- Words Brittany Knight
- Photography Mous Lamrabat
Four-piece Swedish electronic group Little Dragon are back with a brand new album called ‘New Me, Same Us’, so we decided to fly high with the pioneers to dissect the new album...
The Grammy-nominated band who consists of Yukimi Nagano, Håkan Wirenstarnd, Fredrik Wallin and Erik Bodi had last released music in 2018 when they dropped their huge EP ‘Lover Chanting’ after just signing with Ninja Tune. Speaking about the new album and the return of the group, Yukimi tells me ‘’We are really excited, it feels like it’s about time.’’
When asked about the meaning of the album name ‘New Me, Same Us’ the band tell me “On a personal level it’s a feeling within the band. Feeling brand new as a person on the inside but you are still here in the same band. On a universal level it means as you change form and die and say you become dirt or grass, you’re brand new but still in the same universe.’’
This album is entirely self-produced and recorded in the group’s home-built studio in Gothenburg, they started the process of making it around two falls ago. ‘’We didn’t have specific thoughts or visions when we started creating it. We were doing beats and finding out ideas. It was later on that the process changed and we were more ruthless on how we acted with them.’’ After two decades together forming back in 1996, the band has experimented with their distinctive sounds often throughout the years. ‘New Me, Same Us’ sounds like it is their most cohesive and strongest album yet. This time round they tell me “We have stepped away from the demos. In the past, we have been very respectful to the demos but this time we re-recorded most of it. We trusted our bond that we could criticise and be more open to each other’s ideas. We were more like let’s try something new.’’
Little Dragon have collaborated with some of the biggest names in the music world including BADBADNOTGOOD, Gorillaz, SBTRKT, Flying Lotus, Flume, Kaytranada, Big Boi, Mac Miller, Future, Faith Evans and more. Despite the extensive list of artists that the group have worked with, they very rarely have collaborations on their own records. One of the recently released tracks ‘Are You Feeling Sad?’ surprisingly features the Grammy-nominated Colombian-American singer Kali Uchis. ‘‘It wasn’t a romantic story, It was through our label but we have been very open to having a collaboration on the song. When we first heard her verse it really complimented the track and lifted it to a whole new level.’’ The band explain “That’s not always the case though, just because you have a name on your track it doesn’t always mean it can do what she did but we were really excited about what she brought to the song.’’ The band also expects some remixes from the album to come out later on this year.
Little Dragon had also recently announced a huge EU tour alongside the album which was unfortunately postponed due to the current situation going on in the world. The band who are very eager to play their new music to the fans tell me ‘’We are rescheduling all of our shows. Once things are safer those shows will definitely happen. Hang on to your tickets, we want to play to you guys.’’
To celebrate the release, the band hosted a very special live performance of the album from their studio which followed with a Q&A from their fans. ‘’We were so excited to go on tour and play our music to people’’. This is why an online performance was so important for them to do. ‘’It was a perfect way of sharing something with our fans instead of playing the shows. Most artists are trying to be as creative as they can at the moment. There are so many limitations so you have to use your ideas to still connect with your fans. Despite the current situation people still want to listen to music and dance in their rooms.’’ Little Dragon are certainly making sure that’s still possible.
From huge collaborations to playing some of the most renowned festivals in the world such as Coachella, Bestival, Glastonbury and Lollapalooza, the list of the band’s achievements are endless. They find it difficult to pinpoint a highlight ‘’The feeling you have when doing a show is internal. Highlights in our career can be hard to name. It is about us 4 as a band together playing music, those moments where we really connect musically. It’s our relationships with each other which are the real highlights.’’ Although they certainly have memories which they won’t forget, The band’s first sold-out show was also a very prominent moment for Yukimi ‘We started the setlist with ‘Twice’ and the crowd was singing so loud I couldn’t hear myself. It was such an ecstatic moment I will never forget.’’ Fredrik describes ‘’One of the first shows we did was a tour in Ireland, there were less than ten people in the crowd. We played the best we could and we felt so in tune with it. That night 100% of the crowd brought our record.’’ The band go on to reminisce some huge moments including co-headlining a show with American rapper Flying Lotus at Los Angeles’ Hollywood Bowl, the unforgettable vibe when playing Glastonbury festival and performing at the Sydney Opera house.
The band’s album release is during the current global pandemic, so it would be hard not to discuss what the band are currently up to during these difficult times. ‘’We are just trying to stay creative. We want to share what we love to do with our fans and hopefully some new fans. We make music and that’s what we want to continue to do.’’ Their positivity shines through their voice ‘’We will also take this time to reflect on things and not throw ourselves back into a stressful place. That’s something to be inspired creatively by. This situation is giving us all a time to a reflect and that can’t be a bad thing.’’
We are still early on into 2020 and Little Dragon have so much more to come. The group are hoping to make some videos for the album and continue their creative journey but this time in their local town. ‘’We are using this time to work in our local scene. It is something we were discussing before our current situation. Usually, it’s ‘you have to be in this place for a photoshoot then to New York for a video’ but when really, you can do a lot in your home town. We have a great group of people here in the local scene to work with.”
Little Dragon seem closer as a band than ever before. Not only with their music but also to their roots and with their creativity. ‘New Me, Same Us’ flirts between pop, a whole lot of soul, R&B and electronic. With some dancefloor grooves, beautiful melodies, energetic beats and strong instrumental, this album is guaranteed to take you to your happiest place during these less happy times. ‘New Me, Same Us’ is out now so get ready to dance away in your bedrooms.