It has been a breakout year for the foursome that comprise hit Indie/Pop group, Imagine Dragons. The Vegas based band was signed last November to KIDinaKORNER/Interscope Records after what Frontman Dan Reynolds classified as, “A real kind of organic growth, a real just slow build.” Getting their start in 2008 the band members were introduced to each other through a mutual friend, three of the four members coming from The Berkeley School of Music in Boston. As the lone Las Vegas native, Dan revealed, “We all met through music, you know. None of us knew each other before the band.” Adding, “They all moved to Vegas on a whim and we kind of just started the band and played our first show a week after that. It was a pretty quick start.”
That quick start seems to have become a pattern for Imagine Dragons since once again, in the the last twelve months they have made a significant move, this time in the music industry. Their debut album “Night Vision” premiered on the charts at number two during it’s first week, selling close to 100,000 copies and hit single “It’s Time” garnered the attention of the world, attracting over 8 million views on YouTube alone.
“You know, it’s been crazy.” Dan began, explaining what the last twelve months have been like, “All the sudden, out of nowhere this last year it kind of feels like we hit a precipice where things just started to snowball, it’s that snowball effect.” Reflecting, he continued, “But I think that it’s kind of important for every band to build through that period of playing lots of shows to really know people from the very beginning, working and building things organically. Because then when you get to this point it just feels…Everything doesn’t feel too crazy you know.” Concluding, “We’re kind of used to living on the road, to travelling all the time, so I think it’s important for every band to have that kind of organic growth for a while before they break in.”
Knowing their audience and entertaining them is certainly been two of the key components that have characterized this innovative and hard working indie/rock group. In fact, many of the songs on their debut album they have been playing for years, some since as early as 2008. I asked Dan if it had gotten old yet to play any of them and he said it’s actually quite the opposite. “It is pretty crazy to think how long we’ve had these songs for. It’s kind of had a rebirth for all of us in a lot of senses. Like for instance the song ‘Amsterdam’, it has been around a long time but when you’re playing it for the first time in Amsterdam, it’s a special moment!” He adds, “The last thing on my mind is like, ‘Hey, I’m sick of playing ‘Amsterdam’.’ It was like, ‘Wow! I’m playing ‘Amsterdam’ in Amsterdam!”
After opening on the road for Awolnation and touring the globe for much of the latter half of 2012, Imagine Dragons officially announced this week, their own first ever North American headlining tour. It is scheduled to open in early 2013 with direct support from Atlas Genius and openers The Royal Concept and Nico Vega. Dan says of the announcement, “Oh man, we’re so excited! It’s so fun to actually do a stage plot and draw out on paper how we want everything to look, the lighting and the production design, it’s something we haven’t done before. We’ve always loaded our own gear before so it’s a whole different world I guess and we’re excited for it!”
He also disclosed that the general theme of the tour is “Night Vision” saying, “We’re modeling it after all the imagery that we’ve used for the album, so there’s a lot of the ‘Night Visions’ theme going on.” Elaborating, “Without disclosing too much, we’re definitely getting pretty creative with the setup and the stage design and the lighting. We want to kind of make it a whole production and not just the music. We want visuals and things so, we’re going to definitely be incorporating that into the live show.”
It’s a show Dan admitted, that they will be on the road with for approximately 300 plus days of the next year. He also revealed that they are always writing while touring. “We really are writing year round I would say. When we’re on the road we do a lot of writing on our laptops so that we’re still writing consistently.” Dan acknowledged, “Even for ‘Night Vision’ we had 150 demos that we were considering for what would actually make the album.” Finishing, “I assume we’ll be touring off this album for quite a bit longer, you know. But we’re already writing new material, that’s for sure. And then back to the studio we’ll go.”
With all the rapid acclaim and success it would be easy for anyone to lose their focus and real world perspective but Dan remains grounded admitting that there are still surreal moments, “A couple moments that I really think I’m just like, ‘Wow!’ is, I grew up listening to Third Eye Blind my entire life and the other day we played a festival with them and they invited us to come onstage and sing “Jumper” with them. That was the first song I ever learned on guitar, so that was a weird moment for me.” Concluding, “And then the other day the singer from Metallica came in and said he was a fan of the band and met us in our green room and that was one of those moments when you’re like, ‘Really? You know who we are?’ There’s been a lot of those moment lately.”