a movie was being written but is still in the early stages, and with both Mckenzie and Clement enduring packed careers in the entertainment industry, it could be a while before we see any more information about this. Regardless of the movie's production, the pair seem to have plans to release new music, and can celebrate a catalogue of quirky and humorous songs, a successful and award winning HBO show, a plethora of concerts played worldwide, and a strong cult following.

 

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