Fat Freddy’s Drop is internationally regarded as one of the world’s finest live draws. The seven piece band has navigated its way from the incubator of sunshine reggae through a colour-saturated field of soul psychedelia before swerving onto a desolate Detroit superhighway at night. It is a sound that demands to be heard live, a potent mixture of jazz virtuosity and diaphragm-wrecking digital sonics.
These influences have not only been formed by the band’s individual predilections, but also experiences on the road: Fat Freddy’s appearance at Detroit’s Movement festival in 2006 was a watershed moment for the band, fuelled by hearing May’s, Atkin’s and Craig’s stark futurism ricochet off the cold concrete of America’s broken dream. This stoked producer DJ Mu’s love of analog techno, balancing and fusing vocalist Dallas Tamaira’s adoration of soul and reggae with the band’s collective passion for Jazz, Rhythm & Blues, Rock, Disco, House, Post Punk and Balearic oddities.
In 2021 Freddys is dropping WAIRUNGA, a bush-alchemy album and concert film like no other, with an Aotearoa New Zealand tour to celebrate the surprise release. WAIRUNGA finds the Freddy juggernaut digging deep to debut five songs and revisit two classics captured in an outdoor performance sans audience with wild weather elements playing an important creative role.
The impact of Covid-19 has seen the band step off the international tour circuit, for now. The extra time has allowed more time to work on new music and WAIRUNGA is the second release following LOCK-IN album and concert film that dropped in 2020. That was the year Freddys made a hurried return home from Berlin in March 2020 just as a three month European tour was underway. After a period of lock down in Aotearoa New Zealand and the return of the band’s gear from Europe, Freddy’s recorded a unique jam session at the iconic Michael Fowlers Centre in Wellington sans audience in June 2019. Singing songs of freedom and hope, the eight track recording was given a monster mix by DJ MU at Freddys BAYS studio and the sonic ‘LOCK-IN’ album singing songs of freedom and hope was released alongside a concert film capturing the music and production.
The band's most recent studio album is 'Special Edition Part 1' released late 2019, a fresh musical foundation that united a new generation of Fat Freddy’s Drop evangelists with the original rockers. Part 1 of a long envisaged double album, ‘Special Edition Part 1’ consisted of a combination of stress-tested concert detonations alongside studio bullets crafted at BAYS studio.
Until the release of BAYS studio album in 2015, Freddys albums were formed almost entirely on the road; the songs slowly evolving live at festivals such as WOMAD UK, SONAR, Bestival, Lowlands, DEMF, Pukkelpop, Glastonbury, The Big Chill and Roskilde. If a song made it on to the record it was because it had been road-tested beyond all endurance but studio jams are now just as important for the bands recordings.
At last count Fat Freddy’s Drop have delivered over 1000 shows in their career, clocking more than 500 appearances in Europe, 33 Australian Tours and over 300 shows in their homeland. Stand alone concerts feature heavily in Freddys achievements, with sellout mayhem ensuing at Zitadelle and Columbiahalle (Berlin), Alexandra Palace and Brixton Academy (LDN), Paradiso (Amsterdam), Vega (Copenhagen), The Coliseum (Lisbon), Henry Fonda Theatre (Los Angeles), Sydney Opera House, and Le Zenith (Paris).
Not many bands have been so strategic in their approach to their longterm career. Creating a blueprint with a global perspective, the band have consolidated a massive fanbase across Europe and UK with high profile performances accompanied by slow burn albums that reveal more and more with every listen, priming the fan for the next live experience. It’s about the long game, a path that has come about by careful stylistic evolution, ever increasing production values and a heavyweight live reputation.
Fat Freddy’s Drop may have been around since the early Noughties, but they are truly the most modern of institutions. Independently controlled underground music that has sold in excess of three quarters of a million albums. Yet they are that rare thing: artists that don’t live or die on their last record’s sales. They are a clarion call of hope for the talented few looking for another way. Fat Freddy’s Drop show that it can indeed, be done.
Fat Freddy’s Drop is:
DJ Fitchie aka Chris Faiumu – MPC, Producer
Joe Dukie aka Dallas Tamaira - Vocals
Chopper Reeds aka Scott Towers - Saxophone
Tony Chang aka Toby Laing – Trumpet
Kuki Blaze aka Iain Gordon – Keyboard
Hopepa aka Joe Lindsay - Trombone
Ned Ngatae aka ManRaro – Guitar
MC Slave aka Mark Williams – MC
FFD Album Releases, NZ Sales History
‘Live at the Matterhorn’ E.P. (2001) – Platinum
‘Based on a True Story’ (2005) – 9 x Platinum
‘Dr. Boondigga & The Big BW’ (2009) - 2 x Platinum
‘Live at Roundhouse’ (2010)
‘Blackbird’ (2013) - 2 x Platinum
‘Special Edition Part 1’ (2019)
And a stash of limited edition vinyl singles and remixes including Midnight Marauders 12” 2002, HOPE 10” 2003 and HOPE remaster 12” 2017.
- independently releasing music since 1999
- International Achievement Award NZ Music Awards
- sold in excess of 500,000 albums
- 7.87M listeners on Spotify
- over 1,000 shows
- largest head-line shows include sold out 10,000 capacity Zitadelle, Berlin (2018) and Alexandra Palace, London (2014, 2017), matched by Western Springs (2019) and Villa Maria, New Zealand (2018, 2017) with over 10,000 strong audiences.
- largest festival appearance was headlining Rock En Seine, Paris to a packed crowd of 35,000 and matched by Boomtown Festival 2016
- 13 NZ Music Awards
- Based On A True Story spent 108 weeks consecutively in the Top 40, the most weeks in the NZ Album
- UK is the band's largest sales territory followed by Germany, NZ & Australia
RIANZ New Zealand Music Awards
Best Group, People’s Choice Award (2005)
‘Based on a True Story’ (2005) Album of the Year, Best Group, Best Aotearoa Roots Album
People’s Choice Award (2006)
‘Based on a True Story’ (2006) Highest Selling NZ Album Award
Nominated Best Group, People’s Choice Award (2009)
‘Dr Boondigga & The Big BW’ (2009) Best Aotearoa Roots Album Award, Nominated Album of the Year, Best Cover Design, Best Engineer, Best Producer
Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards
Nominated Best Group (2013)
‘Blackbird’ (2013) Best Aotearoa Roots Album, Best Cover Awards, Nominated Album of the Year, Best Producer
‘Blackbird’ - Deluxe Edition (2014) Nominated Highest-selling NZ Album (Top 5)
International Achievement Award (2016)
Nominated Best Group (2016)‘BAYS’ (2016) Nominated Album of the Year, Highest-selling NZ Album (Top 5), Best Aotearoa Roots Album