Interview: Imagine Dragons; Rocked Out @ Hangout Fest 5/19

Imagine DragonsAfter the last note played on the last song of a marathon set a few years ago, Dan Reynolds, frontman for Las Vegas based rockers Imagine Dragons, realized it was all starting to come together. Reynolds and his bandmates – guitarist Wayne Sermon, bassist Ben McKee, and drummer Daniel Platzman – independently released three EPs, toured extensively, earning a grass roots following. The band made their major label debut with the release of their Continued Silence EP, which included the breakthrough single “It’s Time,” an anthemic foot-stomping track that perfectly encapsulates the band’s unvarnished emotional sound. The song, which reached #3 at Modern Rock radio and #2 at AAA, earned the group a 2012 MTV VMA nomination for “Best Rock Video.”

With the release of their full-length debut, Night Visions, Imagine Dragons finally have a chance to show the world what that magic sounds like. They start off with a big statement in “Radioactive,” which blends a throbbing backbeat with delicate acoustic guitars and deals lyrically with facing the apocalypse. This song, “Radioactive” left the crowd screaming and clapping for more as the band closed out their set at the Hangout Fest in Gulf Shores, AL May 18.

Luckily, Atlanta Music Guide got to catch up with the foursome before they hit the huge Chevrolet Stage right on the water. Take a look at what they had to say!

Who do you feel has inspired you most musically?

Wayne Sermon: We all grew up listening to classic rock, so Led Zeplin, The Beatles, Rolling Stones. Ya know, singer-songwriter stuff like Paul Simon, Harry Nelson. We are all inspired by everything but we have that as a basis as far as what we like musically.

How do you connect with the crowd when playing a show?

Dan Platzman: Any and every way we can. Our band started as a Vegas band playing the casinos. When you start out playing for crowds that didn’t come to see you, you have to learn how to get the crowd to pay attention to you. You are fighting all the distractions in the casinos, so any and everything.

What’s been your most memorable gig so far?

Wayne Sermon: Red Rocks a couple days ago. It was amazing to have a sold out show and to look up and see a sea of people in the natural beauty of the amphitheater. Your between two giant rocks and you see the moon up there and your playing, it’s kind of a spiritual experience really.

What’s the craziest/kindest thing a fans done for you guys so far?

Wayne Sermon: I think we have really creative fans. This one fan made an entire book so it was like 80 pages with every song we ever wrote and every lyric we have ever wrote with illustrations. It took her like a month to do so that was pretty intense, we really appreciated that.

What song are you most proud of?

Ben McKee: You know, our favorite song kind of changes with each show depending on how the crowd reacts to it. It’s about the energy and the energy with a different crowd is always a different experience but I think Radioactive has been one that we expand quite a bit when we play it live and it seems to be one that people tend to get pretty excited about, it’s a lot of fun to perform.

What was the first show that you attended?

Wayne Sermon: Third Eye Blind
Dan Reynolds: G Love and Special Sauce
Ben McKee: Weird Al Yankovic
Dan Platzman: My mom took me to a Bad Religion concert, it was awesome!

How did each of you get started with music?

Dan Platzman: Me and Ben are the two die hard Weird Al fans of the group. My parents were really supportive and started me on piano and violin when I was really little and I just kept going.
Wayne Sermon: I had a high school band called Hat Trick and we were okay.

If the world were ending at Hangout, what would you do in the next hour?

Dan Platzman: I would just go swim in the ocean cause it’s so awesome, it’s wonderful.
Wayne Sermon: I would swim in the ocean and see how far I got before I drown.
Dan Platzman: Now I’m going to change it, I would race all of them to see who can get the furthest.
Wayne Sermon: It’s not a race, we’re all gonna die bro.
Ben McKee: I’m going to swim to Europe!


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