New Zealand soul powerhouse Fat Freddy’s Drop proudly present their new studio album, Dr Boondigga & The Big BW, which features nine tracks of genre defying music, born from Freddy’s live jams, fantastic voyages & many hours of beat reduction & sonic fine tuning in Lyall Bay, Wellington.
Dr Boondigga & The Big BW went straight to #1 of the New Zealand Music Album charts, having shipped Gold and hitting Platinum in the first four days. Two years in the making, the album is the successor to the band’s 2005 debut album Based On A True Story, which also went straight to #1 in New Zealand, reached 8 x platinum and won a raft of awards including Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide Album of The Year in the UK.
The success has taken the band around the world in 80 days an estimated 11.5 times since they first went to Europe in 2003, when Midnight Marauders (Joe Dukie & DJ Fitchie) was released as a 12” on the Best 7 imprint of Jazzanova’s label Sonar Kollektiv. Fat Freddy’s Drop have sold out gigs purely through word of mouth and played at the likes of The Roundhouse, London Le Zenith in Paris, Brixton Academy, Columbiahalle, Berlin, Sonar Festival in Barcelona, Glastonbury, WOMAD and the Detroit Music Festival.
“We’ve absorbed a few influences along the way: Berlin Bashment, Portuguese Top Forty, Tooting Bhangra Beat and Montmartre TV Shop Techno Hi-Life”, reports trumpet player Tony Chang on the musical stopovers of the bands creative process.
On their travels the Freddy’s have not only sampled pan-european music and golf-courses, done some sight-seeing and bought lingerie in Paris, they have cultivated a worldwide whanau (Maori word for family, extended family, friends). Invite a good dozen unknown Kiwi musicians you’ve never met, plus entourage, to stay at your 2 bedroom flat for an unlimited time, just because you like their 12”, you’re an official cuzzy, wherever you’re from. Fold out-sofas, directions to obscure record stores and underground clubs, reliable taxi phone numbers, unlimited access to unbelievable vinyl collections, connections & contacts, and a huge variety of delicacies and appreciation for the Freddy’s music from friends and fans worldwide and at home, have helped build up a network that makes it possible for the band to work and create following their own philosophy and style.
“There was no external pressure. Only the self pressure to naturally progress, improve & take the music somewhere fresh” says DJ Fitchie, producer and MPC technician, about Dr Boondigga & The Big BW. “We didn’t go in with any preconceptions. We’re better songwriters now and we’ve moved away from the big long jams that are better left for live performance.”
Freedom to follow their own ideas, has led the band to concentrate on running their enterprise close to home as the family owned and operated label The Drop. The changes that the music market has gone through in the last years, have both forced and enabled the band to keep control over the rights to their music and explore new ways of promoting and distributing more directly.
“We are not aiming at fast impact and high volumes, we’re after winning someone over as a fan,” says Nicole Duckworth, the band’s manager.
The fan as part of the musical whanau, internet and globalized culture bridge an impressive distance to the small island on the other side of the world. The band has in their otherwise minimal marketing campaign focused on creating a depth of content for their new website. WFFD Radiostation on fatfreddysdrop.com is the place “where information and music always hit first” in radio shows by Dj Fitchie and MC Slave who also appears as a guest MC on The Nod and was the director of Wandering Eye music video.
Slave has been on the road with the band and filming them since 2005. His takes, clips, snippets, live footage, video bloggs are collected and published next to Dobie Blaze cooking shows, music videos and other material on fatfreddysdrop.tv station.
“It’s our “gorilla” style opportunity to showcase,” says Nicole. “Deliver content directly is a reflection of independence”.
The band enjoys this creative freedom and draws upon the talent in the whanau, Riki Gooch, Rio Hemopo, Julien Dyne and Alice Russell to name just a few guest musicians on the album. Behind the scenes whanau that support the creative journey are as colourful as the band. Freddy “himself”, always charming and helpful at The Drop and answering fan’s questions from all over the world, is a surprisingly mean combatant on The Drop’s Street Fighter II station. Roady & handyman Whatdayamean always has the right tool to make the impossible reality, and pint-sized Nell handles Merch-Design with awesome style and anything up to 6 times her weight with amazing grace.
Otis Frizzell, artwork & graphic designer and a notorious New Zealand graffiti artist, is a long time friend of the band, “speaks Freddys, is into comics and had plenty of time to go stoopid on the details”. He’d met with vocalist Joe Dukie, who gave him some rough sketches and a crazy story about the mad scientist Dr. Boondigga and his sidekick robot Big BW, who abducted the Freddys to a secret laboratory.
“The style is somewhere between old English Whizzer & Chips comics and those crappy sorta pulp thriller/ horror comics… All fucked up like they’ve been in your folks garage for fifteen years and you’ve just gone to collect them ’cause your mum threatened to burn your shit if you don’t," explains Otis.
It remains unclear as to what BW stands for.