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Interviewed June 2009

Fat Freddy’s Drop

Soul/Reggae/Dub band Fat Freddy’s Drop burst onto the Wellington music scene in 2001 with Live at the Matterhorn, followed by the phenomenally successful Based On A True Story in 2005. In May 2009 the band released their second studio album Dr Boondigga and the Big BW.

Fat Freddy’s Drop are –
Joe Dukie aka Dallas Tamaira (Vocals)
Dobie Blaze aka Iain Gordon (Keys & Synth)
Toby Chang aka Toby Laing (Trumpet)
Hopepa aka Joe Lindsay (Trombone)
Fitchie aka MU aka Chris Faiumu (MPC)
Chopper Reedz aka Scott Towers (Saxophone)

Dallas Tamaira aka Joe Dukie aka the velvety voice of Fat Freddy’s Drop was in town recently so The Pulse had a chat with him about music, crayfish and the new Freddy’s album.

Fat Freddy’s Drop are strongly associated with “the Wellington sound” that includes groups like The Black Seeds and artists like Hollie Smith but you’re actually originally from Christchurch aren’t you?
Yep, from Christchurch, born in Parklands where I went to primary school before moving to Kaikoura at about 6… moved back when I was a teen… drifted around a bit after that mostly lived in Linwood and Aranui where I went to intermediate. I also went to Hagley for a while.
Were you always interested in pursuing music as a career? Were you into music stuff at school?
I was always into entertaining people … didn’t really click with music till a bit later on in life… have also done some acting stuff. I toured with Christchurch theatre group Pacific Underground.
Your family’s quite musical isn’t it? You’ve got a baby boy now. Is he showing any musical talent?
Yeah, my dad is an awesome guitar player and singer-songwriter. He lives in Oz at the moment, still jamming. My boy loves to sing and cries when I take the guitar off him.
You were involved quite a bit with Pacific Underground, which includes in its former members people like Oscar Kightley and Ladi 6. Seems like that might be quite a good training ground for people who want to get into the performing arts. What did you get out of being involved with the group?
Touring with P.U. was a great eye opener. I travelled all around New Zealand and I got paid doing something I really loved. It was awesome. Later we turned our schools tour "Romeo and Tusi" into a full stage production.
I got to work alongside some really flash actors and musicians. I learnt so much from that time it gave me the confidence to go out and pursue my goals.
The first Freddys album Based on a True Story was absolutely massive. The follow up Dr Boondigga and the Big BW has just been released. Do you feel much pressure for it to be as big as BOATS?
No pressure. It is what it is. I enjoyed making it and I’m sure there are a few people out there that will enjoy listening to it.
Fat Freddy’s Drop have their own label “The Drop”. What’s the advantage of having your own label?
Being a label means we are 100 percent in control of our music.
Dallas TamairaCays Crays, Pull the catch. You likes your seafood dontcha?
Yep, love my crays although I only eat the legs mostly. I think it’s because my family are cray fishermen and I can afford to be picky.
As a group the Fat Freddy’s crew seems to have quite a whānau vibe, but we all have issues with our family sometimes. Who in the band would fit the following –
Most likely to make you choke on your drink by saying something funny – Ricky the Gooch (part time drummer, very funny)
Most likely to make everyone late by sleeping in – that would be me holding everyone up
Stinkiest – Jetlag can be a bit funky (guitar player)
Camp mother – Nicole, our manager
Most likely to steal your food – Walter the roady
Most likely to forget to turn up for soundcheck – Dobie Blaze (keyboardist)
If you could collaborate with any musician alive or dead who would it be?
If I could collaborate with anyone it would be Bill Withers … he wrote awesome songs like “Lean on me” and “Ain’t no sunshine”. He would be my biggest inspiration I think.