LITTLE DRAGON: Off the Wall
While some might say that Little Dragon’s sound is so unique— best suited for advanced ears who get their rare fusion (music that is usually reserved for Hipsters, Ravers and Electronica fans who shun the soon-to-be-dead-again Dance music craze), Little Dragon should not be slept on.
Words: Vanessa Denis + Aimstar
Image: Courtesy of Little Dragon
“We are just happy to have a audience, conventional or not,” says Fredrik Källgren Wallin, Little Dragon‘s bass player, who spared a few down moments from the band’s international tour to talk with us.
Since the release of Machine Dreams, their last effort, just two years ago, Little Dragon fans have been patiently craving new music, while the band continued to build steam. Quiet as kept, they’ve amassed quite a healthy following over the years, even if it appeared somewhat underground. And with all the buzz surrounding Ritual Union, their new album and its title track, Little Dragon is gaining in popularity above ground too. Just this past March, the group made their US television debut on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Try to buy a ticket to one of their shows, and it’s been sold out for weeks. You could almost hear Little Dragon fans exhale in unison worldwide when Ritual Reunion finally hit stores this week.
“We are thrilled and joyous about the fact that our ‘load’ has gained wide global expectations and distribution,” Fred says. Their influence has expanded tremendously and has even touched the world of Hip-Hop. Take for instance Drake, who added a verse to his remix “Wildfire” earlier this year, or Machine Gun Kelly who sampled LD’s “Twice” on his record “Lead You Home.” “It feels like the word about our ‘load’ [music] is really getting out there and some peeps want in on the formula,” Fred confides jokingly.
As for those musical influences that seem to inspire the band whether they are off on the road or when they’re home creating new music, that list is ever-evolving the quartet says. “It differs between us, but stuff like: Ariel Pink, Caribou, The Dream, Gui Boratto, Kate Bush forever,” Fred reveals. But for the most, the group is heavily moved by, as Fred puts it, “Music that is honest and psychedelic with a twisted beat or a simple humph humph!”
Yet even with all the love the band’s been getting lately, when scouring the Net for personal cues on the individual members of the group—Swedish-Japanese singer Yukimi Nagano on vocals and percussion, Håkan Wirenstrand on keys, Erik Bodin on drums and Fred on bass)—it’s pretty much non-existent. “First of all we are Swedes,” Fred explains. “It is not in the Swedish culture or manner to give away too much.” But the bassist implies that beyond those cultural nuances of their homeland and their need for the basic boundaries of privacy, there is a certain expectation within popular culture to know everything there is to know about a particular artist or personality, and that just doesn’t sit well with the group. “It’s not that interesting for us or to me at least. Let the work speak for itself, even though the truth is that it’s [the music has been] created by a bunch of chimpanzees or donkeys.”
Between their international spot dates where they play for audiences who simply need to fill their LD fix, the band still finds time to record in a studio in Gothenburg, Sweden, many of those tunes they do spontaneously. Up-tempo, with a slight Pop sensibility, packaged with an album cover full of wedding photos, it kind of makes you wonder what the band is all about. What are they really thinking? What is their process for staying so one-of-a-kind? Fred says, “It’s the mix between the four of us, inspiring each other, challenging each other and trying to squeeze the triangle into the square hole.” When it comes down to describing the band artistically, Fred is just as witty, brave, unusually attractive and clever as the band he is a part of. A band that should always have its place in the music pantheon. He says, “It’s padding the back off the donkey and holding a stick and wire with the carrot in front off it. ‘Good donkey, go donkey.’”
Image courtesy of Little Dragon.