Gothenburg, Sweden is a hotbed of diverse and escalating musical talent. From the mighty Soundtrack of Our Lives to idiosyncratic songsmiths José González and Jens Lekman, through to the unpredictable pop styles from the likes of Love is All and Audrey, not to mention the infamous black metal scene, Gothenburg now boasts the dynamic, organically soulful pop sounds of Little Dragon.
Featuring radiant vocalist Yukimi Nagano and her close high school friends Erik Bodin (drums), Fredrick Källgren (bass) and Håkan Wirenstrand (keyboards), Little Dragon stepped into the spotlight with the release of their first double A-side single on Peacefrog (home to José and Findlay Brown), ‘Twice’/’Test’. A former Rough Trade ‘Single of the Week’ and “universally hailed as a masterpiece of free thinking soul”, according to One Week To Live.
Born and raised in Gothenburg to a Japanese father and American mother, Yukimi says, “I grew up listening to American folk because of my Mom, but I’ve always had an affinity for R’n’B.” Meanwhile, keyboardist Håkan spent his childhood in the deepest, darkest woods of Smaland before moving to Gothenburg, hearing a lot of Swedish folk music, later getting into electronic and synth music. Erik grew up hearing early hiphop and jazz. “From time to time we have had to get side jobs,” Yukimi sighs, “but we’d rather stay broke, so we can concentrate on the band.” Their true vocation can be in no doubt based on this divine debut offering.
Yukimi has sung with Sweden’s electronica-jazz outfit Koop, and both Yukimi and Erik play live with José González. Erik also drums with Peps Perrson, a legendary Swedish blues/reggae artist. “We had an admiration for each other musically, and way before we defined ourselves as a band we were making music and hanging out,” Yukimi explains. “It’s like a family, and the band is our big passion. Little Dragon reminds you that when you're really creating music, it's like building a ship that will travel in a direction previously inconceivable”.
However, what unites these disparate influences is an undeniable swing and lightness of touch, braced with bass heaviness, borne from the intuitive connection between the band members that epitomises Little Dragon’s music. Unwilling to stick to definitions or reasons for why Little Dragon is what it is, Yukimi offers effusive and illustrative impressions, which is as good a way as any to understand this very special band.
“Maybe Little Dragon is a city,” she muses. “Blue traffic-lights, fast food-signs, neon, love, loneliness, technology – a city reflected in the middle of a vast ocean. The music juxtaposes tradition and intense knowledge of musical tools, with destruction, invention... blazing a new trail. I like to think of our music as dreamy, but not always in a pleasant way. Some songs are emotional and some more free and naive.”
Added by jeffreymcmanus on October 8, 2008