Swedish electro-pop mainstays Little Dragon have been around the block. The four-piece band first formed over a decade ago and in that time steadily rose to become one of the world’s biggest indie electro-pop acts. Touring in support of their fifth studio album, SeasonHigh, we spoke with bassist Fredrik Källgren Wallin about evolving band dynamics, love of music and inspiration behind their latest release.
Georgie—You released your fifth album, SeasonHigh, earlier this year. How do you feel about this record in comparison to your previous one?
Fredrik Källgren Wallin—It is different, but it is hard to pin down how. We worked a little bit with a producer for the mixing parts, and we have never done that before. We have also become better at communicating and making decisions. I think we fight less; it’s more civilized [laughs].
G—You’ve also worked on some interesting collaborations with other artists, but these tracks didn’t make it onto any of your albums. Was this a conscious decision?
FKW—It was a conscious decision; it is such collaboration between the four of us. We did have a friend who appears on the first track of the album – he’s an old high school friend, so that was very natural.
G—By not including your collaborations, despite the success of those singles, it can create an authenticity to the music you put out as a band, generating a specific sound fans can identify with.
FKW—You’re right. Less expectations as well!
G—Speaking of collaborations, what was it like to work with Kaytranada?
FKW—People tend to have kind of a romantic notion about collaborations but, funnily enough, nowadays it’s a lot of just sending files! I don’t think we actually ever met him – maybe once after a show – but it was just sending files and some boring communication. It’s not like you meet up and party, unfortunately; maybe that would be more fun.
G—You were nominated for a Grammy in 2015. What was that like?
FKW—Yeah, that’s very honoring. In some ways, it’s positive and negative. The Grammys are just a bunch of people who, you know, have certain opinions. I don’t really know what it says. I guess it’s some sort of recognition by their little club.
G—Little Dragon has stood the test of time and has stayed relevant by putting out five solid albums in ten years. How do you guys keep doing it?
FKW—The love of music, and we have such fun together. We have a pretty solid process. It’s a day job almost – we go to the studio Monday to Friday. Sometimes nothing happens with long periods of drought, and then a good idea comes. What keeps it going is coming up with something new that we haven’t heard before, that we want to hear.
G—That translates into the music that you make. How are the group dynamics after all this time? You mention there was less fighting during the release of your fifth album.
FKW—People mature or evolve over time. Now there are kids and families; it creates a perspective of what’s important. Before, we could have big arguments about sound in a song or a verse. Now we realize there are more important things. Not saying that we don’t care as much, but the discussions don’t make as big of a boom as they did before.
G—When do you feel the most creative?
FKW—It depends. Different ideas come from different moments, but often in the mornings when I’m alone. It can also be a sleepless night on the bus – on the tour bus – in the mind.
G—What was your inspiration for this latest album?
FKW—It tends to be where we are in life at the moment. Some of it is escapism. Erik and I did a lot of DJ shows where you can see how music can have a kind of effect, elevating yourself from everyday boredom or sores. People love to go out, dance, let go and get that high. I think that connection was a bit of the inspiration.
G—Lastly, who is your favorite artist at the moment?
FKW—I really like Chance the Rapper at the moment. Coloring Book is great; it’s seldom you can find an album where you can listen to the whole thing over and over. It’s a good time for music.
When asked to describe herself in three words, Nina Nesbitt didn’t hesitate. “Introverted, creative, and driven”. While you wouldn’t guess the former from her edgy, empowering tracks—her latest single “Loyal To Me” is a girl-power anthem, rallying women to ditch their unfaithful partners—the latter two can’t be questioned. In the six years since she was discovered in an unplanned encounter with Ed Sheeran, Nesbitt has released three EPs and one full length album; toured with Sheeran, Justin Bieber, and U.K rapper Example; and carved her way into the alt-pop scene with a harmonious blend of groove and grit. Earlier this year, the Edinborough-native was one of three emerging female artists chosen to partake in Spotify’s “Louder Together” initiative, recording the first collaborative Spotify single (“Psychopath”) with Sasha Sloan and Charlotte Lawrence, and showcasing her signature style of thoughtful messages pulsating atop hook-driven melodies. With her sophomore album ready to drop, Georgie spoke with Nesbitt about her experience being thrust into the spotlight and maintaining her creative independence throughout it all. G—You’ve been touring a lot this year, specifically in North America. How have your North American audiences been receiving your shows? Is it different than performing for UK audiences?
Named for the Toronto area they grew up in, The Beaches are a far cry from a placid day on the lake. Led by singer/bassist Jordan Miller—with her sister and guitarist Kylie Miller, guitarist/keyboardist Leandra Earl and drummer Eliza Enman-McDaniel—the Canadian four-piece burst out of Toronto with their 2018 debut, Late Show, and have since built up an aura of dissident swagger. Taking home this year’s Juno for Breakthrough Group of the Year, the all-fem rock quartet is bringing grunge, gloss, and 70s glamour to a predominantly male genre. Georgie caught up with Leandra to talk about the band’s latest music video, taking charge of their music, and three simple ways to keep women in the industry. G—Did you grow up together in Toronto? LE—Yeah, I met the girls in high school. Jordan and Kylie are sisters, so they’ve known each other a bit longer, but they grew up with Eliza in Toronto’s Beaches area. G—What kind of music were you listening to at that time? LE—We grew up listening to all of the music our parents listened to. That definitely influenced us while writing our debut album since we drew from a lot of the 70’s music that our
Tyler Shaw is going through a renaissance. After exploding onto the scene and the charts in 2012 with his hit single “Kiss Goodnight” and a wildly successful debut album that followed, it’s hard to imagine what the Canadian pop singer could possibly need to reinvent. But after two years of writing and exploring, Shaw has taken the reigns on developing a new album and a new sound that’s better in tune with his growth as an artist. Just before the release of his new single “With You”, Georgie caught up with Shaw over the phone to talk about his upcoming album, mental health, and the feelings he’s harnessed into a musical renewal. G— What were some of the biggest differences for you between making the upcoming album and making Yesterday? TS—Yesterday was more so “I’m a new artist, I don’t really know what I want to do. This sounds cool on my voice, so does this.” With this album on the other hand, I know what I want. I know what melodies I want to go to and what I want to talk about. [Yesterday] came out in 2015, and ever since then, I mean, you go through life experiences