With comparisons to everyone from Kate Bush and Björk to Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, it’s clear that Little Dragon has crossed genres in a way that even critics are unsure about. On the heels of their 2009 album, Machine Dreams, the band received praise for their more upbeat tempos and criticism for music that was still deemed not danceable enough. But Little Dragon isn’t done. The Swedish band hopes to release their third record this spring and with Yukimi Nagano at the helm, Little Dragon is sure to live up to its name and not fall to myths and fairytales.
Having met when they were young, the group—consisting of Nagano, Erik Bodin, Fredrick Källgren and Håkan Wirenstrand—has been creating music together for a long time.
“We met in high school and we just sort of started making music together pretty early. We had a pretty simple set up with my computer and a drum machine in a home studio,” Nagano says. “Basically, that was just our way of spending time together; just making music.”
Although the group had been creating music together with other musicians, Little Dragon didn’t take form until the four were living together in a collective called The Seal Colonie.
“We used to live together and actually that same place is now our studio,” says Nagano of the collective near Gothenburg’s central station. “We pretty much never used to go out. We would just be in that place and demo and write songs and cook food. We would be stuck there pretty much. But now we all moved out. It sort of got a little crazy. The space itself has a lot of history and means a lot to us, so we kind of want to keep it.”
It seems that moving out has kept the band from falling to The Seal Colonie myth.
“The history of that place is that there are a lot of musicians [that] just kind of hang around and wait for their gigs. And just sort of end up on the sofas . . . like seals,” Nagano says. “[Moving out] was something we sort of felt like we needed to do. We got really sort of locked in a bubble in there. Sometimes you wouldn’t go out for a week because you would just be stuck with making music. You would be jamming and you would just forget about all of your responsibilities. It’s just hard being creative in a bit of a bubble.”
Although living in The Seal Colonie isn’t ideal anymore, at the time it served its purpose: allowing the four to collaborate and create musically. Eventually that music caught fire and the four began recording together. In the studio, Nagano was nicknamed “Little Dragon” for her hot temper, fueled by creative frustration. The name stuck and now the band is recording a third release.
“We are making our new record this year. We are trying to get it out this spring,” Nagano says. “We think it’s going to be called Ritual Union. And it’s going to sound a bit different from Machine Dreams. It should be pretty obvious that it’s us. It has kind of a dream element to it. We haven’t released any tracks from it yet.”
Little Dragon will be making a stop at The Barn at UCR on Wednesday.
Little Dragon w/Billygoat at The Barn at UC Riverside, 900 University Ave., Riverside (West Campus Drive, Building 358); rside.ucr.edu/barnseries. Tickets $8-$15 general admission, $5 w/UCR student ID. Wed, Feb. 2. Doors open 7:30PM.