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Chantal Claret talks Bond theme songs, zombies, and how her daddy killed a man

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The first song Chantal Claret wrote after departing as the singer of Morningwood, was the chronicle of a hedonist that Nancy Sinatra and Tina Turner would equally appreciate. The crisp 60’s vibe with a huge low end sets “The Pleasure Seeker,” a daring song about her own father, in a direction 180 degrees from her previous work, but it’s the direction Claret always intended to go.  It was something of a long shot too, she couldn’t find anyone who could mix the record until she sent an email to the general address listed on Mark “Exit” Goodchild’s (Erykah Badu, Cee-Lo) website. Amazingly, within a few hours, she’d won Exit over with her raw material and he was all in.

Claret’s previous “major label fiasco’s” drove her to seek creative satisfaction elsewhere (and new indie label), and she’s finally making music the way she’s always wanted to — as the bad girl of blue-eyed soul. I talked with her about her love for 60’s music and at extreme length about film, her other passion, during which time she gushed about “Labyrinth” and David Bowie. “Hells yeah, that’s the one acceptable use of spandex in the world, David Bowie’s pants!” she raved, accurately. I know she wouldn’t mind living in “A Hard Days Night,” eternally following the Beatles around either. She also proclaimed her undying love for “Meatballs.” It was a discussion about Bond movies though where we stumbled on a take away meant for one Daniel Craig. Chantal Claret’s record comes out June 19th on The End.

 

This is all such a big departure from Morningwood  and what you were known for in the past, how did you come to such a musical reinvention?

Musically it is yes, but this is 100% me.  This is the type of music I grew up listening to. Since I was 15, I would go out to mod clubs — I was a self proclaimed mod — I was in a short film called “American Mod” [laughs]. So I grew up dancing to 60’s music, if anything, it’s Morningwood that was weird for me. The 80’s inspired pop tunes were a switch for me. This is me with no filter.

The song, “The Pleasure Seeker,” is actually about your Dad?

Yeah it’s about my Dad [laughs]. It’s not the most becoming song in the entire world, so I was absolutely petrified about playing for him, like shitting my pants petrified.  And he flipped! He plays it for everyone. There’s a line in it, “a skinny little woman is gonna be your fatal flaw,” which is not a compliment. And that is a quote from him, “a skinny little woman is gonna be my fatal flaw,” he said. That’s not an awesome thing to admit, but he called up one of his girlfriends at the time and was like, “there’s a line about you in it!”

You even sing, “don’t tell him about this, ’cause it’ll go to this head.”

Yeah!  I mean, he’s a character. And I had a lot of issues with him, you know? I wrote a couple songs about him in Morningwood too, and he always seems to take it as a compliment, which is funny, ’cause none of them are that nice. But ultimately, I think he looked past all the negatives and saw the underlying message that, I love him, I do. He’s my dad.

How did he kill a man, or is that a little tongue-in-cheek?

No, it’s a true story, and he took really big pride in it. My father was an art dealer. He told me this whole long story about how a man committed suicide and he thinks he had a part in it, because my dad was telling him stuff. It was horrifying to me.

He talked a man to his death?

He didn’t talk the man into it, but the man was so depressed and my Dad definitely didn’t, you know, help. It wasn’t like, Kevorkian or a mental coercion scenario.

Art dealers, you say? Maybe we shouldn’t say more.

Yeah, my father is an art dealer, or was an art dealer. There’s a lot of shady stuff in the art world.

Are you a fan of “The Walking Dead?”

Yeah! I’m actually friends with Rooker, he’s on it. Michael Rooker [who is rumored to return for season 3].

Right I heard that, and some of the inspiration for “Pop Pop, Bang, Bang” came from shooting guns with him?

Yeah, I took my husband for his birthday, on his private range. We were doing crazy stuff, like walking and shooting and we got out this stuffed animal that we had in the back of our car, and we were shooting it [laughs]. I love guns, I always have. It’s such a great sport, I don’t have any in my house but, I gotta say everybody looks cool with a six shooter…. so he took us shooting and he was saying all this cool gun slang. Ultimately when I was writing, I called him and I was like, hey tell me all that stuff again. But he went into this whole history of guns and .22’s, and proper terminology, and I was like you’re talking too much Rooker!  So that’s why it ended up just being, “Pop Pop, Bang, Bang.”

 

 

What’s your favorite gun?

A .22! I love me some classic old school, six shooter lookin’ .22. It’s bad ass and I love wearing a holster.  I wear a holster as a — I put my microphone in my gun holster.

There’s a weird convergence here, with six shooters and zombies and that connection to the show and you — where did the idea behind the video come from?

Yeah, I’m not too specific if they were zombies or dead. All I know is I wanted them to be snapping their fingers and a little saucy. Basically my friend David Yarovesky, who directed it, [pitched it to me] like, “so there’s all these dead girls in a hotel room.” I was like, I’m in. We got a hotel room, and we got all these girls, and the biggest expense was those white contacts. We were so paranoid about going into this hotel with all these girls that were in zombie makeup because you are not suppose to be filming there without a permit. We had this big plan about how we were gonna get all the girls in the room and then we got there and every single person at the hotel was in costume — we shot at the week of Halloween on October 27th. So, one of the girls went to get coffee and they were like “oh you’re here for the Zombie party?” And she was like, “Yes, yes I am.”

[laughter] What do you think that’s about?  Other than that being during Halloween, the video is a grim reminder of the zombie phenomena in our culture.

You know, vampires have been tapped out. So I just gotta go with zombies.  Plus, the impending 2012 end of the world. What’s left…zombies.

There it is. Zombies.

Nothing can beat “28 Days Later” though, that’s my favorite. Oh and IFC, [sings] I love IFC! I watch “Portlandia” and a ton of other shows! I went to the School of Visual Arts for a couple years, I wanted to be a director. So, I love me some movies.

And you directed some videos before, didn’t you?

Couple, yeah. I did some stop animation ones, and some, like, lo-fi ones. Back when Morningwood was signed to different labels, I felt like my hands were tied. There are things contractually where you can’t make music with other people and things like that. I would get so fucking frustrated! What the fuck can I do? And I’d be like alright, I’m gonna make a claymation video! I  do it when I get frustrated. I’m like, what can I do to do something creative where I’m not gonna contractually get in trouble?

If you could write a soundtrack to a film what would it be?

A classic Bond film, doing a Bond theme is in my top ten dreams!

What’s your favorite Bond film?

“Goldfinger,” I don’t know! It’s hard, I judge them mostly by the theme songs [laughs]. Pussy Galore’s pretty awesome. Yeah, and Shirley Bassey. But I heard that Daniel Craig was a fan, he was a fan of my old band. So, I really want him to hear my new stuff.

There’s an idea!

Uh huh! Ya heard me Daniel Craig!?

 

We found the writer of the next Bond theme. You hear that Daniel Craig? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter or Facebook!

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…

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IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.

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IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).

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IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.

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IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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Reality? Check.

Baroness For Life

Baroness von Sketch Show is available for immediate consumption.

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Baroness von Sketch Show is snowballing as people have taken note of its subtle and not-so-subtle skewering of everyday life. The New York Times, W Magazine, and Vogue have heaped on the praise, but IFC had a few more probing questions…

IFC: To varying degrees, your sketches are simply scripted examples of things that actually happen. What makes real life so messed up?

Aurora: Hubris, Ego and Selfish Desires and lack of empathy.

Carolyn: That we’re trapped together in the 3rd Dimension.

Jenn: 1. Other people 2. Other people’s problems 3. Probably something I did.

IFC: A lot of people I know have watched this show and realized, “Dear god, that’s me.” or “Dear god, that’s true.” Why do people have their blinders on?

Aurora: Because most people when you’re in the middle of a situation, you don’t have the perspective to step back and see yourself because you’re caught up in the moment. That’s the job of comedians is to step back and have a self-awareness about these things, not only saying “You’re doing this,” but also, “You’re not the only one doing this.” It’s a delicate balance of making people feel uncomfortable and comforting them at the same time.

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IFC: Unlike a lot of popular sketch comedy, your sketches often focus more on group dynamics vs iconic individual characters. Why do you think that is and why is it important?

Meredith: We consider the show to be more based around human dynamics, not so much characters. If anything we’re more attracted to the energy created by people interacting.

Jenn: So much of life is spent trying to work it out with other people, whether it’s at work, at home, trying to commute to work, or even on Facebook it’s pretty hard to escape the group.

IFC: Are there any comedians out there that you feel are just nailing it?

Aurora: I love Key and Peele. I know that their show is done and I’m in denial about it, but they are amazing because there were many times that I would imagine that Keegan Michael Key was in the scene while writing. If I could picture him saying it, I knew it would work. I also kind of have a crush on Jordan Peele and his performance in Big Mouth. Maya Rudolph also just makes everything amazing. Her puberty demon on Big Mouth is flawless. She did an ad for 7th generation tampons that my son, my husband and myself were singing around the house for weeks. If I could even get anything close to her career, I would be happy. I’m also back in love with Rick and Morty. I don’t know if I have a crush on Justin Roiland, I just really love Rick (maybe even more than Morty). I don’t have a crush on Jerry, the dad, but I have a crush on Chris Parnell because he’s so good at being Jerry.

Jenn: I LOVE ISSA RAE!

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IFC: If you could go back in time and cast yourselves in any sitcom, which would it be and how would it change?

Carolyn: I’d go back in time and cast us in The Partridge Family.  We’d make an excellent family band. We’d have a laugh, break into song and wear ruffled blouses with velvet jackets.  And of course travel to all our gigs on a Mondrian bus. I feel really confident about this choice.

Meredith: Electric Mayhem from The Muppet Show. It wouldn’t change, they were simply perfect, except… maybe a few more vaginas in the band.

Binge the entire first and second seasons of Baroness von Sketch Show now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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G.I. Jeez

Stomach Bugs and Prom Dates

E.Coli High is in your gut and on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Brothers-in-law Kevin Barker and Ben Miller have just made the mother of all Comedy Crib series, in the sense that their Comedy Crib series is a big deal and features a hot mom. Animated, funny, and full of horrible bacteria, the series juxtaposes timeless teen dilemmas and gut-busting GI infections to create a bite-sized narrative that’s both sketchy and captivating. The two sat down, possibly in the same house, to answer some questions for us about the series. Let’s dig in….

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IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

BEN: Hi ummm uhh hi ok well its like umm (gets really nervous and blows it)…

KB: It’s like the Super Bowl meets the Oscars.

IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

BEN: Oh wow, she’s really cute isn’t she? I’d definitely blow that too.

KB: It’s a cartoon that is happening inside your stomach RIGHT NOW, that’s why you feel like you need to throw up.

IFC: What was the genesis of E.Coli High?

KB: I had the idea for years, and when Ben (my brother-in-law, who is a special needs teacher in Philly) began drawing hilarious comics, I recruited him to design characters, animate the series, and do some writing. I’m glad I did, because Ben rules!

BEN: Kevin told me about it in a park and I was like yeah that’s a pretty good idea, but I was just being nice. I thought it was dumb at the time.

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IFC: What makes going to proms and dating moms such timeless and oddly-relatable subject matter?

BEN: Since the dawn of time everyone has had at least one friend with a hot mom. It is physically impossible to not at least make a comment about that hot mom.

KB: Who among us hasn’t dated their friend’s mom and levitated tables at a prom?

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

BEN: There’s a lot of content now. I don’t think anyone will even notice, but it’d be cool if they did.

KB: A show about talking food poisoning bacteria is basically the same as just watching the news these days TBH.

Watch E.Coli High below and discover more NYTVF selections from years past on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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