The Making of an Artist Series Class

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The Making of an Artist Series Class

Instructor Sam Yo takes us inside the process of creating his popular Imagine Dragons All For One: Music Festival Class.

By Dana Meltzer ZepedaSeptember 16, 2021

Anyone who has ever cycled with Peloton instructor Sam Yo knows that he’s a huge music fan. So when he was tasked with creating an Imagine Dragons ride for the All For One 2021: Music Festival (AFO) this summer, he jumped at the opportunity to curate the ultimate artist-themed workout.

To prepare for the class, Sam says he listened to just about every Imagine Dragons tune out there, often when he was working out. Eventually, he whittled the playlist down to eight handpicked songs to create an epic 20-minute set list. His preparation process—which he documented on social media—ultimately took about four weeks.

Artist Series classes are meant to celebrate the power of the Peloton community—and our Members sure showed up for this one. Imagine Dragons had some of the most popular tracks over the course of AFO 2021, with 7 of the top 10 most liked songs through our Track Lovefeature.

We recently caught up with Sam to talk about what really went on behind-the-scenes to bring the Imagine Dragons ride to life. Here's what he had to say about paying tribute to one of his favorite bands with Peloton.

He really is a super fan.

“I love Imagine Dragons because they've brought the rock genre into the 2010s. There's a mix of rock, electro-pop and EDM in the music; and alternative, soul and hip-hop in their melodic style. They've fused together all of these elements for modern-day rock anthems, which feel very empowering when you listen. I said in my AFO ride, ‘I always feel like I'm in a action movie walking away in slow motion from a big explosion when I play Imagine Dragons.’”

He does his research.

“I went through a total of five playlists and two rehearsals. After each one, I would move around the set list to give it more light and shade to create the energy I was looking for. I am very familiar with Imagine Dragons' music and, in the month before AFO, I must have listened to 95 percent of their catalogue. I made a foundation playlist, where I threw in all the songs I loved that speak to me. The foundation playlist was over an hour long, and I used it to draw tracks to make a set list. The tracks that didn't make it into the final playlist, I added into other classes.”

He's a team player.

“My producer is great at giving me feedback and notes on my rehearsals and playlists. I'm very lucky to get a second pair of eyes and ears on my work because his ideas are very different from mine. It helps me think creatively outside my own box. For example, there was one song that I really wanted to keep, but he gave me a note that it didn't quite work. I fought him on it until a day before filming where I changed it. He was right and the class flowed perfectly for the first time at the recording!”

He dresses the part.

“I was wearing a very tight top, and I kept thinking the buttons were going to pop when I was moving during the ride because they did in rehearsal. Luckily, the buttons survived the main recording! That was one big highlight for me. I also felt like it all came together even better than I hoped. The script, the atmosphere, the set list and the feel of doing a big crowd wave was music, fitness and storytelling working as one.”

He can't wait to do it again.

“We instructors work closely with our music team to identify artists that we can celebrate via our classes and programming. For me, the best part of teaching an Artist Series ride is that you get to celebrate an artist you genuinely love and respect. You become a vehicle for their voice, what they represent and they become an extension of yours.”

Whatever music you’re into, there’s an Artist Series class for you. Check out the entire ArtistSeries Collection by heading to the Collections tab on your touchscreen and Peloton App!

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