- Imagine Dragons
- July 29, 10 p.m., free, 21+
- South Point, 796-7111
Vegas-based band Imagine Dragons has members coming and members going. They’re recording tracks with an LA producer best-known for hip-hop. And they’re working up dates for their first headlining tour. In other words, it’s the perfect time for a State of the Band interview with frontman Dan Reynolds.
So this show [July 29 at South Point] is your last with married couple Andrew [drums] and Brittany [keyboard] Tolman in the lineup. Do you expect it to be an emotional experience?
I definitely would say it’s very special and emotional for us. We’re all best buds, and it’s been two years this month that we’ve been together.
Were they involved in songwriting?
Yeah, all our songs are very collaborative. They’re part of the sound and part of what has made Imagine Dragons what Imagine Dragons is.
How would you guess things might change sound-wise as a result of their leaving?
I couldn’t say exactly how the music will come out and how it will sound, but I think it will probably sound pretty similar. I always write the melodies and lyrics and Wayne [Sermon] always writes the guitar parts. We always want to be creating music that we feel is growing, maturing and getting better, but I think it will probably be similar to where it was.
As far as why they’re leaving, it sounds like it’s just a case of their being in a different place in their lives …
Being a musician is not an easy career. A certain lifestyle is required for it, and as it gets more serious a great commitment is required. There’s so many things involved. We all have to be living around each other, ’cause we need to be practicing every day. We’ve been in LA nonstop recording, and that requires a lot of travel. And we’re touring more regularly now, so you can’t hold any part-time jobs. So it’s a big time commitment. I’m not saying that Andrew and Brittany weren’t willing to pay their dues; they’ve paid a whole lotta dues for two years. But I think they were at a time in their life when there are certain things that they wanted to do, whether it be have a kid or whatever. But it was a mutual, loving decision.
Talk about your new band members, drummer Daniel Platzman and Theresa Flaminio.
It’s funny because my name is Daniel, and our guitarist’s name is Daniel—we call him Wayne— so it’s the Daniels now (laughs). [Platzman] went to Berklee College of Music with Wayne and [bassist] Ben [McKee], so they knew him from school and played with him quite a bit back in the day. He’s just an incredibly talented drummer who has followed the band and really understands what Imagine Dragons is. And Theresa also went to Berklee and knew the guys there. So now the band is a bunch of Berklees and me (laughs). She just got off tour with Cee Lo Green; she was the keyboardist for his band. She’s an incredible synthesizer player and vocalist. We went through extensive tryouts. We had a bunch of people come to LA and try out in the studio there. It just so happened that we ended up taking the two people who were from Berklee. It made the most sense. And we’re really excited to have both of them on board. They bring a lot of experience and skills to the table.
What have you been working on in LA?
We’ve been writing a lot on our own, as a band, and with a few producers in LA, including Mike Daly [Young the Giant, Rachael Yamagata] and Alex da Kid [Eminem, Rihanna, Dr. Dre] who are both really, really incredible.
How did you get hooked up with Alex?
Someone played him our CD in the car; we don’t know who it is, but when I meet him I’ll probably kiss him on the lips. Somebody played him our CD and he really liked it and contacted us and said, “Hey, I wanna try writing with you guys.” I didn’t know what to expect because he’s done a lot of hip-hop and we’re kind of indie rock. But he expressed that he was interested in moving into the rock field and said let’s try one day and see how it goes. And we went in one day and we all really hit it off. I was really impressed with his understanding of rock. We wrote together, and it went really well. And since then we’ve done 12 songs or something together, and I’m back meeting with him next week. So it’s just been a great relationship and really exciting.
The band has released three EPs. Is a full-length up next?
It’s so hard to say. Our last EP was eight songs, and that’s how many songs Radiohead had on its last full-length. We just want to continue to put out as much music as we can. We love putting out music.
Are you shopping for a label?
We basically have the same feeling toward it that we’ve always have, which is, where the industry is right now it doesn’t make sense for artists to sign. Unless you’re Lady Gaga or something, you’re basically signing over the little money that you make to someone else. If the right magical opportunity came along, that would be something we’d be open to. But until then, we’re not going to be signing with a label.
Is tour support an area where a label’s help might come in handy?
We’ve signed with a booking agency, APA, which is very hands-on and very understanding of bands at our level, where it’s a growing project. They really know what they’re doing. And on top of that they understand that touring is how we make our money, so they’re not taking everything. So we’re very happy with how our touring is going. We do very well on merchandising. If you were in a band that thought touring was going to be on a bus with catering and staying in hotels every night, then sure, our touring is definitely not up to par. But if you enjoy being in a new place every day and staying with a lot of friends across the country and occasionally, on a lucky night, staying in a motel, then you’re in paradise in Imagine Dragons (laughs).