In a dark kitchen in the middle of a sweaty night in Las Vegas, all 6’4” of Dan Reynolds is hunched over a laptop, slapping beats on the table and crooning lyrics into a tiny microphone. Before long, he and the other three members of indie rock band Imagine Dragons would be playing “It’s Time,” that same laptop-demo-turned-supersized-anthem, from the roof of a parking garage to a wave of thousands of screaming fans. This song title to the single from their 2012 debut KidInaKorner/Interscope release “Continued Silence EP” is an all too apt descriptor of the band’s hard-earned success—but it’s also emblematic of the deep-seated anxiety Reynolds and the rest of the band experienced leaving behind any realistic expectation of a normal job to do the thing they love most.
A third-generation Las Vegas native, Reynolds is no stranger to the adage “the house always wins,” choosing to pave his musical career with a near obsessive work ethic and hundreds of unused demos rather than roll the dice with the first songs that sprung from his mouth. It’s no surprise, then, that he was drawn to guitarist Wayne Sermon, another founding member of Imagine Dragons. Having practically grown up in a recording studio and graduated Berklee College of Music, Wayne had been practicing his guitar through meals and other socially inappropriate situations as long as he could remember; he challenged Dan in a way that was both uncomfortable and exactly what they both needed.