Alex Da Kid is having his best year ever. In addition to winning a Grammy for Best Rock Performance with his group, Imagine Dragons -- which to date has sold 1.9 million copies of their 2012 debut, "Night Visions," and 14.4 million songs -- the producer for the likes of Rihanna and Eminem has also proven himself as a businessman by continuing to break acts under his KIDinaKORNER imprint through Interscope. Still recovering from the Grammys, Alex is already back to work and invited Billboard to his session at Westlake Recording Studios in Los Angeles.
Congratulations on winning a Grammy with Imagine Dragons. How was the moment?
Before the Grammys started we won. We were on the red carpet together and that was really cool. We were in between interviews and I was looking around. I turn around and the guys are all hugging each other. It was a really good moment. As a group, it means a lot for someone signed to my label. When the actual Grammys started, we were concerned about the performance. We’ve been rehearsing this for months. It was a whole thing. It was a lot going on.
Who was the first call you made after you won? Your mom?
I Instagrammed a picture of us on the red carpet. I didn’t call anybody. I still haven’t spoken to my mum. I’m not really big on looking back; I like to look forward.
Where do you keep your Grammys?
My house is under construction but I’m building a case thing.
Imagine Dragons’ performance with Kendrick Lamar was the night’s most visually elaborate. What was the concept behind it?
The Grammys asked us to perform but it wasn’t with Kendrick. When they spoke to Kendrick, he said, “I want to do something with Imagine Dragons.”
Did you know Kendrick was a fan?
No. I don’t think he knew until he saw the performance at the American Music Awards. That’s when he was really like, “I wanna do something with those guys.” It was all Interscope so it was easy to put together.
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What was rehearsal like?
We were rehearsing in a shitty little rehearsal room in [Las] Vegas. Kendrick was really good about coming out. We knew we wanted to do something big but we didn’t know the whole color thing. We were thinking of different things to do like, breaking instruments and stuff like that. At every rehearsal, the Grammys had a presence there so they were not in love with that. It wasn’t even a fully thought out idea. We were all in the room, like 10 T.D.E. guys and 10 of us and we were like, “Why don’t we do this? Why don’t we fly?” because Dan flies in some of the shows and plays the drums upside down. We kind of came up with this idea of being in white and then the color. When we started researching the idea, we found they didn’t make red [dye] so we had to get it specially made. It was a lot of work. At first, all the managers hated the idea. We didn’t know the logistics of it. We didn’t know if it was poisonous or anything so we had to research all that. There will be a video out soon with some of the rehearsals.
Did the color have some deeper meaning? It looked like the red from the “Beats By Dre” logo.
Not really. It was more we wanted to do something visually different. We all said “Imagine all the press pictures after like, we’re gonna have this shit all over us. Cool.” I haven’t seen Kendrick’s press pictures but the guys were caked in it. Then they went and sat down next to Beyonce and Jay after, so people was hugging them like, “Oh.”
What did you do after the Grammys?
I went backstage to charge my phone. I actually missed Macklemore’s performance because of that. Then it was over pretty much. The guys did press and then they had to shower. We were the last in the Staples Center. We were there until like 11:00pm. I was pretty bummed out because Paul McCartney invited me to a dinner with Trent Reznor, Stevie Wonder, all these crazy people. I was with the guys. It just took forever. Then we went to the Universal party. It was almost done. I got pretty drunk.
How does this Grammy win differ from your previous accolades?
It’s special because Imagine Dragons is my band. It’s the first thing I’ve really broken globally. Everything we do together means 10 times more than having a hit. That’s good, but it’s not the same. I always tell young, hot producers, everyone should attempt to create their own movement.
What’s coming up for your label KIDinaKORNER?
The vision is to just grow steadily. I don’t want to grow too quickly and overextend myself because I’m really involved in every aspect, the creative and business side. I want to just grow and break another artist. We just released an EP by X Ambassadors so I’m super excited about that. We have Skylar’s stuff coming out this year, probably. Another Imagine Dragons might be coming end of this year. Jamie N. Commons album coming this year. So yeah, and another artist Candice Pillay who may be dropping an EP. She’s a singer/songwriter kind of alternative/R&B/pop/trap but not normal. The whole point is to make music that I think is cool and bring to the world.
- Arts & Entertainment
- Imagine Dragons
- Kendrick Lamar