For Las Vegas rockers Imagine Dragons, Sin City has provided more than just a home base. In fact, their debut album, Night Visions, to be released on September 4th, was recorded in a casino – the state-of-the-art recording facility on the third floor of the Palms Casino, to be exact.
The casino is where Imagine Dragons also recorded their EPs, including Continued Silence, which came out on February 14th of this year. According to the band, the upcoming album simply expands the sound they created on Continued Silence. "It's kind of a filled-out version of what the EP was," frontman Dan Reynolds tells Rolling Stone.
The band's signature big beats and percussion-heavy anthems developed as the band played tiny stages at wild, smoky casinos in Las Vegas. "We were competing with all of the slot machines, all the bikini-clad blackjack dealers and all of that," says bassist Ben McKee. "We really had to work extra hard to get people to look up from their next billion-dollar potential win and actually pay attention to our music."
People are paying attention now, with the explosion of the single "It's Time" and a recent late-night television performance debut on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno.
But success won't make Imagine Dragons forget their roots, they say. "Being from Las Vegas is going to influence any band," explains Reynolds, who was born and raised in Sin City. "There's no place like Vegas. The culture there is like an anti-culture. It's so devoid of culture that it has, like, its own thing."
Because of their hometown, Imagine Dragons have been compared to the Killers, but Reynolds thinks their biggest similarity is simply being from Las Vegas. Perhaps the comparison is a stretch, but it's flattering nonetheless. "Any time we ever hear a comparison to them, we're like, 'Awesome,'" Reynolds says.
An intriguing element of Vegas mystique is the band's name. Imagine Dragons is an anagram for a secret phrase that the four members believe represents the band. At every show fans try to guess the hidden words.
"We're not saying somebody hasn't guessed it, but if they do, we are pretty good actors and we play the fool," Reynolds says. "And it could be not in English." For now, the mystery lives on.