By Joel Hanek
This past Friday (October 8th), the amalgamated animated legend collective that is Gorillaz kicked off the American leg of their world tour at Madison Square Garden in New York City. After a supporting set from N.E.R.D., Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett’s brainchild manifested itself with the help of a group of venerable guests like Lou Reed, former Clash members Mick Jones and Paul Simonon, Bobby Womack and Mos Def. Standing with the impressive list of veterans was relative newcomer Little Dragon, the much-acclaimed Swedish band who, like Gorillaz, defy genres and mix sounds ranging from dancehall and R&B to electro and new wave. The band has been working with Albarn and crew in various forms throughout the year, having collaborated on two tracks for Gorillaz’ stellar 2010 release Plastic Beach.
MTV News caught up with the band earlier this year around the release of Plastic Beach, and Little Dragon singer Yukimi Nagano explained how the collaboration came together. “We were in London for a couple of days and just hung out in their studio and tried to see what we could come up with,” Nagano said. “They had a really nice studio with a bunch of crazy instruments, so we just explored. It was fun.”
Regardless of the impressive studio setup, Nagano explained that the writing process was organic. “They played a bunch of different tracks for us and it was kind of mind-blowing because it was so [diverse],” she said. “Yeah, we listened and then we just chose a beat that we liked and then I wrote something and the guys jammed out on some synthesizers and that was that.”
Nagano and bassist Fredrik Wallin are currently touring with Gorillaz throughout the rest of the American leg, performing their collaborations “Empire Ants” and “To Binge.” The rest of the band members are currently finishing Little Dragon’s upcoming album in Sweden. After that, fans can catch the guys when they rendezvous in Europe to provide the full supporting slot for Gorillaz throughout the rest of the year on their world tour.