By MESFIN FEKADU
AP Music Writer
When he first started working with Imagine Dragons, music producer Alex da Kid was looking for some inspiration for the Broadway musical “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.”
There was just one problem: The demos they recorded were too good.
So instead of using the alternative band to collaborate on the score by U2’s Bono and The Edge, Alex da Kid — the creator of Eminem and Rihanna’s colossal hit “Love the Way You Lie” — immediately signed the Las Vegas-based foursome to his label imprint KIDinaKORNER Records, distributed through Interscope Records.
Imagine Dragons released its debut album, “Night Visions,” in September and so far has reached gold status, selling more than 581,000 units, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The band currently has two songs in the Top 25 with “It’s Time” and “Radioactive,” and it is on a sold-out U.S. tour that wraps June 3 in Phoenix.
Imagine Dragons had been building a buzz on the music scene as an independent act before Alex da Kid got hold of them. Lead singer Dan Reynolds said the group was “dead set” on being an independent act.
“We had offers from those labels all throughout the years, and we turned them down,” he said. “It was so important that we built that organic, independent fan base.”
Meeting Alex da Kid, born Alexander Grant, changed his perception about staying independent. He says the producer filled a void in the band’s sound.
“We didn’t feel like we were ready as a band. We didn’t understand our sound enough and our theme and who were are, and we didn’t want to try to tell people that story until we didn’t understand ourselves,” Reynolds said. “[Alex] was the perfect match for what we had been trying to do for three years.”
“It’s Time” — the breakthrough anthem for the band — was built from Reynold’s personal issues.
“I’ve always struggled a bit with depression and anxiety, and that song was at a particularly low point for me: I was dropping out of college [and] going through some personal issues,” he said. “Late one night, I was in my kitchen and I was really just writing a song for myself. I wasn’t thinking of writing for the band or anything.”
But watching him onstage with his bandmates wouldn’t give you the impression that he’s struggling with anything: The 25-year-old is wild as he works the crowd with dance moves that shows he’s got rhythm and swag. The tall and slim singer, in fitted jeans and small T-shirt, belts his rock melodies while playing one of the six drum sets onstage.