Yo Gabba Gabba

Hosted by DJ Lance Rock, the children’s television show Yo Gabba Gabba has grown a cult like following among young-ins, parent’s sick of singing Mash Potato and music-lovin’ folk who tune in every week to see which musician will guest on The Super Music Friends segement. Some of the big names that have got their Gabba on over the years include The Shins, Jack Black and MGMT.

The last time DJ Lance Rock was Down Under he invited members of Spiderbait and Powderfinger to get in on the Gabba action. On this trip Art Vs Science (Sydney), Little Red (Melbourne and Operator Please (Brisbane) will all be welcomed to Gabbaland. Ahead of the tour Yo Gabba Gabba creator Scott Schultz caught up with FL to offer a few life lessons.

So Yo Gabba Gabba; it’s a phenomenon around the world for 5 year olds, and their parents; I have a son who’s 10 now, so he’s a bit old for it, but a few years ago he was well into Spongebob, and Bob the Builder etc. The kids TV-entertainment market is so flooded, how did you initially pitch yo Gabba Gabba?

Well actually to pitch it straight up would be too hard, it’s just too weird to explain. So what we did was we made a few shows, and put it on the internet, and it became an internet sensation; it got thousands of views, and was just passed around between people, and it found its way to Nickelodeon that way.

And what do you think makes this show stand out from the rest?

I think it was a lot to do with timing, I don’t think it would have happened any other time. I think it’s refreshing. We do things in a new way, of course because its kids we don’t want to be subversive, but we do try new things.

Musical guests are a large part of the show, mostly indie artists.

Yeah, we wanted a broad spectrum of guests. Kids are open-minded, and at 5 they’re not into what’s supposedly cool, we just knew the lyrics were something kids could relate to. We didn’t want to be offensive, and as music fans ourselves, it was an opportunity to approach our own favourite artists. Especially with someone like Biz [Markie], he’s been really cool with our show, and is one of our regulars and is really great about it.

Yo Gabba Gabba is known for having these indie artists performing songs that are suited for kids, what’s the songwriting process?

It’s mostly us. What we wanted to do is create a musical show. When our kids were little, we would watch shows with them, like Barney and Dora etc. We wanted them to know our music is different, so when we wrote the songs, and then realised ‘oh, that sounds like a Weezer song’. What happens is we get a bunch of people together that I’ve worked with on bands, and we will write all the songs , before we’ve even filmed anything. And then we approach somebody, like the Flaming Lips, tell them about it, play the song, and hopefully they like it and come on board.

It sounds like your kids are a big part of this.

Yeah, we would be in situations with our own kids, like we want them to keep trying, so that’s how the Keep Trying song came about. And then if we want them to eat their vegetables, we wrote Party In My Tummy. We definitely draw inspiration in our kids.

So this will be your second time the Yo Gabba Gabba show has been to Australia, are you yourself coming?

No, and I’m really disappointed I can’t be there, the first time was great. DJ Lance Rock is coming, and when we first came out, we actually started the first leg of the show in the states, so Australia is really special to us.

And what can audiences expect from a Yo Gabba Gabba show?

Well, with Dorothy or the Wiggles, it’s sort of a stage play, but we are always focussed on the music, so we want it to be like a real rock show, with all the songs, and the kids rocking out. We’ve got balloons, confetti, its going to be cool.

And for the upcoming Vivid LIVE show, you’re on a festival lineup with a variety of bands, one of which is Odd Future, how do you feel about that?

Well, that’s sort of the Yo Gabba Gabba culture. We always wanted to share the stage with different bands and celebrities that could show our kids new things, we wanted it to be an extravaganza of different cultures and views. So yeah, I think it’s great.

Yo Gabba Gabba! with Biz Markie:

Saturday 4th June – Opera House, Sydney – 9:30am

Saturday 4th June – Opera House, Sydney – 12:00pm

Saturday 4th June – Opera House, Sydney – 2:30pm

Sunday 5th June – Opera House, Sydney – 9:30am

Sunday 5th June – Opera House, Sydney – 12:00pm

Sunday 5th June – Opera House, Sydney – 2:30pm

Tuesday 7th June – Convention & Exhibition Centre, Brisbane – 10:30am

Tuesday 7th June – Convention & Exhibition Centre, Brisbane – 4:30pm

Saturday 11th – Palais Theatre, Melbourne – 10:30am

Saturday 11th – Palais Theatre, Melbourne – 4:30pm

Biz Markie solo dates:

Thursday 9th June @ Oxford Art Factory, Sydney

Friday 10th June @ The Espy, Melbourne