Guitarist Wayne Sermon says his band Imagine Dragons doesn’t know how to celebrate any of their recent successes or milestones. Imagine that.
Recently, the band’s debut album Night Visions turned four years old. The album sold over two million copies in the US and hit single Radioactive won a Grammy award for Best Rock Performance.
The band went from playing to a crowd of 10 people in Las Vegas, Nevada to selling out arenas around the world. Sophomore album Smoke + Mirrors, released in 2015, debuted at the top spot on the US Billboard 200.
“Every time something good happens, we’ll say to each other ‘Hey, let’s go out and celebrate’ but the truth is, we never do. I think it’s because we are still hungry (for more). We don’t want to feel entitled. We still think we have a lot to prove to ourselves,” Sermon, 32, said in a phone interview from his home in California.
Formed in 2008, Imagine Dragons consists of drummer Daniel Platzman, Sermon, bassist Ben McKee and vocalist Dan Reynolds. The band performed at the Singapore F1 Grand Prix concert on Sept 18.
Before Imagine Dragon’s big break, you guys performed at a mall as the opening act for a mime. Have you ever thought of looking for the guy and getting him as the band’s opening act now?
That’s a good question (laughs). I still remember how that mime got on stage and he took the mic, it looked like he was about to say something ... then he didn’t.
You know what, I’ll get my manager to look for him so he can open for our show. I’m sure the others will be up for it.
Do you read reviews on the band’s music and live performances?
We used to. We would read every review, story and our manager would also point things out to us. We’ve also Googled ourselves to see what people are saying. It’s good to be aware of what is out there and we knew what is being said about us.
Then we just stopped reading about ourselves. It’s not like we were discouraged by bad reviews or criticism. It just came to a point where it felt like we’re no longer helping ourselves (by reading absorbing all the negativities).
But you guys have opened for a mime, which could possibly be the worst thing ever. Shouldn’t the band be bulletproof when it comes to criticism?
(Laughs) I don’t know! I can understand why some people have doubts over our success because it all happened so fast. We were a bunch of nobodies and then we were suddenly everywhere. Perhaps they don’t know that we were a band for four years before Radioactive came to be.
Like you said, we played for a mime at the mall. We’ve played at a birthday party. I like to think that we’ve paid our dues. We respect everyone’s opinion but we’re not going to apologise for the things that we’ve done.
Does the band still hold on to the motto "Say yes to every show”?
Yes, we pretty much agree to a lot of shows. The heart of what we do in music is playing live shows. We told ourselves to make use of every opportunity that came by.
It came to a point where we met Dave Grohl (in 2014) and he advised us to slow down. So, if the hardest working man in rock music is telling us take it easy that’s when we know that, perhaps, we should take it easy.
But even when we’re on break, we’re still working, thinking of new music to make. We’ll learn to take that advice (eventually) ...
You've been to Singapore before. What do you remember best about the place?
I remember the last time I was in Singapore, I had the best crab dish at this place near our hotel!