Of Monsters and Men may have never been cast into a brutal arena and forced to fight for their lives — but they have been on tour. And according to band member Ragnar þórhallsson, the band was able to draw on that experience to pen their contribution to "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" soundtrack, "Silhouettes." A preview of that track premieres exclusively Tuesday (October 22) on MTV News.
"We had been traveling for a long time and away from our family and doing something we had never done before, so that was kind of how we related to the story," þórhallsson told MTV News. "So this is all based on our experience."
Although they are fans of the "Hunger Games" series, the band chose to write "Silhouettes" not to match any specific scene in the book/film, but more the overall feeling of the second tome in the series, in which Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark are cast back into the Hunger Games arena to fight against former victors in the midst of a burgeoning revolution.
"I think that's stronger than digging into and dissecting the book and writing a song about one scene or something," þórhallsson said. "It's more about the feeling of the whole story."
A bittersweet song that's delicacy hides a kind of throbbing tension, it's easy to see how the tune could fit into the film — or serve as the inner monologue running through Katniss's head as she recalls all the people she has lost in her dystopian world: "A thousand silhouettes/ Dancing on my chest/ No matter where I sleep/ You are haunting me," sings the band's Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir over an increasingly tortured beat.
That feeling of being displaced, yet carrying one's homeland within, is one that Of Monsters and Men knows too well. After releasing their hit debut record My Head is an Animal in 2011, the Icelandic band hit the road, playing more than 200 shows in this past year alone.
"Being away from your home and your family and your girlfriend and stuff like that [is hard]," þórhallsson said. "I think this song touches on that. Definitely."
The song and the band's lengthy touring experience could factor into the band's sophomore record — the song serving as a bridge between the first album and the next.
"The first album was a lot about escaping," þórhallsson said. "Writing about what's out there without knowing what's out there. I think now that we've seen what's out there... and how we feel about being away [from home], it kind of turns around a bit. I'm not sure what the next album will sound like....but we know more about the world, so it's probably going to be a lot different from the first, I think. Maybe a bit more personal."
Still, lest you think that Of Monsters and Men equate touring wholly to the terrors of the Hunger Games, þórhallsson is quick to point out that the journey wasn't all missing friends and loved ones. "Definitely best two years of my life, I think," he said of the band's first-ever tour.
"The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" soundtrack drops on November 19 — before the film premiere on November 22.