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A Chat with Little Dragon

Talking about atomic drum precision and band love. Interview by Will Colvin.
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Swedish electro pop outfit Little Dragon formed in 1996, and since then they've been on a steady upward trajectory with their constantly evolving mash of R&B, electro, pop, jazz and dance.

They released their slow-jam inspired fourth record Nabuma Rubberband earlier this year, and after a short Australian tour in August, they're coming back to play the Sydney Opera House in February, as well as a show at 170 Russell in Melbourne and a slot on the bill at Laneway festival all over Australia.

Playing drums in a unique electronic band presents some unique challenges, and the band's drummer Erik Bodin, manages to meet them with atomic precision.

"Honestly I remember, one day at work while I was driving a forklift, the boss had come to one of our shows and he said, 'wow, I think they should set the atomic clock after your beat, mate', I was like, 'wow, this is like pure love, for me, I can't take it'," said Erik.

Erik says a big inspiration on his drumming was 80's reggae, and emulating it's slow paced consistency has been a major part of his sound.

"I don't know, you could have it naturally, but it's definitely something you can practice, I was listening to a lot of jazz and there's not so much about being super-tight in that."

"But then I had a period where I was so sucked in to 80's reggae with the roots relics, and they're so tight and keeping a slow pace so consistently, I don't know."

"I just felt like if I hit every kick and every snare like it has a revolutionary message behind it, everything's going to… I don't know, haha."

I asked Erik whether there were any particular sounds that were integral to Little Dragon in the studio, but Erik said it's the opposite - they do their best to avoid getting attached to any one instrument.

"That's for us like, a danger, when you start to fall in love too much with one instrument. We'd rather go and find some cheap, 90's synth, that's more of a necessary ingredient, a new instrument to explore."

When Erik talks about the rest of the band, it's clear that he genuinely loves them as if they were family.

"We've known each other for such a long time. Me and Fred were in the same class in high school, he was so tall, and I was so small. I thought he was the teacher!"

"He was also one year older, when you're sixteen, someone who's seventeen can still be quite different."

"He was so grown up, he skipped school for a year and went to Iceland, he was a very inspiring eye opener to me."

"I was such a homeboy, I just wanted to be home and see my mom everyday, but he was such a confident lone-ranger."

"Håkan has always had the gift of being so patient and, he likes to build and create things and he's so accurate, he really takes his time."

"I'm always stressing for the final result, but he has this zen atmosphere around him. It makes him create a lot of beautiful things. He's building a little house where he lives now, he's very impressive like that."

"Yukimi, I've also known her since high school, she's a couple of years younger, she's always had this kind of mysterious drive."

"I don't know what it is, maybe she got it from her Dad, he's also an artist, a painter, and super passionate and completely, almost enslaved to their creativity."

So what can we expect from Little Dragon's upcoming show at the Sydney Opera House?

"We'll play a lot of songs from the Nabuma Rubberband record, I think you'll get the ever evolving Little Dragon appearing on the stage."

"Yukimi has been dancing so much, she's really becoming a spectacular entertainer, for me, I just sit and smile as we play, watching her."

"We always give our fullest anywhere we go, but the Sydney Opera House of course is sort of like a milestone it feels like, it sounds experience."

"My mom was like 'I saw you're going to play the Sydney Opera House' and I was like 'yeah but I'm sure we're like playing outside or in the foyer or something, I don't think we're playing in the…'"

"But as it turns out we're playing in the actual room! Yeah, we're gonna… we're gonna kick it, haha!"

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A Chat With Little Dragon
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