“Little Dragon makes pop music for folks who think they hate pop music” – NP
On the surface the quiet port city of Gothenburg doesn’t seem like it would harbour much soul music but the dreamy rhythmical shifting moody creature that is Little Dragon is one of the most interesting, and inspiring, sounds to drift over the Atlantic to our shores.
As part two of the adidas Originals Live Performances Series brought to you by We-are-awesome Events, the Swedish electro-soul foursome will be performing in Cape Town on the 31st of August and Johannesburg on the 1st of September 2012 with the support of local artists.
Close friends since high school, Yukimi Nagano, Fredrik Wallin, Håkan Wirenstrand and Erik Bodin have been making music together for most of their lives. In the years since, many industry heavies have recognized the fire. They’ve earned fans in Gorillaz (whose 2010 LP Plastic Beach includes two songs written and performed with Little Dragon), Raphael Saadiq (who invited Nagano to sing on his new Stone Rollin’ album), Erykah Badu (who calls the band “one of my favorites”), DJ Shadow and US heavyweight Big Boi. And it seems that the rest of the world is starting to catch on to what tastemakers have known for years.
Little Dragon built their name the old-fashioned way: slowly and through word of mouth. They all began making music together as friends in high school. “Our way of spending time together was listening to, or playing music,” Yukimi recalls of those days in the 1990s.
After moving in together at a Gothenburg art collective where they record all their albums, the group took the name Little Dragon—a reference to Yukimi’s fiery countenance during recording sessions.
The impact of Little Dragon’s first release, of which only 1,000 copies were pressed, was felt immediately in England, where it became an underground classic and Rough Trade “single of the week.” Thereafter Little Dragon produced their self-titled debut that offered a distinctive and wondrous visual aesthetic to go with its unique, enchanting sound.
Little Dragon’s second album, Machine Dreams, a more up-tempo set with ‘80s influences like Prince and Depeche Mode working their way into the mix, followed in 2009. Little Dragon went on to do collaborations with Gorillaz and the solo project of Dave Sitek from TV on the Radio.
Little Dragon kicked off 2011 with a headlining tour of the U.S. and a performance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon in March. Big Boi and DJ Shadow called to invite the group to work on new music. And in July they released Ritual Union, an album that finds futuristic, trance-like rhythms mixed with the soulful vibes of their debut LP plus upfront and danceable sounds of Machine Dreams.
While their recordings are always impressive, it is in the live setting where the Dragon really comes alive. Nearly as striking is the culturally diverse crowd that somehow turns up in every city to see them. “I think that’s kind of ideal,” Yukimi says of Little Dragon’s eclectic fan base. “That’s how, if I wished for a crowd, I would want it.” And no doubt, if that crowd could invent a band, Little Dragon is what they’d come up with.
Date: 31 August
Venue: The Old Biscuit Mill
375 Albert Road
Date: 1st September
281 Commissioner Street
Early Bird – R200
Pre Sale – R250
General Admission – R300
For more information and tour updates on the series, please go to here.