Interview \\ Little Dragon aren’t anxious anymore
Little Dragon want to see you dressed up as lions and elves. Ahead of their appearance at Bestival in the English countryside, Nina Fine chats to the band about their ambitious music videos and why they’ve chilled out about making albums.
\\ Five albums down the line, what are the main things you have discovered and learnt as a band?
Not much, haha. Time flies very fast and sometimes its hard to slowdown and contemplate on what we are doing. Ten years ago we would impatiently wait for gigs so that we could go out and do our thing. After years of touring the travelling part of it is not as exciting but it’s always good to remind yourself how blessed one is and not take anything for granted. Making albums has perhaps become less of a anxious thing but it still takes time to come together and agree and make everybody feel represented. One thing we learnt is that to be good at what you are doing, you must do it and not sit and relax in a spa all day.
\\ Where does the name Little Dragon come from?
It’s just an old nickname for Yukimi when she was too much hot tempered. It’s still there but not as scary for the rest of us.
\\ You played a dope set at Glastonbury this Summer. What do you set out to convey in your live shows?
This is something we think a lot about. We want to please ourselves and also please the audience. We know we have generated a little amount of tunes over the years and sometimes some of them get forgotten. We don’t want to end up being stuck with the same songs all the time. We also make sure we have a few songs where we can jam out. I guess we are partly a jam-band after all.
\\ You wear a veil when performing live; is there a significance behind this, and if so, what is it?
It’s fun to have things to express yourself with. A veil can help with making one a bit blurry and undefined and mystic. I guess that’s something we like.
\\ In terms of music making, does everyone stick to their instrument, or is it an entirely collaborative approach?
We mostly play all sorts of instruments, all of us. In the studio you have enough time to get it right even if you don’t know the instrument to the fullest. We all play keyboard and drums mainly. Then maybe someone is an expert in accordion or trombone, mouth harp or double bass.
\\ You recently released ‘Season High’. What was the drive behind this album and how has your sound developed?
It has in our ears become fuller and richer. The aim was to make a sometimes happy, sometimes slow and moody record — guess that goes for all of our records. But we wanted to somewhat celebrate music hence why we called it Season High.
\\ Let’s talk about your videos, they’re beautiful. What drew you to work with Ossian Melin on ‘High’? What’s the video’s narrative?
We love videos but have over the years felt that the expectations have been too big. Sometimes one spends too much money on a video; the bigger the investment the bigger fear of being disappointed. Lately we wanted to keep the costs down and have more involvement in the process and decided to go local… always go local! We met Ossian Melin through Johannes Nyholm who also is local and made the video for Twice a long time ago. Ossian and his cameraman Alladin are very talented and we love their abstract ideas. For the High video we wanted to make a cosy, dreamy and romantic video with this old couple. In general we feel that there is a lack of old people represented in arts. We are very happy about that video. Ibrahim Kamara styled everyone also and it all turned out better than we ever thought.
\\ You’ve collaborated with some amazing artists and tastemakers. What’s been your favourite collaboration?
Raphael Saadiq has been a favourite. We haven’t actually done that much but we have sent over files then. There is a very deep talent in that man. Great singer, great bass player, great everything. For a bunch of Swedes it feels magic to dip into the world of soul music and meet some of our legends.
\\ You guys come across as really fun to be with, tell us about a fun moment on this tour?
Haha thank you! If there is pingpong table available we will turn that table to the centre of the festival. Long time no pingpong though but just the thought of a table makes me happy.
\\ What are you most looking forward to about Bestival?
To see the lovely Brits dressed up as lions, elves and other creatures, all wearing wellies and being completely zoned into the music.
JS | Nina Fine