Imagine Dragons Humbly Discuss Recent Success

MC: There are three members who’ve left the band since you formed in 2008. How did their leaving alter your sound? Did it permanently alter the group’s balance?IMD_inset1

Reynolds: It was always amicable terms. It was never like, “I’m leaving the band!” It’s a hard life to be a musician, especially a touring musician. You’re living on the road non-stop. Two of them were married and they wanted to start a family and live a normal life. So they just started doing that. And then the other one went off to be an accountant. There was never a split because of musical taste. I don’t want to say they [the group’s former members] didn’t help with the writing process, because they did, but it never affected the music tremendously. We just kind of grew and progressed as a band.

MC: And through it all you were holding the creative reins?

Reynolds: From the beginning of this band, I’ve always been writing demos on my computer and then the band could kind of fill it out. And then when I met Wayne [Sermon], he kind of became the primary writer with me. The two of us start off all the demos on our computers. He’ll send me guitar ideas and I’ll write lyrics or melodies. And he’s been there pretty much from the beginning.

MC: We understand you and the other members are constantly writing and have thousands of songs. How do you decide among yourselves which songs you’re going to put on an album?

Reynolds: We all really respect each other’s opinions, the four of us, very much so. We’re very democratic. For the first album, we put together about a hundred demos. Everybody listens to them over the course of many months. I send them out right after I write a vocal line and everybody sits on it. Some of them we sat on for a year. If you sit on something for a long time, you can really start to tell which ones are keepers and which need some work. And if there ever is a case where someone wants a song, we just democratically vote about it and if you’re out-voted then that song doesn’t make the record. You move on.

MC: You’ve got so much material. Have you deliberately decided to slow down the releases to keep people focused on what’s new or is it better to inundate your fans with new stuff?

Reynolds: It’s a mix of both. I think there’s such a thing as oversaturating your fans. If my favorite band in the world put out a 10-album compilation, I’d be like, “Eh… This is too much for me to comprehend.” But on the same note, I think it’s important for bands to continually give their fans something to be excited about.

MC: You’ve expanded gradually to larger audiences. Was that a deliberate choice? Do you think the slow-burn approach has fed your success?

Reynolds: Yeah, it was very deliberate. We really didn’t want to skip any steps. We didn’t want to go from a club to an arena. We went from a small club to a big club to a small theater to a big theater to an amphitheater to a small arena. I think that’s important for any band, because in the smaller venues the fans see you in a more intimate setting and those fans feel like they’re a part of something. And that’s important. Nothing is more important than your relationship with the fans. Nothing.

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