Entec is delighted to renew its alliance with one of New Zealand’s greatest musical exports, Fat Freddy’s Drop, the eight-piece crew whose unique brand of soul-nourishing music is a fusion of dub and reggae with shades of funk, jazz and electronica. Shortly before starting a European festival run, the band visited the UK for a short, four-date UK tour that climaxed with an extraordinary London show for 10,000 blissed-out fans at Alexandra Palace where lead singer Dallas Tamaira, a.k.a. Joe Dukie, was celebrating his birthday and Entec delivered a comprehensive lighting package for LD Dominic Smith.
After a warm-up set from revered DJ Norman Jay MBE, FFD ambled onstage and set about whipping the crowd into a frenzy with ‘Shiverman’, ‘Roady’, ‘Blackbird’ and other select cuts from their four studio albums. It was the latest chapter in a story that began in Wellington back in 1999 when founder Chris ‘Mu’ Faiumu gathered some like-minded musicians to form a jam band.
Also from NZ’s capital is production manager Emma Jensen, a long-time resident of London who has known some of the band members since their youth. She commented: “They came over to play a show at Brixton Academy which had a few technical problems so I offered a few suggestions, at which point they offered me the job. That was seven years ago and it’s been enormous fun ever since, mainly because the whole team is one big family with no sense of hierarchy.
“They’re quite underground but not to the extent that you’ve probably never heard their music. They just like being slightly under the mainstream radar whilst having complete creative control through their own studio and record company, The Drop. Their manager, Nicole Duckworth does an amazing job across the board and they are all great people to work for.”
Led by Peter ‘Pepper’ Schofield, Entec’s crew – Leo Tierney, Tom Crosbie and, making her Entec début, Katie Flanders – assisted LD Dominic Smith in his quest to make the Ally Pally show one to remember. Due to other commitments, Smith’s presence on the current tour was limited to this one performance, although he has been at the helm of the band’s lighting design on European tours for the last four years. “I suppose the difference between this London gig and the rest of the tour is that the lighting has a much more bespoke feel about it,” said Smith, who co-founded event design company Neon Black with Bertrand Paré in 2012, and has designed tours and one-offs for the likes of Blink 182, Rihanna and Pharrell Williams.
He continued: “The band’s budgets are usually set by the local promoter so it’s usual for my designs at venues outside of London to be easy for a local crew to put together. At Alexandra Palace, however, there’s every reason to put on something special with much better definition because, budgets permitting, this venue does beg that kind of treatment.”
While many lighting riders for this show of this kind tend to leave a wide range of options open, Smith was quite specific with his fixture choices, as he explained: “I’m very respectful about how far I’m able to go, financially-speaking, and if a supplier isn’t able to match what is in my head, we will obviously have a conversation about alternatives. There is always scope for compromise. In this case, I knew precisely what I wanted and I was delighted that Entec could deliver.
“Creativity is one of those weird, intangible things and it’s hard to articulate what you have in mind when you come up with design ideas. My brain ‘sees’ music in a certain way. Music is my passion and my design starting point. When I listen to the emotions of songs, my ideas are driven by colours and shapes. Of course, some ideas will be practical but, ultimately, I’m trying create something that looks cool or appropriate to the setting.”