Interview: Little Dragon

Hailing from Gothenburg, Sweden, Little Dragon is like lemon sorbet to the ears – sweet and cool. Having only knocked about for a little while, the swinging-electro synth band has an enviable pedigree – the haunting vocals of Little Dragon’s Swedish-Japanese singer Yukimi Nagana have appeared on Swedish electronic jazz duo Koop’s albums and its drummer Erik Bodin also doubles up as percussionist for Swedish alt-folk singer José González Together with high school chums HÃ¥kan Wirenstrand on keys and Fredrik Källgren Wallin on bass, the quartet’s wistful self-titled debut released in 2007 quickly captured hearts. With dreamy follow up album Machine Dreams only just released, JUICE spoke to the lovely Yukimi about lemon sorbet and lot of other things that make her happy. Because you don’t want to see her when she’s angry…

Heya Yukimi. What did you have for breakfast?
Fruits and nuts with coffee on the roof of our hotel.

Healthy stuff! Do you engage in morning exercise as well?
Actually some of us went jogging this morning!

For exercise we brushed out teeth. Tell us, what are your earliest musical experiences?
I used to play piano with my mother. Fredrik went to an electric organ school and played with a lot of people on electric organs. HÃ¥kan played violin when he was little. Erik had a Casio synthesizer that he jammed with.

So you guys have been jamming since you were tykes, when did Little Dragon come together?
We lived together in a collective at one point, saved up money for some gear and started making songs. Finally we had a bunch of demo songs we were really happy with so we decided to be a proper band.

Why call it Little Dragon?
It was my nickname but in Swedish. Myth has it I earned it for having a bad temper.

Er okay, we’ll remember to always stay on your good side. Ever get overwhelmed with the direction you’re headed in?
Sometimes. We have had shows that have felt overwhelming and it is a real euphoric feeling when people know your music and are excited to hear it.

How different is Machine Dreams to your self-titled debut?
Machine Dreams is slightly more electronic, and maybe more pop than the debut. We were inspired to make more danceable uptempo songs that we could play live.

What do you envy about each other?
I envy HÃ¥kan’s beard, HÃ¥kan envies my voice, Fred envies Erik’s muscles and Erik envies Fredrik’s height!

We’re loving Machine Dreams‘ cover art. Tell us about it
The album cover is by Japanese artist Hideyuki Katsumata. We meet him through MySpace actually. We had a mutual respect for each other’s work and we found that his expression really added something to our sound. We love him!

In the bands 3 years of existence, what moments leap out at you?
There are too many, and they keep adding to it, plus my memory gets worse with time (laughs). Touring with TV on The Radio in the States was a blast and playing in China was a real experience. Too many good moments, no one takes the prize….

Any embarrassing accidents on the road?
Erik the drummer fell of the stage in Frankfurt once. We thought it was funny but the crowd was dead serious. It kind of made it funnier.

Ever been star struck?
Yes absolutely. There are a lot of artists we truly admire, Prince, Kate Bush…. If Michael Jackson rose from the dead and came to us we would be severely star struck!

What makes you happy?
Good books, playing live, releasing records, jogging, dancing, being in the studio, a good meal, spending time with our friends and families, and eating great ice cream!

JUICE is currently obsessed with fish crackers, what’s your obsession?
Lemon sorbet!!!

Yum! Remember to put it on the ryder then. Will Little Dragon be coming to South-East Asia anytime soon?
We hope as soon as possible!!

And what’s next for the band?
To keep touring, write new material for the 3rd album, make some more videos and enjoy life!

Thanks to Guy Trezise for the interview hook-up. Go say hello to Little Dragon at

Image Studio Seek