1. Why are you called April Fish?
John: I didn’t have much of a say at the time. I had just met Katie and started learning these interesting, odd tunes all written out and waiting to come to life. Katie said, “Let’s call ourselves April Fish,” and I said, “Wha…. Ya … Sure, ok, why not.” I was rewarded with a beaming smile and a sharp stiletto heel removed from on top of my foot.
Katie: This is sort-of mostly true. We were at our first public ‘performance’ in a Musicircus, and we needed a name, like, pronto. John totally had a say, but all the names he suggested were along the lines of “The Mega Death Ray Super Destroyer Laser Pirates”.
For the record, I am fairly certain that neither of my feet has ever been strapped to a stiletto.
2. What kind of music do you guys play?
John: I’m not really sure yet. It’s very theatrical at times, yet sometimes can be classified as ‘jazz’ or ‘prog’ or whathaveyou, but never for long. It’s rare for even a single piece to fall exclusively into one genre. Katie has a word for it.
Katie: This question always makes me stumble over a babel of inadequate words. I’m calling it ‘agenre’ (credit to my niece for coining that one). You know, like atypical/asexual/atheist. I’m also partial to the term ‘Space Opera’ (credit to John’s mum, I think?) I really dislike using genre labels for modern ‘pop’ music.
3. Why are all your songs about bondage and cannibals shooting oily babies out of cannons?
Katie: Ask John.
John: They’re not really; it’s just that much of the subject matter is so far over my head I just have to bring it down to a level I understand.
Katie: You heard it here first: John understands cannibals shooting oily babies out of cannons.
4. Why don’t you play something happy that we can dance to?
John: I can’t tell you. You see, if you have to ask this question, you wouldn’t understand the answer anyway.
Katie: Everything we play makes me happy. I’m dancing on the inside.
5. What’s that big guitar thing?
John: A Warr guitar. They are AWESOME!!!
6. How did you meet?
Katie: Let’s tell the story about the weasel boat.
John: I think in this case I’m fonder of how we really met. It was an interesting time in my life having just had a stranger try and kill me… What do you think?
Katie: …Ok. I can only tell my side of it, though. I was new to Wellington, and was forcing myself to leave the house and explore the city. I chanced upon John busking on Cuba Street, and left a note in his case with my contact details and a list of my musical heroes. I admit to briefly questioning my life choices when this bearded stranger in a yellow van (with a big, enthusiastic black dog) picked me up with my keyboard to have our first practice in an unfamiliar suburb of a foreign city, but ultimately it was one of the best things I’ve ever done.
John: I met Katie at an exceptional junction in my life, having returned to Wellington after some years traveling. I had my shiny new Warr and a fearsome desire to work as a musician playing it, and spent two years in Welly practising up to 14 hours a day; living on busking money, hand outs and the food off the.. well, the food off the anything. I had almost no work, though a month or so before we first met I was walking home from a gig (I had been paid in wine) when a complete stranger tried to kill me. I have certainly done some things that warranted an ass whooping, but this mega-asshole just walked up behind me, knocked me down and kicked me until I stopped moving, then dragged me over to the curb and proceeded to try and explode my head (curb-stomping is big with the kids at the mo). But he got tired (my mum could have told him about my hard head), and he gave up. A few weeks later, after waking up in hospital with a whole new perspective on things – and a face that Cronenberg would have taken his hat off to – I returned to busking when my face didn’t look so bad anymore. Katie walked up and put a note in my case (no money though) asking if I would like to have a jam. I still have the note almost three years later.
7. Are you a couple?
Katie: We married in the winter of ’98.
John: For better or worse, we’re stuck together.
8. When/where are you next playing?
Katie: Your living room, next Friday? Your local venue, next month? Get in touch here to make this happen.
John: I think it’s a steampunk gig here in Wellington. I’m very keen. We have been working on new material, and I’m doing some percussion with my right hand and bass/Warr with my left. It’s a bit iffy, but we get some great sounds.
9. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
John: A marine biologist.
Katie: A writer, archaeologist, and animal behaviourist.
10. Who would you nominate for World President?
Katie: I have a couple of people in mind who’d be wonderful at it, but I know that it would make them miserable.
John: I’d find all of the world’s smartest, most empathic, humanist, wise men, women or in-between. I’d see which one least wanted the job, and politely ask them to do it. In other words, the opposite of your everyday garden variety politician.