Few months before the released of new album “Evolve” (the name was secret at the time of this interview), RockUrLife met the four members of the band Imagine Dragons in Paris to talk about what’s going on with that album and the next tour.
You’re back this year with a new album. How do you feel few months before its release?
Dan Reynolds (vocals): It’s an exciting moment for all of us, we feel like we took some years off to rest and see things through a new angle. With “Smoke+Mirrors” for instance, we never took time to step back and appreciate where we were, what we’ve been through, and it truly changed it all to have such a perspective! I can’t wait to go back on the road to bring this new album to our public, I think it’s an album way more colorful than all we’ve done before.
Daniel Platzman (drums): That’s a truly exciting moment! We’re sitting here on this secret, we know how the musics sound like and we know that our fan are really gonna like it, we can’t wait to show them but we can’t yet. So it’s a crazy time!
Dan: Maybe they won’t like it.
Daniel: I’m confident. (laughs)
Dan: I’m going to take some of his confidence, I need it! (laughs)
Daniel: Take it all my friend!
What happened between “Smoke + Mirrors” and this album?
Dan: I think it’s a great question. “Smoke + Mirrors” was a very dark album, I was confronted to many personal issues, and since then I’ve done a lot of work to find myself in a healthier place and these last years were the healthiest of my life and this new album reflect that. I was in a dark place and now I see colors. I feel that this album reflects those colors.
About music, can you tell us how the album is gonna sound like, did you take a new artistic direction or do you go on with what you already do? What can fans expect?
Dan: (laughs) We released “Believer” first as we think that it’s a music which reflects perfectly the theme of this album. It’s a very positive song for me, even though it can sound dark and heavy. But there are many sonic sounds in this album, it won’t be ten time “Believer”, there are many different colors and a new musical universe that we wanted to create for this album.
Ben McKee (bass): There’s definitely a new texture!
Dan: Absolutly, there are sounds from the eighties, urban influences as well, and rock obviously.
Daniel: Yeah, even if many themes mix together, there is a real cohesion, every music lives in the same universe.
Dan: It’s without a doubt our most accomplished work.
Talking about themes, is there one taking over the others? If there is, which one?
Dan: I think that there are obviously many themes in this record, but as I told you, the songs have all been written during this time of my life, when I was working on me. I had a new vision of my life, I got out from a kind of depression and I saw the world with new eyes. So all the themes of the album are about that.
Did your writing and recording processes stayed the same as for “Smoke + Mirrors”?
Dan: Oh no! They are very different, it’s even the first time we work with new producers. It has always been a self production process until this year, we’ve worked with Mattman & Robin, Joel Little and John Hill, all of them are excellent producers! So it’s the first time we work with new producers and it changes a lot, we are not always in our studio in LV and it’s probably the reason why it sounds different.
How do you choose who’s gonna work with you?
Dan: It’s a great question! We’ve met a lot of producers, some were good and some weren’t, so we knew with which we could get along and who understood best what we had in our minds and what we wanted to do with it.
Daniel: We don’t like to be restrained in the writing process, we don’t want to wonder wether it will go along with the other songs or not, because at that point, you just try to create the best song as possible and only then the best group of song. These are two different things. We’ve done a lot of songs, I think that about 200 of them are over, and that’s always why I am confident guys!
Wayne Sermon (guitar): We’ve also met many producers too static and clean. For this album, we wanted to do something that sounded like nothing we had done before, but which would stay in the same univers. That’s why the album will be very clear, like instead having 30 percussions, we’ve got 3 which sound perfectly fine. That’s why we work with Mattman & Robin, they are excellents with percussions and know how to make it sound good.
Ben: It was very useful to have that much people working with us. They’ve helped us in the creative process, but also in the cleaning process of some tracks, to make them more listenable, when they were just walls of sounds. It was truly enjoyable to have those people with us to speak their minds.
We still know nothing about the next album, neither its name or its artwork, could you tell us more? Otherwise, why keeping all these secrets?
Dan: Good question! We haven’t announced the name yet, but I can assure you we finally got settled on that. Esthetically, the image that comes with “Believer” speaks of itself and really shows where we’re going – something futurist, but with a sound from the 80’s and once more, with colors. We insist on that because it’s the first time we add colors to what we do. And why the secrets? Let’s say that some aren’t deliberates. (laughs) But that’s because we’re really attached to them, and once we unveil them, they are no more ours. But that’s also because we like this connection with our fans, it make them feel that they are part of the process, supposing what the album will sound like, sending us some ideas.
Let’s talk about “Believer”. You released this new single in a partnership with Nintendo, as the add appeared for the first time during the Superbowl. Why this partnership?
Dan: Nintendo came to us. They said that they really liked “Believer” so they wanted to use it for the new Nintendo Switch. We’re all gamers in this band, and we grew up with Nintendo. I remember the day I got the Nintendo 64 and how it was the best video game ever, there were even “Super Smash Brothers”, “Smash 64” was the best game! That’s something we’re very nostalgic and excited about.
Can you tell us what’s your favorite music on the album?
Dan: Nice try! But no we can’t, we haven’t announced any other title to the medias.
Daniel: But I think we all agree on “that one”.
Dan: Oh “that one”? Yeah totally, even if “that one” is also great. (laughs)
During your last tour, the stage was not overcharged with stuffs, just as the artwork of the album. In the perspective of a much more elaborated album, what can we expect from your staging?
Daniel: It’s a good question. We are still improving some details, but we’re trying to create a universe around the album, in which musics could “live”, so the stage will be important to do so, it’s gonna be viby!
You’re gonna play the first edition of the Lollapalooza festival in Paris next summer. Will we see you in France headlining a show, in Paris but maybe in others French cities as well? If there are some, when?
Wayne: Oh yeah! Paris is one of the must stop in our next tour. We haven’t decided yet about the European dates, but it will be a complete European tour so we surely be in Paris and probably on other French cities, I’m sure.
How long do you think you’ll hit the road?
Ben: 3 to 6 years! (laughs) It all depends on how long our manager will be able to stand us, and I must add that it will not be a European tour but a full world tour!
You’re going to hit the road again in a few months. Can you tell us what was the craziest things you lived on tour?
Wayne: The craziest things, I think it’s when Dan (Reynolds) falled into the canal in Amsterdam, he does not have a good sight, he thought he was hitting a stair but he made a 6 foot fall right into the water!
Ben: Today when we think of “how did he get out of the water?” We still don’t know!
Wayne: I swear to God and i swear to you, that for like 4 seconds he transformed into a dolphin and jumped out of the water!
Daniel: I thought it was a joke. We use to prank each other during the tour, and when I step out of the shower they told me, “do not go outside, Dan just falled into the canal” and when I saw him, that was funny and mind blowing at the same time, he was in silent rage. (laughs)
Dan: I was so pissed off. I had everything on me, my phone, my laptop, my wallet and when you’re touring, this bag is all you have! But, to me, it’s the experiences with hysterical fansn a day one of them took my shirt off while I was in the bus! Oh my god, that was awful!
You have a prolific career. Is there something you still wish you could achieve?
Daniel: That’s a very dangerous game to answer those kind of questions because how could things be better? We’ve always wanted to make music, and do it as our job, and at the end we also have the chance to travel all around the world and play on big stages. And for that I will always be grateful.
Ben: I think that it could be great if someone developed teleportation, we could be on tour all the time without having to do all the travels! (laughs)
Last question: our media is called “RockUrLife”, so what rocks your life?
Dan: What rocks my life? Jet Lag! Jet lags rock my life ! (laughs) This punch me.
Daniel: The millefeuille rocks my life! I hope we can have some before leaving Paris, I still haven’t got one!
Dan: It was a problem because today he was asking for a “Napoléon”, that’s the name in the United States and no one understand when we come in France.
Wayne: What rocks my life….
Ben: He rocks life!
Wayne: Life doesn’t rock me, I rock life! (laughs)
Ben: My little puppy Samy rocks my life so hard! That’s the cutest and the most adorable thing on earth, and I’m afraid that it is the lack of sleep talking for me because she also tires me a lot!
Thanks you guys!
All: Thanks to you, it was great.