Music

Imagine Dragons: A rock band grows up

Photos by MIKE REBUYAS

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A few weeks ahead of the Manila leg of their massive, 85-show “Smoke + Mirrors” world tour at the SM Mall of Asia Arena, the band had an exclusive chat with GIST about their music, their future plans, and the rock show Manila has been waiting for.

GIST: What went into the creation of your latest album?

IMAGINE DRAGONS: Unlike the first album, we had the luxury of a little more time in preparing everything. We were able to build our own studio and set our own hours, which made the whole process a lot healthier. We wanted to tell a story with this album, with not just the music, but also the art and the videos. That takes a lot of time.

Why name your sophomore album “Smoke + Mirrors”?

It’s also the name of one of the songs on the album, and really representative of one of the main themes of the music. A lot of the songs wrestle with the interplay between dark and light, faith and doubt, etc. So the title really encapsulated both the tone and message of the album.

How different is Imagine Dragons now,both artistically and professionally?

We’d like to think we are constantly growing as artists in terms of songwriting and performance. When that stops, it’s probably the beginning of the end. But in a lot of ways things haven’t changed for us at all, especially as we haven’t really taken time to breathe and take it all in. We still are as close of friends as ever, and doing what we love.

Who are your influences?

Our influences are all over the map, though there’s definitely some artists we all love. Classics like The Beatles and Harry Nilsson, amazing songwriters like Paul Simon, classic rock like Led Zeppelin.

What is the most challenging thing about being in a band?

Being away from friends and family is always a challenge. It’s a constant balancing act. We try to find ways to take them with us when we can.

You were named by MTV as 2013’s biggest breakout band. Was receiving that honor part of what you saw for the band when you first started?

Honestly, we never could have anticipated the success and awards that have come these last few years. There are so many bands worthy of success that don’t ever experience it, so we are constantly counting our blessing.

What does touring feel like? Have you gotten used to the feeling of going on major world tours?

It’s the most exhilarating and rewarding part of what we do, but it’s also the hardest and most exhausting. You never really get used to it, because it feels like a surprise still every night we walk on stage and see a full house.

This will be your first concert in the country. What can your fans expect from your Manila concert?

We’ve wanted to come for a long time. Two of Dan’s brothers speak fluent Tagalog and lived in the Philippines for a couple years. Fans can expect us to bring everything we’ve got to this show.

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