Imagine Dragons talks with Long Island students

Kidsday reporters (front, left) Nathaniel Hill, Kali Tapper

Kidsday reporters (front, left) Nathaniel Hill, Kali Tapper and Julia Marshall, from PS 85 in Astoria, with the members of Imagine Dragons: Wayne Sermon, Ben McKee, Daniel Platzman, Dan Reynolds at the Brooklyn Marriott Hotel on Feb. 4, 2013. (Credit: Newsday / Pat Mullooly)

Kidsday reporters recently interviewed Wayne Sermon, Ben McKee, Daniel Platzman and Dan Reynolds of Imagine Dragons when they were in Brooklyn recently.

What was it like to be on "Saturday Night Live"?

Daniel Platzman: [It] was like a dream come true, because we grew up watching "SNL," hoping one day we could be on it. To be able to perform our music on "SNL" -- all of our families were watching back home and cheering us on -- felt really good.


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How did you guys get together?

Ben McKee: Three of us actually went to college together in Boston at Berklee College of Music. We were playing weird jazz music together. But Wayne graduated and moved out to the West [and he] met Dan there, and we all headed to Las Vegas, started the band and kind of hit the ground running from there.

If you weren't musicians, what would you be?

Ben McKee: Unemployed.

Dan Reynolds: I wouldn't be unemployed, Ben probably would. I wanted to be in the FBI.

Daniel Platzman: He wanted to catch bad guys. He (pointing to Wayne) wanted to test video games professionally.

Wayne Sermon: That sounds like fun to me -- playing video games all day long. It didn't work out for me. I wasn't good enough.

Who were your music idols?

Ben McKee: The Beatles.

Daniel Platzman: We really like Led Zeppelin.

Wayne Sermon: Classic rock.

Daniel Platzman: We also like some newer music. There's Arcade Fire, they're really, really cool. They're from Canada. Team Apollo they're from Australia.

You won an American Music Award and a Grammy since you released your album. How do you feel?

Daniel Platzman: Very surprised. We all decided to play music because we love music. We play music and wanted to follow our passion. We really didn't get into it for any of the fame or words or anything. But when you do win an award, it's very gratifying. You feel like you work really hard and someone noticed. So it feels really good.

How do you create your videos?

Dan Reynolds: Every video is different. We sit down and think, "What does this song mean to us?" and then we talk to some directors that we feel are good directors and we say, "How would you portray this?" And then we kind of bounce ideas off each other, and we kind of come to a conclusion of what seems right, and then we go with it.

We heard you were at The Beatles' tribute; why did you choose to sing "Revolution"?

Wayne Sermon: We actually didn't choose. They actually told us -- and we weren't going to argue because we love that song. So we were happy to play it. We were very nervous because it's The Beatles. And so we had to do it justice, we had to play it correctly, and I don't think we made any massive mistakes.

Ben McKee: I played one wrong note on there. There's one note that I played a half-step too low in the middle of ... I saw Paul McCarthy listening to me, and that's why I choked.

Why do you like drums so much?

Dan Reynolds: Because they're so powerful; just so much emotion to the drum.

Ben McKee: There's nothing between you and the music with the drum. You just hit something and go with it.

Daniel Platzman: You know the thing about drums is when you hit them, they make really loud noises. And making really loud noises is a lot of fun.

Ben McKee: It's the closest to playing fireworks that you can have onstage. You don't need a drum set. Go find your mom's nicest pots and pans and play.

What would you say your home away from home is?

Ben McKee: My pickup truck. Because I don't have a home right now. That is my home.

Daniel Platzman: You know we got to go to Madrid recently ... and everyone was so nice to us there that it kind of felt like a home away from home. If I have to answer, I would say Madrid.

Dan Reynolds: I would second that.

Ben McKee: I'm going to change from my pickup truck to Madrid.

When you first joined your band, did you think it would be this big?

Dan Reynolds: We thought it would be pretty small. We've been small for a lot of years. We just played small houses. Birthday parties, weddings.

How did you decide on the name?

Daniel Platzman: So we had a word or phrase we really liked, but we didn't want to call the band that word or phrase, so we made an anagram ... we took all those letters, and we realized if we rearranged it, it would spell Imagine Dragons, and we really liked that. So we decided to call the band Imagine Dragons.

Ben McKee: The anagram is a secret.

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