Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer, Jorma Taccone On The Lonely Island, ‘The Wack Album’
Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone, the comedy trio known as The Lonely Island, are effusive in their praise of their third album, The Wack Album, released on June 11. “I’m gonna go out on a limb and say this is our best album,” Taccone told Uinterview with a knowing laugh.
Schaffer, Taccone and Samberg, who were junior high buddies, all went on to work on Saturday Night Live. Samberg was a writer and featured player from 2005-2012, best known for the Digital Shorts. Schaffer and Taccone were writers on the show from 2005-2011 and frequent guest stars in the shorts, which often featured songs by The Lonely Island. The group frequently collaborates with big name artists on their albums, including actor Hugh Jackman and Maroon 5’s Adam Levine.
With so many famous artists on their album, how do they choose with whom to collaborate in the first place? “For us, we just get a big board of celebs and put their picture up and blindfold darts, just throw it at them,” Samberg told Uinterview. “And you’re like ‘Yeah, it seems impossible to get that person, let’s go for that,’” Taccone added.
Andy Samberg: For us, we just get a big board of celebs and put their picture up and blindfold darts, just throw it at them. Jorma Taccone: Darts. Yeah. And you’re like, "Yeah, that seems impossible to get that person, let’s go for that.” Samberg: Yeah, “Adam Levine? Kendrick Lamar? Yeah.” Taccone: Yeah, two of our faves? Yeah, definitely not gonna happen. Samberg: Hugh Jackman and Too $hort? Natural to be on the same record. And then we just put out the feelers and see what comes back.
Taccone: It depends. Samberg: It depends. I would say majority of the time we have written all of the lyrics. A lot of times we'll write out the whole singing parts that we'll ask other people to do, and then they'll make it much better, you know? Taccone: There's always a version, a temp version, on any one of our songs, with Andy singing our singer's part. And a lot of them, I would say, for me â sometimes it's even better with Andy because he has a beautiful singing voice, and itâs not bad, and itâs really good Akiva Schaffer: It's easy to listen to. Taccone: Itâs really good, it's easy to listen to, and it's not bad.
Samberg: What's an example of a song you liked better before we got the guest on it? Taccone: God, so hard to say, because they're all so good-sounding Samberg: Right. Taccone: When you're temping it.
Samberg: Just give me example of like, me temping for like- Taccone: Oh god. Oh, say like Michael Bolton, because Michael Bolton has a great voice, but Andy has a really lovely singing voice. Samberg: Oh, okay fine, I'll do a little of it. [singing]: 'This is the tale- Taccone: No -
Samberg: 'of Captain Jack Sparrow.
Taccone: Anyway, so it's great. It's really nice to hear that. We're gonna release a compilation of those later on when we want everyone to buy it.
Samberg: Little pitchy. Little pitchy.
Taccone: Not working together, being friends together, certainly. Samberg: Hey, friendship is work. Taccone: That’s true, it is. Schaffer: Gotta work on your friendships. Even then, in seventh grade, we were like— Taccone: “This is a lot of work.” Schaffer: “This is a lot of work being friends with you—" Samberg: “It’s worth the time. Communicate.” Taccone: Because this is gonna become a minorly profitable business in the future. I think it makes the creative process and our business relationship work better, and it makes it harder for us friend-wise, ’cause all we really wanna do is hang out and play videogames and drink. Samberg: [laughs] Very candid. Taccone: I’m just being myself. Samberg: 10:30 a.m.? Yeah, can we — is it too early for a drink? Taccone: Oh, we got this business thing getting in the way. Yeah, we gotta make this album.
Taccone: I’m gonna go out on a limb and say this is our best album. And all of the tracks are some of my favorites. Samberg: I feel like someone handed you a list of talking points today, and one of them was to say that this our best album. And I like it. Taccone: It’s really good! Do you not agree? It’s really good. Samberg: I have no idea. I’m very proud of it; I have no idea if it’s our best— Taccone: Okay, that’s a weird thing to say, but it’s quite good. Schaffer: It’s probably our smartest album. Taccone: Yes. And some of the smarter songs, are—
Schaffer: I really liked the one with Hugh Jackman, ’cause he’s so surprising on it. Samberg: I don’t have a favorite, but I— Schaffer: I like how pretty Robyn sounds on the one she’s on. Samberg: Go Kindergarten. Taccone: Solange sounds amazing, and is very funny on Semicolon. Samberg: Pharrell is on a song. Called Hugs. I love that one. Taccone: Which is very funny.
Taccone: When we’re writing, I think we write very visually, like we’re kind of picturing a video, because I think ideally we’d like to make a video for almost all of our songs, ‘cause it always enhances the joke. So I think we’re always kind of writing visually. Schaffer: The song always comes first. Taccone: Yeah. And then we sort of make videos based on, one, who we can get at the time, because we have a lot of pretty well-known people on some of the songs, and then also what we find to be the funniest. And then sometimes it’s budgetary restrictions. Schaffer: That’s the boring part. Taccone: Just thought I’d get down to the real.