Edited by Anna Mengani
little image photographed by Tyler Krippaehne for SELF TITLED.
Alt-rock band little image is based on the foundations of friendship, trust, and dedication. From Dallas, Texas, the trio includes Jackson Simmons on vocals and guitar, Brandon Walters on bass and synth, and Troy Bruner on drums. These best friends have been collaborating musically for nearly a decade and are anticipating the release of their second album SELF TITLED, which will be released on May 12th and will feature the lead singles such as 'OUT OF MY MIND’, 'EGO’, and 'BALLET.’ I recently had the honor of attending a press conference with little image, while they shared inside details on what fans should expect from the album, their journey as both bandmates and best friends, and life on tour.
When discussing the creation of SELF TITLED, the band announced that it took three years to write, partly due to hardships faced by COVID-19. In the early stages, they were only able to communicate ideas and concepts via text or zoom call. Although this made the writing process more difficult logistically, the alone time during quarantine allowed each band member to tune deeper into their individual creativity and writing skills. Troy admitted that the writing experience during the pandemic was notably their biggest moment of adversity that stands out in their careers. Considering the sense of vulnerability and self-intimacy that comes with writing music amidst a global pandemic, it makes sense when they say that this album is their most personal project yet. In terms of producing and recording, all bandmates agreed it was very important to have control in this step.
Their first album, Musings, was created and released in 2017, while they were only in high school. Since then, each member has grown tremendously as musicians, and they want to showcase this growth by being as directive of the creative process as they possibly can. The same is true when it comes to creating their music videos. For every music video for SELF TITLED, each bandmate had roles off-screen, from brainstorming, creating, and directing. Their growth as a band allows them to become more protective about what they want to create, and having hands-on control of the entire creative process allows them to put their precise ideas to life in the best way possible. When listening to the album, little image asks that fans stream it in order -- rather than on shuffle – to best experience the journey that the album was intended to create.
Watch the music video for 'OUT OF MY MIND' here!
The trio also discussed their favorite parts about touring, as they looked ahead to opening for Colony House on The Cannonballers Tour. Touring plays a role in their most rewarding (and challenging) experiences during their time as a band. Brandon shared that his most rewarding experience was when they played arena shows with Panic! At The Disco last fall. Troy and Jackson agreed that the journey of going from performing in the basement of pizza shops ten years ago to performing alongside bands they grew up loving, is easily the biggest gift of all. In terms of their most challenging experience thus far, the band was quick to say that their tour van has caused them lots of stress and delays, due to breakdowns and repetitive mechanical issues.
When asked about their pre-show superstitions, Jackson admitted that they keep things relatively “quiet and chill” through huddles, breathing exercises, and meditation. Then, when they head on-stage, they try not to take themselves too seriously, while they simply just live in the moment for the entire set. This openness and simplicity helps them create the atmosphere that they wish for, which is an atmosphere where “anyone can come in and feel welcome and loved, all while stepping outside of the real world for some time.”
A few weeks after this press conference, I had the pleasure of seeing little image on tour at the House of Blues in Orlando, Florida. After watching their set, I can confidently say that they are successful in creating an inclusive, loving, and overall enjoyable experience for fans. Their stage presence and ability to perform exceeded my expectations, as the set included Jackson crowd surfing, phenomenal live execution of their music, a captivating use of lights, smoke, and props, and above all – the most amount of energy that I have ever seen given from a show opener. Jackson successfully led the crowd with consistent vocals while multitasking on guitar and keyboard, he leaped around the stage with unique jumps, and there was a point in time during 'EGO’ where he climbed on Troy’s drum set.
In addition, throughout the 45-minute 9-song set, it is evident that Troy is playing the instrument he is meant to play. His performance on drums was beyond impressive, with him playing so hard that, at times, he stood up to play even stronger. Brandon contributed to the outstanding musical execution, by showcasing his talent on bass. He danced and moved across the stage while playing, genuinely giving the performance all of his energy. At the end of the show, he gave a setlist to a fan, and Troy threw a drumstick into the crowd. I also saw the hands-on involvement that they mentioned during the press conference, as they took apart their own equipment and moved it off-stage directly after the set. Following the show, they were selling their own merchandise, which allowed them to connect and engage with fans. Although fierce and highly energetic on-stage, they are humble, reserved, and incredibly kind off-stage.
From my interactions with little image, I can see them quickly taking off to stardom as a result of their musical abilities, stage presence, and humble personalities. While attending their show, it was very clear that these bandmates have a strong bond outside of music. With friendship being the backbone of this band’s journey, I am inevitably excited to see how much they will accomplish in the future. Right now is the perfect time to discover this band, because from the tracks I heard live (which I have had on repeat ever since,) I am confident that SELF TITLED will experience a successful era when released on May 12th.
To keep up to date with little image’s projects and accomplishments, you can follow their social media below!
Jackson Simmons on stage at Bogart's in Cincinnati, OH, photographed by Sydney Gregory.
little image's Social Media