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24.05.2022 | 12:10

BRET MCKENZIE kündigt Solo-Debüt „Songs Without Jokes“ für den 26. August bei Sub Pop an! Erste Single „A Little Tune“ jetzt online

Kein Witz: Am 26. August 2022 wird der neuseeländische Comedian, Schauspieler und Oscar-Preisträger BRET MCKENZIE mit „Songs Without Jokes“ sein Solo-Debüt weltweit via Sub Pop veröffentlichen. Mit seiner Rolle als Mitglied des legendären Comedy-Duos Flight Of The Conchords erlangte MCKENZIE internationale Berühmtheit, daneben trat der 45-Jährige noch als Schauspieler (Herr der Ringe, Der Hobbit) und als Soundtrack-Komponist in Erscheinung (Die Muppets, Muppets Most Wanted). Für „Man Or Muppet“ gewann MCKENZIE 2012 einen Oscar in der Kategorie Bester Titelsong.

Doch der Neuseeländer hat auch nicht-komödiantische Kompositionen im Repertoire, wie er kürzlich in einer Pressemitteilung zur Entstehungsgeschichte seines neuen Musikprojekts erklärte: „Post-Conchords, I’d been working on songs for the Muppets films, and during a session I had the thought that it would be fun someday to work on some songs that weren’t for someone else, that don’t have to tell a story or be funny or continue the narrative plot, checking all the boxes for the character in the movie. I thought it’d be fun to do a record like that, something different.”

MCKENZIE ist ein vielseitiger Musiker und Instrumentalist, der sich in vielen Genres zuhause fühlt und auskennt. In seiner Heimat ist er ein langjähriges Mitglied mehrerer neuseeländischer Nicht-Comedy-Bands, wie der Reggae-basierten Fusion-Gruppe The Black Seeds. Für sein erstes Soloalbum ließ sich MCKENZIE von Künstlern wie HARRY NILSSON, STEELY DAN, RANDY NEWMAN oder den DIRE STRAITS, von denen er ein großer Fan ist, inspirieren. Hört euch hier die beschwingte Lead-Single „A Little Tune“ an, die als Einstieg für „Songs Without Jokes“ dient. Das Video zum Track wurde im Royal Whanganui Opera House, dem letzten erhaltenen viktorianischen Theater in Neuseeland, gedreht.
BRET MCKENZIE kündigt Solo-Debüt „Songs Without Jokes“ für den 26. August bei Sub Pop an! Erste Single „A Little Tune“ jetzt online

Written mostly during the quieter moments of 2019, with BRET MCKENZIE's life split between work in Los Angeles and his family in Wellington, the songs of „Songs Without Jokes“ focus on themes of escape, the perpetual search for peace, and navigating a life being pulled in multiple directions at once. There are also simple meditations on driving through a city, and the weather. MCKENZIE was inspired by the path his aforementioned idols like RANDY NEWMAN and HARRY NILSSON had paved, where a silly or playful number could be sandwiched directly between a song about heartbreak or an earnest redemption and a scathing satire or character commentary. He threw a bit of everything into the mix, recording ideas on his phone at home in New Zealand after the kids had gone to sleep. Upon returning to LA, he would play the sketches for his longtime producer and collaborator, Mickey Petralia, who helped MCKENZIE identify the best moments, then together they would add parts and shape the songs. From there, longtime film collaborator Chris Caswell created charts for that same ensemble of session players with whom they’d recorded so many pieces for film. The majority of songs were then recorded at United Studio in Los Angeles in just a few takes.

“I love working in the studio with those guys, this older generation of LA session musicians, these Wrecking Crew type legends,” MCKENZIE says. “They’ve played on everything, it’s insane —Dolly Parton, James Taylor, Lionel Richie, everything. It’s quite old-fashioned; the band all get a chart and sit there and play the song two or three times and you’re done. It’s a bit like directing actors. I’ll say ‘This song should have a bit of a Steely Dan vibe, or, it feels like LA freeway music” and Dean, the guitarist, just goes, ‘Yeah.’ And we’re cracking up because it turns out Dean is one of the guitar players from Steely Dan. All those session guys are such a trip.”

While the album may be free of traditional punch lines, it doesn’t lack a sense of humor. It showcases a new stage of MCKENZIE’s career, to be sure, but one that isn’t so far removed from his past work and true artistic self. Like Jim Henson before him, who made a career of blending the silly with the sincere and the playful with the profound, MCKENZIE also aims to connect rainbows to the ridiculous.

“I’m becoming way more comfortable in my own skin with songs that are a bit more personal. At first, I felt a little naked singing a song about how I’m not sure what to do with my life— compared to writing for fucking Kermit the Frog—but I’m getting more comfortable now with the heartfelt. Instead of going for a laugh you’re creating these cool little moments. I love comedy songs but I don’t put a comedy record on while hanging out; I don’t drive around listening to standup, I listen to regular music. So it feels right to finally make a record of music I might want to listen to.”

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