Most of my collaborators on the new BITE ME album are old friends from my Wellington days.
Plan 9 were my co-producers on the BITE ME album.
Plan 9 consists of Janet Roddick (the voice), Stephen Roche (trumpeter and groovemeister) and David Donaldson (bass player and surfer dude).
They are now high profile composers for film and TV, but when I first met them they were performing as (half of) the Six Volts, enthralling Wellington with their offbeat, improvised take on jazz classics. At the time I was with When The Cat’s Been Spayed (with Jackie Clarke and Charlotte Yates), and Six Volts were music gods.
Over the years I have worked with Plan 9 in various guises – we played in restaurants as The Cutlery Set (I was the fork); we recorded songs for Radio NZ National comedy series Don’t Touch That Dial; we played every Saturday night in a 10 piece nightclub salsa band (Toro Loco); we composed the music for an animated short film called Shoes; and Janet had cameo spots on the first two fleaBITE albums In Your Ear and Circus of Fleas.
I was thrilled when Plan 9 came on board for BITE ME. They are old friends and fabulous musicians, but because we live in different cities we planned to work together in short bursts. Every couple of months I sent down demos of new songs, then flew to Wellington (from Auckland) for a couple of days of thoroughly enjoyable recording sessions, which also involved delicious morning teas and therapeutic table tennis matches.
When Plan 9 got tied up with other projects (including a soundtrack for Peter Jackson) I sought out other like-minded souls who had emigrated from the Windy City to the City of Sails.
I spent an evening in the dungeons of the Audio Foundation with jazz wild man Jeff Henderson. He picked up his sax and laid down track after track without stopping, giving me a wealth of options to choose from.
Then I snaffled Chris O’Connor between gigs with The Phoenix Foundation and NZSO. I followed him upstairs to a crazy maze of drum studios, and we had a brief opportunity to record tracks before a drum lesson going on next door shook the thin walls and we had to stop.
Shannon Williams (aka ‘Granny’ from the popular fleaBITE song Don’t Sit Under The Poo Tree) also makes an appearance on BITE ME. This time he twists his tonsils into the voice of Fatty Ratty, ordering an obscene amount of takeaways from the hapless Raewyn (who he also plays) to get his Fatty Ratty Party started.
And the collaborative aspect doesn’t stop with the music.
Stephen Templer has been my illustrator of choice since the beginning of fleaBITE. This time he nailed the cover artwork for BITE ME with his second sketch. It’s fun and edgy, with a hint of danger as the character fleaBITE strikes a disco pose, dancing in the jaws of a fish.
Thanks to all the above for bringing their best game, and making BITE ME into the best party album for kids this year.