24 Jun 2023

The Mixtape: Dallas Tamaira

From Music 101, 5:00 pm on 24 June 2023

Fat Freddy's Drop frontman Dallas Tamaira (aka Joe Dukie) recently released a new single from his upcoming solo EP.

He chats to Charlotte Ryan about the songs that have shaped his life and sound.

Dallas Tamaira

Dallas Tamaira Photo: Supplied

D’Angelo: 'Brown Sugar' (Released in 1995) 

All of these songs are like my musical building blocks, that’s kind of how I’ve chosen the songs because it’s so hard to choose them. Songs that I feel like I really had to stop and think about what they’re doing, dissect it a little bit because it had blown my mind so much.

D’Angelo's 'Brown Sugar' was the first song from an artist that had blended the hip hop mentality - because I was listening to a lot of hip hop - with musicianship, with real proper playing with jazz, someone who could turn a phrase as if he was rapping but at the same time play this amazing solo on his keyboard. It was the first time I’d heard those two worlds come together.

Roy Davis Jnr and Peter Everett: 'Gabriel' - Live Garage Version (Released in 1995) 

Another important musical building block. I left Christchurch and I ended up in Wellington, and this was me moving a little bit away from hip hop, my tastes in music, I was enjoying going and listening to DJs and that was house music, that was dance music. I was enjoying the Wellington nightlife and the scenes that were going on there.

My Wellington experience culminated in a trip to The Gathering, the festival that they held down at Takaka, one of the first dance festivals. The first one I went to was the second ever. It was just amazing, it was choice. Something completely different and an experience that I’d never had before.

This song sums up the festival, the beautiful RnB vocals were there, but the pace was different and the bass was constant. I felt like some of the vocals were really rough and really raw, creating a beautiful dance mash-up, so it was really an anthem for that time.


Bill Withers: 'Who Is He (And What Is He To You?)' (Released in 1995) 

This was one, again, that really made me stop and try and figure out what he was doing. It was the first song that I felt like someone was just telling a story, a start, a middle and an end, this particular song was just super-funky, his delivery was bang on, he captures the mood with just the lyrics, his voice is amazing too and he sings and sounds beautiful.


Alice Coltrane feat. Pharoah Sanders: 'Journey in Satchidananda' (Released in 1970)

Another one I had to listen to over and over again. Doing a lot of improv stuff, musicianship is really important to me and so I felt the musicianship on this track was beautiful, but again, it’s the bass line, a really strong bass line that just sits and lays down a beautiful bed for all these different voices to come in and out and tell their stories.

Rhythm and Sound: 'King in My Empire' (Released in 1970)

[This song] started my love for dub music. I’d heard dub music before but Cornell Campbell’s voice, I just felt like it was the perfect combination, his voice and that music together was something a little bit different but something I wanted to try and emulate myself.


Steve Lacy: 'N Side' (Released in 2019)

Steve Lacy’s an old soul. This is a song me and my children listen to in the car when I’m dropping them off at school or to basketball practice. We sing this at the top of our lungs as we’re driving along.

This dude’s really clever man, his production techniques, his guitar is on point and he probably reminds me of like a Shuggie Otis, just re-incarnated.    


Dallas Tamaira on making the documentary Kaikōura Calling

Dallas Tamaira is just fine

Fat Freddy's Drop Tour Diary