Little Dragon press photo

Little Dragon On Headlining All Day I Dream, Family Dynamics, and Their Latest Album

Known for their diverse, eclectic, and versatile musical prowess along with their chic style, the Swedish band Little Dragon consists of four members: Håkan Wirenstrand, Yukimi Nagano, Erik Bodin, and Frederik Wallin. 

Speaking about their evolution and musical growth, bassist and vocalist Frederik Wallin sat down with MP3 MAG to discuss Little Dragon’s growth, headlining the All Day I Dream Festival (ADID), and their plans for upcoming music. 

Little dragon photographed for a press photo

The group formed in 1996, with Wallin and Boden attending the same high school, and vocalist Yukumi Nagano joining in 2005, creating a profound bond and allowing each other the ability to sample new sounds and grow together. 

Through years of writing and practicing, the band locked in a foolproof system for producing and creating music.

“The guys kind of do beats together and Yukumi sits and also kind of co-produces and comes up with melodies, vocals, and lyrics. Then we bring it together and let it blend with everybody’s input,” Wallin stated, noting the band’s openness to musical experimentation. “I think we all wanted to try different sides. So, there’s been some vocal in there from us as well,” he said.

Wallin added to avoid getting stuck in repetitive patterns, different members try out different instruments and production techniques frequently. Wallin disclosed that the production process is a collaborative method. If one person likes how a track sounds, they are free to share their opinion and the rest of the group weighs in.

“It’s almost like growing up together. Also, working and traveling together, you get to see different sides of each other, so it’s pretty much like a family. We spend a lot of time together. Also, people change and everybody matures and sometimes it’s hard to take that in, but I think that’s inevitable,” Wallin disclosed. “As long as you communicate, you can always go past that thing, which we’ve done a lot lately. It’s a continuing process, but it’s mostly, I think, very special to work with the same people for such a long time because a lot of bands don’t really stick together.”

To illuminate Oakdale’s chapter of ADID, the festival kicks off May 12 and runs through May 15. The stacked lineup includes electronic acts like Lee Burridge, Oona Dahl, Bona Fide, Flowers on Monday, and Guy Gerber, with Little Dragon headlining as one of the few live bands scheduled.

According to the ADID website, ADID started with parties “on a baking Brooklyn rooftop back in 2011 and has since become an international sensation, spurred on by Lee Burridge’s signature technicolor emotionalism, the sort that’s all too rare in the electronic music scene.”

“Since we are a live band we play all the instruments and we’re always kind of open to improvisation. So a lot of stuff can happen. I think we’re just very excited to go back out on tour because, I mean, it’s been two years of not doing any shows,” Wallin said.

Due to the cessation of live shows the pandemic caused, Little Dragon has not yet played any numbers from their 2020 album, “New Me, Same Us”, live. The 12-track album offers a colorful, synth-heavy dive into everyday human emotions backed with calming instrumentals and Nagano’s soothing and crooning vocals. 

Nor have they played from their other new release: the three-track 2021 EP “Drifting Out.” The single focuses on Nagano’s experience in the industry. The song chronicles her rise to stardom and speaks about some lovers involved in the journey.

“Drifting Out” includes the titular piece and two remixes with features from Kelsey Lu, Jakob Koranyi, and Yo-Yo Ma. Kelsey Lu’s remix slows the original number, tacks on violin backing in the intro and distortion by pitching down the vocals throughout. Yo-Yo Ma and Jakob Koryani’s remix enhances the sentimental notes within the bittersweet tune. YoYo Ma’s masterful cello adds heightened tension with rapid crescendos and thoughtful decrescendos.

In addition to performing their new material, Wallin has high hopes for the California crowd. Heeding that California always has good crowds, he told MP3 MAG he expects the crowd to “create a collective” and match Little Dragon’s electrified energy.  

Little dragon posed for a press photo

Although the ADID audience will hear their newest music live for the first time, Wallin admitted it might not be too long before their next album drops. 

“We’re always working on a new album,” Wallin said. “It’s gonna be the best album. It’s interesting how people kind of tune into different frequencies of songs like this, cause we’ve done a lot of different songs and there’s always something for everyone. In some ways, it’s a bit more refined, a bit more produced maybe.”

With six studio albums and countless features, Little Dragon continues to expand their musical tastes. Beginning in July, Little Dragon will join Leon Bridges on his upcoming “The Boundless” tour for part of the US leg.