So, as you know, The Lonely House hung out at Bunbury Festival in Cincinnati a couple weeks ago. We met some pretty cool people – festivalgoers and bands alike. We’re really proud of how hard Cincy brought it that weekend. Most of the sets we attended were packed out, and the crowds were enthusiastic. We saw more than one performer crack a grin in response to the Cincy crowd’s participation in their shows. Save a short thundershower, we thought the weekend went off quite well, but we wanted to know what you all thought. We stopped a few people to ask them about their Bunbury experience:
We also had a chance to talk to one of our most-anticipated performers of the weekend, Imagine Dragons. If you haven’t yet heard this Vegas-based band’s EP Continued Silence get on that right now, then check out our getting-to-know you Q&A with them after the jump:
TLH: I first heard you guys first on Sirius Satellite Radio’s AltNation. Do you get that a lot?
Daniel Platzman (drums): You know what? I think the most popular one we get these days is the Perks of Being A Wallflower trailer. It’s like, “Oh, we heard you on that trailer!” But we do get a bit of the Sirius radio stuff. That was a fun day.
Ben McKee (bass & keys): AltNation was one of the first places I ever heard us on the radio. I have it in my truck and I remember getting in there on my birthday, turning on my car, and it was right in the middle of the first verse of “It’s Time“.
TLH: It’s like happy birthday to you!
Daniel: They were one of the first people to get on board so we really appreciate those guys. They’ve played us from the beginning and have been big supporters of the band.
TLH: How did you all get together and get started?
Daniel: The three of us (Daniel, Ben, and guitarist Wayne Sermon) went to Berklee College of Music in Boston and played in a five-guitar fusion ensemble together for like three years. Wayne and Dan (Reynolds – lyricist and lead singer) actually knew each other from back home, so when Wayne finished school the two of them decided to start this band and got in touch with the rest of us. And here we are.
TLH: Did your experience at Berklee influence your sound at all? Or how did it develop?
Ben: I don’t know that Berklee influenced our sound so much as we took what we were doing there and started doing it somewhere else. It definitely opened us up to a lot of different kinds of music and we were able to hone our skills there. I think that really, it was us going back to our roots of what we grew up listening to and getting together and sharing the music that we all loved. It was bringing all our individual influences in and trying to solidify it into something that was Imagine Dragons.
TLH: Who was it that you were listening to growing up?
Wayne: Oh man, the first guitar solo I ever learned was a Pearl Jam solo so I was into grunge and stuff quite a bit. Nirvana, for sure.
Ben: Yeah, I listened to a lot of weird singer-songwriters like Tom Waits and even Willie Nelson.
Daniel: Van Morrison! Ben is a huuge Van Morrison fan. I was learning all the drum beats from the Foo Fighters original album where Dave Grohl was playing every instrument. So Dave Grohl, definitely. Back in the day, I was also listening to a lot of New Found Glory, believe it or not.
Wayne: Oh, wow!
Daniel: Yeah! I don’t know that I’ve ever shared that.
Dan: Arcade Fire, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin. We listen to all kinds of stuff.
TLH: So what about your lyrical influence? Is it based on life experience or is it more of a fictional storytelling thing?
Daniel: Well, Dan actually writes all the lyrics.
Dan: Yeah, just life experience. Dreams, sorrows…
Dan: …things that bring happiness. Things that I’ve experienced or want to experience. Just life.
TLH: Where does the name Imagine Dragons come from?
Ben: The name is actually an anagram. We came up with a phrase that we liked a lot – we all really believed in it, but we didn’t want to call the band that phrase, so we jumbled that letters up and came up with Imagine Dragons. And then we swore to secrecy about what the original phrase was.
TLH: So it’s up to everybody else to decipher the code…
Ben: Oh yeah. We get some interesting guesses sometimes. We love hearing it but we’ll never tell.
Wayne: (to Ben and Daniel) Man, you guys’ chest hair is magnificent right now.
Daniel: The name might have something to do with chest hair, it might not.
TLH: Maybe beards?
Daniel: It might!
Wayne: I have a beard, but not a lot of chest hair right now.
Ben: (pointing at Wayne’s collarbone): Yeah, it like stops right there, huh? You’re literally showing every bit of chest hair right now.
Daniel: You really chose your wardrobe to accentuate the chest hair you do have.
TLH: So your full-length album is coming out in September? What can you tell us about it?
Dan: We worked pretty closely with Alex da Kidd as a producer on some of the songs, and we did a lot of self-producing. So between us and Alex da Kidd, that’s kind of how the album came together.
TLH: How did you get hooked up with Alex?
Wayne: It was really as simple as his assistant driving him around in his car and popping in our CD and Alex saying, “Wow, this is cool. Who is this band?” He brought us in, and we didn’t really know what to expect from a hip-hop producer, but we really loved what he did with Eminem, Skylar Grey and all these great artists that he’s worked with.
TLH: Yeah, that’s an impressive resume.
Wayne: Definitely. We’ve enjoyed working with him.
TLH: What’s your favorite show you’ve ever played to date?
Ben: We played a festival in Norway called Bergenfest that was an amazing experience. It was our first time getting out of the country and the only time we’ve gotten to go overseas. The city was so beautiful and the culture was just awesome. Nobody had ever really heard of us over there before, but we played three or four shows and by the end of the festival, everybody had just kind of accepted this new band. They just came out and supported us. It was unreal.
Wayne: Yeah, Ben became good friends with a couple vikings, so that was cool.
Ben: Yeah, I got into a little trouble over there. Woke up one morning on a completely blood-soaked pillow, my head totally split open, no memory of the night before.
Ben: We still don’t know exactly what happened. There are rumors…
Wayne: Vikings were involved.
TLH: Did you end up with one of those hats with horns?
Ben: No, but I did have the phone number of someone named Ken in my pocket, which is a mystery that still hasn’t been solved. I didn’t want to make that phone call.
TLH: Is this your first time in Cincinnati?
Dan: We’ve played Columbus before but we’ve never played Cincinnati.
TLH: Awesome! Have you gotten to check it out or has Bunbury taken up your time?
Daniel: No, we haven’t been around yet, but I hear the chili is supposed to be like, the best in the country.
TLH: That’s what Cincinnatians will tell you. But I think it depends on your taste. If you like the flavor of cinnamon, then yeah, it’s the best!
Daniel: So what should we eat while we’re in Cincinnati?
TLH: Well, you can try the chili just to say that you did. Get a Chili 3-Way, which sounds awkward but it’s food. I would check out the Dojo Gelato tent at the other end of the festival. They sometimes have the weirdest flavors. One time they did a Sriracha gelato.
Daniel: Ooh! I’ll have check it out!
TLH: Yeah, definitely! Well, I’ll let you guys go but thanks so much for your time!
Photos credit to Brittany Hedin (via Facebook), Brian J. Bruemmer (via Flickr), Ashley Elfers (via Facebook) and TLH’s Jon Goolsby.