Sweden's dream-pop outfit Little Dragon will play two shows in LA this week, kicking off the Natural History Museum's phenomenal First Friday Series, and igniting an ethereal dance party at the Echoplex on Saturday. In today's print edition I profiled the band, and talked with bassist Fredrik Wallin about some of the Los Angeles music he had been listening to while he was crashing in Los Angeles before their tour. He named a couple local luminaries that Little Dragon wouldn't mind collaborating with. Flylo, Dam Funk, Odd Future. They're all on the wishlist. He later told me how Sweden's governmental support for touring rock bands and community music centers–yes, that's right, community centers made explicitly so that kids have a place to rock out– have suffered under the global economic crisis. Read more here:
DT: Your music has taken off in the states seemingly because of your support in LA. How do you think L.A. has helped you launch your career in the states?
Fredrik Wallin: I would say the people at KCRW, like Jason [Bentley], Garth [Trinidad] and Aaron Byrd [had something to do with it]. They have been playing us since the first album, without it even been released in the states. Also the local promoters like Golden Voice and Club Mercy for putting up shows and Inviting us over. Not to forget the fans who really spread the love and the word about the music.
Back in Sweden, like the rest of the world, there seems to be a resurgence of pop. Robyn has been on the minds of American music critics all year. What do you think of the pop scene in Sweden? With your new music, are you trying to become part of it, or are you reacting to it by becoming jazzier or more experimental?
We are not trying to become a part of anything. We are just into making music and sounds that we like. I think that when you're trying too hard to fit in, you lose your identity. Sweden has an amazing and diverse scene, I can't explain why, but the socialist and welfare system definitely has some to do with it.
How have Sweden's social programs for musicians been affected by the global economic meltdown?
First of all, the times they are a changin'. We have had some cutbacks on the cultural sides lately.
Until a couple of years ago there would be rehearsal spaces fully equipped for kids of all ages.
This was awesome, instead of playing soccer with the jocks you could go and hit some drums and bass with the other nerds and punks. That would be in pretty much every town. I hope and guess there are still some left.
There are also different types of grants and tour support. We have applied for a few and got granted two different once, its like an extra nudge up the steep hill of making a tour go around.
Your home city of Gothenburg is a central hub for music like jazz and black metal. Why do you think this city is such a fertile place for musical development? And how did this environment influence you?
I think that when somebody is able to get out there and “make it” it is easier for others to see that its possible. There are also a lot of great players to play with and learn from.
You've been hanging in L.A. for a bit. What kind of music are you listening to? What kind of local artists or venues have you been checking out? Would you ever want to collaborate with L.A.'s beat music scene?
Just found this band called Odd Future from here, really like their sound and [TV on the Radio's] Dave Sitek is an unique artist and wonderful guy. Also working with bands like Nite Jewel, Dam Funk and Flying Lotus, would feel natural and fun.
What are your plans for 2011? Any new albums? Collaborations? Remixes?
We have an new album coming out in the spring so thats really exiting. Then just play and tour as much as we can. Hopefully get some great artists aboard for some videos.
Any more work with Gorillaz?
Don't know actually, just came of a three month long tour with them. It's been an amazing experience.You never know. We have an new album coming out in the spring so that's really exiting. Until then, we'll just play and tour as much as we can. Hopefully get some great artists aboard for some videos.
And of course, do you have anything exclusive that you'd like to share with us? Any BIG, exciting news?
Yes! We are playing some of our new songs in the set, so people will get a taste of the new album. Also the secret to the secret ingredient is that there is no secret ingredient.
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