The swedish rock band Little Dragon are talking about their roots and Eurodance before unveiling their sophisticated album Nabuma Rubberband next 12th of May on Because music. This fourth album is a singular and sexy tribute to 90′s RnB with a over-synthesized dose of groove!
THERE IS A STRONG R’n'B VIBE IN YOUR LAST ALBUM DOES IT COME FROM SPENDING TIME WITH OUTKAST AND DE LA SOUL?
Yukimi Nagano: Both are great bands and we love their music. If we had to do a list of all the music we love they would totally be on the top of it. I don’t know if they directly influenced us on this record specifically but there is a kind of R’n'B touch on certain songs and Dave from De La Soul co-wroted a couple of tracks with me, so they did not influenced us music wise but participated on the lyrics.
WHERE WERE YOU IN THE 90′S?
Frederik Wallin: I was in Gothenburg
Hakon Wirenstrand: East Cost Sweden!
WHAT IS YOUR SOUNDTRACK OF 1996 WHEN YOU FORMED THE BAND?
Erik Bodin: Tribe Called Quest «Beats,Rhymes And Life» came out that summer
Hakon Wirenstrand: John Coltrane, Miles Davis, I was deep into jazz.
Frederik Wallin: In 1996, I had my very first love affair, I was listening to Stina Nordenstam, it is a very melancholic, fragil and dark singer from Sweden.
Yukimi Nagano: A lot of Jimmy Hendrix and Prince.
AS CITIZEN OF SWEDEN, THE BIRTH LAND OF EURODANCE MUSIC, PLEASE TELL US WHAT HAPPENED IN 1995 AFTER THAT DATE ALL THE TRACK ENDED UP IN THE SHAMEFUL CD BOX?
Frederik Wallin: May be it became too commercial, the record compagnies realized the hype and it became sold by greed.
Erik Bodin: I think it is the fault of the Danish Band Aqua, they killed it. Denmark killed the Swedish eurodance. (laugh)
SO DENMARK AND BECOMING MAINSTREAM ARE DANGEROUS! IS IT THE REASON WHY YOU RECORDED «NABUMA RUBBERBAND» IN YOUR ORIGINAL HOME STUDIO, ARE YOU SCARED TO LOOSE YOUR ROOTS?
Frederik Wallin: I think this is what worked for us before. The other albums were recorded in the basement. It was natural for us to be in the confortable, cosy homy space where you can cook some food and dance a bit.
HOW DID IT WORK? WAS THE PROCESS OF RECORDING OPEN OR DID YOU ISOLATE YOURSELVES IN THE BASEMENT FOR WEEKS?
Erik Bodin: We have an open workshop where we worked on sketches until we feel that we have enough material to make an album. And of course as we get closer to the end this is when we start to give a time schedual all together. The whole space before that is just a big scketch!
DID YOU INVOLVE OTHER PEOPLE IN THE MIXING OR DO YOU DO EVERYTHING BY YOURSELF AS D.I.Y DELUXE?
Hakon Wirenstrand: Yes more or less we control everything from the beginning until the end. We got some help from Robin Hannibal who gave us fresh ideas and then we have mixed it.
HOW DO YOU KEEP RE-INVENTING YOURSELF WITHOUT DEFINING YOUR MUSIC?
Frederik Wallin: We have a need to feel excited when we do something. We easily get bored if we repeat ourselves too much. We are always driving for something great. We love that kind of philosophy that jazz has to make it the moment.
DO YOU CONNECT WITH THE NEW JAZZ SCENE?
Yukimi Nagano: I am not so much into what the jazz scene has to offer today. What I have heard is not so interesting. It is more the philosophy that jazz has that touches me: expressing yourself and finding your own character in your instrument and your own sound, trying to touch upon, being free in your playing. So in that sense we are inspired but soundwise, there was those times when jazz was very progressive and right now it feels like people are trying to repeat something that was perfect. It does not feel very innovative as a style but as a philosophy it is interesting. The jazz that we like is not so modern, we like the roughter stuff.
HOW DID YOU JUMP FROM SINGING JAZZ TO DO FEATURING WITH DJ SHADOW
Frederik Wallin: I think that the music Dj Shadow comes from is very inspired by jazz, it derives from hip hop. But we never defined us as a jazz band.
WHEN YOU WRITE A SONG DO YOU START WITH A WORD OR A MELODY?
Erik Bodin: For me it is usually while pressing on new project on the computer . Then I wonder how should I name it? Then I ask myself why should I give it a name and then it starts with rhythm and melodies. But I hope someday we’ll start with something else?
Hakon Wirenstrand: A pulse!
Yukimi Nagano: A shaker!
YOU MENTIONED BEING FANS OF PRINCE, YOU PROBABLY HAVE HEARD THE STORY ABOUT HIS SPONTANEOUS JAM SESSION HE GAVE FOR FREE IN THE CAFE OF MONTREUX JAZZ FESTIVAL IN SWITZERLAND, IF YOU HAD BEEN THERE WHAT WOULD HAVE HAPPENED?
Yukimi Nagano: I would not have cursed because I have heard that he has lifeguards that tell you not to as Prince is a Jehovah witness.
Erik Bodin: I would propose to jam! (laught)
DO YOU THINK IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO MAKE IT HAPPENED?
Yukimi Nagano: I think it would be pretty epic!
Erik Bodin: If Prince says: «Let ‘s jam!» I would suit! But I think it is hard to force him into a jam,we are not that strong yet.
WHAT WOULD BE YOUR ADVICE TO YOUNG MUSICIANS?
Yukimi Nagano: For us it has been a lot of hard work and torment involved, especially when you are not doing something that is totally conventional, where it might not be that the label is calling you because they see in you all the right ingredients to make the next Rihanna or Cold Play. If you are not that, you are something different, usually it takes a lot more of hard work. So my advice would be stay strong to your own expression and vision. And a lot of grounding and work.
Erik Bodin: Play live, give a lot of shows, tour a lot. I think it leaves a strong impression on people when they actually see you in reality before hearing your music. And don’t take a bit loan on the house.
SWEDEN HAS A VERY STRONG MUSIC INDUSTRY EVEN IF IT IS VERY COMMERCIAL, DO YOU THINK IT WOULD HAVE BEEN DIFFERENT IF YOU WERE NOT FROM THERE? YOU WERE ON THE BIGGEST ENGLISH LABEL, NOW A FRENCH ONE, WHY NOT A SWEDISH ONE?
Hakon Wirenstrand: By chance we had an english manager so we got connected with the UK and and english label. Somehow Sweden is more or less a safe place if you compare it to a lot of other countries in the world. You can afford to spend time doing your music and we got a music education system. Personnally I started when I was a child thinking that music is my thing to do. When I was young I did not know about anything else but the piano, so I don’t think that it is that important.
IF YOU WOULD BE ON A BIG SWEDISH LABEL, WOULD YOUR MUSIC BE ABLE TO CROSS THE BORDERS? ISN’T THE SWEDISH MUSIC INDUSTRY TOO SELF CENTERED?
Frederik Wallin: There were a few bands that were able to burst out from Sweden like the Cardigans and Miike Snow. But what makes them big in Sweden was the fact that they were internationally known. Most people would think «Oh they made it in Japan or they made it in the US so they must be good».
YOU ARE QUITE APPRECIATED IN AMERICA, DO YOU SPEND A LOT OF TIME THERE?
Erik Bodin: Yes, but they are parts of America where we are not so present, but in the big cities of course we do!
WHAT WAS THE LAST ALBUM YOU HAVE BOUGHT?
Yukimi Nagano: Beyonce, there are some great songs on that album.
THE CONCEPT OF HAVING A VIDEO ALBUM IS GREAT , YOURSELF HAVE A QUITE CINEMATIC TASTE FOR MUSIC VIDEO, ARE YOU PLANNING TO DO THE SAME BUT WITH YOUR CLOTHE ON?
Yukimi Nagano: Sure if you can afford it, who wouldn’t? I think that most artists would love to have a video for each song. It is more about having the money to do it, the vision and the time. It is one of thoses things you don’t think about when you are preparing a record and touring, as you already have so much to do. I love the idea to have a video for each record, if we had a budget set out where we could work with the people that we want and do something creative we would do it.
Frederik Wallin: It would be even more cool if we had a lot of money to make a tv series.10 episodes that end up with a song
Hakon Wirenstrand: Or a 10 musicals based on each song! Ahah
ONE GOOD WORD TO KNOW IN SWEDISH?
Erik Bodin: «kärlek», Love, l’amour, it is actually very nice when you think about it, it is built upon on two words Lek is a game and Kär can be for a dear friend or a dear game. Wow that ‘s deep!
Pre-order the album on Itunes – instantly- po.st/NabumaRubberband
Physical pre-order: po.st/littledd2cAvailable in the USA on May 13th on Loma Vista Recordings
Available in the rest of the world on May 12th on Because Music/ Zane Lowe’s Hottest Record in the