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.
A few years ago, Danielle McTaggart was ready to throw in the towel on her music career. Now she and her husband, Drew, make up the powerhouse duo known as Dear Rouge and have two full-length albums and a Juno to their name. Known for their hook-driven tracks—and being “the nicest couple in Canadian music”—Dear Rouge just dropped their sophomore LP, Phases. The record recounts a season of emotional extremes for the couple, including winning the 2016 Juno for Breakthrough Group of the Year, and losing a loved one. We caught up with Danielle over the phone to talk about finding joy in music again, and the personal and public significance of Phases. G—On your website, you describe your style as “sinewy, hook-driven indie rock”. Where did that particular style evolve from? DM—I was always very into hook-y music with beautiful melodies. I grew up listening to The Carpenters and they have beautiful melodic parts, but I also always loved harder music and really rock-driven music. Bands like Metric or Yeah Yeah Yeahs or St. Vincent were hugely motivating for me, and I loved that these frontwomen were powerhouses. They’re very confident and trying to push the boundaries while
What do you get when you combine the start of a worldwide tour and the release of a highly-anticipated album on the same day? Ask Lord Huron’s founder and frontman, Ben Schneider, and he’ll say a pretty damn exciting journey ahead. The band’s third album, Vide Noir, released April 20, is already receiving accolades for its raw, lyrical storytelling from songs like “Wait by the River” and “When the Night is Over”. To engage fans at a deeper level, the band plans on creating immersive experiences that elevate the album’s narratives. Lord Huron’s tour includes a stop at Toronto’s Sony Centre on July 25, and at Osheaga in Montreal on August 4. Schneider spoke to us about his love of storytelling, Raymond Chandler influences, and what it was like working with Flaming Lips’ producer David Fridmann. G—You grew up in Michigan. Is that where your interest in music began? BS—There was always music on at our house, and I remember imagining the people the songs were about. The storytelling of songs is what’s always captured me most. As time went on, I was able to convince my parents to let me play bass in the orchestra, which led to me
Morgan Saint was born into a creative life. Upon growing up in Mattituck, NY with a family of musicians on her mother’s side and parents who worked in interior design, Saint graduated from Parsons School of Design in Manhattan, where she has lived for the past six years. With a major in illustration and a focus on photography and graphic design, Saint has executed a clear vision of her musical artistry. In 2017, at the age of 23, Saint released her debut EP, 17 Hero, on Epic Records. She is a storyteller at heart, combining all of her talents to reveal her narrative as truthfully as possible, one vignette at a time, as seen in all three of the EP’s videos, “Glass House”, “You”, and “Just Friends”. She co-produced each glossy, beautifully choreographed, and high-definition clip with Nathan Crooker, but the lyrics are all hers. They come from personal places yet are vague enough to be relatable. Her electronic pop is lo-fi, but you’ll most likely find yourself snapping your fingers to it. As Saint prepared for a sold-out show supporting Missio in Austin, Texas, Georgie connected with her to discuss coming into her own as a songwriter and