Little Image stylizes its name as “little image”, but the group’s second album is all caps: HOMONYM comes out May 12, and the alternative rock band’s mission is all in the name.
“The people who come to our shows are the big picture for us, and we’re just the smallest part of it,” says the band’s singer/guitarist Jackson Simmons. “We want everyone to feel welcome, to feel loved wherever they are in life.”
Simmons met drummer Troy Bruner and Brandon Walters, who plays bass and synthesizer, in high school where they first formed a band.
“It was just kids playing music,” says Bruner. “Jackson’s sister was always singing with us. We just enjoyed playing together.”
Back then they were listening to bands like Lydia and From Indian Lakes – who they later opened for – along with a few other bands.
“We were the first band of four,” says Bruner of the setlist. “It was the best day of our lives.”
From their first performance at J&J’s Pizza in Denton Square to their first headlining shows at the Three Links and Prophet Bar in Deep Ellum – where other performing bands filled the majority of seats – the group worked hard to achieve every level following.
“From the beginning, it felt like we were doing something unique,” says Bruner.
During high school, the group released their first album, Reflectionsa 10-track album that encapsulates the alternative pop rock sound they cultivated in their early days.
The group was offered a record deal when each member turned 18, but they turned it down at the last minute. They’re vague as to why they did it, except to say the deal didn’t align with their artistic vision.
“We were really young,” Bruner says.[It’s the] first amount of money that you’re offered, and you say this is insane, we’re huge, that’s great. Really, though, [you should] step back and appreciate your art and talent a little more than what is being put before you.”
In lieu of a great financial opportunity, the band members learned an invaluable lesson.
“We made a choice at that point that no matter what, we’re going to stick together with what we think we can do with this thing,” Walters says. “We’re not going to change anything musically based on what someone else thinks.”
The trio emphasize the importance of mentors in this kind of breakthrough. They had Jeremy Lutito, who reminded them to let music drive all their decisions. Lutito is now one of the producers of their next album HOMONYM, alongside Chad Copelin, whose roster includes Third Eye Blind, Sufjan Stevens and 5 Seconds of Summer.
Before album writing could even begin, however, the band members needed to step back and reflect on their collective identity, for which the pandemic has surely allowed time. Ultimately, the global crisis prevented the band from announcing themselves to the world without a sense of artistic individuality.
“We’d been through a lot together,” says Simmons. of us, and it will be very special.’”
HOMONYM includes previously released tracks “Ballet”, “Out of My Mind”, “Blue”, “Lungs Burn”, “Worth It” and “Ego”. Across the 13-song sequence, the artists wrestle with doubt and love as they traverse a diverse sonic landscape. From acoustic guitar arpeggios to danceable synth lines, what we know so far from the album demonstrates an impressive resurgence for a small image.
The trio also offer a passionate visual landscape, a world for fans to move around in while listening to music.
“We want music to drive everything, it can always speak for itself,” Bruner says, “but the world you create gives people a place to live and think and dream and hurt and cry and ask questions and feel like themselves. also transfers to music videos and touring.
little image has created a sharp and careful aesthetic. The three music videos released over the past four months (for “Ballet,” “Out of My Mind,” and “Blue”) carry their music forward, whether through the dimly lit silhouettes of a dancer on a simple set or elaborate scenery and coordinated with frenetic cutaways. “It was a simple enough decision that we were going to make this something people could latch onto,” says Bruner.
Opening for indie rock band Colony House, Little Image is taking these songs on the road on a US tour.
“Shows are what all the writing and hard work in the studio boils down to,” says Simmons. .”
“It’s the heart of hospitality,” he says. “If we get on stage, we want to share it with everyone else. That’s what the name means. It’s about sound and music and everyone feels the same things in a safe place to hear them.
small image also open for Panic! At The Disco last October. They took two vans on tour with them and made tons of memories along the way, like the night in Louisville, Kentucky, when Simmons accidentally broke the group’s laptop while getting up on the drum kit to close out a song.
“I did it a hundred times and I fell really hard…onto Troy, onto the drum kit,” he says with a laugh. “And I broke the laptop.”
Walters lifts the laptop to show how it now shows a blank screen and some vertical neon lines.
The trio have been teasing a possible special show — potentially in Dallas — to herald the album and let people experience it together once it’s released in May. The tour will close in early April in Colorado and on Saturday, March 25, Little Image will play the House of Blues in Dallas. Tickets starting at $28 are available through Live Nation.
The three musicians love the feeling of playing in their hometown.
“There’s something about your hometown,” says Bruner.
“Every time we play in Dallas, somehow people always show up and know our music. We’re always so excited,” adds Walters. “We’re so excited about the album and to go back [to Dallas].”