Interview: Little Dragon

little dragonWith an upcoming show at O2 Academy in Bristol in November, we decided to have a quick chat with Erik from Swedish alt-pop pioneers Little Dragon. Formed in Gothenburg in 1996, it wasn’t until 2011’s superb Ritual Union album that they really gained recognition. This year’s follow up, Nabuma Rubberband, distanced the band somewhat from their electro and dance origins, offering a more mature, ambient sound.

Your latest album, Nabuma Rubberband, has widely been recognised as less dance-oriented and more ambient than Ritual Union. Was this intentional, and what was the reason for this shift?

Not really intentional. We had a lot of time off making this album and explored parts of all kinds of genres. It just so happened that we had a lot of slow songs that we really loved and we thought – hey let’s rest our dance shoes and deep dive in to ambiance.

You formed in 1996, but it wasn’t until a decade later that you burst onto the mainstream (in the UK at least). Were you ever worried that this breakthrough wouldn’t come, or did you always have faith in your material?

As youngsters we were more worried about getting into art schools. But when we got refused we thought we would concentrate on the band. It didn’t take long before we found something we thought was exciting and that was basically at the same time as we released our first 7″ in the UK.

You previously played Bristol’s floating venue, Thekla. What are your memories of that gig, and are you looking forward to returning to Bristol?

Bristol is beautiful! Very interesting with that river or whatever it is going low and muddy at some times…Thekla was a nice, smelly, humid and mouldy little boat with a great crowd!

Do you have any strange rider request when on tour?

No…the only thing we ask for is a surprise.

The best surprise so far was a bunch of fresh spring carrots

Do you prefer playing individual gigs or festivals?

Gigs are far more magical with the chance of being more dynamic and intimate. But it’s fun being super loud at a festival also I must say.

What do you make of the current music scene in Sweden?

It is good, like it’s been for the past decades I guess. There is all kinds of music and innovating sounds popping up here and there. Swedes love music.

Read our review of Nabuma Rubberband

Little Dragon play O2 Academy Bristol on 19 November.

Conal Dougan