FAULT spoke to the Swedish quartet earlier this year at Way Out West, a local festival for the Gothenburg residents. We’re delighted to unveil our exclusive interview and photos from their inevitably effervescent performance on the eve of the latest single release. ‘Underbart’, the fourth single from the group’s fourth album Nabuma Rubberband, is out in the UK and internationally on 15th December:
It’s not often that I get excited about a festival. Long gone are the days where I want to spend a night in a tent, not seeing a proper hot shower in what feels like an age, and having to deal with tripping over mountains of mud face-first. By contrast, however, my invitation to Way Out West 2014 brought a breath of fresh air. A Swedish city festival in a league of its own, it prides itself in being fully vegetarian with a 30,000 strong crowd. Set in the ‘oh-so-pretty-it-hurts’ city of Gothenburg, the line up was one of the most exciting I have seen since the release of the Coachella lineup in 2012 (albeit post 2pac performing ‘live’ by hologram!). Le’s set the scene: Little Dragon, playing in their hometown, Neneh Cherry playing her first Swedish festival in over a decade. Not forgetting dynamic duo Icona Pop and electro heartbreak queen Robyn, performing with Röyksopp. It’s not hard to believe that so many of the incredible women who currently dominate the pop scene are Swedish, given Sweden has voted a feminist political party into European Parliament. And let’s not forget who gave us ABBA (for better or worse…).
Getting into the festival I rush to make sure that I don’t miss a thing . As I handed in my ID to get my pass sorted, I was greeted by a gigantic portal, beyond which lay the lair of Way Out West.
The first time we interviewed Little Dragon their second album had just been released, they had just toured with Gorillaz, and the world had not entered their Kaleidoscopic universe. This time we met them before they went on stage. Collaborations with SBTKT and Outkast’s Big Boi, who are also headlining the festival, have followed since that album, as well as everything from Boiler Room sets, to playing at a Givenchy Show in Paris. They count Drake and Damon Albarn as fans – after all, it was the latter who personally asked them to join Gorrilaz on tour after being introduced to them by his partner. Nabuma Rubberband, the group’s fourth studio album sees them collaborate with Dave from iconic hip-hop trio De la Soul.
There is something quite special about listening to Yukimi[ Nagano, lead singer]’s voice as it gently caresses the algorithms of synth-infused pop. A focused and unashamed parallel reality Little Dragon simply just make life all that much more fun, colorful and bouncy. It hard not to get dancing feet at the idea of seeing them play in front of a home crowd. But first there was the small matter of our interview to which to attend…
FAULT: This is your biggest home crowd, how do you feel?
Little Dragon: It’s our hardest crowd, we have all our friends and family, and they are always the hardest to impress. They’ve seen it all before! It’s like having the end of year school concert, like a Christmas gift to your parents.
You’ve managed to break out internationally, before breaking out in your home country, you’ve collaborated with some pretty big international names. Who’s been your favourite collaborator?
Håkan Wirenstrand: Hahaha! No favorite! I mean he is my favorite collaborator. (Hakan points at Erik) And that point about us breaking out internationally, we never really pushed it here in Sweden. And it was through this organic flow of distribution. It was actually Damons wife who first heard our record and then played it to him. Next thing we know we are being asked to collaborate and go on tour. That was a great collaboration. It was much more than just a song we did left on an MP3. It was a full tour, life long friendships.
How long have you guys known each other?
Erik Bodin: Oh! Quite some time! Hahaha!
How do Swedish people even make friends? They seem so much more reserved!
H.W: We are a little afraid of strangers. We are pretty closed up in the winter, and a little crazy in the summer. You know we talk to whoever on the bus stop!
Could you see yourself living outside of Sweden?
E.B: Or we could just dismantle the Swedish Border so that we are still in Sweden, but just not staying here anymore.
H.W: I wouldn’t mind a Mediterranean climate though.
Where do you go to unleash your creativity? How do you embrace your creativity?
E.B: In our brains somehow we carry the creavity inside us. We don’t really have to go anywhere specific to channel it out. It’s good to be very bored, and to stay away from it once in a while too. I like life here its simple, I have family I have here. You can make your creative lifestyle more of an everyday thing. You don’t need to travel to Hawaii or find yourself in India.
Who are you guys listening to right now?
E.B: I’m listening to Yung Lean. The rap and hip-hop thing seems to a good scene right now. I think its very healthy to break out and doing something different. Not just wear skinny jeans and do the whole indie rock thing.
H.W: We like Bob Hund.
Apparently Gothenberg is the Indie Rock capital of Sweden…
E.B: I thought that would be Linköping…
E.B: And you know down south in Malmo, they have a few freaks that really like to push boundaries. You know, that break all the rules.
Listening to the album feels like walking through a little dream, an emo electric pop dream. You all must so different to eachtother. You can hear so many influences
E.B: I think that it’s true we are all very different and have so many different influences. I think we like it that way too. We kind of started with just, you know, jamming. At a certain age we had a lot of time for jamming… For example, Hakan bought the whole synthy atmosphere into my life. You know? And it was very different for me. It was also very lucky that we were interesting in something that we didn’t already know.
H.W: I think it’s also a misunderstanding that I am the only one that plays the synth. It’s come to the point where all just explore eachothers instruments. And when we are trying to get an idea across. Sometimes we have to just head in and use whatever expresses the best. We end up influencing and inspiring each-other.
E.B: Everyone plays on his synths.
H.W: Maybe I have the biggest collection of synths. I’m building a little system, which I have been using on stage. That’s my most creative output. When you have to patch a synth. Its like opening your fridge, and trying to work out what you can put together and eat.
E.B: Like Kalles Caviar and keso [cottage cheese] on a banana…
Gosh, that sounds awful. I’m going to try and un-hear that now…
Little Dragon – full UK tour dates below:
Brighton – Corn Exchange – 17th November
Birmingham – The Institute – 18th November
Bristol – O2 Academy – 19th November
Leeds – Met – 21st November
Manchester – Albert Hall – 22nd November
Glasgow – O2 ABC – 23rd November
London – O2 Academy Brixton – 27th November
Oxford – O2 Academy – 29th November
General tickets available from:
‘Nabuma Rubberband’ available to download via iTunes: http://po.st/NabumaRubberband