In 2012 Little Dragon played a sold out SA tour and now they're finally heading back for the follow up.
The Swedish electronic outfit from Gothenburg formed in 1996 and consists of Yukimi Nagano, Erik Bodin, Fredrik Källgren Wallin and Håkan Wirenstrand. Four albums in, 2007's self-titled installment was a smooth jam imbued collection of soulful electro-pop; Machine Dreams (2009) and Ritual Union (2011) followed, injecting Little Dragon's slow burners with a hefty dose of dance-floor bounce; their latest offering, Nabuma Rubberband (2014), is a trip-hop force that earned the band a Grammy Award nomination.
And while it's good to see the Grammy's paying attention, Little Dragon's peers have known what's good for a while now. In 2010 Little Dragon teamed up with Gorillaz, then TV On the Radio's Dave Sitek and 2011 saw Nagano making guest appearances on records from SBTRKT, DJ Shadow, and Raphael Saadiq.
We had a chat with the band's drummer, Erik Bodin, where we spoke about Swedish pop, Vikings and Norse swear words.
Why are Swedes so good at pop?
We were put under a terrible spell a thousand years ago. Once upon a time somebody wanted to make something unique and completely break the Law of Jante, but the Gods were very unhappy and punished everybody living on Swedish soil. The only way to make up for our collective sin was to produce ridiculous amounts of hooky melodies and Ace of Base orientated rhythms. When the Gods decided that we have made the most meaningless three minutes of music the spell will be released and we can finally seek out music that has never been heard and can inspire the world to become a better place.
Until then we will just keep on doing that sweet pop music that we love.
Or something like that.
Sweden produces the most chart hits per capita in the world and 600 000 people sing in choirs over there. Why is music such a large part of your life up North?
I think it's more of the fact that we used to have a very good unemployment benefit system. Anybody could take a job, fire him or herself and have enough money to dive into music 24/7
and drink plenty of coffee.
You come from a place that’s top at health, education, civil liberties… a great quality of life. What does Sweden get right that the rest of the places you’re touring do wrong?
Not sure really. I think Sweden lacks a lot of what some of the more poor countries have. Plus we made a lot of money out of World War II selling iron to anyone who needed it, including Germany. That definetly gave us a good start with our social welfare.
Little Dragon has played together since high school, what’s the secret to having a relationship that’s lasted as long as yours?
We fight a lot instead of having somebody who decides on everything. So over time everyone has had a chance to express their egos and talents and that has made us fulfilled and happy.
Tell us about the home studio where you create the Little Dragon sound.
It's a bunch of PC's that over time have been accompanied by synths and drums and bass guitars and microphones. We each have our own space where we can do what we want. The studio is sort of an oasis where we can forget the outside world with all its boredom and stress.
How important is it for you to leave this safe creative space and then physically play your music for an audience?
50/50 for sure. No studio no live. No live no studio. Or something like that. We are all coming from the live music scene.
You toured South Africa in 2012 and played a sold-out tour, recorded a video and made a mixtape of our local sounds. What’s on your to-do list this time round?
I'm gonna be in Temba some weeks before the show participating in a big family gathering with my wife's family. It's gonna be sheep slaughterings and pap and tripe and all those things we don't really do in Sweden. I usually just watch the kids jive to update my grooves.
Which local acts would you most like to watch/have open for you/collaborate with?
I love Oskido, DJ Cleo and DJ Cndo. I feel like I've only scratched the surface and that there is so much more to discover.
What’s your most used Swedish curse word?
Fan helvetes jävla skit. Meaning: Devilish hellish satanish shit. But I stopped cursing a long time ago.
Tell us something we wouldn’t know about Vikings.
They once sailed across the Atlantic, way before Columbus, and ended up in America. But it seems like they weren't enjoying it and sailed back home again.