Little Dragon at Dour

Swedish electro pop group Little Dragon made Dour dance in the Marquee last Friday and we caught up with Swedish-Japanese frontwoman Yukimi Nagano just a few minutes after the gig to talk about new albums, getting high-fived by Beyoncé, of all people, and those Absolut Vodka sell-out accusations. 

Great gig. Did you enjoy it as much as the audience?

Yes, definitely. At festivals it always takes a little time for the sound to warm up somehow, but once it was there it was really nice.

Do you prefer playing at festivals or in clubs?

I like both. I like to have a soundcheck, which is better in clubs. But I love the spontaneity of festivals.

How’s the festival season going for you?

We’re playing quite a lot, mostly weekends. We just came back from Benicassim and tomorrow we are off to Serbia.

What has been your best festival experience so far?

I’ve had so many good festival experiences…so many crazy ones and so many good ones. It’s hard to say. But the first time we played at Coachella, that was pretty special. We were with Gorillaz on the main stage, a crazy moment. And when I got off stage, Beyoncé came up to me and said ‘Good job!’ which was very surreal!

Have you come across any exciting bands during the festival season?

We mainly see the bands that play before or after us, there’s not much time. But I really want to check out The Bots, these little kids who will open for Blur this summer. They’re only 15 and 19, I think. I don’t know if it will be my taste, but I’m curious.

Do you write songs on the road? Does it inspire you? 

I’d love to, but mostly not. The festival season means little sleep and  crazy flights… I’m happy if I get eight hours of sleep. So not really. I write when I’m at home.

Your last album was released in 2011. Are you working on anything new?

Yes, this fall we’ll start working on a new record. We already have a bunch of ideas. Everyone in the band writes and produces. We have a studio in Goeteborg and jam out there, look at all the ideas, pick the ones we like and then finish them.

It’s not that easy to put a label on your music, how would you describe it to someone who has never heard it before?

Psychedelic pop R&B electro, maybe!

You’ve released a new single this year in collaboration with Absolut Vodka. What do you say to those who criticise this as a sell-out?

We write a lot of songs and many of them don’t end up on an album. So in all honesty we didn’t write the song inspired by a drink. It was a song that we liked. But you know, we’ve been on a indie label and we need to survive – basically we need the money, I’m not gonna lie. But even if the presentation is super creative, people are still going to say it looks like a commercial. Of course we would love to never have to do anything like that again, but we are not ashamed of it, either. It’s not an album song but it’s a good opportunity for us to get something different out. We just had to do it.

Little Dragon has existed since the 90s. How have things changed in the music business over the years?

Well, now you have to play a lot of live shows to make money with CDs selling less. Every artist these days, unfortunately, can relate to doing some kind of collaboration with a company. Times are like that now. I hope they’ll figure out a way to change that because we all have our limits. We don’t want to represent McDonalds or cigarettes or something stupid.

The next issue of our magazine is pink – what’s pink music for you?

Nicki Menaj maybe, she had an album called Pink Friday.

www.little-dragon.net