First Wellington, now the world – Fat Freddy’s Drop have jammed their way into the record books.
Exploding out of the Land of the Long White Cloud, armed with bucket loads of soul, deadly dub rhythms and future funk, is the internationally revered, seven-headed soul monster known as Fat Freddy’s Drop. The Freddys are easily one of the most popular bands ever to emerge from New Zealand.
The band is comprised of seven musicians, who all evolved from a multitude of musical incarnations on the Wellington music scene, ranging from funk bands to reggae sound systems, to jazz improvisations cliques and hi-tech soul-dub experiments.
The band’s first release was Live at the Matterhorn, which was a recording of a jam session in Wellington. The album struck gold sales in New Zealand, purely through word of mouth.
The musical heart-beat of the clique is their technician and band leader “Fitchie”. With his Akai MPC sampler at the ready, Fitchie crafts the group’s unique beats, baselines and smooth samples.
Lead singer and writer of the group is Joe Dukie. Blessed with a golden honey voice, Joe is considered to be among the best soul voices in the world today.
Heading up the band’s horn section are Tony Chang, Ho Pepa and Fulla Flash, while Scott Towers plays sax, Jetlag Johnson plays electric and acoustic guitar and Dobie Blaze plays the electric keyboard.
Together, they blen d t o create a fusion of dub, soul, skank, jazz, funk and electronica vibes, all enriched by their South Pacific roots, that has earne d t hem a loyal following aroun d t he world.
In 2005, the Freddys release d t heir first full length album, Based on a True Story. The album’s 10 tunes evolved almost entirely live on stage, with the arrangements then recorded and fine-tuned in the studio.
The album reached gold status on its first day, making history as the first independently distributed album to hit the number one spot on the New Zealand album charts. The album then hel d t he top spot for a record-breaking 11 weeks, and was the second top selling album in New Zealand in 2005 and 2006.
At the New Zealand music awards that year, the Freddy’s scoope d t he pool, picking up album of the year, Best Aotearoa Roots Album and Best Group as well as the People’s Choice Award.
The boys then travelled to London to pick up the Worldwide Album of the Year award at the Radio 1 Gilles Peterson Worldwide Music Awards 2005, as voted by fans of Peterson’s show on the BBC.
The first single off the album, Wandering Eye, became a massive international hit and went on to gain notoriety as being the most-played song ever on New Zealand radio.
In 2006, more accolades followed, and at that year’s New Zealand Music awards the band won three awards – Highest Selling Album, Best Video (for Wandering Eye) and yet another People’s Choice Award.
Two years after its release, Based on a True Story made history as the longest charting local album in New Zealand’s history.
While their album release was a major success, the band is first and foremost a live collective. With live performance at the heart and soul of the group, the Freddys are always on the road, playing festivals and clubs worldwide. Since 2003, the band has embarked on an annual tour across Europe, the UK and Australia.
This year they received an invite from the Glastonbury Festival and became only the second ban d t o represent New Zealand and play the penultimate slot on the Jazz World Stage.
Closer to home, the band has recently played gigs at the Womad Festival in Adelaide and the East Coast Blues & Roots Festival in Byron Bay.
At the moment the band is jamming a selection of fresh tunes on stage as they prepare to go into lock-down mode for the recording of their next album. Stay tuned!