Interview with Little Image
Little Image is a tight knit band out of Dallas, TX made up of Jackson Simmons (vocals/guitar), Brandon Walters (bass/synth) and Troy Bruner (drums). The three best friends have been playing together for nearly a decade and first emerged on the indie rock scene with their early singles “WORTH IT” and “EGO.” During the development of their next project, they collaborated with producer Chad Copelin who has worked with sonically diverse artists like the Third Eye Blind, Sufjan Stevens and 5 Seconds Of Summer. Through their music, the trio looks to create opportunities for listeners to step into something bigger than themselves.They are releasing the first single of their second album SELF TITLED is coming out May 12th.
What is little images origin story? How did a friendship form?
Troy: We are your classic Gen Z/millennial band we met on the internet, straight up DMS and I think that's where it all began. Just love at first sight [laughs] Jackson had some songs and he was the one who wanted to start a band and found Brandon on a guitar page and then he found me on a drum page it was so internet. But it worked out cause we all lived about 30 minutes from each other in Highs School in the Dallas area so we were just hey let's meet up and get this thing going! I could say a million things about our friendship but like bands and artists any group of people.. iif you are not focused on each other’s heart and the relationship with each others more than the goals, we have goals and dreams and huge aspirations but at the end of the day if one of us is not okay then it doesn't matter we couldn't do it. We always say Jack and I couldn’t do it without Brandon and Brandon and Jack couldn't do it without me and me and brandon couldn't do it without Jack. It's a beautiful thing.
Most rewarding and challenging experience for y’all as a band?
Jackson: It has been a lot of both [laughing] I don’t know
Brandon: one of the most rewarding I think for me was last fall we got to play our first shows in an arena, and that was at one time the moment of whoa we went from playing at J & Js pizza dirty basement when we were 16 to actually being in a position where there’s more people than I can bear to count so that was definitely one of the most rewarding for me!
Jackson: I would second that for sure another rewarding thing for me was we got to go on tour with one of our favorite bands growing up called Bad suns they’re like an LA based band we love them so much. To get to go on out with them did not feel real until it was happening.
Troy: yeah we definitely have gotten to play shows with so many bands that like we grew up in love with so that’s a humbling moment for sure and I think the most rewarding thing for me was announcing a new album cause it took us so long to get there it was hard to not feel emotional even just saying it’s a thing cause we- there were moments during Covid and during life we didn’t know if we’d be a band anymore and our friendship got us through all that so it has definitely been an exciting time and to have so many people excited about it just adds to the craziness of it so we are super thankful.
I’d say the most challenging for us would be Van issues, issues with our van.
Jackson: yeah [laughing] that’s true that as good one
Brandon: we have the most breakdowns of anyone we know
"SELF TITLED" will be your first album release since 2017, what was the biggest creative difference in the creative process?
Troy: We were in high school when we did that first record, so it was kind of like kids getting in the garage and like jamming. That was kind of the energy so you hear that and it was really pure. And Jackson had a bunch of ideas, we didn’t really know each other and we just started getting to know each other and started playing our instruments. And so that was really pure but it has developed into now we all play every instrument and now we all produce so now its like there’s this width to it now where we are able to produce and create the world we want to dream up, every little detail is important so its been pretty cool to produce it ourselves, and team up with people who can make that world come alive with us.
So yeah we just grew up a lot. And fell in love with all types of music to where we were able to diversify, and we all trust each other to play any instrument now so its really like a team and you can hear the three of us in each track so it's pretty exciting.
"LUNGS BURN” is a song that truly invites you to be present in the moment and be yourself. What is something that helps each of you be present in the moment, and really let go?
Jackson:I think not taking ourselves too seriously is at least for me, like it can be really easy when you’re on tour or when you’re doing shows to be like- there’s that temptation to be like a rockstar guy and when you can just kinda be who you are offstage onstage and just anywhere in life I think is awesome so that’s my answer
Brandon: We kinda try to keep the screen time to a minimum um that can really help just live in the world that we live in- nothing against social media nothing against this new world that we live in but there a lot of books on tour. All the can pockets in the back are filled with- Troy essentially has a library back there and we try to stay on that wavelength as much as possible.
Having been playing together for nearly a decade, what is some advice for other bands on working with friends in a professional environment in the music industry?
Jackson: Learning how to talk to each other, I can’t stress that enough I think that’s what has worked for us we can get really angry, we are all just really passionate people so we can get frustrated with each other. And when you can kinda channel that frustration into talking about why you’re frustrated, yeah just be a family about it.
Brandon: Yeah there is a good work boundary too, where you realize you're running a certain kind of business together and something we always have to realize is to challenge other people to realize this as well, you all have the same goal. So as long as you can keep directing the ship to whatever that goal is. You have to trust that everyone is on the same page.
Jackson: that takes a lot of effort to get on the same page but once you're there you have something you can continuously look back on. That's why people have business plans, that's why people have business models because you have something that's in concrete that you can look back and agree, like oh no we are getting off track this is the main thing.
Troy: Yeah I would also just say for anyone in the music industry, if it's specifically trying to be in a band it’s overall one of the hardest things ever to do like even when you’ve “made it” there’s always, you can’t hold it too tight, because it's alway this close to- not slipping away but you gotta take it precious cause every moment is a gift. Like we can’t believe we get to do what we love so I think what goes further is who you are to everybody.. In the music industry whether you want to be a musician or someone on tour, a label or a band. You always hear “this guy is really good at something” or “this girl is amazing at what she does” but hearing she’s like such a beautiful person you know that’s always what tops you getting the gig or moving up is being who you are. If you have an 80% good person and 20% percent pretty good at what they do vs the worlds best at what they do but there not kind to anyone around them like I don’t want that. I'd rather have the guy who is pretty good and treats everyone well. That is something we learned touring a lot and meeting every band and bands who now talk to us about that so I feel like- it just goes a long way.
Jackson: Yeah having respect for people
What was it like collaborating with producer Chad Copelin?
Jackson: so we did work with Chad he was incredible we also worked with another producer named Jeremy Lutito, he did 3 of the tracks on the record and working with both of them was- two totally different experiences both amazing in their own ways, working with Chad is very like you’re locked in so focused and you get things done very fast and Chad’s just a genius musically. He’s hard to impress, you can kind of play something or he’ll play something and he’ll be like is that good? And we will be freaking out like okay cool works for me which is so beautiful it's unlike anything else. Working with Jeremy, I feel like he really pushed us to kind of create a new sonic sound for ourselves. Pushed us into trying new instruments, trying new sounds, and little exercises like there's a part on EGO where on the bridge he picked up a beastie boys book and just started reading it and see where my mind went and then we came up with the ego bridge. So working with both of them is awesome. It's an amazing experience lotta respect for both of those guys.
What moments of adversity stand out in your journey as artists?
Troy: The season of life Covid was, everything was so difficult we weren’t very kind to each other and that kind of put us in a place where we were angry with each other and we felt like giving up so maybe for me it was fighting though that and receiving love from both Brandon and Jack through that where we were able to come out of that way better friends and people rather than worrying so much about the music I think that is what ended up making the artistry more powerful in long term.
Jackson: I think the biggest thing was learning how to talk to each other too like that’s something I feel like doesn’t get brought up enough is when there’s conflict, learn how to bring it up in a healthy non dramatic way and it goes a long when you can just talk about things and hug each other and love each other for each others differences and move forward. It’s impossible to be in a band if you can’t accept each others differences
Brandon: Yeah we always say like this is like a marriage and any married people out there know the stupid things you can fight over and the only way you get through that is being acountable and I feel like that’s the biggest thing we’ve learned that has allowed us to absolutely trust each other. And we are still learning that always learning how to trust each other further, but that is when art is truly able to just pour out of you is when you have nothing that you feel like isn’t good enough, when there’s a total trust you can just go crazy and you trust the other person trusts that you’re not just crazy [laughs] and that’s where our best ideas have come from is having fun in an environment where we earn that trust.