Imagine Dragons Interview
We had the opportunity to interview Imagine Dragons! Such cool people, so chill and down to answer all of our crazy questions. You have to check out their music and don’t forget to follow them on facebook and twitter! If you want to purchase their latest EP Continued Silence you can check it out on iTunes.
[BMG] You’ve had a HUGE year so far what have you been the most excited about that has happened so far in 2012?
[ID] We just released our first music video for our song “It’s Time” in mid April. We’ve always wanted to be able to add a visual component to our music but haven’t had the opportunity until now. We got together with a great director named Anthony Leonardi and sat down together to work out what we wanted to do to bring a story together for the song. We didn’t want to do just a performance video and we didn’t want to do a literal visualization of the song either. We ended up deciding on a video depicting us going on a journey through a post apocalyptic wasteland. We shot it in a dry lakebed in Barstow, CA. The song is about going through difficult times and struggling to stay true to yourself while trying to make the right decisions at an uncertain time in your life. The video really worked to capture that vibe of hopeful turmoil and overcoming any obstacle.
[BMG] We’ve been wondering this for a while: What’s the story behind the band name, Imagine Dragons?
[ID] Imagine Dragons is actually an anagram. We got together and decided on a phrase that captured the way that we felt about our lives at the time and what we wanted this band to be. It wasn’t a particularly great band name though, so with some creative manipulation of the ordering of the letters, we settled on the name Imagine Dragons. We’ve kept the original phrase as a closely guarded secret. Not even our manager or families knows the real meaning of it. We’ve gotten some pretty ridiculous guesses from fans over the years including “Aged Men’s Radio”, “Romans Dig Angie” and “God is in a Manger”. We love hearing the permutations that people come up with, but for now at least, we’re not letting anyone in on the true meaning of the name.
[BMG] How was South by Southwest this year? Was it your first year playing there as Imagine Dragons?
[ID] SXSW was crazy this year. We had played the festival once before 2 years ago, but it was a completely different experience then. In 2010 we played 9 shows in 5 days. This year it was 15 in 3 days. We got to play some pretty huge shows there this year including the Filter Party, MTV’s Woody Awards and Stubbs on St. Patricks Day. It was unreal to step onto the stage and watch the emerald-green see of debauchery turn its attention to us. I think that most of the people in the packed to capacity outdoor venue were there for the cheap beer and hadn’t really heard of us before. It was crazy to watch the crowd give us more and more attention with each song that we played. By the end everybody was screaming, and jumping up and down, and slurring their way through attempts at singing along to songs they had never heard before. There might have been one or two flashes of nudity directed our way too. We love SXSW.
[BMG] There was a lot of stuff going on at SXSW did you guys a couple fun things to do while there in Texas?
[ID] Down time was something that we didn’t have a lot of this year. Pretty much every day was waking up for sound check at 8AM and then performing solidly through the day until about midnight. We managed to dig down and pull some late nights to see some of our favorite artists. Keane sounded great and so did Fun, although we had to leave halfway through their set to go do a show of our own. Of Montreal had a pretty ridiculous stage show involving dancers in mummy-esque outfits and projections on screens scattered around the stage. Lights was absolutely incredible too. She’s got a great band that she plays with live.
[BMG] How did you guys like kicking off your band in Las Vegas? Can you tell us what you liked the best?
[ID] Las Vegas was a surprisingly great place for our band to grow up. People don’t think of Vegas as having a great local music scene, but it’s really been expanding over the last few years. There isn’t the same kind of cutthroat competition between bands that you get from more over-saturated music scenes like you’ll find in New York or LA. When we started out, we were supporting our endeavors in original music by taking on more lucrative gigs playing covers in casino lounges. I think that it really helped us to develop our live show too. When you’re playing on a casino floor, there are so many distractions around that you’re competing with. The flashing lights of the slot machines, people winning and losing thousand dollar hands of blackjack and more scantily-clad cocktail waitresses than you can throw a $5 chip at. You really have to offer something compelling and high energy to get people to turn their heads away from their next chance at a life of luxury and give your music a listen.
[BMG] You have a history with the Berklee School of Music. How has a formal musical education helped shape the band?
[ID] Three members of the band went to Berklee; everyone but Dan, our singer. Two of us even graduated. I think that the greatest thing that our band got from the school was the chance for us to all meet each other. I’m not sure that you really need a formal education in music to have a career in the field, but we certainly do tap into the skills that we picked up there every time we’re writing a song. The best thing about that school is having the opportunity to hang out with all of these insanely talented young musicians. You never know who your classmates are going to grow up to become. There’s not really anywhere else in the world that you can get the opportunity to network like that.
[BMG] It’s only been 6 months since you were signed to Interscope in November. How have your lives changed in the last six months? Has the band changed at all?
[ID] I’d say that the biggest change since signing with Interscope has been the opportunity for us to be even more busy than we were before. We can spend more time in the studio and tour to regions that were beyond our reach before we had the support of a label. I think that a lot of young musicians see signing as kind of a “We made it!’ point for a band. It’s really more of a “We’re getting the opportunity to work our asses off!” kind of thing. We’re still driving around in the same old short bus we’ve had for years (Ol’ Betsy we call her), and we’re still eating the same bean burritos that have been sustaining us since we started out. We just have an entity behind us pushing us to do as much as we possibly can to reach new ears now.
[BMG] The songs on your latest album all have a pretty different sound. Did you come into “Continued Silence” knowing that it would be a diverse album?
[ID] Every EP we’ve released has had a pretty wide range of sounds on it. Each band member grew up in a different state, listening to different music, and we all contribute to the songwriting. It only makes sense that there would be a wide range of sounds on any collection of music we release. “Continued Silence” might have been a little more deliberately diverse than our other EPs. We knew going in that this collection would be reaching a broader audience than anything we had done before and wanted to give people an introduction of the range of music that we make, so we kept that in mind when we picked out which tracks were going to be on the final cut of the EP.
[BMG] What’s your favorite song to perform right now?
[ID] Our favorite song can change from one show to the next. It’s really driven by fan reaction. I suppose we don’t really know what our favorite song that night will be until after we get off the stage. With the radio play that “It’s Time” has been getting lately, audiences have really been freaking out when we play that one. It’s probably the most consistent favorite amongst the band right now, but “Radioactive” has been getting some pretty ridiculous reactions, too. We’re a band that is driven by performing live. The stage is where we all feel most comfortable.
[BMG] Alright here’s a fun one, if each one of you could pick a model / celebrity to hang out with in a hot tub for the night who would it be?
[ID] Dan Reynolds: Bruce Springsteen, just to have the opportunity to pick his brain.
Daniel Platzman: Lights, because she’s incredible, and have you seen her? Damn.
Wayne Sermon: Carrot Top, because he has strong hands.
Ben McKee: A Hologram of Tupac, just in case a hologram of Biggie shows up.
[BMG] If you want to let our readers know anything now is your chance! It can be shameless self promotion something ridiculous what do you want to let them know?
[ID] We are in the studio right now finishing up our first full length record. We’ve written over 100 songs that we’ve taken a selection from to present the first real picture of what Imagine Dragons is to whoever cares to hear it. We don’t have a release date set yet, but it will be coming out late this summer, or early this fall. We’ve never been more excited about anything that we’ve done and can’t wait to get it out there and then to get back on the road to play all those new songs live.
We’re looking forward to playing a number of festivals this summer, too. We’re playing Summerfest in Milwaukee on July 5th and the Firefly Festival in Delaware on July 21st. It’s unreal to see ourselves on lineups with bands like the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Aerosmith and the Black Keys. It’s going to be a big summer for us with many exciting things that we aren’t quite ready to announce yet. Keep checking our Facebook and twitter (@imaginedragons) and our perpetually under construction website (Imaginedragonsmusic.com) for updates!
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