Fat Children (from left) George Driver, Paul Cathro and Oli Bridgman share a joke. The fourth member of the Dunedin band is Louis Smith. Photo by Daniel Alexander.
On their Facebook page, Dunedin band Fat Children list two of
their interests as ''cigarettes'' and ''taking the piss''.
As such, I invited guitarist/vocalist Louis Smith and drummer
Oli Bridgman for a midday drink to discuss the band, their
recently released debut album, and almost any topic the
hilariously sardonic pair had pop into their heads.
The pop foursome, completed by vocalist/guitarist Paul Cathro
(also of Dunedin psych-rockers Alizarin Lizard, and the now
Auckland-based trio Brown) and bassist George Driver,
initially formed out of the laziness of a mutual friend.
''Paul, George and I just started jamming for some reason,''
drummer Bridgman tells me, lighting up the first of many
''I think we went around to Bugs' house [Chris Miller] to
have a jam with him, and he just couldn't be bothered, so we
started playing together.''
Smith, known for his prolific musical output in numerous
bands, and clever misanthropic, often self-deprecating
lyrical content, soon joined the trio as a second guitarist
''Paul had been thinking about getting someone else to play
guitar anyway, and I just browbeat him into letting it be
me,'' Smith says.
''I liked the songs and wanted the chance to make them more
like what I would like. Then Alizarin Lizard went on tour [an
epic 30-plus dates around New Zealand] and I opened for them,
meaning Paul and I were stuck in a van sharing bad ideas for
three months which helped Fat Children move along once we got
Returning in March, the group set about readying their debut
album, recorded over the space of a weekend in local art
space The Attic, of which Bridgman and Driver are residents.
After a half-hour diversion featuring a myriad of tangents
including the intelligence of Marilyn Manson and copyright
law surrounding stolen album artwork, I prompt Smith to
discuss their album Three Quarters of a Fistful, the
group's idiosyncratic take on the classic pop structures of
the Beatles, the Kinks and Bowie.
''There's a bit of a routine to the classic pop song,'' Smith
''We'll always start with something very poppy, a standard
verse chorus set-up, but where most bands would put a middle
eight, we put pieces filled with delay, freakouts and drum
''We are a pop band, which I don't think any of our other
bands are really. We want to make pop songs, although not pop
as in what pop actually means. I don't think we have any
interest in being popular,'' Smith says, laughing.
On Three Quarters of a Fistful, it's a winning
viewpoint. Songs like Hey Karl, Put that Girl
and Got the Time have the feel of early period
Beatles, yet without sounding dated or cliche. Built around
excellent hooks and the vocal harmonies of Cathro and Smith,
they're catchy, smart and immediate.
With the album now done, Fat Children will be turning their
attention to new material and plans for a national tour.
''We've got six songs that are already done, and a few more
that won't take long,'' Smith says. If you've got the time,
check out Fat Children.
Fat Children's debut album Three Quarters of a Fistful
is now available for pay-as-you-like on bandcamp. Head to
For more information, or for inquires about physical copies
head to www.facebook.com/FatChildrenBand.