Meet the Freddys

Fat Freddy’s Drop is internationally regarded as one of the world’s finest live draws. The 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. This euphoric vibe 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. The hi-tek soul movement 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.


Fat Freddy’s Drop : DJ Fitchie aka Chris Faiumu – MPC, Live Mix, Producer, Joe Dukie aka Dallas Tamaira - Vocals & Guitar, Chopper Reeds aka Scott Towers - Saxophone, Tony Chang aka Toby Laing – Trumpet, Kuki Blaze aka Iain Gordon – Keyboard & Synths, Hopepa aka Joe Lindsay - Trombone, Tuba & MC Slave aka Mark Williams – MC.


Since forming in Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand in 1999, Freddys potent live energy and soul fire has built a loyal audience of Fred Heads. In 2023 the band toured UK/EU playing headline and summer festival shows at the likes of Apollo, London, L’Olympia in Paris, Waldbuhne Berlin and Galway International Arts Festival.


The success build on an uplifting 2022 tour of headline shows across Spain, Portugal, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, The Netherlands, Ireland, Germany and UK as well as acclaimed summer festivals in Barcelona, Madrid and Aix-les-Bains. The shows were poignant re-connections, wowing audiences who held their tickets tight for over two years after the impact of Covid-19 and local border closures forced Freddys to step out of the rush in March 2020. The 2022 tour year ended with two big shows in Australia, sold out headliners at Sydney Opera House Forecourt and Melbourne International Jazz Festival.


In 2023 the band marked the tenth anniversary of Freddys seminal Blackbird album with the release of ‘Blackbird Returns’ an album of re-rubs and re-dubs from producer friends around the world, including Jazzanova, Marcus Worgull, Kid Fonque, Nightmares on Wax and locals Kings and Christoph El Truento & Lucky Lance.


The focus in 2024 is recording a brand new studio album at the band’s BAYS studio in home town Pōneke, Wellington. The sessions will be the first studio album since ‘Special Edition Part 1’ consisting of a combination of stress-tested concert detonations alongside studio bullets.


Beyond the studio, Freddys recently crafted ‘WAIRUNGA’ and ‘LOCK-IN’ live concert albums both recorded and filmed sans audiences at home in Aotearoa New Zealand during Covid-19 lock-downs. On ‘WAIRUNGA’ Freddys juggernaut dug deep, debuting five songs and revisiting two classics. The cosmic boil up of Afro-acid beats, hot buttered soul, righteous reggae, subterranean bass and twisted up melodies was captured in an outdoor performance with wild weather elements playing an important creative role. The ‘LOCK-IN’ jam session, singing eight songs of hope, was recorded at the iconic Michael Fowlers Centre in 2020. Both ‘LOCK-IN’ and ‘WAIRUNGA’ recordings got a monster mix by DJ MU at BAYS studio, and final mastering by Bo Kondren at Calyx Mastering in Berlin. The album releases were accompanied by concert films that revelled in the music in the making process, and these were released free to fans worldwide on Freddys YouTube.


Earlier studio releases include 'BAYS', ‘Blackbird’, ‘Dr Boondigga’ and the Big BW’ and the iconic ‘Based On A True Story’. Apart from 'BAYS' the albums were shaped on tour with live audiences. Songs such as Blackbird and Shiverman evolved live at headlines shows and at festivals such as WOMAD UK, SONAR, Bestival, Lowlands, DEMF, Pukkelpop, Glastonbury, The Big Chill and Roskilde. If a song made it on a record it was because it had been road-tested beyond all endurance but studio jams are now just as important for recordings.


At last count Fat Freddy’s Drop have delivered over 1000 shows in their career. Stand alone concerts from the early tours are Zitadelle and Columbiahalle in Berlin, Alexandra Palace and Brixton Academy in London, Vega, Copenhagen, The Coliseum, Lisbon, Sydney Opera House,  Le Zenith, Paris and Henry Fonda Theatre, Los Angeles on a rare tour to America.


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 Album Releases
‘Live at the Matterhorn’ E.P. (2001) – x1 Platinum
‘Based on a True Story’ (2005) – x11 Platinum
‘Dr. Boondigga & The Big BW’ (2009) - x2 Platinum
‘Live at Roundhouse’ (2010)
‘Blackbird’ (2013) - x2 Platinum
‘BAYS’ (2015) - x2 Platinum
Special Edition Part 1’ (2019)
‘LOCK-IN’ (2020)
‘WAIRUNGA’ (2021)
‘Blackbird Returns’ remix album (2023)

And a stash of limited edition vinyl singles and remixes including ‘Midnight Marauders’ 12” 2002, ‘HOPE’ 10” 2003 ‘Wandering Eye’ single 2005 - x6 Platinum and The Raft’ 7” single - 2010 x1 Gold, ‘HOPE’ remaster 12” 2017.

Fat Freddy’s Drop Milestones

Sold in excess of 500,000 albums

‘Based On A True Story’ spent 108 weeks consecutively in the Top 40, the most weeks in the NZ Album.


RIANZ New Zealand Music Awards
Best Group, People’s Choice Award, Based on a True Story’ Album of the Year, Best Aotearoa Roots Album (2005)

People’s Choice Award (2006)

‘Based on a True Story’ Highest Selling NZ Album Award (2006)

Nominated Best Group, People’s Choice Award (2009)

‘Dr Boondigga & The Big BW’ Best Aotearoa Roots Album Award. Nominated Album of the Year, Best Cover (2009)

Nominated Design, Best Engineer, Best Producer (2009)

Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards

‘Blackbird’ Best Aotearoa Roots Album Award, Best Cover Award. Nominated Album of the Year, Best Producer, Best Group (2013)

‘Blackbird’ - Deluxe Edition Nominated Highest-selling NZ Album (Top 5) (2014)

Nominated Best Group (2016)

‘BAYS’ (2016) Nominated Album of the Year, Highest-selling NZ Album (Top 5), Best Aotearoa Roots Album

International Achievement Award (2016)



Based On A True Story, voted Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide Album of the Year (2005)