Singer/songwriter and comedian Bret McKenzie recorded tracks at United Recording in Hollywood for his full-length, solo debut album “Songs Without Jokes.” McKenzie is best known as half of the musical comedy duo “Flight of the Conchords” and writer of songs for Muppets movies and TV’s “The Simpsons.”
The album, which features the lead single “A Little Tune,” and additional highlights “Dave’s Place,” “If You Wanna Go,” and “America Goodbye,” was produced by Mickey Petralia and McKenzie, recorded and mixed by Darrell Thorp, and mastered by Dave Ives at 101 Mastering in Los Angeles. Joining in sessions were keyboardist Drew Erickson, drummer Joey Waronker, bassist Leland Sklar, arranger/composer Chris Caswell, guitarist Dean Parks, and United staff engineers Rouble Kapoor and Scott Moore.
Recording engineer Darrell Thorp, a former staff engineer at United, mentioned how he used the studio’s unique acoustics and its prized collection of microphones, “You can’t go wrong in any of the rooms at United. We decided to work in Studio A, which is one of my new favorites. I can get sounds so quickly. The selection of vintage mics, and the sound of the modified Focusrite, is just a win-win with sonics and capturing great musicians.”
McKenzie confides, “Post-Conchords, I’d been working on songs for the Muppets films, and during a session I had the thought that it would be fun someday to work on some songs that weren’t for someone else, that don’t have to tell a story or be funny or continue the narrative plot. I thought it’d be fun to do a record like that, something different.”
Watch the official video for “A Little Tune,” which stars McKenzie, directed by Ezra Simons, and shot at Royal Whanganui Opera House, the last Victorian theatre remaining in New Zealand.
In addition to his comedy songwriting and acting career, McKenzie is well known as a player of multiple instruments and a veteran of several non-comedy bands in New Zealand, most notably the reggae-based fusion group The Black Seeds.
McKenzie, along with his seven-piece band, has scheduled international headlining shows for the fall of 2022 in support of “Songs Without Jokes,” beginning September 2nd in Nelson, New Zealand at Trafalgar Center and currently ending Sunday, November 20th in Atlanta, Georgia at the Eastern.
“Songs Without Jokes” is released worldwide August 26th and is available to preorder now from Sub Pop.