For more than two decades, Swedish electro-pop quartet Little Dragon has defied both expectations and classification.
After first meeting at a Gothenburg high school, drummer Erik Bodin, singer Yukimi Nagano, bassist Fredrik Wallin, and keyboardist Hakan Wirenstrand have continued to carve out their own unique sound.
Drawing from an abundance of different styles, the Grammy-nominated quartet has felt at home on a variety of stages — from Coachella and touring with Gorillaz to upcoming appearances at the Vive Latino Festival in Mexico City and BUKU Music & Art Project in New Orleans.
And it will be no different when they play at the CRSSD Fest this weekend at Waterfront Park. They’ll be there to promote a pair of just-released new singles, Best Friends and Sway Daisy, and will be one of very few weekend acts not using a turntable.
PACIFIC spoke with Erik Bodin from his home in Gothenburg ahead of his band’s Ocean View Stage performance on Saturday night.
PACIFIC: How are you?
Erik Bodin: Good. Thanks. At home making music — just drifting.
CRSSD is one of a wide variety of festivals you’re playing/have played. The band has always translated to diverse crowds, but do you still make adjustments for each show?
When it’s a DJ-oriented festival, we want to match that — smash everything to pieces (laughs). At least we try. But, really, it is hard to keep up with the pyros and all of the stuff that DJs do these days. And we do want to keep up.
But I think in general, when we play a festival, we try not to be too aggressive. We want to be at our best and be heard through all of the noise.
And San Diego crowds have been very good to us. We love how down to earth it is there. It’s not this music industry center where everyone is trying to pose. It just is what it is.
And we never really make music with any other intention than to make ourselves happy. We’ve always been very open to everything — all sorts of weird music from all around the world. So it’s a blessing to think that somehow, unintentionally, people can relate to what we’re doing no matter what language they speak or where they’re from.
You spent most of last year touring. Do you work on the road?
I’m quite lazy when it comes to working on the road. I usually have my bike and use that to explore.
But I have been working a little bit on Ableton, which seems so simple to do on the computer. But we will see. I think there could be some new ideas worked out. But as soon as we get off the road, we start hanging out at the studio and it always leads to something.
We don’t really plan things out and we don’t really say, “Oh, this could be a direction.” We’re just drifting and exploring. We just have so much music to give. And not all of it fits in the Little Dragon box. So there could be some parallel projects coming as well.
It’s all just abstract and hypothetical at the moment. But of course there is also material that is ready and might end up on the next Little Dragon album.
What continues to inspire you as a band?
For us, making music is for our health. We would be so frustrated if we couldn’t make music, create and write songs. We would do it with, or without, a record deal. But we’re blessed to be appreciated enough so that we can do things like release music and tour.
You’ve notoriously gone into gridlock making decisions over albums. Has the process changed at all?
When it’s time to make a Little Dragon album, we all have to agree, and that is the difficult part of a democracy. “F**k! Why don’t you like my ideas?” (laughs) But we’ve all mellowed out. We’ve been far more hash to one another. But I think we all know that it’s not the end of the world now. I mean, hey, it’s just music.
CRSSD Spring ’18
When: Saturday, March 3 and Sunday, March 4
Where: Waterfront Park, 1600 Pacific Highway, San Diego
Cost: Sold out