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From the underground to the higher-ground, Fat Freddy’s Drop do it for the love of music, and food!

Driven by the power of live performance, sheer hard work and savvy independent CD and vinyl releases, the dream of world domination for the seven headed soul monster is fast becoming a reality.

2005 was a watershed year for the purveyors of hi-tek soul who stepped out of the rush and dropped their debut studio album 'Based On A True Story' on CD and double gatefold vinyl.

'Based On A True Story' garnered a stash of Tui Awards at the 2005 New Zealand Music Awards in October: official Freddy’s loot on the night: Album of the Year, Best Aotearoa Roots Album, Best Group and direct from the peeps – the People’s Choice Award.

The Freddy’s traveled to London in December 2005 and were on-hand to pick up the Worldwide Album Of The Year at the Radio 1 Gilles Peterson Worldwide Music Awards 2005, as voted by fans worldwide that tune in to the tastemakers show on the BBC.

When the album was officially released in Aotearoa, in May 05, it shipped Gold on the first day, and made history as the first independently distributed album to strike #1 on the NZ Album Charts. Off the back of the Tui Awards, the album reclaimed the number one spot again in November.

The long player album, on the verge of x5 Platinum sales in Aotearoa, has been released in Australia, UK, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, France, Italy and Holland to critical acclaim.

Fat Freddy’s Drop is first and foremost a live band, dropping the Freddy’s voodoo to all ages and nationalities, and winning Best Live Act at the b-Net NZ Music Awards in 2004.

On stage, Freddy’s fuse skanking urban Pacific roots, soul, dub, jazz and electronica into hypnotic and thunderous grooves. No two Freddy’s gigs are the same as the midnight marauders improvise and jam each song into mystic supernovas of future funk, fakes and freaky sidesteps.

Freddy’s regularly tours nationwide and to Australia and has completed critically acclaimed tours of the UK and Europe in 2003, 2004 and 2005, building on international partnerships with London’s Kartel Records and Berlin’s Sonar Kollektiv and Jazzanova.

Stand out gigs in 05: Shed 6 in Wellington and Christchurch Town Hall, the Worldwide Awards at Koko, Camden in December, and on the Northern Hemisphere Summer Tour 05; Big Chill, two sold out Freddy’s shows nights at Koko, a rawkus record release party at Café Moskau, Berlin and an electric show at the Popkomm Festival crowd at the Apollo Soul Festival at the lavish Theaterkasse Berliner Staatsoper.

The seven-piece family of musicians originally emerged through a multitude of musical incarnations on the Wellington soundscape, from funk jam bands, reggae soundsystems and jazz improvisation cliques to live techno experiments.

Fitchie aka DJ Mu is the Freddy’s bandleader and ‘Master of Reality’. He picked up Best Producer and Most Outstanding Musician at the b-Net NZ Music Awards 2005, and Best Producer at the b-Net’s in 2003. Fitchie’s MPC 2000 sampler is the core of the Freddy’s sound, as he mashes up fresh bouncing beats and bottom heavy bass lines.

Joe Dukie aka Dallas Tamaira is the lyricist and singing sensation. His stage name/alter ego is drawn from his father Joe, also a singer, and his grandfather, a musician nicknamed Dukie after Duke Ellington. Heavily influenced by Bill Withers, Joe Dukie’s lyrics are deep and his sweet vocals resonant and uplifting. Dukie was awarded Best Vocalist at the b-Net NZ Music Awards 2005.

The bootae shaking three-piece horn section bring the jazz and jive flavor to Fat Freddy’s Drop. The intricate licks of Fulla Flash aka Warryn Maxwell’s tenor and alto sax, intertwined with stabs from Tony Chang aka Toby Laing’s trumpet, come together with the wall of sound of Ho Pepa aka Joe Lindsay’s apocalyptic trombone.


Meeting at the Wellington Jazz School in the mid nineties, the horn section has been at the core of a new musical movement in New Zealand via popular NZ bands such as Little Bushman, Scribes of Ra, The Black Seeds and TrinityRoots.

Jetlag Johnson aka Tehimana Kerr holds down the roots and mind bending riffs for Freddy’s with his old school reggae guitar skank while Dobie Blaze aka Iain Gordon is the keyboard collector who serves up funkadelic analogue keys juxtaposed with baby grand piano and Casio.

Meals are a sacred pastime for Freddy’s, and Dobie Blaze doubles as the family chef. His culinary feasts keep the family from going hungry. Skinny bunch of punks they’re certainly not! As Fitchie says ‘the band that eats together stays together!’

Freddy’s HQ is affectionately referred to as ‘the beach’, home to Fitchie and Nicole Duckworth who drive the band’s NZ label and studio, The Drop. Literally 6 feet from the beach, the studio is situated in the basement of their home, a 19th Century Bath House on Lyall Bay and one of the oldest buildings in Wellington; New Zealand’s capital city.

Life at The Drop exists on ‘Island Time’ as the bros work at their own tempo, under few pressures from the outside world. 'Based On A True Story' was recorded, engineered and mixed by Fitchie at the beach over 18 months with breaks for live gigs around the nation and summer tours to the UK and Europe.

The production process was pure organic Freddy’s with the ten tunes evolving almost entirely live on stage and the arrangements then recorded and fine-tuned by the seven players in the studio. Fitchie escorted the final mix to San Francisco to master with George Horn at Fantasy Studio.

One of the first singles, 'The Flashback', 12” vinyl debuted at #1 on the New Zealand alt charts in early 2005. The tune spent weeks in the b-Net Top 10 charts as well as sitting on Kiwi FM’s ‘A’ rotate for more than a month.

The 12” b-side featured a stripped back version of 'Midnight Marauders' recorded live by the Freddy’s at the BBC Maida Vale studios in 2004.

The session that also featured 'Hope' and 'Willow Tree' was nominated for Best Session at Gilles Petersons Worldwide Music Awards 2004, and another track, 'This Room', features amongst an all-star line up on Gilles Peterson’s The BBC Sessions Vol 1, released October 2005.

The second single from 'Based On A True Story' is the 'Wandering Eye', feat ‘The Italian Reprise’ taken from a live recording of the party anthem in Locorotondo, Italy as well as the 'Wandering Eye' music video shot in a fish and chip shop in Grey Lynn. A remix by Auckland’s Submariner was released on vinyl only, and staying on the remix tip, Jazzanova dropped some fresh dancefloor phatness on 'Flashback' while The Nextmen put their signature on 'Roady'.

Fat Freddy’s Drop first grabbed attention on the international dance circuit in 2002 when the viny release of 'Midnight Marauders', dropped under the guise of Joe Dukie and Fitchie by Sonar Kollektiv’s imprint Best Seven, was canned on decks and floors from London to Berlin and beyound.

In 2003 Freddy’s released their official debut on wax, a 10” vinyl featuring Hope a song that Dukie scribed to inspire positivity, spirituality and creativity’ that has became an anthem for a new generation, and b-side dub trip 'Bluey'.

'Midnight Marauders' and 'Hope' both scaled to the number one spot on Gilles Peterson’s top twenty Worldwide picks in 2002 and 2003 respectively.

The band’s original CD, 'Live At The Matterhorn', a raw recording of the band in one of Wellington’s many dens of iniquity, four songs in 80 minutes, went Gold with over 11,000 copies sold purely through word of mouth.

Dukie’s cartoon sketches bring the Freddy’s alter egos to life and link them closer to the bands namesake, Fat Freddy’s Cat, a character from US cult comic strip The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers. Too much Freddy’s!

Band Members:
Dallas Tamaira (vocals)
Toby Laing (trumpet)
Warren Maxwell (saxophone)
Joe Lindsay (trombone)
Tehimana Kerr (electric guitar)
Iain Gordon (keyboards)
DJ Mu (mix)

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