After tearing up the main stage at L.A.'s Hard Summer on Friday night, Swedish band Little Dragon headed off to Montreal for a gig yesterday at the Osheaga Festival and then moved on to Chicago to wrap up the weekend at Lollapalooza. Three major festivals in three days sounds either like one of those "priceless" Master Card commercials or a radio station giveaway. What music fan wouldn't dream of rocking the weekend away in three cities?
But the reality of getting from Hard to Osheaga to Lolla means Little Dragon won't see any music. "We see a lot of good airplanes," the band's drummer, Erik Bodin, joked to Rolling Stone in their trailer backstage at Hard Summer.
"We’re really thankful you get it. Most people just say,'Oh my god, that’s so fun,'" frontwoman Yukimi Nagano said. "It’s obviously fun, it’s great, but there’s another side to it."
Still, the quartet will gladly take the hectic schedule, and not just for the frequent flier miles. It comes with being in demand, which Little Dragon very much are at the moment. They just opened some dates for the Red Hot Chili Peppers and contributed to the new solo album by Outkast's Big Boi, both very memorable experiences.
Opening for the Chilis brought Little Dragon into unchartered terrain. "It was a new world to explore, hockey arenas, a lot of echoes," keyboardist Hakan Wirenstrand said.
"And then middle America is a bit different than where we usually play, from the major cities," Nagano added. While they were in different cities playing to larger crowds, even half-full arenas still brought in 7,000 people on most nights, and they found a positive reception. "The crowds were up for it, actually," Bodin said. There were some opening-act bumps, however.
"There are always some hardcore fans in the front, 'Where’s the guitar? There’s no guitar,'" bassist Fredrik Källgren Wallin said.
They had no such problems collaborating with Big Boi. Nagano contributed vocals to the track "Momma Told Me," and unlike most features these days, she actually got to work with Big Boi and not just his computer.
"We were in Atlanta and just kind of had a day together, it was one of those rare things where we met and had a vibe," Nagano said.
Little Dragon might make a collective appearance on Big Boi's album as well. "We produced one song that we gave to him," Wallin said. Since it's not their album and he is unsure if the track will make the final cut, he didn't want to give away the title.
After all their high-profile collaborations and tours, plus about five years on the road, the band will hole up in September to start work on the follow-up to last year's Ritual Union. While it's hard for them to work on the road, they have some ideas and sketches of songs already underway. And they expect to have it out in 2013.
"We try to keep it not having a timeline when we’re creating to not feel stress, but realistically probably next year," Nagano said of the release date.