Published May 23, 2014For all the collaborations Gothenburg's Little Dragon have amassed in the past few years, the electro-pop group have remained quite solitary. The band's name has been attached to a number of projects by Gorillaz, SBTRKT and Big Boi, but they've only recently opened up to collaborations on their own work, specifically their new album Nabuma Rubberband. As keyboardist Håkan Wirenstrand tells Exclaim!, even having somebody else mix the record was a big transition.
"We've never reached out to anyone before, so at first it was a test on our inner control freak," he says. "We'd send things, they'd come back and we'd be like, 'They don't understand us!'"
But after the initial frustrations of letting go, they realized the benefits of having outside help, both creatively and mentally. As drummer Erik Bodin explains: "We have high ambitions, but sometimes you sacrifice your brain and you come out a mad man because you've been thinking too much about tiny technical things."
The result is that Little Dragon's fourth album has a more varied sound, one that finds them exploring new territory within their synth-based sound. Within the dance-scape, the band absorb even more fragments of sub-genres such as house and trance. Furthermore, they continue to soak up blends of R&B and pop into the fold, something that the band definitely keeps an open mind about when writing new songs.
"Anything can be used in a Little Dragon song," Bodin says. "We try to not limit ourselves, because it's very boring that way. We try to switch it up as much as possible. There are no right or wrong answers, but having four people in a bad makes decision-making a lot easier."
At the core, Little Dragon consider themselves a dance and jam band, especially live, and cater to many fans, from "old music lovers to young hip-hop kids," as Wirenstrand puts it.
Bodin jokingly references a recent stint on daytime talk show The Queen Latifah Show as he points out their next demo target.
"Everything was in pastel colours and there were a lot of sweet old ladies in the crowd dancing," he says, smiling. "That's the next level of fans we need."
Nabuma Rubberband is out now through Loma Vista Recordings/Because Music. You can see all Little Dragon's upcoming tour dates here. They now include a Vancouver stop on August 27.