The debut album from little image, SELF TITLED, will be released this Friday May 12th via Hollywood Records. On the album, band members Jack Simmons (vocals, guitar), Troy Bruner (drummer), and Brandon Walters (bass, synth) explore the familiar struggle with self discovery. Over the past eight years, their sound has been reevaluated and they’ve benefitted from the pandemic as a way to reveal themselves to the world. As they prepare for their album and upcoming shows, we catch up with Jack and Brandon to hear more!
Hi! How is everyone?
JS: Doing good!
You guys just finished headlining for Colony House! How was that experience?
JS: It was amazing! It’s kind of rare when you go on tour with people you’ve known previously, much less your best friends. So getting to be on the road with our best friends for two months was pretty special.
Did you learn any new lessons from touring? What was your favorite show?
BW: That’s a tough one. There’s so many special shows. I feel like I’m going to go with my gut and say Cleveland.
JS: Cleveland and Denver for sure.
BW: Lessons? They are just some of the most well-rounded humans I’ve ever met. Being in the music industry and touring is hard to navigate, and anytime you can find somebody who is solid in the midst of the craziness that is touring and puts family first. We’re all just sponges and we want to take it all in, so we learned a lot of lessons about balance. It’s always worth it to go the extra mile to make sure you don’t go without seeing loved ones. We’re all married, so we come out on the road and we’re still the same people back home with the same responsibilities. I think that life balance was one of the biggest lessons I learned from the tour.
Your proper debut albums comes out Friday, May 12th. How are you guys feeling?
JS: I feel relieved and nervous all at the same time. It’s been such a long time that we’ve been working on it, so it’s a relief to finally say “These songs are the world’s now. We can release them and move onto the next thing.” But at the same time, you’re nervous because you’ve spent so much time it. You hope that people actually like it.
I know that the album focuses on self reflection and truly discovering yourselves. Were there any songs on the album that were harder to write than others?
JS: One of the harder ones is called ‘NEW LOVERS.’ It detours a little bit on the self image, because it’s a pretty personal song for me.
Y’all were together for about eight years before building up to your initial debut. During the pandemic, were there any big moments that made you feel like now is the time to go out into the world?
BW: As our stories were ramping up, COVID happened. During the initial ramp up, we were sort of just running and gunning. We didn’t really know what was happening. We had this one song out and this tour, the rest just happened as it happened. COVID took us from the ramp up and crashed us, just like so many artists. For us, it was actually a time for us to stop and ask “What do we want?” If we’re going to say one thing, if we’re going to make some kind of mark in music, what do we want that to be? It was a time to fully look at the big picture and have control over everything rather it just happening to us. So that’s why we’re so stoked on the album, because we got to create such a specific image and story that we’re very passionate about. Had we not had that time to distance ourselves from it, and come back together to get in the studio and let the top down, we definitely would not have this album or be the same band. It was very, very formative.
Is this also the inspiration behind the title ‘SELF TITLED‘?
BW: Yeah! The self titled idea was as we were in that top down, and personally how we were dealing with the war with ourselves on who we are versus the shell we put on. At first, someone brought it up as a joke while we were having a conversation. It was one of those things where someone went there, instead of laughing it off we all went “Huh? That’s perfect.” As on the nose and as cheesy as it is, the title felt like the book cover of our story. This sort of war and what lies beneath self.
How excited are your family members for the album?
JS: My dad is really excited. He’s at every show he can be at. I have to tell him sometimes “Dad, it’s coming. Slow down. Let me finish it up.” And he’s like “Well, we’ve got to have the album.” My dad’s really pumped.
BW: For all of us, our wives are very involved in the process as far as support goes. It feels like, for my wife at least, she’s maybe more excited than I am for this because she’s sacrificed so much for this. She listens to the album all the time, it’s on constant rotation for her. The fact that it actually gets to go out into the world is something she’s absolutely itching for. I’m very excited that it’s coming out. It almost doesn’t feel real, but I’m more excited for her to get to show it off I guess.
I noticed that in the ‘BALLET’ music video, the dancer is Jack’s wife. How did that come about?
JS: It was a last minute thing. We were going on tour and someone brought it up. My wife has been a professional ballet dancer for a while, and she grew up dancing. Someone brought it up that we’ll be on tour and can’t film the music video so why no have Prin do a beautiful piece of work. It was so cool to collaborate with my significant other. None of us saw it until the video was done, and that was a cool, fun surprise because we put all of our trust in her.
What were the artists that grew up listening to around your house?
JS: It was all different for us.
BW: For me, it was Def Leppard and eighties glam. My parents met each other in that world. My dad was a singer for an eighties hair band, and my mom was in that world. I grew up immediately exposed to rock ‘n roll and the craziest of rock ‘n roll. From an early age, I knew I wanted something to do with that world. I believe the funnest part about the three of us is that we come from such different background. That’s totally not the music I listen to now, but it’s certainty what I grew up with.
JS: My dad was really into eighties music as well, but not quite hair metal. We listened to a lot of The Cure, and Huey Lewis and the News was around when I was a little kid.
Would you say these artists influenced little image?
BW: It made us fall in love with music, because we wouldn’t want to do what we do without it. Maybe The Cure, they’re sick.
JS: Yeah, you kind of take The Cure and run with it.
BW: I don’t think we listened to music that would influence us until later high school.
Which artists during high school?
JS: One big band for us was Mutemath. We were always inspired by their live performances and attention to detail in recordings. Bands like Radiohead, we discovered later in high school.
BW: Some of those feel good, amazing artists that we always tried to pull from.
What are some of the new songs you’re excited to play live? How are you feeling for the Dallas show on May 13th?
JS: I’m really excited for ‘GLUE’, it’s the last song on the album. We’re doing a different arrangement for it live. I think it’s going to be really, really fun. It’s a different thing for us. I’m really excited for the Dallas so as well.
BW: Same. ‘BALLET’ still just slaps, it’s really fun to play.
Is there a tour planned? Or y’all just seeing how it goes for now?
JS: We’re currently working on it! Probably, we’ll be on tour in the fall for sure.
Are y’all planning on bringing new elements to the three shows?
JS: It’s a surprise!