Five (or more) questions with Little Dragon

Swedish synth-pop band Little Dragon formed in the mid-‘90s when vocalist Yukimi Nagano enlisted her high school friends drummer Erik Bodin, bassist Fredrik Källgren Wallin and keyboardist Håkan Wirenstrand. And then a decade passed before the group released its debut. But even if, in 18 years, Little Dragon’s studio discography is short (four albums, with Nabuma Rubberband out this year), the band’s list of EP, singles and videos shows that its emphasis is on immediacy and artistry. That, and the group’s members keep busy with side projects and collaborations including work with José González, Gorillaz, SBTRKT and Big Boi.

Little Dragon plays The Orange Peel on Wednesday, June 18, at 9 p.m. Lawrence Rothman opens. $20 advance/$23 day of show.

Mountain Xpress: You had to cancel your Moogfest 2011 appearance when your bass player got sick, but then your sound man helped out so you all could record a very cool Moog SoundLab session. Does all of that make Asheville a good or weird memory? And does it feel like a bit of redemption to be able to come back to a town where you had to cancel a show in the past?

Erik Bodin: Yes it feels like a redemption for sure! Last time was a weird one with a lot of drama. Actually, I was quite happy we didn’t have to play on that outdoor stage when the snow started falling. It’s time for a serious second attempt.

You’ve all be involved with a number of collaborations — how do those experiences outside of Little Dragon ultimately enhance the band?
It has made us more confident and open to try new ways to express our creativity

I love the idea that Nabuma Rubberband was inspired by Janet Jackson’s slow songs. What other sort of unusual sources (sights, experiences, art works, etc.) have inspired music for you?
We’ve been home for a year and a half making this album. So it’s been a long journey of experiences. But most of all we’ve been inspiring each other with our surprising ideas.

When you go down an experimental road like you did with Nabuma Rubberband, are you concerned with finding a thread that connects your new sound with previous material? How do you bridge the two?
We make a lot more songs than what’s on the album, so when we feel like it’s time to finish it up, we all get together and start producing on each others songs. That’s what bridges it all together, I think. That everybody gets represented and you get that Little Dragon sound. So far we haven’t tried to have a concept before starting, but maybe that’s something we will try in the future.

Since the album is a bit of a departure from the more dancey music of your past, how does that translate to your stage show?
It feels like since we have so many dance tracks already, it’s time to add some slower songs to the live as well. But we will see. It feels like the live side of things has just started after this long break writing the album.

Where did the idea come from to set up the website where fans could post their phone numbers and someone would call them back and play “Klapp Klapp”?
The idea came from our very creative marketing person at our label, Lomavista. We weren’t sure how it would turn out at first. But the result was very fun, we think. So far only good vibes from our fans.

About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall is the arts section editor at Mountain Xpress. She's lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs. Alli is the winner of the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and the author of the novel "How to Talk to Rockstars," published by Logosophia Books. Follow me @alli_marshall

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