Highlighted by For the Love Of Little Dragon.
Andrew, fellow Little Dragon fan, fellow visitor to this here site, true gentleman, offered up this link to a interview both Erik and Yukimi took part in with Nyhetsmorgon on Swedish TV. As it’s on Swedish TV you can imagine that it is indeed in Swedish, so if you’ve got Swedish charms and understand what’s being said, be sure to let us in on the secret. Click on the image for the video.
“I don’t care if people have only heard the recent music,” Yukimi Nagano told The Huffington Post when asked what it’s like to see your 10-year-old band explode in a year or so. “But it is fun if people have followed the whole journey, or if they become curious and go back.”
Little Dragon’s music, spare yet mostly danceable, is a spacey blend of uptempo electropop and soulful vocals. It’s all held together by Nagano’s singing, though perhaps the most interesting thing about Little Dragon is how well they understand the value of the instrumental (on “When I Go Out” and “Please Turn,” for example, the vocals pop in and out like the here-and-there blares of a jazz master’s saxophone).
The band is Swedish, like Lykke Li and The Hives and Swedish House Mafia and Miike Snow, but to Nagano, it’s all just music. ” I think there’s a lot of interesting music coming out of Sweden, but I find out more abroad it when I’m abroad than when I’m home,” she said.
At what moments in a listener’s life does the band picture their music playing? “Definitely everything from people listening in headphones going to work and escaping, that kind of feeling,’ Nagano said. “But also at a party, cranked up, dancing. I think even if they’re contrasting scenarios, as long as it’s about releasing something and disappearing to another place, I’m okay with that.”
Little Dragon’s Erik Bodin’s Exclusive HuffPost Playlist
1. Cajmere – It’s Time for the Percolator
“It’s time to wake up!”
2. Big Boi – Shutterbug
“Now it’s really time to wake up!”
3. Cherelle – I Didn’t Mean to Turn You On
“Some funky American ’80s R&B.”
4. Bill Wyman – Je Suis un Rockstar
“A silly song but a beautiful beat.”
5. New Order – Blue Monday
“This song makes our bodies go crazy.”
6. Frank Ocean – Thinking About You
“This song is our last.”
7. Mike Francis – Survivor
“Sometimes lonely men in Italy get it right … sweet Italidisco.”
8. Fleetwood Mac – Everywhere
“Probably one of the most romantic songs ever.”
9. Slum Village – Forth and Back
“This song was played on repeat for a long while.”
10. Innocent – Addis Black Window
“Swedish hip hop from the ’90s!”
Little Dragon are one of our favourite bands at Electronic Beats. Off-kilter pop that you can dance and sing along to from a charmingly rag tag bunch of Swedish multi-instrumentalists, singers and percussionists. Straddling a fine line between cute and edgy Little Dragon are a unique proposition. With a new album Ritual Union due to be released later this month on Peacefrog, we thought it was about time we got back in touch with the band decided to take the chance to find out about some of their favourite things in an interview with the band’s drummer Erik Bodin. At side of the page you can also find our Slices video feature where we join the band in the studio to discover more about their backgrounds and approach to making music.
Hey Erik. What is you favourite song on the new album?
My favourite song on the new album is ‘When I go Out.’
Why is that?
I think mainly because it is so different and also that it means something special … we put it there just to show just for ourselves that we still are keeping it open for experiments and it is a song that is really far out for me. I think it stands for that curiosity that we really want to have as a big ingredient in our music.
A big bit of strangeness?
What is your favourite part of recording an album?
When you are still in that vague place where you don’t really know where things are going to take you. When you maybe you just have a drum beat and you starting to put down the harmonies and Yukimi brings in her stuff and that’s when you feel… you don’t really know where all this music is coming from but it is obviously coming from us but you are still excited and curious where it will take you.
What is your favourite place to play?
There are so many right now but I must say in general it is always fun to be in America and play just because there are so many good places to play. But the some of the most appreciative crowds have been in Poland and yeah in San Francisco. So, yeah San Fran and Poland.
What’s your favourite bit of studio equipment?
That will be the PC. A strong PC with the soundcard.
What’s your favourite website?
My favourite website… I was almost going to say Google! No but actually I must say YouTube, if that is considered to be a website.
Absolutely! If it has www it is a website
It is full of so much other stuff. I think it is magic the way you can find anything and discover so much new things all the time. Yeah it is a winner!
And who is your favourite Swede? Swedish person?
That would be Mum.
Who is your favourite Jackson?
My favourite Jackson. Yeah that would be Janet Jackson. She seems to be so full of surprises. I have never heard anybody do dirty songs like Janet. She seems to be strange in a wonderful way.
What’s your favourite dragon?
There is this monster called Katla, it’s a from Astrid Lindgren books. The one with the two brothers and they end up in this place when they die. They are both young and they die from some disease and come into another dimension. They made it nice in the ‘80s they made this Swedish film about it. It was very scary, it was a huge dragon, very scary but it was more of a monster then a dragon but I think it could be considered as a dragon.
What is your favourite way to listen to music?
Right now… I just bought the Tonium Pacemaker. I have a hard time to listen to music and relax so now I have a solution I can just listen to the music and mess with it at the same time. So it would be through that little DJ machine. Source.
“The creator of this video has not given you permission to embed it on this domain.” Someone doesn’t seem to like free publicity, but that’s okay, just click here.
If you’ve never heard of Little Dragon, it’s only because you haven’t been listening.
When the Swedish electronic pop-soul quartet first blew through Tampa in March 2010, they were an indie band boasting modest success. Their haunting single Twice was featured on Grey’s Anatomy in February 2009. Their second album, the bizarro ’80s dancefest Machine Dreams, was released in August of the same year. Oh, and somewhere during all that, Damon Albarn called.
Now, after tuning up for their third album, Ritual Union, with a return visit in March and spending the better part of a year touring the globe with Albarn’s Gorillaz, Little Dragon is returning for a third show at Crowbar on Tuesday. But even after sharing a caravan with the likes of Bobby Womack, Mick Jones of the Clash and the Lebanese National Orchestra for Oriental Arabic Music, playing an Ybor bar is hardly beneath them.
“I think we’re still kind of the same way we’ve always been,” drummer Erik Bodin said by telephone from Los Angeles. “We’re in a position where we can treat ourselves a little bit better. But playing for any crowd gives you such a high. As long as we have a stage to play, everything is fine.”
They’ve had quite the number of stages to play. When they’re not out averaging five shows a week on their own tours, they were opening for and playing support with the Gorillaz Plastic Beach tour, which traveled everywhere from Dublin to Hong Kong to Auckland. It was a big break for the Gothenburg four, whose music caught the ear of Albarn’s partner, Suzi Winstanley. She liked them so much, she told the former Blur frontman he absolutely had to work with sultry Japanese-American-Swedish lead singer Yukimi Nagano and her friends.
It was initially hard to get noticed outside the burgeoning Gothenburg music scene — although the group is adamant there’s no real scene there, despite being the home of brilliant acts like Fever Ray, Junip and The Knife. “There’s a lot of bands, but there really isn’t a forum for us,” Bodin said. “Everyone’s kind of hiding in their studios.”
Then came the real exposure: A shot on Letterman with Gorillaz. A performance of their own song Nightlight on Jimmy Kimmel. The interviews rolled in from there.
The group has banked plenty of artistic cred with its ubiquitous collaborations. While Nagano won her bona fides as a teen soul singer with Scandanavian outfits like Hird and Koop, Bodin, bass player Fredrik Kallgren Wallin and synth wizard Hakan Wirenstrand helped craft a sound that has paired well with indie-folk countryman Jose Gonzalez and London producer SBTRKT. Nagano has of late lent vocals to tracks by Raphael Saadiq and DJ Shadow.
“We haven’t searched out for any of this,” Bodin said. “We’ve been lucky to have a lot of really good artists work with us. You don’t have a lot of time but it’s worth it.” It’s worth it because work brings more work: The group’s next big workout will be with Outkast’s Big Boi. “We are going to meet him to see what comes out of it,” Bodin noted.
Coincidentally, Bodin credits another group performing in Tampa Bay this week for helping them get noticed: “I think the first time someone reached out to us was when we toured with TV on the Radio,” he said, alluding to their stint opening for the band in 2009. “We had a really good time; we really connect with them.” So much so that TV on the Radio guitarist and producer David Sitek invited Little Dragon to contribute to his 2010 solo effort, Maximum Balloon.
These side projects have naturally lent a progression to the band’s sound, which has shown a clear evolution from its eponymous debut to Ritual Union. While there’s no direct progression from the band’s soulful ballads to synth pop anthems to borderline off-key experimentation, the spare feel of its latest effort is definitely intentional.
“We wanted some songs that would leave a question mark. We wanted to put it out there so they don’t know what’s next,” Bodin mused. “We want to be unpredictable.”
That’s an easy goal for a band that took so long to break out — Nagano, Bodin and Wallin formed the group in 1996, but didn’t record for a decade — then found success so quickly. They’ve even added old classmate Arild Werling to help play support, although he’s missing most of the U.S. leg of the tour to be with his newborn child back in Sweden. Bodin said it’s entirely possible Werling may stay on for a fourth album, though. Considering Little Dragon’s recent trajectory, it’s not out of the question the arena shows it played with Gorillaz could one day be solo stints.
“We’re getting up there with the big, big crowds, and it’s special,” Bodin said. “A couple of years ago we would be scared. Now it feels like home.” St. Petersburg Times.
I caught this when it was posted moments ago by For The Love Of Little Dragon, so a big shout out to them for the find. Unnecessary sitenote: Yukimi Nagano looks like a f’ing rock star here. The evasive sunglasses worn indoors always do it, don’t they? A certain Julian Casablancas vibe going there, certainly.
“Going from crowds of 10 people in Galway, Ireland…” Oh, man. No one lives in Galway. Even Morrissey had a show in Galway recently which was held in what seemed like a school gym with the smell of chlorine in the air from the swimming pool next door. The east coast is where most of us hang out, that’s where the people are. Well, I’m very glad to see they’ve gone from 10 people in Galway to their next Irish venue having been changed to an even bigger venue to accommodate the demand. The band is growing.