In the latest episode of the Rockstar Experience, Dan Reynolds, frontman of American rock group Imagine Dragons, explores the band’s charity work and their newest musical endeavors, including their work on Netflix’s hit show Arcane.
Since forming in 2009, the legendary hit-makers have transcended their status as an intimate club and bar act to a household name, with galvanizing releases such as their diamond-selling smash hit “Radioactive” which led the group to win an award for Best Rock Performance at the 2014 Grammy Awards.
Now, 12 years after their formation, Imagine Dragons is shaking up the music industry once again off of the strength of their 13-track album Mercury – Act 1 in addition to their new single “Enemy” which serves as the title song and lead single for League Of Legends and Netflix’s groundbreaking new animated series, Arcane.
During an exclusive conversation with The Rockstar Experience, Imagine Dragons’ frontman Dan Reynolds broke down several of the group’s 2021 highlights, which include their live performances and musical accomplishments to their many contributions in the realm of philanthropy and more.
“We started over five years ago,” Dan revealed, while explaining Imagine Dragons involvement in the Tyler Robinson Foundation, which aims to aid children with cancer and their families. “At the time we were quite a small band playing, you know, little clubs and were unsigned. There was a fan that came to a show who had cancer and he was at the time just a teenager. His brother told me they were coming to the show and ‘It’s time,’ was our single at that point. And he asked if we would dedicate that song to his brother [Tyler], who was battling cancer. So we did that and I got to know Tyler that night and we became friends.” Unfortunately, Tyler eventually lost his battle with cancer and since then, Reynolds, Tyler’s family, and the rest of the band have changed countless lives with their charitable contributions.
“[Tyler Robinson Foundation] helps pay the bills, and all the unforeseen costs that come when you have a child who has cancer. A lot of times the parent has to drop out at work and we also provide them with a finance manager who comes into their life and helps them get their finances all figured out because that’s the last thing they should be stressed about when they have a kid with cancer,” he continued.
In a similar way that the song “It’s Time” brought the group together with fans like Tyler, fighting for something larger than life, Imagine Dragons’ recent single “Enemy,” featuring Atlanta rapper JID, is helping Dan Reynolds indulge his passion for gaming, something that says helped him get through his own hard times.
“When I was a young kid, video games were always my place to go to, I hated middle school,” he said. “I really was quite lost in my teenage years and I always felt like I could come home and there were two things I could turn to. And that was always music and gaming.”
Now, in 2021, Reynolds and Imagine Dragons are fully entrenched in the gaming community.
“League of Legends, me and Wayne, the guitarist, started playing it over and over. I don’t even know how many years ago, eight years ago or something, maybe more than that, I’m not sure, but we were just playing the game and then we just happened to run into people who were involved in making the game,” Reynolds explained. “Then we became friends and we started to play the game together with them. So for me, it was like my people immediately. We connected and then it just became a kind of organic relationship where we were like, ‘Hey, let’s do a song with the game together.’ And then we did ‘Warriors’ years ago and now ‘Enemy’.”
“Enemy” is the title track of League of Legends and Netflix’s Arcane, a show that Reynolds claims transcends the gaming community and should be watched by all. “Oh, it’s so good, honestly, like I’m not even hyping it at all,” Reynolds began. “It’s going to blow people’s minds. I like the art, it’s so next level. The artists all involved with it are just… there’s nothing like it. There’s nothing like it. They’re breaking barriers into new places. And the storytelling is amazing. The voice acting is amazing.”
Elsewhere in the near half-hour interview Dan Reynolds discusses some of his favorite video games to play and also seemingly drops an update on Kendrick Lamar’s extremely anticipated new album.