Drive through, a quick takeaway interview with the best in the music industry
You’ve probably seen the name Fat Freddy’s Drop blazed across every major festival headline for the last dozen or more summers. You’ve also most likely heard them playing in every surf-shack-slash-cool bar in every sun drench holiday destination you’ve ever been to. I know I have. FFD are as prolific as the sunset beer I so often pair them with, and that’s cause their sound just goes down so darn smooth. With four robust albums under their belt including 2015’s well-received Bays, the New Zealand seven-piece is back on the road this summer for a slew of international festivals and gigs.
Before FFD's headlining show at Lost Picnic Festival in Sydney this week, we had a takeaway chat to trombonist Hopepa aka Joe Lindsay about 15 years on the road as the world’s favourite funk-dub band, getting weird on stage and his unorthodox relationship with his instrument.
Where does your nickname “Hopepa” come from?
It’s kind of a play on words. The Maori translation of ‘Joe' is Hau, and then it’s ‘pepper’ because… I’m spicy. Hopepa. Dallas (vocalist) likes to give everyone nicknames.
I’ve heard your music in every corner of the world. What’s the most obscure place you’ve ever played?
We played in this tiny little beach town in Thailand. Wealso played at this crazy place up in the hills above Port Douglas in north Queensland for an eclipse festival. That was just in the middle of nowhere.
What’s your process before getting on stage?
Iron my shorts, then have a few shots. That’s about it really. Few stretches too.
What can we expect to see you wearing at Lost Picnic?
I’m just really loving sparkles at the moment. I’ve started gluing sequins onto my shorts and shirts and shoes. And I’ve got a sequinned cape too. I used to love wearing tracksuits on stage but I don’t fit into them anymore!
We all know you wear the short shorts in the band, but who wears the pants?
Oh definitely our missises. Whenever we’re umming and ahing over whether to book a show they go, “hang on, what are you talking about get on the road! Get out and make some money!" Haha.
What’s your favourite song to improvise on stage?
It changes from gig to gig really. The ones that have a more free form structure are good. Shiverman (from 2009's 'Dr Boondigga and the Big BW') has always been a fun one; it always starts with a really great improv. Something that’s great is having a really strong way of getting out of those sections too, you know, being able have a good exit strategy back into the song - that’s why Shiverman is good.
How many years have you guys been playing together now? What’s the secret to keeping the show on the road?
Too many. Over 15 years now. It’s a pretty long term relationship, probably one of the longest we’ve ever had. It helps being a larger group, cause you’re less likely to pick on anyone in particular. It’s a good dynamic.
Best festival you’ve ever played?
There’s one in New Zealand called “Splore.” It’s on the beach, and it’s always got a good quality lineup. I go even if I’m not playing.
What’s your rider like these days?
We’re just trying to pair it back. Lots of rum and lots of lime. And a couple of rotisserie chickens.
First thing you look for when you get to a new city?
Local eats really. A good golf course. And I’m always looking for somewhere to buy more stick-on crystals!
If your sound was a flavour?
If your latest album was a question?
Ahhhh “What are you up to?”
If your trombone was a women?
Oh gosh I’ve done some pretty rude things to it already. Pass.
What’s next for FFD?
We’re doing another festival in Melbourne in December, and a bunch of other events. And we’re working on a new record which is fun and scary. Just getting ready for summer really!
Fat Freddy’s Drop will play at Lost Picnic this Sunday October 15th. For more information and tickets, visit the website.