Imagine Dragons were built for success. The band has a produced edge with a penchant for tribal rhythms similar to Foster the People and is a dance-ready synthesis of stadium-sized indie-pop in the vein of the Killers, whom they share their hometown with.
“I’m 4th generation Las Vegan,” said frontman, Dan Reynolds. He’s tall and all-American handsome, wearing a tight white t-shirt. His honey-blonde hair is worked into a stylish faux hawk and his smile is practiced, but unpretentious.
“Which I pride myself on,” Reynolds continued on in an interview with Stryker at the Red Bull Sound Space at KROQ. “But the band is from all over: California, Utah, and we moved to Vegas so that’s how we started. We kind of call that our home ground.”
During the set, Reynolds plays a giant Taiko-style drum with verve. He’s joined by band mates Wayne Sermon on guitar, Ben McKee on bass (who has apparently scaled a strip club and is “familiar” with the Spearmint Rhino), and Daniel Patzman on drums.
“Round and Round,” “Tokyo,” “Radioactive,” and their hit song, “It’s Time,” which Reynolds told the audience was his favorite song off their EP Continued Silence because ” it’s a song that we wrote about a year ago and it’s exactly what’s kind of happening with the band now and it was written during a hard period of my life…It has a lot of meaning.”
Imagine Dragons has come up from just another indie band playing in casinos and small clubs in Las Vegas to winning a Battle of the Bands to signing with major label Interscope in November of last year to recording their upcoming album with Alex Da Kid who recorded with artists like Eminem, Rhianna, and Paramore.
As far as the Battle of the Bands has bolstered the careers of Imagine Dragons, they expressed their disinterest in doing it again. But with their current success, Imagine Dragons will probably never have to.
“That was cool and I don’t think we’ll ever do a battle of the bands again,” said Reynolds, laughing. “It’s been a wild three years. We’ve lived on the road. The reason this band has moved is really because of these people. People who share the music with their friends and it’s been incredible to see our fans have really supported us in that way.”
Between songs, Reynolds thanks his fans again for sharing the band so “quickly” on the internet because Facebook and Twitter support is what “makes this band move” and then he thanked KROQ and “other stations” after admitting that he was “nervous” because he grew up listening to KROQ and the experience was very “surreal.”
A fan asked the band what it was like to play at SXSW, and Reynolds quipped that he didn’t remember it because Imagine Dragons “played fifteen shows in three days” and that he has “BBQ oozing out of all my pores.”
Presumably, fifteen shows in three day is a lot for a band that comes from Las Vegas which host Stryker noted as a blossoming music town that didn’t used to have a huge rock and roll scene as early as three years ago.
“It’s actually been great for us because we started playing Casino gigs,” said Reynolds. “You can’t really do that anywhere else in the U.S. And it was a way to kind of distribute our music to tourists who were coming in…And over time, Vegas scene has really been growing. There’s an incredible First Friday Event every month. It’s cool that there’s a lot of culture coming into Las Vegas.”
But for the 4th-generation Las Vegan, his favorite places in Nevada are the less known ones.
“I don’t know about normal tourists,” said Reynolds when asked where his favorite places in Vegas to go are,”but Red Rock is something that gets looked over a lot because people come and they normally go to the Strip.
“Red Rock is the most beautiful plot of land that I know of,” concluded the singer. “We go out three a lot with my family. We have picnics there with my friends.”
“Anyone who’s going to Vegas, go to Red Rock.”
Imagine Dragons’ EP Continued Silence is available now via iTunes from Interscope Records.