Fantastic voyage

GAVIN BERTRAM
Last updated 10:00 19/12/2012
Fat Freddy's Drop

TRUE STORY: Wellington band Fat Freddy’s Drop love the summer festivals.

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After testing their new songs at the Sydney Opera House, Fat Freddy's Drop can't wait to play them to home audiences.

This summer's Winery Tour will see the seven piece Wellington band join The Adults and Anika Boh & Hollie for a jaunt around New Zealand vineyards.

The exception is the Dunedin event on February 17, which will take place at Forsyth Barr Stadium. Trombonist Joe Lindsay says Fat Freddy's Drop will have to practice their big stadium rock moves before heading south.

While playing in an arena may be a unique experience, the band is a well oiled live machine, having toured extensively in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres over the last decade.

Lindsay inveigled his way into the line-up a year after they formed in 1999.

''It was an interesting time,'' he recalls.

''It was a band I could see really going somewhere even at an early stage. I was really keen on the sound and on the ethos of the band and the vibe of it. I ended up being able to inject my own energy into it.''

From relatively informal beginnings, Fat Freddy's Drop quickly became a live favourite.

When they eventually released their debut album, Based on a True Story, in 2005, it sold well over 100,000 copies. Lindsay believes a number of factors were responsible for that success, including the fact the band built their audience slowly.

''You have to let people discover you in their own time,'' he says.

''You build a lot more loyalty that way. But I think we were lucky: we were kind of at the forefront of a renaissance of New Zealand music, with more people becoming interested in it.''

He says he couldn't go into a cafe for a long period without hearing the album. It was followed up with Dr Boondigga and the Big W in 2009 - another big seller.

The third record Blackbird is currently in the late stages of production, the finishing touches being applied at the band's own studio.

Fat Freddy's Drop has been approaching the album differently from their previous work, with the entire band recording together.

''We flesh out the body of the song together in a jam situation,'' Lindsay explains.

''We then come back and replace or add extra bits. A lot of the time the song lets you know where it wants to go, but some you have to beat into submission as well. It's been great being able to all play at the same time - it's been a much faster process.''

With Blackbird being released in early 2013, it will be another busy year for the band, but they keep their overseas touring commitments as compact as possible so they're not away from family for long stretches.

''I get to pick my boy up from school most other days and hang out with him a lot. I feel like if I have to be away for a month every year, that's the price I pay for leading a great lifestyle,'' Lindsay says.

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- The Southland Times

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