In an era of flash-in-the-blogging-pan bands, Little Dragon’s gradual upward trajectory (they’ve been together since meeting at school in 1996) has stood out. Still, it sits with the sense that their rarefied electro/jazz/everything-but-the-kitchen-sink sound floats above the din by virtue of its originality. And yet there’s a bubbling sense that 2014 will be their year. The fourth album- as yet untitled- from the Swedish/American quartet (Yukimi Nagano, Erik Bodin, Fredrik Kallgren Wallin, Rashik Aryal) looks set to build on the cult success of 2011’s Ritual Union.
“We enjoy lots of musical elements,” Yukimi , 31, says. “There’s so many types of music that we love. From the monotonous beat in a club to the sad song you listen to alone in a room when you’re feeling melancholy and the super commercial track that’s fat, they all give you a different kind of high.”
On the new album the band have combined all these elements to great effect, case in point being forthcoming single Klapp Klapp. It starts with a jazzy sounding plucked double bass before a dubstep synth drops in against a Motown beat and Yukimi’s falsetto vocal topping everything off.
“That song definitely has a lot going on,” laughs Yukimi “it was one of the first songs in the recording session where I thought ‘we’re really getting somewhere’.”
To shake things up, the quartet decided to join forces with outside musicians for the first time. “Historically we’ve done everything ourselves. It’s been good to bounce some ideas off some other people.” The band collaborated with an external mixer (who they declined to name) because “it’s a big strange sometimes to hear the songs you’ve written objectively.”
Yukimi also got some help from Trugoy the Dove from De La Soul. “Historically I’m quite possessive about my lyrics but it was great to have someone to bounce ideas off,” she says. “As a writer you can be stuck in a rut using the same kind of vocab. Like ‘I’m using ‘fire’ and ‘wing’ under, oh no!” Have there been any specific things she has written about this time? “Well…I’m quite bad at being specific. I jump from one thought to another. But I guess it makes for more interesting songs.”