Enter the dragon

Interview with Little Dragon

Enter the dragon

19-02-2014 | 14.05

Little Dragon is the first band I’ve ever interviewed. Normally talking to dj’s, there’s not that much to arrange, since most of them don’t have dedicated agents and managers you have to pass by. Little Dragon went a bit different though. But after four tries (!) I finally got a hold of one of the Dragons: Fredrik, the bass player. In May, Little Dragon will release their 4th studio album: Nabuma Rubberband.
The Nabuma Rubberband album-tease you placed on Youtube sounds quite explosive, where is it from?
It is quite a tease indeed. We didn’t want to give away too much, so we figured this 20-second teaser would be just right. People are reacting very excited, which means we did a good job. The sample is taken from our first single of the album, ‘Klapp Klapp’, which is available this month. 
Could you describe the sound of the new album?
I would say it’s more sonic and also more focussed on the song writing. Yukimi really challenged herself to step up her lyrics. She has done a very good job on that, it sounds amazing. I think that, on the previous albums, playing live often influenced us. One of our albums was very up-tempo because of all the shows we did. Now, since we took a year off, the songs appear dreamier and more romantic. We only did three shows in November and I did a few dj-gigs with Erik. This was the first time we could afford to take a year off. Håkan has a kid, and Eric even has three. You don’t want to spend too much time away from them. It was really good taking a year off and getting deep into the studio.

I’ve heard that you guys care a lot about artwork and visuals, what’s the look of the new album?
It’s a bit subtler than before. The album has a dreamy, surreal look to it. Even though the cover is a photo. But unfortunately I can’t say too much about it.
Does it look like the Youtube tease?
Yeah, a little bit. 
Can you tell me about the name, what is Nabuma Rubberband?
I find it hard to explain the name; the title feels a bit abstract. On the album, there’s a song under this same name. The working title of the track was Nabuma because that’s an old friend of Erik, or an acquaintance actually. We started to play with the idea of creating a fictional person, like a figure, maybe a superhero or just somebody random. For us it’s a bit of a mystery as well. 
Near the end of the interview, I asked Fredrik what Swedish dj’s he’s into. Secretly hoping for a certain answer, I got exactly what I wanted to hear… 
Yeah! There’s this label called Studio Barnhus, Axel Boman and those guys. But also Genius Of Time, who are guys from Gothenburg, just like us. There’s so much more I could mention. As I said before, Erik and me do Little Dragon dj sets as well. 
What kind of stuff do you play, as a dj?
We tend to play mostly house and a little bit of techno, some old Chicago tracks. But it always has our own little twist on it. The club scene really inspires us. The body-dance feeling you often get in a club is hard to create in a regular venue. 
You played in Trouw once before with the band, how did you experience the place?
We’ve played there 5 or 6 years ago. I remember there were these really nice light sticks hanging down from the ceiling. The show we did was kind of a disaster though. The skin on the kick drum broke because Eric was smashing it too hard. We had to stop the show and tape it, which took way too long. Besides that, it was a lot of fun. I hope we’re able to exceed it with our next gig!

Text: Ruben Leter