Happy Old Year!!!
It’s 31 December 2017 and the minutes are ticking away…to the deadline for entries for the New Zealand children’s music awards.
Geni McCallum is feverishly working away on a new clip down in Christchurch, and the texts, emails, and updates are flying furiously between us. Sure, we’ve had a whole year to get our new creation LIVER LOVER together and fling it out into the public arena, but there’s nothing like the whiff of gunpowder on the breeze to light your fire.
LIVER LOVER, the song, was born a couple of years ago. Taking its name from my favourite Tank juice (beetroot, carrot, apple and ginger), LIVER LOVER is a totally nonsensical list of animals that have a liver. Which is practically the entire animal kingdom. The song hurtles along at breakneck speed, with a familiar boom thwack rhythm that won’t scare the horses, words writhing like a nest of snakes, and a key change for every verse. What’s not to like?
I sent the demo of LIVER LOVER to my friends Plan 9, down in Wellington.
Janet Roddick, Steve Roche and David Donaldson make their living doing soundtracks for films and video series, plus helping out friends on ‘charitable’ projects. They nodded and smiled graciously, then promptly added a mariachi band to the track, while Janet provided crystal clear vocals. We sped up the mix so the crazy song careers along a perilous cliff edge.
I had a great idea for a video clip… stop-motion live animation of an artist’s hand sketching the crazy bestial song on sheets of glass, filmed frame by frame. There were a couple of impediments…the artist didn’t actually live in the same city as me, and the director was doing ‘real’ jobs so wouldn’t be available for a few months, but other than that…
Then, wonder of wonders, I received an email from Ross, an animator in the USA. He had been randomly checking out songs on Bandcamp, typed in the word ‘funny’, discovered fleaBITE, and was keen to collaborate. I handed him LIVER LOVER on a plate (with a memorandum).
A few months later Ross got back to me. Screech the brakes. He had to stop working on fun projects so he could afford to eat. Three months went by. Ross was now back in the animation business and ready for a second bash.
I received a reminder from the NZ Children’s Music Awards organisers and realised that nothing short of gigantic heavenly crowbar was needed to get LIVER LOVER into a visual form
Could we ditch all former concepts and take a graphic approach?
I contacted Geni, the webmistress of fleaBITE. She was keen but working fulltime until December. Tick tick tick.
December arrived with a blaze of southern hemisphere summer.
On December 30 I received a spark of an idea from Geni. I added some dry sticks, she poured on a dollop of petrol, I ran behind a bush to take cover as she worked on into the small hours, and then kerpow, LIVER LOVER blasted into view. So enjoy, then line up your tequila slammers and apologise to your liver in the morning.