Dragon warriors

Dragon warriors
ON FIRE: US rock band Imagine Dragons with (from left) Daniel Platzman, Daniel Wayne Sermon, Ben McKee, Dan Reynolds.

Look out, Taylor Swift.

Imagine Dragons want to be in your next music video.

"Taylor's Bad Blood video was awesome," Daniel Platzman, the US rock band's drummer, told M over the phone last week from Napa Valley, California.

"We'd have loved to have been ninjas; everyone looked so cool in that. And we're big fans of Taylor too."

The US pop superstar's much-hyped Bad Blood music video, which premiered at the Billboard Music Awards on May 17, features a fantastical showdown of celebrities dressed as assassins and ninjas, including singer Selena Gomez, actress Hailee Steinfeld and model Cara Delevingne.

And it looks like Swift is a fan of Imagine Dragons too.

Over the weekend, at the Detroit leg of her 1989 World Tour, frontman Dan Reynolds joined her on stage for a rendition of his group's biggest hit Radioactive, which Swift said was one of her favourite songs.

At the Billboard Music Awards, Imagine Dragons also performed the classic song Stand By Me as a tribute to the late Ben E. King, to a rousing reception from the crowd.

Said Platzman, 28: "It was a very emotional event... You could see on their faces that the audience was really responding to it.

"It's one of the first songs we ever played publicly, so it was an honour to perform it in Ben E. King's memory."

Imagine Dragons scored another great gig recently with 80s rockers REO Speedwagon, forming a temporary supergroup known as Imagine REO SpeedDragons for the Mash Up Monday segment on talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live! on May 4.

Together, the groups performed a stripped-down version of REO Speedwagon's hit, Roll With the Changes.

"We didn't anticipate any problems working with them at all, though we didn't know what to expect. REO Speedwagon is so cool, and just very natural," Platzman said.

"We do keep in touch, and they even came out to see us play later on."

Platzman, lead singer Reynolds, guitarist Daniel Wayne Sermon and bassist Ben McKee have made Imagine Dragons arguably one of the biggest names in alternative rock today.

Since the launch of their 2012 debut album Night Visions, the quartet has won multiple accolades, including a Grammy and five Billboard Music Awards.

They will be making their way to Singapore for their first concert here this August - and cannot wait to try our local food.

Said Platzman: "None of us have ever been to Singapore, so we're very excited. When I was studying at Berklee (College of Music), my neighbour was Singaporean and used to make beef rendang, which was so delicious.

"I'm looking forward to seeing him (there), and then stuffing myself!"

Imagine Dragons have also landed on the soundtracks of huge movies, contributing songs to blockbusters like Transformers: Age Of Extinction (Battle Cry), Insurgent (Warriors) and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (Who We Are).

"Transformers is my favourite of the three," said Platzman. "I grew up watching the cartoons on TV, and never in my wildest dreams did I think I'd write music for a Transformers movie someday.

"Working on stuff for movies is so much fun. Certain types of music evoke certain emotions in films, and I enjoy the challenge of that.

"I love movies by super cool directors like Wes Anderson and Quentin Tarantino, so it would be amazing to write songs for their films someday."

Imagine Dragons released their much-anticipated second album Smoke + Mirrors in February, containing the singles I Bet My Life, Gold and Shots.

It continues their tradition of catchy rock anthems with a twist, introducing elements of gospel, R&B and new wave.

It is also an album that is more lyrically mature, dealing with themes such as frontman Reynolds' struggle with depression.

The band had lots of fun making Smoke + Mirrors, said Platzman.

"We should've been a lot more nervous than we were, but we're all huge music nerds.

"So it just came quite naturally. It's very much in the spirit of rock albums we grew up with, like Beatles records."


What: Imagine Dragons Smoke + Mirrors Tour

When: Aug 25, 8pm

Where: Singapore Indoor Stadium

Tickets: $98 to $168 from Sports Hub Tix (www.sportshub.com.sg/sportshubtix)


This article was first published on June 3, 2015.
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