The Lonely Island Talk Rihanna, ‘Boners’ And Beck

We first became aware of The Lonely Island when their perfectly judged, Color Me Badd-like team up with Justin Timberlake ‘Dick In A Box’ went viral following its appearance on Saturday Night Live.

It featured on the trio’s debut album ‘Incredibad’ along with other comedy corkers like ‘Jizz In My Pants’ and ‘Natalie’s Rap’. The 13-year-old in us LOL-d a bit more than we’d like to admit to.

Well now they’re back with second album ‘Turtleneck & Chain’ which sees them teaming up with pop a-listers like Rihanna, Nicki Minaj and Akon.

Does humour belong in music? You betcha. We chatted to Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone from the band about this and much more…

Your single ‘I Just Had Sex’ was described by Entertainment Weekly as “entirely plausible radio bait”, do you get your inspiration from listening to Top 40 radio?

Jorma: “Absolutely yes. With that song when we made the track we were like ‘this beat sounds like Akon’.”

Akiva: “We are big fans of pop music and we definitely pay attention to the charts.”

You’ve got a lot of collaborations on this new album. How does it work; do you have to approach them or has it got to the stage where they approach you?

Jorma: “It’s a bit of both really. Because we work on Saturday Night Live and there’s always a musical guest we can poach stars from the show. In the case of Rihanna she was the musical guest one week and so we got her to do ‘Shy Ronnie 2’. In terms of Akon we had to go find him through his management.”

Rihanna has to sing the word ‘boners’ on the track. Was that ok or did she take some convincing?

Jorma: “She was delighted to sing it (laughs). I’m sure it was the highlight of her career!”

Do collaborators always get the joke?

Akiva: “I think so. What we usually do is record the whole song, with Andy (Samberg) imitating the voice of the singer we want to work with and we just send it to them, so it’s pretty obvious what we want them to do.”

Jorma: “Also we’ve made enough videos now that we can just send the videos to potential collaborators. Also if you get the feeling that you have to explain the joke to someone it’s really not worth bothering.”

How did you end up getting Blake Lively and Jessica Alba to feature in the video for ‘I Just Had Sex’?

Akiva: “Blake’s actually a friend from Saturday Night Live and Jessica’s just… really really pretty.”

How did you end up working with Beck on ‘Attracted To Us’?

Akiva: “We were looking for musicians to send us beats, we’ve got the same management as him and he ended up emailing us like 3 different ones. We really loved one and finished the track super quickly, in like 3 hours. We sent it back to him and them we ended up finishing the track at his home studio. He’s incredibly prolific. He just had this group of musicians who were playing all this different type of music.”

Who are your musical comedy heroes?

Akiva: “I guess the biggest influence when we were growing up was Weird Al Yankovic and also Spinal Tap and Monty Python. Later in college, we got into Tenacious D. That stuff just sounds really good because they are great musicians. The big difference is that we’re not musicians. But all the stuff with The Dust Brothers, that’s great. Also we’re big fans of the Flight Of The Conchords guys, who we’re friends with.”

Who would you still love to collaborate with?

Jorma: “We don’t want to jinx anything but we’d really love to work with La Roux. She seems really pleasant in interviews.”

What was it like to team up with Justin Timberlake again?

Jorma: Terrific.
Akiva: “Well we did ‘Dick In A Box’ over MP3 and with ‘Motherlove’ we were in the studio together.”

Would you consider him the honourary fourth member?

Akiva: “Well we would. But we’re not sure he would!” (laughs)