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Saturday, June 28, 2014

Imagine Dragons Discuss 'Battle Cry,' Breaking Records & Making New Music (Q&A)

Imagine Dragons at Firefly 2014

“I remember two years ago we played this same festival and we were thrilled to get a 12:30pm slot,” says Imagine Dragons guitarist Wayne Sermon, reminiscing about the band’s 2012 appearance at Dover, Delaware’s Firefly Music Festival. “When we play tonight, we’re going on before Outkast. Which is insane. It feels like we have something to prove.” Sermon and the rest of his bandmates may think they have a lot to live up to, but the deafening roars of the thousands packed around Firefly’s main stage when the band finally hit the stage tell a different story. To their legions of fans worldwide, Imagine Dragons have already proved their point.

But such wasn’t always the case. It wasn’t long ago that the Las Vegas quartet were playing shows in tiny clubs, wondering if anyone would turn up to their gigs or if they’d even made the right career choices. Then came their 2012 album ‘Night Visions,’ a slow-burning debut album that erupted with the release of the single “Radioactive,” which spent a record-setting 87 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. That feat was followed by a slew of other successful singles, headlining festival gigs around the globe and armloads of trophies – including a Grammy, five Billboard Music Awards and a Songwriting Hall of Fame honor for frontman Dan Reynolds. The band is so hot now, they’re taking calls from Hollywood honchos like Michael Bay, who tapped Imagine Dragons to write the theme to his summer blockbuster ‘Transformers 4: Age of Extinction’ (out today).

We caught up with the band backstage at Firefly to find out what life is like on the other side of success.
Billboard: You guys just flew back from Hong Kong, where you performed at the “Transformers 4” premiere. How’d it go?
Dan Reynolds: It was our first time ever going to Hong Kong. For many years, we were a young band who would go to a new city and have nobody come out to see us, so we still have that expectation when we go to a new place. But right when I got there, there was a lady who came in to clean my hotel room and asked if we could take a picture together. I was like, you know who we are? And she said, “Yes, I have your CD!” That was a cool way to arrive into a city. Social media makes the world so much smaller and the band has grown large enough, things move organically on their own throughout the world. But we loved Hong Kong. And it was incredible to be a part of such a big movie premiere. It was our first time for that, too.
Director Michael Bay hand-picked you guys to write the theme for the film. How easily did "Battle Cry" come together?
Dan R.: It was so organic. Originally, we didn’t think we were going to be able to do it. We’ve been saying no to everything because physically we just haven’t had time. But we got into a room with him, he told us the story and I had a melody that rang in my head right from that moment. Some songs take a year to come together, but “Battle Cry” wrote itself very quickly. It was cool to compose a song in a more cinematic way – we tried to create something to benefit a visual as opposed to just being true to the song. And then working with Hans Zimmer and Steve Jablonsky – legends. That was huge for us.

Read More at Billboard

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