Backstage Interview | 84th Academy Awards

Music (Original Song)


BACKSTAGE INTERVIEW
CATEGORY: Music (Original Song)
INTERVIEW WITH: Bret McKenzie
SONG: "Man or Muppet"
FILM: "The Muppets"

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Q. So here you are joining the ranks of Hugh Jackman, Jane Campion. How does such a tiny country like New Zealand produce so many award winning artists, and there you are joining them?
A. Uhm, well, it's a great place to grow up. You can do whatever you want there. Uhm, whereas, America, I think everyone's obsessed with their careers. New Zealand, you get to just live your dreams.

Q. Congratulations.
A. Thank you.

Q. Bret, being a FLIGHT OF THE CONCHORDS fan, how was it writing the song without Jemaine?
A. Seems to work seems to have come off very well. But, uhm, well, I am looking forward to writing with Jemaine in the future here. Because I can, you know, I will being able to pull out the Oscar card, and say, "Oh, I think we should use this chord," and I won an Oscar. So, yes.

Q. Only two nominees, two songs were nominated for this. Why do you think that is and what particularly do you think about your song, not only allowed you to be nominated, but, like, to win?
A. Well, I am not sure how why they only nominated two songs, but I was very happy with that situation. Uhm, and, uhm, I think the system, you know, leads itself toward musicals instead of songs, you know, the needle dropped.
Why my song won? To be honest, I think it was one of those musical numbers where, uhm, everyone did a great job, James Bobin, the director, did such a cool video. Jason Segel just channeled his I don't know, he went really deep in his performance, both in the recording and on the screen. And, uhm, yeah, just felt like it was one of those one of those things that fell into place very easily.

Q. Hi. Congratulations.
A. Thanks.

Q. You created one of the most incurably catchy songs of the year. I kind of love you and kind of hate you for it. Do you know that you are doing that when you write a song; that this is something people will never get out of their heads?
A. Uhm, I guess you can tell when they're catchy when I keep singing it myself for days, and I wake up in the morning. If I worked all day on it and into the night and go home at 2:00 in the morning and then wake up at 9 o'clock and it's still going on in my head, yeah, I can tell it's one of the catchy ones, but sorry about that.

Q. Hi. Uhm, so, what's next? Is it a rap album? Is it musicals? Is it all kinds?
A. Yeah. I want to see if I can collaborate with Chris Cooper to do a full length rap album.

Q. Congratulations.
A. Thank you. Nice, sweat coat.

Q. Thank you, thank you. So, have to ask, do you feel certain amount of pressure living up to the legacy of previous Muppet songs? Like the "Rainbow Connection"?
A. Like the classic "Rainbow Connection"? I absolutely do. And, uhm, a friend of mine said, when I got the job of working on the film, a friend of mind said, "You will need to write another 'Rainbow Connection.'"
And I said, "You're right." And I didn't. And it's an honor to get this because "Rainbow Connection" didn't win an Oscar, but there's no doubt that that song is, you know, an absolute, timeless classic, and this is nothing in comparison.

Q. You mentioned Jim Henson the "Muppets" creator when you were up on stage. Can you talk about what he meant to you growing up and what this means? Just just talk about your next [inaudible] and what he means to you?
A. Yeah. In the eighties, when I was at home a lot watching TV, my dad one day brought home a video recorder, and that was the latest thing. He'd been to America and came back with a video recorder. No one else had one. It was pretty exciting, but he only had two video cassettes, and one was THE DARK CRYSTAL. So, my brother and I watched that movie at least twice a week for, I guess, for about five years. So, uhm, infinitely, Jim Henson influenced me, and I think it's you know, he is a huge inspiration. And, uhm, the other thing I love about the guy is he made children's, uhm, films that I think he found funny; that he was making them for adults that didn't patronize the minds of children.

Q. You wrote "Life's a Happy Song" as well, correct?
A. Yeah.

Q. Which song do you like better? That's actually our Sunday morning "making pancakes" song. We love that.
A. That's a pancake making song.

Q. We love that.
A. I love them both, but I think this one is more successful in the world in the movie because it's such a crucial turning point where the characters deal with the age old crisis: Am I a man or a Muppet? The other one is that's that's annoyingly catchy, that one, yeah. It's all white keys. If you do want to play it, it's just it's very simple. It's all white keys. C major. Just go with the white keys and start again. Okay. So, is that it?

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