Little Dragon, a Swedish group that has consistently put out dreamy, uptempo tunes to keep us dancing, is the latest band participating in our For The Record program and will be signing vinyl at our Herald Square location (1333 Broadway, NYC) on June 21 from 1-2pm. We spoke to Yukimi Nagano, the band's frontwoman, to find out a little bit more about their latest record Nabuma Rubberband and what the band has planned for their inaugural U.S. tour.
Interview by Katie Gregory
Katie: How are you today?
Yukimi Nagano: Good! It’s a beautiful day. I’m home in Gothenburg.
How does it feel to finally have Nabuma Rubberband, your new album, out?
It’s amazing! I think we’ve waited for that time, and now it’s actually happening and it’s good to finally share the music with the fans and people—not just journalists and the label.
How long did it take to record the album? Because you’ve taken a break for the last couple years, right?
Yeah, we toured after Ritual Union for a year or two years and then I’d say we were in the studio for about a year, year and a half.
What has the reception been like? Have your fans been into the new music?
Yeah, it’s been amazing. [We’re] definitely feeling the love from the fans and even new people who don’t know about us, who have discovered us from this record. I mean, you’re always going to have those people who have their opinion with, "Oh the first one’s my favorite." Or, "Ritual Union was my favorite." But that’s just the world! It would be boring if everyone had the same taste. I don’t mind.
I saw on your Twitter that you retweeted Willow Smith who said she liked “Paris,” which I though was cute!
Oh yeah! Yeah, that was fun.
Was it easy getting back into the touring game?
It took a minute, for sure; I think just to sort of feel tight as the band. We needed to just throw ourselves out there and have some shows. I think we feel ready now.
I saw that you guys participated in “Tumblr IRL.” That show seemed really awesome!
Yeah it was really special actually; it was pretty crazy. We had a small space—it was maybe… 200-300 people capacity—but the line has two thousand people so it was pretty amazing. It was frustrating because we obviously wanted everyone who came out to come in but we were at least able to give everyone the comic. It was a special space because Brian Butler, who created the comic, also did our art installation in there. It was good to do something for the fans that was genuinely just from us so it was fun.
So that was kind of a one-off event right? And how about the comics? Would that be something you would bring on tour?
[The event] was definitely kind of a one-off, but the comic is something that me and Brian and the guys have talked about doing for a few years, but it didn’t happen until now. Obviously it made sense to do now because of the record coming out; I sort of kept in contact with him and waited for the right minute to be like, “Alright, let’s do this comic!” It all fell into place spontaneously but it was also something we talked about doing.
I saw all of the pictures online, and the actual comic looked so cool!
Yeah! And you know I really love comics and the stuff that they brought was kind of in the similar spirit to the Nabuma comics, so it had humor, it was surreal, it was fun stuff! I got in and bought a whole bunch of comics myself to read on the road or whatever.
I saw that you guys have been doing fun things around the album release, like the derby car contest for people to win tickets. How did that come to be?
It was something we decided to do! It was partnered with Redbull but it was our initiative to do it. All of the cars were really awesome. There were some really creative, fun fans who did amazing little cars. I was really impressed; it was fun. The whole idea was initiated by Adam Farrell from Loma Vista who has this really creative mind and he always comes up with crazy, interesting ideas. It’s fun when you meet those people who are like, “Hey I have this idea that sounds stupid and amazing!” And then it actually happened.
Do you have any upcoming festivals or shows that you’re looking most forward to play?
I mean, I think were just looking forward to so much. I think for sure doing the tour. I think we’re going to be doing our first U.S. tour in June. So compared to festivals that should be fun to be able to get into the zone a little bit and actually have time for a proper sound check. But I really enjoy playing festivals because of the other bands. You get to see the other bands and check out other acts and also get into the adrenaline of playing for a big group of people and people just come check you out and don’t know who you are. It’s a larger scale and more intense, but I look forward to both festivals we’re doing this summer but then proper shows as well.
I saw that actually both of your New York shows sold out, which is awesome!
It’s really cool! When we started we felt a lot of love from the West Coast in the U.S., especially L.A. and San Francisco. It’s nice to really feel the love from New York and feel it grow there. It’s a special place; I mean I really love going there and playing there.
What do you like to do for fun on tour that’s not musical related? Any rituals or places you like to go?
When we have the time, because we don’t always, we definitely like to eat good food—everybody’s kind of foodies. You want to get a contrast from your everyday so definitely like some beautiful nature, or a park. Erik is into speed skating on ice and weight lifting. Håkan tries to find the little weird gear stores where you can find some synth that is rare but hopefully cheap because they don’t know it’s rare. Fred is always looking for the best coffee place. I think it’s just sort of about finding that space to relax.
Do you have any music or TV shows that you’ve been into lately?
True Detective… I was pretty mesmerized and scared. Like, it really scared me! A couple nights there I was like, “Uhhhh… when I get up to use the restroom I might get murdered!” Fred is into Fargo. Håkan had a moment of Game of Thrones but apparently he’s kind of over it now [laughs].
Where do you hope to see yourself in the future with the band?
I definitely see us making more music and trying to challenge that—I want to do different things. I don’t know how exactly. Not necessarily collaborations with other musicians, but maybe collaborate with a painter, or make music for film. I don’t know, definitely creative stuff and staying inspired, and making music and kind of continue to make things that feel fresh, inspiring and new so you keep your mind on the edge and inspired!
Shop Little Dragon’s fourth studio LP, Nabuma Rubberband, out now on in the U.S. on Loma Vista Recordings, and in the U.K. on Because Music.