DID YOU READ

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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Hard Out

Comedy From The Closet

Janice and Jeffrey Available Now On IFC's Comedy Crib

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She’s been referred to as “the love child of Amy Sedaris and Tracy Ullman,” and he’s a self-described “Italian who knows how to cook a great spaghetti alla carbonara.” They’re Mollie Merkel and Matteo Lane, prolific indie comedians who blended their robust creative juices to bring us the new Comedy Crib series Janice and Jeffrey. Mollie and Matteo took time to answer our probing questions about their series and themselves. Here’s a taste.

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IFC: How would you describe Janice and Jeffrey to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Mollie & Matteo: Janice and Jeffrey is about a married couple experiencing intimacy issues but who don’t have a clue it’s because they are gay. Their oblivion makes them even more endearing.  Their total lack of awareness provides for a buffet of comedy.

IFC: What’s your origin story? How did you two people meet and how long have you been working together?

Mollie: We met at a dive bar in Wrigley Field Chicago. It was a show called Entertaining Julie… It was a cool variety scene with lots of talented people. I was doing Janice one night and Matteo was doing an impression of Liza Minnelli. We sort of just fell in love with each other’s… ACT! Matteo made the first move and told me how much he loved Janice and I drove home feeling like I just met someone really special.

IFC: How would Janice describe Jeffrey?

Mollie: “He can paint, cook homemade Bolognese, and sing Opera. Not to mention he has a great body. He makes me feel empowered and free. He doesn’t suffocate me with attention so our love has room to breath.”

IFC: How would Jeffrey describe Janice?

Matteo: “Like a Ford. Built to last.”

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

Mollie & Matteo: Our current political world is mirroring and reflecting this belief that homosexuality is wrong. So what better time for satire. Everyone is so pro gay and equal rights, which is of course what we want, too. But no one is looking at middle America and people actually in the closet. No one is saying, hey this is really painful and tragic, and sitting with that. Having compassion but providing the desperate relief of laughter…This seemed like the healthiest, best way to “fight” the gay rights “fight”.

IFC: Hummus is hilarious. Why is it so funny?

Mollie: It just seems like something people take really seriously, which is funny to me. I started to see it in a lot of lesbians’ refrigerators at a time. It’s like observing a lesbian in a comfortable shoe. It’s a language we speak. Pass the Hummus. Turn on the Indigo Girls would ya?

See the whole season of Janice and Jeffrey right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Die Hard Dads

Inspiration For Die Hard Dads

Die Hard is on IFC all Father's Day Long

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIPHY

Yippee ki-yay, everybody! It’s time to celebrate the those most literal of mother-effers: dads!

And just in case the title of this post left anything to the imagination, IFC is giving dads balls-to-the-wall ’80s treatment with a glorious marathon of action trailblazer Die Hard.

There are so many things we could say about Die Hard. We could talk about how it was comedian Bruce Willis’s first foray into action flicks, or Alan Rickman’s big screen debut. But dads don’t give a sh!t about that stuff.

No, dads just want to fantasize that they could be deathproof quip factory John McClane in their own mundane lives. So while you celebrate the fathers in your life, consider how John McClane would respond to these traditional “dad” moments…

Wedding Toasts

Dads always struggle to find the right words of welcome to extend to new family. John McClane, on the other hand, is the master of inclusivity.
Die Hard wedding

Using Public Restrooms

While nine out of ten dads would rather die than use a disgusting public bathroom, McClane isn’t bothered one bit. So long as he can fit a bloody foot in the sink, he’s G2G.
Die Hard restroom

Awkward Dancing

Because every dad needs a signature move.
Die Hard dance

Writing Thank You Notes

It can be hard for dads to express gratitude. Not only can McClane articulate his thanks, he makes it feel personal.
Die Hard thank you

Valentine’s Day

How would John McClane say “I heart you” in a way that ain’t cliche? The image speaks for itself.
Die Hard valentines

Shopping

The only thing most dads hate more than shopping is fielding eleventh-hour phone calls with additional items for the list. But does McClane throw a typical man-tantrum? Nope. He finds the words to express his feelings like a goddam adult.
Die Hard thank you

Last Minute Errands

John McClane knows when a fight isn’t worth fighting.
Die Hard errands

Sneaking Out Of The Office Early

What is this, high school? Make a real exit, dads.
Die Hard office

Think you or your dad could stand to be more like Bruce? Role model fodder abounds in the Die Hard marathon all Father’s Day long on IFC.

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Founding Farters

Know Your Nerd History

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs via Giphy

That we live in the heyday of nerds is no hot secret. Scientists are celebrities, musicians are robots and late night hosts can recite every word of the Silmarillion. It’s too easy to think that it’s always been this way. But the truth is we owe much to our nerd forebearers who toiled through the jock-filled ’80s so that we might take over the world.

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Our humble beginnings are perhaps best captured in iconic ’80s romp Revenge of the Nerds. Like the founding fathers of our Country, the titular nerds rose above their circumstances to culturally pave the way for every Colbert and deGrasse Tyson that we know and love today.

To make sure you’re in the know about our very important cultural roots, here’s a quick download of the vengeful nerds without whom our shameful stereotypes might never have evolved.

Lewis Skolnick

The George Washington of nerds whose unflappable optimism – even in the face of humiliating self-awareness – basically gave birth to the Geek Pride movement.

Gilbert Lowe

OK, this guy is wet blanket, but an important wet blanket. Think Aaron Burr to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton. His glass-mostly-empty attitude is a galvanizing force for Lewis. Who knows if Lewis could have kept up his optimism without Lowe’s Debbie-Downer outlook?

Arnold Poindexter

A music nerd who, after a soft start (inside joke, you’ll get it later), came out of his shell and let his passion lead instead of his anxiety. If you played an instrument (specifically, electric violin), and you were a nerd, this was your patron saint.

Booger

A sex-loving, blunt-smoking, nose-picking guitar hero. If you don’t think he sounds like a classic nerd, you’re absolutely right. And that’s the whole point. Along with Lamar, he simultaneously expanded the definition of nerd and gave pre-existing nerds a twisted sort of cred by association.

Lamar Latrell

Black, gay, and a crazy good breakdancer. In other words, a total groundbreaker. He proved to the world that nerds don’t have a single mold, but are simply outcasts waiting for their moment.

Ogre

Exceedingly stupid, this dumbass was monumental because he (in a sequel) leaves the jocks to become a nerd. Totally unheard of back then. Now all jocks are basically nerds.

Well, there they are. Never forget that we stand on their shoulders.

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC all month long.

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