Little Dragon have finished most of the work on their fourth album and will release it in the spring, the Swedish group told Rolling Stone at a party in their honor Wednesday at Los Angeles’s Levi’s Haus. A few mixes are still in the works and the band is currently determining the tracklisting, they said.
The band started working on the album in early 2013 in their hometown of Gothenburg, Sweden following extensive touring behind 2011’s Ritual Union.
“I think when we started we had no vision whatsoever,” singer Yukimi Nagano said. “We just wanted to make the ball start rolling and just brainstorm ideas and see what comes up and then make plans thereafter. I think a lot of visions came through. Our sound is wide – it’s not just one particular style – so we dove into different worlds. New worlds, new spaces we haven’t been to before. There definitely are elements of sonically romantic tracks. It feels like there are different moods and we’re exploring ourselves a bit.”
Little Dragon added a string quartet to several songs, three or four of which will make the album, marking the first time they’ve collaborated with outside musicians. The string players, members of the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, could perform with the group in the future.
“It’s nice to see your music reflected on another musician,” drummer Erik Bodin said. “Especially when they come from the outside and you can see how they interpret it. It’s an honor.”
The band is also working with a few big-name mixers (whom they declined to name) on certain tracks. Until now, the musicians have kept every part of the recording process in-house.
“It seemed interesting to let go,” bassist Fredrik Källgren Wallin said. “We’ve never really had the opportunity before.”
Nagano agreed. “In the past there’s no way we had a budget to do that,” she said. “There’s always been a compromise somewhere. We’re happy with our mixes – all the guys are really diving in and honing their own mixing skills – but there are those people out there who only do this.”
Little Dragon will perform two shows in New York next week – October 23rd at the Bowery Ballroom and October 24th at the Music Hall of Williamsburg. For the most part, though, they’re planning to spend the coming months preparing the creative elements of the new album. Set to tour extensively in the spring, the band have several videos in the works, possibly including a short film for one of the tracks. The musicians already feel the urge to get out there and promote the new material.
“It’s going to be amazing for us, and hopefully for others,” Bodin said. “We’ve been – not tired of ourselves, but we really needed to make new music to energize the whole band. We toured for a while. This is our life and these are my closest people, and we spend so much time together, so giving us some new songs pushes us to the next step. It fertilizes us.”