Imagine Dragons' Dan Reynolds: I was afraid of my heart being broken
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Who knows why some albums are a success and others go unsung? Las Vegas band Imagine Dragons hit one of those pockets of luck with their latest album, Night Visions.The band is touring behind the album, this time around to a sold-out North American tour -- something they never expected.
Before things got crazy for them, Gimme Noise spoke with lead singer Dan Reynolds about their busy year and how his life has changed since the release of Night Visions.
While the new album may seem like a breakthrough, the group has been working hard for many years now, touring extensively and constantly writing. Reynolds emphasizes that it was important for them to put in their time before getting to the big time. The group rented a house together in their formative years, while they played covers in bars to near-empty rooms to pay for the rent. He says, "You have to have those years of bonding. You get a lot of the mistakes out of the way." He adds that the band is fortunate to be at a good point where they don't have to worry about people showing up at their concerts anymore.
Reynolds also admits to being a big music groupie before Imagine Dragons formed, drawing inspiration from seeing live shows of bands like Arcade Fire and Jack White. Since then, the band has made friends with the high-energy rockers Grouplove. "Growing up, I looked forward to live shows more than Christmas. I remember going to G. Love and Special Sauce, which was my first concert. I looked forward to that for months. Being able to experience that and hear live the songs I'd only heard on an album, it was surreal. I still feel that way."
Reynolds is a self-proclaimed outcast. As a kid that had big aspirations, he never spoke about those dreams with anyone. Much of that reservation came from dealing with anxiety and depression. He says, "I was too afraid of my heart being broken if my dreams didn't come true, so I never said anything. I tried to do the best I could with what I had; what would come, would come. So to be here now, it's a crazy thing."
When asked to elaborate more on his depression and anxiety, Dan demurs, saying he doesn't like to draw attention to it. "For some people, it's in their blood to be happy. Other people have to work for it, but at the end of the day, it is what it is. I'm sure there's a lot of people who deal with a bunch more than me -- harder things. But yeah, it's definitely something I struggle with. Music has been my way out; it's the light at the end of the tunnel. That's why I chose to pursue it."
That drive has led him to be able to perform in front of hundreds of people each night. The best thing about being on the road? Dan claims, "Performing live and experiencing new cultures and territories. I think there's nothing better than interacting with fans in new areas." The singer is hoping to talk to fans after each show, but it will be difficult as the the shows get bigger. This new tour could be described as epic. Percussion driven, the band wanted a big part of the production aspect to be theirs and ordered a 500-pound Tycho drum for their set along with an extensive light show.
"We want to make it more of an experience, so we've written a storyboard for the set. I want someone to watch the show, beginning to end, and feel like they're on a -- I don't want to say journey, 'cause it sounds cheesy -- but they walk away feeling like they know Imagine Dragons."
Imagine Dragons will perform at the Varsity Theater on Friday, March 8, 2013 with Atlas Genius and Nico Vega.
AA, $25 GA, $35 mezzanine, 6 pm
This show is sold out.
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