Pop duo are striking a chord

16:00, Mar 01 2012
Crazy kids: Two Cartoons is made up of former Timaruvian Isaac McFarlane, left, and Brad Craig.

A former Timaru lad is about to embark on a nationwide tour, promoting his first EP as one half of Two Cartoons. Reporter Katarina Filipe chats to Isaac McFarlane about the duo's beginnings and what the future holds.


"Stupid guitar pop written by kids" is how Isaac McFarlane describes the music of Two Cartoons.

The 20-year-old former Timaru man and his friend Brad Craig, 19, started making music after meeting at Otago University.

During last year's Big Day Out the pair decided to write some songs, and that winter they took to the stage as Two Cartoons.

"We started with that one gig and now we have an EP out," Isaac said.


One of their first songs, Better Coast, was played just about every day last summer on radio station Kiwi FM.

This weekend in Christchurch they will film their music video for the song, after receiving a $10,000 grant from Making Tracks to record and film Better Coast.

While recording that, the duo decided to go one step further and record an EP of five songs called Jelly Tip Lips. It was launched on Tuesday and is available to buy on iTunes or to download free from twocartoons.bandcamp.com.

"The whole summer we worked away on it over the internet because Brad was in Auckland.

"We did have a huge party during O Week [to launch the EP] and we have a gig on Friday at Refuel [in Dunedin]."

Two Cartoons will spend this month touring the major cities, but Isaac said they wouldn't miss Timaru. They will announce venues and dates next week.

Playing in Timaru is all part of Isaac's hope for the town.

"Timaru needs a place for under-age gigs. I want there to be an avenue for people to have a place to play, like rockquest, but not just once a year.

"Even if it's just high school teachers [co-ordinating it]."

Isaac got his first taste of the music scene when he was at Waimataitai School and started a cover band with two friends.

In 2008 at Timaru Boys' High School, he entered Smokefreerockquest in the band New York Minutes, followed by These Dancing Wolves in 2009. Both bands made it to the national finals.

Success has also followed for Two Cartoons, with their song Scientific Life being used in an Air New Zealand online ad.

Better Coast was chosen by a musical journal in the United States to feature in a New Zealand segment of a week-long alternative music feature run by college radio stations.

As for the future, Isaac said they planned to have an album by the end of the year.

"We'll finish this tour and then me and Brad will go somewhere for like a week and record and mix it ourselves and get down a whole album.

"Our aim is to start garnering a reputation and try and get a nationwide thing going."

The Timaru Herald