Exclusive Interview: Little Dragon's Yukimi Nagano Offers Required listening for Swedish Psychedelia
The psychedelic pop sounds of Sweden's Little Dragon are a delectably danceable layer cake of juxtapositions. Far-out synths laid atop driving beats and basslines covered in the sweet iciness of Yuki Nagano's delicate voice. Their sound has gained momentum in Europe, and despite having no record label in the U.S., Little Dragon has culled a devout following in the States due to tours with TV on the Radio and constant radio rotation of cuts from their newest album, Machine Dreams. Tomorrow night, Little Dragon release their ethereal pop at El Rey Theater, but before then, enjoy West Coast Sound's Exclusive interview with Little Dragon's Yukimi Nagano.
(MP3, interview and Nagano's 5 essential Swedish bands after the jump)
Q & A with Little Dragon's Yukimi Nagano
West Coast Sound: Gothenburg is an industrial city, but it is home to many Swedish bands. Why do you think the city is such fertile ground for music?
I think people inspire each other and there are so many bands around. There is not a lot going on in our city, so starting a band and being creative is a good way to spend your time. Or you could always blame it on the long dark Swedish winters.
How would you describe the sound of your band, and how much does your sound reflect the other groups in Sweden right now?
It's electronic based with soul/synth/pop influences. I think even if it feels like we are in our own bubble we are still very influenced by the Swedish music scene. There is a lot of great electronic music in Sweden and of course pop music that inspires us. But we try to do something that we never heard before so hopefully it doesn't sound like what they're doing in the studio next door.
If your music could be the soundtrack for a movie, what would the movie be about and what would it look like?
Perhaps a sci-fi with a bit of mystery... psychic martians, their dreams, fears and love. It would be psychedelic with pompous nature scenes and gloomy old Swedish winter vibes.
Little Dragon does not have a label in the U.S., but has received quite a bit of air play. Our hometown station, KCRW has spun your songs pretty consistently. What led to your success? Do you think we are in a post-label era for bands? What advice do you have for bands looking to tour internationally?
KCRW has been such a big support for us. First show we did in the US was at the Roxy. We played there with no record out, no press, solely on the support from KCRW, it was a full house and we were a bit shocked. I think it proved the power of radio support. We have been back many times since.
Our tours are full of contrasts everything from the most rundown punk clubs to old theaters to proper venues. My advice would be to work hard and fight to get gigs and you will get better and better. Feels like the live part of the music industry is taking over.