‘It’s Time’ for a Q&A with the band Imagine Dragons
Each year music gets better and better with new bands emerging and gaining more popularity. This year, the four-member, Las Vegas-based band Imagine Dragons emerged on the music scene with its first single, “It’s Time.” The song reached No. 4 on Billboard’s alternative chart. The band’s first album, “Night Visions,” is currently No. 11 on iTunes. “It’s Time” appears in the movie trailer for “Perks of Being a Wallflower.” The song can also be heard on television shows, including the hit “Glee,” where Darren Criss sings the catchy tune in the season-four opener. Bassist Ben McKee recently spoke to The Colonnade:
Q: Imagine Dragons has become so popular over the last year. After being together for quite some time now, what do you think has finally made you guys stand out?
A: We’ve been a band for just shy of four years now. It’s been really exciting to see the way people have been responding to what we’ve been doing, especially over the last year or so. I don’t know that there’s anything that we have been doing differently over the past year than what we were doing during the first few years that we were together. We’ve always prided ourselves on working as hard as we can, and we’re going to keep on playing as long as people come out to hear us.
Q: How has it been on tour?
A: We’ve spent most of our time together on the road, sleeping on the floors of friends and relatives, eating whenever we could afford to. It’s really been a different experience since we released “Night Visions,” though. We’re getting the opportunity to play places that we really couldn’t reach before. It’s unreal to play a city for the first time and to find people there that already know our music and are really excited to see us. We still haven’t gotten used to it.
Q: Is there a show that you are specifically excited to play?
A: I’m really excited to be getting back to San Francisco. I grew up there and have a really supportive group of friends and family that always come out to support us. This time around we are playing at the Great American Music Hall, which has special meaning to me. I can remember when my mom took me there to see Jonny Lang when I was a kid. My grandma is going to be coming out too, and she remembers taking my mom there to see Count Basie when she was a kid.
Q: After being signed at Interscope, were there any issues over how you could be as a band, or did the label allow you to keep the vision you wanted?
A: When we were approached by KIDinaKORNER/Interscope, we really felt like we had found the right match for the band. Alex Da Kid approached us after he heard one of the EPs that we had put out on our own. He really liked the music and wasn’t looking to change what we were doing. Alex helped us to reach a bigger audience and it was great to collaborate with him on some tracks too. He’s a really creative guy and we’ve learned a lot from him.
Q: “Night Visions” is a hit. Did you expect the album to do so well and for “It’s Time” to be such a winning single?
A: “It’s Time” is a song that we wrote and recorded two years ago. We never think about trying to sell records when we are creating our music. We just try to make music that we believe in and let people decide for themselves if they like it. It’s great to see that so many people have been connecting to the songs.
Q: Do you guys have any ideas of what the next single might be?
A: We really don’t think in terms of singles or album tracks or anything like that. We just make the best music that we can and hope that there’s someone out there that it reaches.
Q: When it comes to writing your songs, does just one member write them or do you all work together?
A: Our songs usually start out as a demo that Dan (Reynolds) or Wayne (Sermon) make on their computers. We will then take that structure and work it out in a live setting with the whole band until it feels like an Imagine Dragons song. We’ve written in other ways before, but that’s usually the way that it happens.
Q: What is your favorite song to perform live?
A: I’ve really been having a good time playing “Radioactive” lately. That song is the moment that it usually feels like we’ve really connected with the audience and there’s always an energetic response to it. Plus, Dan gets to play his giant bass drum, and everybody loves that. I stand right behind it when I can and the way that sound hits my chest when I’m up close to it is awesome.
Q: Who are your influences and what kind of music have you guys been listening to on your iPods lately?
A: We all have a lot of different musical influences that shaped who we are as musicians. I love Tom Waits and Pino Paladino; Daniel Platzman listens to John Coltrane and Grizzly Bear; Wayne loves Boston and Wayne Krantz, and Dan loves Harry Nilsson and LCD Soundsystem. I’ve been listening to a lot of Chappo lately. They are really incredible.
For more information on the band Imagine Dragons and to listen to their music, please visit www.imaginedragonsmusic.com or “like” them on Facebook.