An Interview With Bret McKenzie – Song Writer of Muppets Most Wanted! #MuppetsMostWantedEvent

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Hey All!

As you all know I attended the Muppets Most Wanted Premiere on my last Disney Media Trip adventure. During this trip I also got to chat with the man behind all those catchy tunes from the last film Bret McKenzie. If you remember he won an Oscar for the song “Man or Muppet” from the last film. He’s back for Muppets Most Wanted and he’s bringing us more amazing music to this new film. You can get a copy of this awesome new soundtrack here.

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I started out by asking if he had any pressure on him since he won an Oscar for his work on the last film to try to meet that kind of standard again?

BRET:

Yeah, obviously there was a lot of pressure because of the Oscar. But really what could I do? There’s always gonna be downhill. I mean I was appreciative of the Oscar, but then I had to get on with the job and just, you know, forget about that. ‘Cause I didn’t work on the last Muppet film to win awards, you know.

Do you get any inspiration from Flight of the Conchords for your songs on the Muppets?

BRET:

Those guys are a big influence on me. I mean in some ways it’s the same sort of thing, writing comedy songs. I guess that’s where I learned how to write comedy songs. So I’m using the same techniques, yeah.

What’s the process like for when you’re told what kind of song is needed for the Muppets? Do you write the lyrics first or the music first?

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BRET:

Well they send me a script with the idea of a song, but it’s usually quite a loose idea. For example the ballad, it was originally called “Love Ain’t Easy,” and it was a Piggy ballad. And first of all I was nervous because Piggy is a great character, a great comedic character, but not a great singer, and I was worried about her carrying an emotional ballad because there’s only so much of her voice that the audience, I think, wants to hear, you know.

Thirty seconds is great, then a couple of minutes you’re really start being a bit painful. So I suggested we try and get a singer to help her and we were really excited when Celine Dion agreed.  I’m actually hoping that  these two divas get like a Las Vegas Celine Dion/Piggy Diva Night. That’s my dream. So then I would write the song and then adapt it for the characters and then I go to James Bobin and play it to him. One of the stranger experiences on the job is I go to the Disney offices to play the songs to them. I sit at the piano and having done two Muppet films now I can do a fairly do an okay impression of a lot of the different characters so I would say, “This is Miss Piggy’s ballad,” and I’d sit down in this room with all these suits, these Hollywood suits, and I would go, so Miss Piggy, she turns to the camera and she starts doing like this, “How can something so right, be so…” literally a crazy job that I can do all those Muppet voices.

Then sometimes you get a someone like Tina Fey who got the role of prison guard and I always wanted to do this doo-wop song in there and then I started working with her and I adjusted the song to suit her voice because, it was the wrong pitch and we kinda worked together on find out what her strengths are, where her voice sits. And that’s one of the benefits of being the songwriter and producer of the songs, if it’s not working I can just change the song.

Do you have a favorite song from this film that you wrote?

BRET:

I really like them all. Sometimes I write songs for these things and then I don’t like the way they turn out in the final film because I don’t like the video or something changes in the edit, but I really think the music in the film works really well, you know, I really like the final film we made and I guess my favorite would be the opening’s pretty fun. I think it really gets the movie off on a great note.

But I do like “I’ll Get You What You Want” Cockatoo and Malibu, which is the frogs, the bad frog trying to woo Miss Piggy. It kinda comes out of left field and it’s a genre that I really love, that kind of early ’80s Lionel Richie Michael McDonald Doobie Brothers sound.

What do you have on your top 3 playlist that you listen to?

BRET:

I listen to a lot of Harry Nelson. One great album if his is The Point, it was an animated TV show that he scored, did all the music for, all the songs.  I downloaded the Beyonce album by accident. I’ve been running to that. Not too bad, it’s a bit sexual for running.  You’re like, even when she’s drunk in love and I’m like, “Oh yeah I’m just trying to run another 10 minutes.”

What else? There’s a great New Zealand band called Phoenix Foundation, which lots of my friends are in, it’s really cool indie band I like them.

If you could be a Muppet, which Muppet would you be?

BRET:

I would probably be one of the two old guys, ’cause they get a lot of the best jokes. It’s between them and Animal for me. Animal’s great.

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At the end of the interview he took a group shot with us. I have to agree with Bret that my favorite song from Muppets Most Wanted is “I’ll Get You What You Want” Cockatoo and Malibu. I’ve even picked it to be our first dance song at our wedding. So job well done Bret McKenzie!

The music and this film come together to bring you another amazing Muppet Movie! Please run out and see Disney’s Muppets Most Wanted! The Muppets need your support and this is truly a fun film!

For more info on Disney’s Muppets Most Wanted visit the official site.

 

I was provided an all expense paid trip to attend this event. All opinions are my own.

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