'Circus Kids' was the second single from Bike’s sole long-play record Take In The Sun. It is a prime example of the layered, classically-inspired arrangements and pop songcraft that frontman Andrew Brough had touched on in his previous band Straitjacket Fits. In this swirling, elegantly-gothic promo video, an innocent young boy goes a-wandering, and discovers the seedy underbelly of circus life — all rendered in lush black and white by director Jonathan King, and veteran cinematographer Neil Cervin.
Flight of the Conchords star and onetime Black Seeds musician Bret McKenzie clearly digs Wellington. In this video for solo project The Video Kid, he goes early morning skateboarding through the capital city. The downbeat groove of the folk-electronica number is a perfect match for a glorious 'on a good day' dawn, as the sun rises over Mt Matthews and the crew cruise down Wellington's Alexandra Road and along Mt Victoria's town belt. Later in the golden light they claim a deserted golden mile (Lambton Quay) for the skaters.
The urgent, pulsating 'Just a Little Bit' was the second single for Auckland electropop duo Kids of 88. On a set lit by suitably retro fluorescent light tubes, director Tim van Dammen's clip echoes the video for the band's debut 'Our House' — but with models fighting each other rather than having paint poured over them. Van Dammen's aim was to create "a fight, but shot to look like an orgy" — and, by the end of the video, the line between passion and aggression is all but indistinguishable. The single and video were both winners at the 2010 Vodafone NZ Music Awards.
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.
In 2012 Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement sat down with some Kiwi children. They wanted to get back in touch with what the kids were about. Flight of the Conchords were creating a special song for health research charity Cure Kids; the children supplied them with lyrical ideas involving bowls, bubbles and a major overhaul of the banking system. A superstar team of Kiwi singers and rappers joined the Conchords in the studio. The chart-topping song's mix of deep concern and nonsensical rhyming celebrates and parodies previous charity efforts like ‘We are the World’.
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.
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.
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.
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).
Evoking nostalgia for summer holidays, Crowded House lark around at the beach with partners, kids and Lester the dog. Shot in the Bellarine Peninsula near Melbourne, the music video features bassist Nick Seymour's 1961 T-Bird convertible, plus a brief shot of the police who pulled him over for driving it unregistered, then took it around the carpark. American record executives were unimpressed with the video, which won more favour in the UK. The first fruit of a writing session by Neil and Tim Finn, the song was one of eight Finn brothers compositions on third Crowded House album Woodface.