Buckle up and prepare for landing

Flight of the Conchords stars Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie have been getting used to fame since their self-titled sitcom made it big in America. But it's not quite the same for their hapless characters in much-awaited season two, debuting on Prime tomorrow. The musicians are still struggling to "make it" in New York - and in one episode even contemplate prostitution to pay the bills.

View: It's been reported that the second season of Flight of the Conchords was proving to be your "difficult second album"?

Clement: When I heard we got the first series I couldn't sleep for three nights. I thought we couldn't do it. Then halfway through the first series they asked if we'd do the second one and Bret had heart palpitations.

McKenzie: I've never had such a physical reaction to a piece of information. I got a tic.

Clement: They wanted us to start writing episodes right then.

McKenzie: I had a panic attack. I think 'difficult second album' is an appropriate term: we'd spent years developing the first songs with no time pressure and suddenly we had to write 20 new songs in six months.

View: Where do you get the inspiration for the stories from?

Clement: We'll often try to think of famous bands, what's happened to them. And we'll try and think of things that have happened to Bret and I on tour.

McKenzie: There's one episode this season that's loosely based on when we stayed at a fan's house. We'd run out of money - it was a complicated situation. We'd come to L.A. to do some shows, but we'd paid for ourselves and we literally didn't have enough to pay for the hotel.

Clement: Bret did a brief cameo in Lord Of The Rings and the first thing she wanted to do was to watch the extended DVD of LOTR, which she'd just got.

McKenzie: So the three of us were sitting on the couch watching my deleted scenes. Which was pretty weird.

Clement: And she'd say things like, "Bret, there's another 40 seconds of you in the 'making of'."

View: So she really was [stalker fan] Mel?

McKenzie: Mel is an amalgamation of a dozen fans we've had over the years.

Clement: But it's growing. More women are being added to the character the more we tour. I got [sent] a ceramic bust of just my lips the other day.

McKenzie: We get hundreds of pictures, pencil illustrations, so many different pictures and paintings of us.

Clement: Dolls.

McKenzie: We should open an art gallery.

View: That's the price of fame - have you noticed the change in people's attitudes?

Clement: A lot of the time when we were off we'd go back to New Zealand so we didn't know how it went down [in the US].

McKenzie: When the show was on air no one would come up to us, but six months later people would come up and say hi. Because we use our real names in the show people will yell out "Hey Bret" and you're not sure if you know them. So you say "hey!"

Clement: A lot of people do the roll call from the show when Murray goes "Bret? 'Present'." In fact, a lot of the times when we do interviews journalists do the roll call.

McKenzie: Even our real music manager gets a kick out of doing the roll call.

View: You must have made a bit of money by now though. What have you spent it on?

McKenzie: Omnichords. Jemaine has an addiction to Omnichords. It's like a Casio digital auto-harp.

Clement: It's in episode one of the new series for a minute - a harp-shaped thing.

McKenzie: For a while I'd go round to Jemaine's and every day a new Omnichord would arrive by courier. Which is weird because they're all essentially the same with one tiny feature different.

Clement: I've got my favourite.

McKenzie: I mean, you must have one of the most extensive Omnichord collections in the world.

Clement: Which is about six.

View: You've also been voted into the top 100 sexiest people by an Australian magazine.

Clement: Have you been to Australia?

Clement: Because we're such horrible people. Or at least, I'm a horrible character. And Bret's an idiot. I've permanently got this scowl. It's the worst face.

McKenzie: I'm always looking completely disinterested.

View: Are you surprised by your success?

Clement: Well, we're surprised that we even have a show at all.

View: When did you realise it was all going to happen for you?

McKenzie: We've been really lucky, most places we go we've had a fairly successful time.

Clement: For me the best part is hearing about all the different countries that the show is playing in.

McKenzie: What amazes me now is the people who come up to you. A couple in their 70s approached me at the airport and said "Are you Conchordia?" Because we just really write this stuff to amuse ourselves.

* Flight Of The Conchords: On Air, Prime, 8.30pm tonight; second season, 9.30pm.

- Herald on Sunday

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