Since their 1997 debut Horrible Sounds for Children 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 — along the way championing New Zealand birds, shipwrecks and rambunctious sprogs. Inspired by the humour of Milligan, Dahl and the Old Testament (!), the music from the mysterious duo has won a Tui Award, and earned praise from the doyen of NZ children's storytelling, Margaret Mahy. The Listener described it as sounding like, “Tom Waits’ toy cupboard”.
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 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.
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.
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).