How good the feeling when you’ve jumped in the car with some mates, the sun is shining, the windows are down, and Fat Freddys are playing on the stereo. In New Zealand we are lucky to be able to take in so much spectacular scenery out on the open road and stop off at some pretty awesome destinations. For those overseas and not yet in the loop: this is what’s known in New Zealand as a ‘roady’.
Kiwi’s revere the roady – on the open road with family and friends, cruising along the coastline. Stops at the Fish n Chips shop, Hokey Pokey ice cream dripping from the cone, on your way to the family bach by the beach, a new years festival, or a ski trip up the mountain. And on the way there is no music that epitomises the New Zealand roady more than the music of Fat Freddys Drop.
The boys from Lyall Bay are notorious lovers of old school cars and produce tracks that are nothing short of musical tributes to the NZ road trip. ‘Roady’ of course being the most famous piece. Their most recent album ‘Bays’ also incorporates themes of freedom and the open road with New Zealand as backdrop. Take ‘Wheels’ and ‘Wairunga Blues’ for example.
Wheels is an experimental jazz tune that is perfectly accompanied with a slice of Kiwi road trip. Lead singer Dallas Tamaira’s voice is shifted front and centre at the climax of the song, emphasising that indeed “our wheels our turning”. Wairunga Blues is on par with some of Freddy’s best songs. There is a genuine swagger to the opening of Bays and a sense of adventure that kicks off so well. The first verse is something special:
Till there’s no more road to follow
Telephone ring without me
Cause I’m no longer home
From the river to the valley
These are places where I roam
From the mountain to the seaside
Where the children up and play
There’s a sun my friend
And it shines on me all day
Till there’s no more road to follow
No streets no traffic lights
Turn my music up I want to play my song
And everything will be alright
As well as paying tribute to the NZ roady, Freddys are also HUGE fans of food. And seafood in particular. ‘Cays Crays’, ‘Pull the Catch’ and ‘Fish in the Sea’ being testaments to their love of Kiwi kaimoana. It seems they can’t make an album without referencing their love of food. Always ‘something cooking in the kitchen’ as MC Slave drives home on the brassy party track – ‘The Nod’. When the sax and tuba kicks in towards the end, a comical and celebratory atmosphere is built and you could almost picture a food fight breaking out.
This is what makes their music great. Whether you’re cooking in the kitchen or out on the open highway, there is a song for every activity and every appreciation of Kiwi life.
The top 10 Fat Freddys Drop tunes for the NZ Roady
- Wairunga Blues
- The Camel
- The Nod
- Fish in the Sea
- Del Fuego
While I’m sure some die hard ‘Fred Heads’ will have a few qualms about our top 10 selection, you must admit that is a pretty decent playlist. Number 4 on our list really stuck out and surprised on Bays. Makkan is a soulful and warm ballad that sums up all that is serene about our little slice of paradise in the Pacific. This touch of the Pacific is another key theme in Freddy’s music, which shines through on other feature songs such as The Camel.
“And we come rolling from the Pacific to the Strait. Kick back the thunder from under, kick back in 808. Somewhere across the ocean, somewhere across the sea. I know the sun is shining and it’s good enough for me.”
For the team here at Roady Travel, the New Zealand road trip is not about ticking off a rushed itinerary. Nor about bungee jumps or Lord of the Rings tours. Rather, it is about relaxing into the laidback nature of Kiwi life out on the open road. Taking your time to really enjoy the stunning scenery of this great country.
There are many musical talents in New Zealand but none that epitomise the Kiwi road trip more than Fat Freddys Drop and their brand of hi-tek soul. Music that can’t be defined by a genre or category, but that is essentially New Zealand in nature.
Freddys on Tour 2016/17
As is normally the case, NZ winters see the Freddy’s boys take refuge in the warm European climate where they tour to countries with a respectable fan base including the UK, France, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Norway, Austria, Poland, Czech Republic and more.
Notably though, on their way home this year, they will be stopping off in South Africa debuting in Johannesburg and also making an appearance in Hong Kong at the Clockenclap Festival. This global presence is a real tribute to the quality of their music, which has earned them such an intimate and loyal following.
For us Kiwis, however, not to worry! They always have time for little old New Zealand and have scheduled in two shows for summer. One in Auckland at Villa Maria Winery and the other at John Davies oval down south in Queenstown. Make sure you buy a ticket soon if you’re planning a summer road trip, as tickets will be snapped up quicker than you can say – Cays Crays.