Little Dragon and Bast


18 Monday 18th February 2008

Ever since Banksy decided to fly to the middle East and paint on some walls the twin worlds of art and vandalism have combined to become the must-have accessory for art-blokes and overpaid media types across the planet. With London’s art-school drop-outs trailblazing their way to fame, fortune and Brad Pitt's bathroom, the door has been left open for the Americans to get involved at the last minute and take all the credit for themselves (45 anybody?).


FACT: No matter how old, matured and successful a person gets, the unexpected appearance of a penis/vagina will always have everybody falling about giggling like we're all back in year 4 sex-ed.

Brooklyn-based street artist Bast has been a massive influence on the US and worldwide scenes for a hot minute now. With works appearing around NY for over a decade, very little is known about the enigmatic, publicity-shy enigma. Some believe he doesn’t even exist.

Much like God, Allah and Xenu, there is little hard evidence one way or the other. True believers and members of FAILE (an art collective inspired by Bast who claim to have collaborated with him) can make their minds up at the exhibition he currently has running at the Leonard St Gallery. We wanted to get to the bottom of this, so we went down there with our friends Little Dragon who are currently touring Europe. Plus the exhibition was called BOOBY TRAP and had a picture of ‘booby’ on the flyer. We know how you guys love that stuff (our hits always double when there are boobs involved because you’re all perverts - FACT).


These are exactly what you need when you're over from Europe (or anywhere) and are stuck for something to do in London. Don't leave home without one!

Little Dragon are a four-piece from Gothenburg which sounds a lot like the city Batman comes from but is in fact a completely non-Batman related city in Sweden. These guys have self-produced a debut album that has received rapturous reviews across the industry. Their (dare I say it?) ‘trip-hoppy’ (sorry guys), soulful and melodic musical style layered with Yakimi’s hypnotic vocal talents create a kind of individuality and warmth that manages to drag even this genre out of the ‘boring as fuck’ pigeonhole all those Bristol guys dropped it in back into in the mid-90’s. We aren’t saying trip hop is back btw, we’re just saying we really like Little Dragon. Don’t go rushing out to pre-order Tricky’s new album yet as there’s still a good chance it will suck as bad as the last one did.


Of course, when you're from Sweden the sight of naked blondes fingering themselves in pornography is scary, confusing and totally, totally unheard of.

Here in the gallery we look around the artwork and Little Dragon are decidedly impressed. Confessing to not being massive art-buffs, the emergence of the street-art scene into traditional gallery spaces is a new concept to the Dragons. The Smurfs and the collage works are decidedly favourites with Yakumi, especially liking the collage direction Bast has taken for the vast majority of this exhibition.


Mmm, let's be honest - no matter what we say, we all love Swedish blondes and secretly want to marry/sleep with at least one in our lifetimes... even if they have massive beards.

DP: "Lot's of people were using the 'trip hop' word regarding your album so we were justifiably skeptical before listening. We don't think it sounds anything like that though. It's more a modern take on neo-soul, electronic, ambient, funky, chill-out, abstract, left-field, pop. Or something. What would you personally describe your sound as 'being'?"

Yukimi (vocals): "We just write the music we feel. We're not trying to emulate anything or anyone or fit into any kind of genre pigeon-hole. We just write music because we love it."

DP: "It really rings true with you guys also. The music is so obviously whatever it wants to be. How do you go about writing material?"

Yukimi: "We all actually live and record together. We always have. We've actually been friends since high school."

DP: "Great - this is the family issue so as you all live together like a family, who gets what role?"

Frederik (vocals, bass):  "Umm, what do you mean?"

DP: "I  mean if you guys were actually a family who would you each be? Mother, Father, etc..."

Yukimi: "Well I guess I'd be the little sister or one of the kids."

Hakan (vocals, keyboards): "Yeah, me too."

Frederik: "Yeah, me too."

Erik (drums, vocals): "And me as well."

DP: "Cool, okay then. I guess that could work."

Check the Bast exhibition until Feb 16 @ the Leonard St Gallery.  You can catch Little Dragon at the Bestival festival - so called because it is the best festival. It starts on the Sept 7 this year.

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