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There's a woman in America with a photo of Jemaine Clement's lips in her wallet.

The picture of Clement, who with Bret McKenzie are the musical comedy duo Flight of the Conchords, shares pride of place alongside snapshots of her two daughters.

While the Conchords are not hugely popular in the United States, they do attract a few hardcore fans like her.

And now they are making a 12-part show for American network HBO their popularity is set to soar. More on that TV series later.

But first, the pair have made a documentary, Flight Of The Conchords - A Texan Odyssey, about their time at the South By Southwest (SXSW) music festival in Austin, Texas, this year.

It's in this documentary we meet Jemaine-obsessed Deidra. "We stay in touch with her. She's cool," says McKenzie.

We also meet Lisa who is very keen to get to get to know McKenzie better. "I think I'm in heaven because I'm standing next to you," she says, looking adoringly into his eyes.

"Yeah, I'm not quite sure what to say," says McKenzie.

Some fans travelled for days to see them perform in Austin. "We haven't had actual stalkers, but they're just keen and eager fans who are excited to meet us, which we don't have a problem with.

"I don't want anyone to get the wrong idea. We don't walk the streets of America being chased by adoring women throwing their underwear at us."

The idea for the documentary was suggested by producer Gemma Gracewood who had been to the festival a number of times.

SXSW is one of the biggest music industry festivals in the world and the place to be if you want to be the next big thing.

The White Stripes, Franz Ferdinand and Norah Jones were discovered there.

"You hear the festival being talked about in industry circles and between bands, but I don't think many people have even heard of it," says McKenzie.

"It's not a public festival, but it's important and a lot of Kiwi bands [including the Datsuns and the Mint Chicks] have been to it and I think it's cool for New Zealand to see what's going on over there. Plus, what we were also keen on doing, was showing New Zealand a snapshot of what we are up to overseas."

He says the show ended up being a "documentary, mockumentary, travel show".

"It doesn't quite know what it is," he laughs.

"The thing about Austin is that it's the alternative capital of Texas, so it's open-minded, arts-based, big student town, big music town and not reflective of the conservative, redneck Texas at all."

In typical Conchords' style A Texan Odyssey is cheeky, dry and sprinkled with songs like Business Time and The Most Beautiful Girl In The World.

On their journey they meet Kinky Friedman, the country singer and author who's running for the Texas governorship; they interview themselves about themselves; attend key note speeches by Neil Young and Morrissey (who waves at them); and talk to ordinary Americans about New Zealand.

"In America they honestly don't know anything about New Zealand. They've heard of Lord of the Rings but sometimes they mistake it for Harry Potter," says McKenzie, who has a cult internet fanbase after playing an extra in The Fellowship of the Ring.

He has a number of websites dedicated to his "elvish good looks" and fans named him "Figwit".

The Americans may not know where New Zealand is but McKenzie says they love the slow dry Kiwi humour, which bodes well for their 12-part television series.

"It's incredible," says McKenzie in disbelief. They started writing the show last week and this week head to Los Angeles for two months to work on the script with co-writers from Britain and the US.

Then, early next year, they will film the 12 half-hour episodes which will screen next year.

The show is about the Conchords living in New York and trying to make it as a band.

"I think Jemaine described it as the Monkees meets Curb Your Enthusiasm.

"I've described it as Tenacious D meets Crocodile Dundee. It'll be an alternative sitcom and we incorporate the music into it."

Because of the show they have had to put off other commitments.

McKenzie had to quit his band the Black Seeds this year. "I was bummed because the album [Into the Dojo] goes number one and I had to quit the band," he says.

The breakthrough into America took about two years. Last year HBO ran a special half-hour Conchords show but this time round the network committed fully.

"This is the big jump. It doesn't mean we're going to be millionaires ... yet.

"The way American TV works is the big money comes from the major networks, and HBO is more like an independent record company, it's like the alternative network.

"So it's not like a big money-making venture. But we'll certainly make more money than if we had made it in New Zealand.

"Profile wise," he says, "it means we will probably be recognised in the street maybe once or twice."

And no doubt there will be a few more photos of Flight of the Conchords turning up in the wallets of eccentric American fans.

LOWDOWN
Who: Musical comedy duo Flight of the Conchords
Line-up: Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement
What: The documentary Flight of the Conchords - A Texan Odyssey, TV3, Thursday Oct 19, 9.30pm.
Also: Working on a 12-part series for American television network HBO.