Fat Freddy’s Drop means different things to different people. Hundreds of thousands of fans have seen this internationally renowned live and recorded band play over the last two decades and four acclaimed studio albums. Be it swaying and sun-squinting into the afternoon haze at one of their summer European performances, or hugging a bassbin at an underground rave in Aotearoa. Everyone has their own unique and unforgettable Freddy’s tale to tell.
2019 brings a fresh musical foundation to unite a new generation of Fat Freddy’s Drop evangelists with the original rockers: ‘Special Edition Part 1’ drops hard on 15th November.
Part 1 of a long envisaged double album, ‘Special Edition Part 1’ consists of a combination of stress-tested concert detonations alongside studio bullets crafted at their Wellington command centre BAYS studio. The Detroit techno-influenced musings of ‘Trickle Down’, the Steely Dan swagger of ‘Raleigh Twenty’ and the sunset Balearic bliss of ‘Six Eight Instrumental’ come from the latter, while ‘Special Edition’, ‘Kamo Kamo’ and ‘OneFourteen’ are the hard-won results of that magical live-in-concert FFD alchemy.
As with all Fat Freddy’s Drop records there is a finely crafted sonic progression born of a constant hunger for the new, though always tempered by an unshakable faith in the bass music of Jamaica and the importance of real songs with real soul.
Second single and future live classic ‘Kamo Kamo’ is instantly recognisable as Fat Freddy’s Drop, the discordant Korg and Casio intro giving way to a cascade of descending bass, those iconic horns and Dallas’s rocksteady songwriting. It’s a vitamin D tonic to first single ‘Trickle Down’, with it’s Big Fun meets Burial Mix sound: the serious but euphoric collision between the sounds of an interstellar Detroit and Berlin’s wide-eyed 24 hour party palaces.
The making of Part 1 was a brave new frontier: each member of the band was wired into DJ Fitchie’s production software at a specific tempo, while being tasked with using electronic instruments other than those more readily associated with the band. After long jamming sessions the heaviest grooves were targeted and so the real recording began.
As with all Fat Freddy’s Drop’s albums ‘Special Edition Part 1’ is a genuine pilgrimage of sorts: a high-contrast beach saunter on the hottest day of the summer followed by a walk down an alleyway to somewhere less certain, a place more introspective and questioning of the world in 2019.
This very special record, the band’s fifth studio album, will be released digitally on the 15th of November. The CD and double vinyl LP is being released early December and includes a deluxe vinyl housed in gatefold with die-cut cover and full colour printed inner sleeves. Part 2 can be eagerly awaited in the latter part of 2020.
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
Dobie Blaze aka Iain Gordon – Keyboard
Hopepa aka Joe Lindsay - Trombone
Jetlag Johnson aka Tehimana Kerr – Guitar
MC Slave aka Mark Williams – MC & Videographer
Fat Freddy’s Drop is internationally regarded as one of the world’s finest live draws. The seven piece band has navigated their 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’s 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.
For 'BAYS' studio album, released in 2015, the 9-track LP was exclusively written and recorded at their studio in Kilbirnie, Wellington. Prior to 'BAYS' 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.
Stand alone concerts also feature heavily, 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).
In the past if a song made it on to the record it was because it had been road-tested beyond all endurance: 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.
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 their fanbases across Europe and the 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 live reputation that precedes their recorded material.
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 FACT SHEET
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) - 5,469
‘Blackbird’ (2013) - 2 x Platinum
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 2017
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, matched by Boomtown Festival 2016 and Rototom Sunsplash, Italy 2018
BAYS Album Release Tour sold 250,000 tickets worldwide in 2015 -16
13 NZ Music Awards
Based On A True Story spent 108 weeks consecutively in the Top 40, the most weeks in the NZ Album Charts by a NZ artist
BAYS entered the Album Charts in NZ at #1, Australia at #8, Germany at #9, UK at #16 & France at #24
Blackbird received a Double Silver Impala Award to recognise reaching 40,000 sales in Europe
UK is the band's largest sales territory followed by Germany, NZ & Australia