Gigging with one of New Zealand’s top bands never gets old.
Fat Freddy’s Drop hits Queenstown for an outdoor concert this weekend and Tony Chiang, aka Toby Laing, says the boys can’t wait to head south.
Despite touring since the early ’90s, Chiang says they approach every performance with the same enthusiasm — albeit with a few more wrinkles.
“There are elements of travelling and spending time away from home that get harder and harder as the band stretches into our second decade. It does make it difficult but this is what we are used to.
“We are very committed to pushing this project as far as we can. It is a great ride and a great vehicle for all of our creative visions.
“Shows like this are what it is all about. Nothing gets tired with that, you just get better and better and it gets more enjoyable.”
The seven-piece reggae, jazz and soul band have had time to iron out creases. They’ve all known each other since they were 18-year-olds and have grown up and matured together.
There isn’t a natural leader in the group. Everyone gets stuck in — from producing tracks, to deciding what they’ll perform.
Chiang: “It really is a collaboration and every album is different. Usually [it is] all of us working on various things in the studio and gradually contributing to a composition we are working on.
“We always find new techniques and try to add new sounds and new instruments — a lot of electronic instruments.
“We are using a lot of classic analogue synthesisers now and just upping the ante. When we come on to the stage we are trying to bring our studio – as far as possible.”
On stage, much of the music is improvised.
Chiang says that comes down to experience and knowing where his band members will take the tracks.
Experience also means they know how to deal with any issues — he admits there have been a few rows along the way.
“Sometimes we will go to Europe for six weeks at a time and travel around in a bus. So it is sometimes constant bickering. It gets to the point, at the end of the six weeks, everyone needs six weeks away from each other,” he laughs.
This weekend’s gig will feature songs from new album Bays. Don’t worry though — fans will also hear tracks from their extensive back catalogue.
“It [will be] very much a combination of different eras.”
Fat Freddy’s Drop, Queenstown Events Centre oval, Sunday, 4.30pm. Tickets $86.30