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Fat Freddys Drop - Drop The Pressure

Author: Melanie Lewis
Monday, November 24, 2008

With the expectant wait for Fat Freddys Drop’s belated second LP almost over, the New Zealand crew are finally ready to relax and rock out at Pyramid Rock Fest and Days Like This! 3D’s Melanie Lewis spoke to keyboardist Dobie Blaze.

After the glorious reception Fat Freddys Drop’s debut LP, Based On A True Story, received, it’s hardly surprising fans are ravenous for the follow-up. Due for release in early 2009, sophomore album Big BW is a tantalising proposition, not least for its curious title. “Well…” teases keyboardist for the New Zealand septet Iain Gordon (aka Dobie Blaze), his laughter indicating he’s perfectly content being one of the few parties currently in on the joke. “It goes with the cartoon that comes with the albums, the ongoing characters, in particular this guy called Dr Boon Digger… he’s the master of the BW. I can’t say too much. There are more clues to come.”

The fact that Fat Freddys Drop even have a cartoon to accompany their recordings is evidence they enjoy a bit of fun. Another solid indicator is the star of their new film clip, The Camel; a joint project with UK songstress Alice Russell, it documents the travels of a humped animal of the coin-operated, supermarket variety. But while the beast of burden may receive its 15 minutes of fame, the real star is undoubtedly Russell.

“Whenever we’re in the same place at the same time as her, we’re always wanting to have a jam,” Blaze enthuses. Having known her for years, Fat Freddys Drop saw their chance when Alice was doing some shows in Australia. “It’s great that we got to do that, and probably all thanks to Australia that we got that track done. “I don’t think we could have afforded to fly her straight out to New Zealand from the UK.” As fate would have it, Fat Freddys Drop are in fact heading Russell’s way now; Their European tour kicked off at the start of November.

Fat Freddys Drop are touched that their music has been embraced worldwide. “We’ve been fortunate in that the music has actually traveled before us in a lot of cases,” Dobie offers. “We’ll go to Austria and someone will go, ‘Oh, some traveler gave us your CD.’ We’re always running into people who have been given our music by people we don’t actually know. It’s surprising; the world is, in some ways, a pretty small place.’”

Returning from the UK, they’ll enjoy a bit of a breather before heading over to see us in Oz, hitting Victoria for Pyramid Rock festival on NYE, flitting to WA for Fremantle’s New Year’s Day celebrations, then to Sydney for the Days Like This! festival.

Given its staggering line-up, with the likes of Morcheeba, Sharon Jones and Public Enemy jostling for your attention, Fat Freddys Drop are understandably delighted to share bill space. “I can’t remember everyone who’s playing on it, cause it’s just so overwhelmingly…” Blaze searches for an adequate descriptive, “awesome! We haven’t been to Sydney for a while. We played a festival out of town near an army barracks. That was a great day.” It was more of a rock band situation, he admits, “but it kinda worked.”

Nevertheless, Fat Freddys Drop’s working process remains as far removed from your prototypical rock band write-record-tour approach as it’s possible to get; they play for six years then go, ‘Hey, wanna make an album-’ “It’s a bit of a luxury, but we’re lucky to have that,” Blaze admits. “And I reckon at the end of the day, hopefully, the fans appreciate that too. Y’know, the people who discover the album will appreciate the detail of it, and realise that it kinda is a rare event. We certainly do. Man, when we put out an album it’s time to celebrate. It’s like, ‘champagne!  Time for champagne!’ We’re looking forward to that day.”

WHO: Fat Freddys Drop
WHAT: Play Pyramid Rock Festival, Phillip Island / Days Like This! at The Entertainment Quarter
WHEN: Tuesday 30 December – Thursday 1 January / Sunday 4 January