About Fat Freddy's Drop
The band first toured Europe in 2003 and in ten years have taken their London audience from 150 capacity Notting Hill Arts Club to twice selling-out the 5000+ capacity Brixton Academy. The band have taken their Berlin audience in ten years from 200 capacity Cafe Moskau to 3000+ Columbiahalle.
There are few London venues that the band have not sold-out - the list includes Koko, Roundhouse, Hammersmith Apollo, Astoria, Somerset House, Troxy, Cargo, Brixton Academy, Hammersmith Palais, The Forum, Fabric, Momo, Neighbourhood and Notting Hill Arts Club.
In 2007, the band closed Glastonbury's prestigious World Jazz stage in front of 25,000 people and were broadcast live on the BBC.
The band have headlined many international festivals including The Big Chill, Bestival, Outlook Festival in Croatia, Sonar in Barcelona and Graphic Festival at The Sydney Opera House.
Recently the band was a headliner on Easter Sunday at the Blues & Roots Festival in Byron Bay - going up against Paul Simon and pulling the same size crowd.
Outside of the UK, the band's international following is most significant in the large European cities where they consistently sell-out 2000+ venues across Germany, France, Denmark, Italy, Spain and the cities of Amsterdam, Brussels, Lisbon, Vienna and Zurich.
The band regularly tour Australia on the festival circuit, having appeared three times at the Blues & Roots Festival, accompanying Erykah Badu, The Roots and Damian Marley on the Good Vibrations Tour and about to clock a second appearance at Splendour In The Grass.
A major highlight for the band was last November's headline spot at the Sydney Opera House, selling-out 2 shows in the illustrious venue.
Overseas, the band have received substantial radio support from Gilles Peterson, Charlie Gillett, Zane Lowe, KCRW, Radio Nova, Michael Rutten, Triple J, France Inter and NPR.
Flight of the 'Blackbird'
Tucked away in Wellington’s beach suburb of Lyall Bay, in the spacious surrounds of an unassuming house-turned-studio known affectionately as Bays, Antipodean soul chefs Fat Freddy’s Drop have been slaving over a hot pot. The ingredients: disco, rootsy dub, blues, soul and electronic funk, rendered down to a master stock of rich, complex flavours that infuse their third full-length release, Blackbird.
With so many cooks in the kitchen, Freddy’s needed a scullery big enough to accommodate the cornucopia of instrumentation and influences that Blackbird commits to tape. Bays’ generous dimensions offered the elbow room needed for the seven-strong collective to flex their musical muscle on herculean jam sessions, riffing on ideas to be sliced and diced by Freddy’s’ production master chef, DJ Fitchie.
“We throw a lot of ingredients into the writing and recording process, and then spend the rest of the time pulling things out to make sure the tastiest pieces have room to breathe,” says Fitchie. “You’ve got to make your pick and put that ingredient centre-stage.”
“You listen to a song like ‘Bones’, that’s our tribute to country music – but then there’s a little bit of old school hip hop in there too,” adds Freddy’s’ horn blower and beat archivist, Tony Chang. “The reggae bass lines on ‘Blackbird’ and ‘Russia’ underpin these crazy, ramshackle horns. A double-time techno tune might get pulled back to a half-time dub thing. There’s always room for unexpected things to happen.”
Freddy’s’ slow food technique has been developed over two long players, Based On A True Story (2005) and Dr Boondigga & The Big BW (2009), two live albums, Live At The Matterhorn (2001) and Live At Roundhouse (2010), plus a smorgasbord of vinyl singles.
This unhurried approach has been perfected on Blackbird. With international demand for the band at an all-time high, Fat Freddy’s Drop have plated up a definitive selection of all the flavours they’ve served international audiences thus far: 412 appearances in Europe, 27 in Australia, and over 300 in their native New Zealand.
“Blackbird neatly sums up Freddy’s’ career and philosophy,” says FFD’s saxophonist Chopper Reedz. “It starts with heavy dub influences, moves into soul stuff in the middle, and then it gets into the electronic vibes at the backend. It’s a true document of our time at Bays and what we do live.”
Fat Freddys Drop have carved a place for themselves in NZ music lore; highest selling album by an independent artist (2005’s Based On A True Story), a slew of RIANZ Tuis for everything from Best Producer to Album of The Year to People’s Choice awards, invitations to perform at internationally acclaimed festivals including Glastonbury, SONAR, Bestival, WOMAD, Lowlands, DEMF and Roskilde. Not to mention now legendary shows at venues such as Brixton Academy (LDN), Paradiso (Amsterdam), Vega (Copenhagen), The Coliseum (Lisbon), Henry Fonda Theatre (Los Angeles) and Le Trianon (Paris).
The band first emerged from the underground club scene of Wellington in 1999, jamming along to instrumental mixes of funk, house and hip-hop records dropped by DJ Mu (aka Fitchie) at parties around the Capital.
Thirteen years later and Freddys are still together, still doing things in their inimitable way and still getting better and better.
Dec 29 ThursdayGlenworth Valley, NSW, Australia Unknown venue
Jan 14 SaturdayMangere, New Zealand Villa Maria Estate Winery
Jun 02 FridayManchester, UK Victoria Warehouse
Jun 03 SaturdayLondon, UK Alexandra Palace
Jun 15 ThursdayBarcelona, Spain Fira Montjuic