Hailing from Gothenburg, Sweden, synthpop band Little Dragon formed when three of its four members—Yukimi Nagano, Fredrik Wallin and Erik Bodin—were still in high school. The band’s first official release would come in 2006 with the double A-side singles “Twice” and “Test,” released on 7’’ inch vinyl on the Off the Wall label. Little Dragon, however, soon signed with British indie label Peacefrog Records to release their self-titled debut album.
While their second album, Machine Dreams, garnered favorable reviews, it wasn’t until their third record, Ritual Union, that the band made a real breakthrough with Rolling Stone ranking the album 41 in their 50 Best Albums of 2011. More accolades came when the band’s fourth album, Nabuma Rubberband, was nominated for Best Dance/Electronic Album at the 2015 Grammy Awards. But the band is much more than critical acclaim and accolades. Here are five things you didn’t know about Little Dragon.
The name Little Dragon comes from lead singer, Yukimi Nagano’s, nickname. She earned the moniker because of the “fuming” tantrums she used to throw in the studio. In an interview, Nagano gave credence to the story but said that she learned to cool it down as she grew older. The name, however, stuck.
2. Their music has been featured in a number of TV shows
Having been turned on to Little Dragon by his wife, Gorillaz lead singer, Damon Albarn, invited the band to feature on two tracks—“Empire Ants" and “To Binge”—on the Gorillaz 2010 album, Plastic Beach. Little Dragon also joined Gorillaz on their subsequent Escape to Plastic Beach tour.
In 2012, Little Dragon made guest appearances on three tracks from Big Boi’s second solo album, Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors. The band is featured on the songs “Thom Pettie,” “Descending” and “Higher Res.”
After releasing their Grammy-nominated album Nabuma Rubberband, the band said in a statement that the record was inspired by "Janet Jackson slow jams Yukimi used to listen to wandering around Gothenburg during the unrelenting winter." Nagano also said that when she listened to Janet Jackson’s slow jams, she felt like she was floating and that feeling figured heavily in the overall vibe of Nabuma Rubberband.