Little Dragon perform for KCRW 89.9, 2009

This is an older showcase of performances by Little Dragon, playing three tracks from Machine Dreams at the KCRW 89.9 studios, but it may be the strongest example of their prowess as a live entity. The band are so tight (brought about in no part to Bodin’s specificity and the band’s undoubted work ethic) with a vibrancy and buoyancy all their own, and the transition from record to room happens without the loss of a single drop of the magic and dream like quality of the studio material. Go ahead, listen. Prove me wrong.

“Morning Becomes Eclectic”, November 3, 2009

“A New”

The rhythmic section is so taut (check 02:18 for the cool subtlety of a big band drum line), Yukimi’s voice is determined and soars in short bursts, and the synth is a frozen layer over bubbling bass. You can tell I like this song, can’t you?

“My Step”

We’ll allow Fredrik to own this sonic world. And check out that jazzy/electronic/dance breakdown at the end. A typical song structure with atypical sounds and a demanding length that fizzes by in a haze.

“Swimming”

“Uh, this next song is called “Swimming.”” The submerged dance floor anthem. Håkan’s keys are glorious. How are they not topping the charts? It’s an insult. It shall be their day soon.

Archive Interview: Yukimi talks influences and fashion

Thought it might be fun every now and again to post an old interview with some decent information to fill the gaps until we get Ritual Union news. This following interview is from BRM (www.beyondrace.com).

BRM: Little Dragon has been categorized as “electronica soul” in the past, with this retro sound so pervasive in the last album, what were some of the greatest influences for your band that helped create Machine Dreams?

Yukimi Nagano: I think we felt inspired by electronic dance music but also African music and all kinds of other styles we have listened to in the past. Our debut album had more ballads and on Machine Dreams we felt like we wanted to make songs people would want to dance to. But basically we would just meet in the studio everyday and create ideas in the moment without any grand plan and then kept and developed the ones we liked.

What is your musical background?

I grew up listening to the music my parents would play at home, everything from Joni Mitchell to Earth, Wind and Fire and a bunch of folk from the ’60s and ’70s. In my teens I was blasting a lot of r&b in my room but I also loved artists like Kate Bush, Depeche Mode and Prince. Now a day I’m listening to Erik’s (Bodin, Little Dragon’s drummer) house playlist in the van on tour.

Do you see a demographic trend in your fan base?

It seems like we have a really mixed fan base, from serious hip-hop guys, sound nerds, electro kids…hopefully anyone who is open minded and curious will find something.

What are some of your aesthetic influences, in your dress, cover art, music videos?

I’m a fan of Japanese art both old and contemporary. There is something very psychedelic and detail oriented about it. Hideyuki Katsumata made the cover for Machine Dreams. The whole band fell in love with his pictures. Felt like it fit our sounds perfectly, and there was something very traditionally Japanese about, them yet very original. My dad made the cover for our debut album. It was an illustration he had made in the seventies that I had loved my whole childhood. Both my father and Hideyuki have made illustrated videos for us.

Sweden has some great music video directors like Johannes Nyholm who made our puppet video for “Twice,” but also, Andreas Nilson is a big inspiration. I love all his work! We have been lucky to be able to work with creative people around us who we admire, like my close friend Ann Louise Landelius, who has designed a bunch of my stage clothes.