The Dragon that Roared: WITH FOUR ACCLAIMED ALBUMS, SWEDEN’S LITTLE DRAGON IS ONE OF HIGHLIGHTS

Little Dragon will headline the Lightning main stage Saturday night
Little Dragon will headline the Lightning main stage Saturday night

Little Dragon is exactly the kind of group to play at Lightning in a Bottle during its transition period. They are not DJs and they are not laptop electronic noodlers. But this Swedish band uses the sounds of Electronic Dance Music, or EDM, as one color among many on their palette, and they incorporate just as much hip hop as they do jazz, R&B, glitch, rock, and ’80s textures. With singer Yukimi Nagano’s soulful voice the common thread through all of Little Dragon’s discography, the band has constantly evolved over its four albums, culminating in the dark tones of this year’s “Nabuma Rubberband.”

When we caught up with Ms. Nagano, she was waiting outside her Gothenburg apartment in Sweden, rolling suitcases to the curb, waiting for a cab to an airport to fly to California for LiB. (Can we just thank the wonders of Skype?)

News-Press: Do you see performing at an ostensibly electronic dance festival like Lightning in a Bottle as a diversion from your band’s usual scene?

Yukimi Nagano: From our perspective, or at least mine, there’s so much going on, we take it one festival at a time. We’ve heard about Lighting in a Bottle and that people space out and dance, so I have pretty good expectations.

NP: Have you ever gone to any kind of festival like this as a participant or a spectator?

YN: No, I’ve never tried it. I’ve played several festivals, but I’ve never gone as a participant. It feels like (I’ve been) boring. Maybe now I wish I would have!

NP: Have the Lightning in a Bottle organizers told you anything about your set and what you might think about playing?

YN: I think we’re gonna do a long set, longer than we’re used to. Usually festivals are usually bam-bam-bam, you get a minimal amount of time, and it’s about coming on full energy and going off even higher energy. But I get the feeling, from the vibe I’m getting so far, that we’re going to have more time to jam out and space out, which we really like.

NP: If not you, who in the group would be most likely to go to an EDM festival?

YN: Fred, definitely. He’s most likely to go on a trip by himself, or hang out longer at a festival.

NP: Little Dragon often gets remixed by DJs — your recent single Klapp Klapp got the Nosaj Thing remix treatment — or you’ve guested on records by producers like DJ Shadow. Is that a personal thing, like you know these guys, or do they seek you out?

YN: We love electronic music and even though we don’t really make house music, soundscape-wise it is one of the more innovative, forward-thinking styles. Even if the really good stuff is hard to find, it’s a kind of music that you get lost to, and that can inspire. A lot of DJs like our sound, so they like to remix us.

NP: Are you planning to stay at Lightning in a Bottle?

YN: We’re not going to camp because we have to turn around and fly back to Europe. Unfortunately it doesn’t work in our schedule. I guess we’ll just make the most of it while we’re there.

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