Self-Portrait: Little Dragon | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Self-Portrait: Little Dragon

The Graveyard Walker: A Self-Portrait of Yukimi Nagano

Jul 19, 2017 Issue #60 - Father John Misty Photography by Yukimi Nagano (for Under the Radar) Bookmark and Share

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We asked Little Dragon vocalist Yukimi Nagano to take a self-portrait. We also asked her to write a list of personal thingsinteresting facts that fans may perhaps not know about her.

The Swedish electro-pop band (Nagano, drummer Erik Bodin, bassist Fredrik Källgren Wallin, and keyboardist Håkan Wirenstrand) formed way back in 1996, when the members were still in high school together, but didn’t release their self-titled debut album until 2007. The band’s new album, Season High, the follow-up to 2014’s Nabuma Rubberband, was co-produced and mixed by Little Dragon and James Ford in the band’s hometown of Gothenburg. It once again finds the band creatively melding a variety of influencesfrom ‘80s pop and R&B to ‘90s club music and dream popall given a very fresh, sensual, and contemporary sheen, often coupled with an infectious and danceable beat.

Nagano was born in Gothenburg to a Japanese father and Swedish/American mother. As well as fronting Little Dragon for two decades and five albums, she also co-wrote and sang on two songs on Gorillaz’s 2010 album, Plastic Beach, with Little Dragon also going out on tour with Gorillaz at the time, and has collaborated with SBTRKT, Big Boi, José Gonzélez, Koop, DJ Shadow, and others. Read on as Nagano talks about her complicated relationships with cars and alcohol, an important influence, a spooky hobby, and more.

1. I don’t drive. I will probably never own a driver’s license. In my hometown, Gothenburg, we have good public transportation. I love people-watching on trams, sometimes it inspires me to write. In the summertime I ride my bike everywhere, it’s a freedom. It’s the perfect place to daydream. I find traffic and cars depressing. Probably why I will never move to LA.

2. I’m allergic to alcohol. My face turns bright red from basically any alcohol. Sometimes I order a whiskey and sip on it extremely slow. Those days I don’t have to use any blush! There is one wine though that I will happily turn bright red for almost any day, it’s a Japanese plum wine called Umeshu. It’s sweet and fruity, kind of like drinking candy. But I basically only drink it when I’m in Japan. Thinking about it is making me miss Japan right now!

3. My middle name is Eleanor, after my grandma Eleanor Brown. She has been a very important influence in my life. I lived with her for a year when I was 11 in California. My grandma loves music. She would get a chair and sit outside my room and listen to me sing. It embarrassed me when I finally found her sitting there leaning towards the door of my old room. She always encouraged me though. We share a deep love for music. I feel proud to be named after her.

4. One of my favorite albums ever is Sign o’ the Times by Prince. I cried when he passed away. It seemed so off and surreal that he would die. I guess some idols just feel immortal. I don’t think I have ever really been a fan of any other artist as I am of Prince. Something about the freedom he represents and how he really did his thing and, of course, on top of that, wrote so many bad ass tunes. Some of the least famous ones are my favs.

5. I have a tendency to play the same song over and over and over again. I probably need more tracklists in my life. I zone in hard. At the moment it’s “Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac. The guys in the band are like, “Still!!” I wish it were something more original. But that song, in all its simplicity, just gets to me. I guess some songs just feel so good to sing along to. It’s like instant feel-good medicine. The guys in the band introduce me to new music and I’m grateful for that too. Okay, and Big Sean’s “I Don’t Fuck With You.” Yeah, I know, it’s old news, but it’s on repeat in my house.

6. I love walking in graveyards, it makes me appreciate life I guess. I read the names on the tombstones and wonder who they were and what their life was like. It just reminds me of everything I have and this moment. I wouldn’t say that I fear death or have anxiety for it. Of course I hope to be healthy and live a long life, but it’s just the seasons. It’s so easy to get trapped thinking about stuff that really doesn’t matter. Walking in graveyards clears my mind and gives me space.

[Note: This article originally appeared in Under the Radar’s Spring 2017 Issue (April/May/June 2017), which is out now. This is its debut online.]


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Jazdy dodatkowe gdańsk
July 20th 2017

He’s pretty good vacalist.