Bat Fly

Fatcat & Fishface, Music Video, 2007

The Listener called the kids music of Fatcat & Fishface “like Tom Waits’ toy cupboard. The perfect antidote to Barney”. This ditty (from 2004’s Pretty Ugly album) came from a collaboration with the Department of Conservation and bypasses the cuddly usual suspects — kiwi etc — to celebrate the unlikely charms of the bat fly. The blind, flightless fly lives symbiotically on the native short-tailed bat: “So what if I like guano … I like it for a snack / There’s nothing like guano … from a bat!” The stop motion animation by Carlos Wedde is suitably Tim Burton-esque.

Happity

Fatcat & Fishface, Music Video, 2009

The Listener described the child-friendly music of Fatcat & Fishface as sounding “like Tom Waits’ toy cupboard.” ‘Happity’ (from album Meanie) is a bogan twist on Cinderella, with an uncoordinated rabbit from Palmerston North — “the fumbliest, stubbliest bunny of all / His feet are too big and his teeth are too small” — feeling dateless before the Manawatu ball. Made with stop motion animation, the video was directed by Derek Sonic Thunders, who gained notoriety for his video ‘Songs About Drinkin’ and Dyin', in which Action Man and Barbie do unmentionable things.

O'Baby

Charlie ASH, Music Video, 2006

Winning Best Overall Video at the 2006 Radio Active Handle the Jandal Music Video Awards, Charlie ASH certainly made a splash with their debut video by director Sally Tran. The delightfully ramshackle clip for the raunchy number channels the DIY fantasy spirit of Michel Gondry as Rosie Riggir and the band inhabit a CASH-in-wonderland world of cardboard and cellophane sets, animation and colour. Caution: contains fondling of oversized instruments. 

Swinging the Lambeth Walk

Len Lye, Music Video, 1939

The Lambeth Walk was a popular 'swing jazz' dance in London in 1939. It included a hand gesture with the Yiddish "Oi!". New Zealand-born filmmaker Len Lye edited together different versions of the music (including Django Reinhardt on guitar and Stephane Grapelli on violin), and combined them with a variety of abstract images painted and scratched directly onto film, without using a camera. The colourful, dynamic animation was made with public money — for the Ministry of Information in the United Kingdom — scandalising some government bureaucrats.

Wreck of the Diddley

Fatcat & Fishface, Music Video, 2007

Since 1997 mysterious duo Fatcat & Fishface have produced a self-proclaimed ‘outlaw’ oeuvre of music for kids (and adults), that delights in not always looking at the bright side of life — as well as championing New Zealand birds, shipwrecks and rambunctious kids. In 2007 they commissioned Stephen and Ruth Templer to animate this unruly Socratic shanty from the Pretty Ugly album. The resulting film, with skull and crossbones aplenty, screened at the 2007 NZ Film Festival and in Korea, Melbourne and London. The Templers later animated F&F songs Nightclub and Hair.

Nightclub

Fatcat & Fishface, Music Video, 2010

This song from the mysterious duo Fatcat & Fishface is from the Birdbrain album, praised by the Sunday Star Times as “the best children's record of 2009, and as witty as it is educational.” A collaboration with the Department of Conservation, the song gets down with the manu (birds) to reimagine the inhabitants of the NZ native bush at night as personalities dancing in a nightclub — from prowling with ruru/morepork to jiving with kiwi (“getting down on the ground”) and a boogying DJ kākāpō (“boom, boom!”). Nightclub was animated by Stephen and Ruth Templer.

Flyby

Fatcat & Fishface, Music Video, 2001

The Listener described the children’s music of Fatcat & Fishface as being “like Tom Waits’ toy cupboard”; aptly this dirty ditty’s subject is not typical fairytale fodder. ‘Flyby’ buzzes into the kitchen to honour the humble house fly, where — all together now — “she was … looking for a place to lay her maggots.” The stop motion music video tribute to the fly is animated lovingly by Robin Nathan and Greg Schmetzer. The song is from the album Horrible Songs for Children, which won Best New Artist for Older Children at the 1999 Children's Music Web Awards (USA).

Don't

Paul McLaney and Anika Moa, Music Video, 2003

Set in a half-painted world of city, mountains and purple skies, director Ed Davis's video is a triumph of imagination and ingenuity over reality. The result is an extended aerial journey around an acrobat on a high wire — possibly reflecting some of the lyrics of this Paul McLaney and Anika Moa duet. Don't took out best video at the Kodak Music Clip Awards in 2003.

Nothing's Going To Happen

Tall Dwarfs, Music Video, 1981

Chris Knox mines his immediate, 1981-era surroundings for this elaborate stop-motion clip. Record players go crazy, sleeping bags swallow people, and hardly anyone on screen seems to have a face. On the telly are Springboks and protests, plus the Ready to Roll top 20 countdown. And all this unravels a full two decades before editing programme Final Cut Pro made homespun hip again, and directors like Michel Gondry (The Science of Sleep) started popularising the craft aesthetic. 

Walking Off a Cliff Again

The Mint Chicks, Music Video, 2006

Another treasure from director Sam Peacocke — who also directed Vodafone Award-winning Mint Chicks video Crazy? Yes! Dumb? No! — this promo channels the kind of obtuse storyline that Mint Chicks songs were known for. It opens on a tiny lego band ordering a comatose man in a rabbit hat to help them. Sulky teenagers, feuding couples and a high dive into a tin bathtub complete the outlandishly art-directed picture, before arriving at the clip's high-water mark — the bunny boils over.