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Fat Freddy's Drop - Fat Freddy's Drop Newsletter Interview

09 Jun 2013 // An interview by Shade

Driven by the power of live performance, sheer hard work and savvy independent CD and vinyl releases, the dream of world domination for New Zealand's seven headed soul monster is fast becoming a reality. Fat Freddy's Drop have carved a place for themselves in NZ music lore - thirteen years and Freddys are still together, still doing things in their inimitable way and still getting better and better. Scott Towers answered the following questions for muzic.net.nz:

Hey guys so excited for the new release, what can we expect?

Hopefully a really good listen, some beautiful artwork and an entertaining - and enlightening - set of liner notes.

How would you describe the sound of this album?

In lots of ways it's 'typically Freddys'. We tend to include a whole range of sounds and styles in our music, and that's definitely true of this record. That said, I'd say most of the individual tracks themselves have a definite 'sonic palette' we've really tried to mine for every nugget - some are heavy dub songs; some are soul; some are more techno influenced.

What is the song I have to listen to first?

Blackbird, because it's the first track on the album.

What was the process of this album, who wrote the songs?

It was pretty democratic really. Most of the musical ideas came about during marathon jam sessions we held in our studio, and then Joe Dukie would start working up lyrical ideas as we solidified and refined the ideas.

Did you have any collaborations?

Our go-to raconteur/videographer/hype-man MC Slave dropped a great verse on a dub track called Russia. Rio Hemopo also played bass on that track, and we had Julien Dyne and Dreadford (ex Shapeshifter) did some great drum passes for us that got used on some of the songs.

Who would you most like to work with given the chance?

There are so many individuals - both local and international. But I think writing and recording overseas or arranging a big string section is pretty appealing.

What song do you wish you would have written, or most love to perform in terms of covers?

We've often talked about doing a cover in our set, but it hasn't eventuated.... yet. We jam Bill Wither's tune Harlem quite a bit at rehearsals, so perhaps that one will get in there one day.

What responses have you had about the album already?

Universally positive, thankfully.

What is the plan for the next year, to tour? Overseas or NZ?

We're actually pretty busy for the rest of 2013. We've got the album coming out, two European tours, two trips to Australia and then shows in NZ. We're looking at going to Japan for the first time and possibly a return to the US. Plus golf, fishing... oh, and families and kids.

I saw the new music video I like the marionettes, who comes up with those ideas, do you have input?

MC Slave. That guy loves pulling off these crazy ideas and we just give him free range to do what he thinks will work. 

Where is the best place to play live?

Obviously it's great playing to your home crowd, so NZ is pretty special for us.But in general continental Europe has the best venues, best production and dare I say it, best crowds. 

Whats the best thing about being in a Band?

Making music with other people who's musical input you respect.

What is the most embarrassing or best story you guys have about touring?

I don't know that I can share the most embarrassing stories, but definitely one of best stories about touring is that we've been able to do it for over 10 years.

Who would you add to the band if you could choose a new member?

Hell, there are almost too many of us as it is. I'd say a travelling chef - they wouldn't need to play anything, but their contribution to a tour would be huge.

What music are you into right now?

I listening to dozens of online mixes and podcasts - most of it is not tracklisted so I have no idea what it is, but suffice to say there's a little bit of everything in there. I'm really liking the stripped back afro-techno stuff that people like Four Tet (Kieran Hebdan) and Daphni (Daniel Snaith) are doing, and I always keep an ear out for locals like Julien Dyne, Riki Gooch, El Truento etc.

What would you be doing if you weren't in a band?

In a perfect world I'd be independently wealthy layabout who wasted his money running a small venue at night, a small New York style deli during the day, andworked as a volunteer firefighter on my days off. The reality is I'd probably be back working in digital media, which is what I did for several years before joining the band.

What do you do on days off?

Household chores mainly. I've got a five year old son who I love hanging out with, I sift around in secondhand record stores and teach myself how to cook.

What advice do you have for up and comers on the NZ music scene?

It's a long and sometimes tough road, so if you're going to get there you've got to commit. It is incredibly rewarding though so stick with it. And have fun. I stopped playing music for a number of years because it started feeling like a grind, and only really started again when I missed the thrill.

How did you get into music?

I started playing the saxophone at intermediate school, but only got into it seriously when I had to spend 9 months more or less inside after badly breaking my leg. That gave me plenty of time to really practise and play, and I found that I really loved it. I studied for a Bachelor of Music and went from there.

What can you not leave home without when on tour?

Laptop - for skyping my wife and son.

What is a rumor you want to start about a band member or about the band?

There is a solid gold disc inside one of the Blackbird CDs that we're about to release, you better buy heaps if you want to have a chance of finding it.


About Fat Freddy's Drop

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. Pre-Bays, Freddy's 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.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Fat Freddy's Drop


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Year: 2010
Type: Album
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Year: 2009
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Year: 2008
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Year: 2006
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Year: 2001
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