Songs that capture your imagination. Lyrics that hit hard. That’s what Picture This has always laid bare on their musical table, and now, with almost five years on the music, the alternative-pop band is tapping into their 2021 sound. Their brand new single, “Things Are Different,” is an anthemic, escapist pop track that takes every difficult thing about 2020 and turns into a reminder for a future filled with hope, light, and the simplicity of being better.
As difficult as the last year was, for Ryan Hennessy (vocals, guitar), Jimmy Rainsford (drums), Owen Cardiff (lead guitar), and Cliff Deane (bass), their newest single wasn’t about the loss and heartache the world was experiencing, but rather the hope and still-to-come that’s on the horizon.
“I kinda felt like at the time, there was a lot of sad music coming out,” explains Hennessy to EUPHORIA. on the choice of making “Things Are Different” about reassurance and hope. “People use music as an escape, as a remedy to better themselves. I just felt like releasing a worldly song, with a big positive message was the thing to do at the time, rather than the opposite. We did that song with that message to let them know that this is just temporary, when everything comes back it’s going to be the same as it was before but better — hopefully.”
“Just cause things are different don’t mean anything has changed / and I know the world’s on fire, but there’s beauty in the flame,” sings Hennessy on the track. Picture This, having recently performed the single on The Late Late Show With James Corden, are not only using “Things Are Different” as a hopeful gift to their listeners, but also as a gateway to their constantly evolving sound.
Their latest album MDRN LV, released in 2019, took the band’s unique pop-rock sound and lightly combined it with echoes of electric sonic elements, and though it was never a conscious choice for the band to create music that delved into different genres and styles, now, they are more thoughtful than ever.
“I think we’re constantly evolving. We don’t really consciously pick a style, we’ve never done that, which I think is slightly different to a lot of musicians and bands who want to try to find a lane and stick to it,” Rainsford says. “Between MDRN LV and the new era, there hasn’t been a conscious change, we’re just trying to be new. We’re just trying to be something brand new and not like anybody else. We just want to do what we think is new and fun and great.”
“I think it’s about chasing the song and not the sound,” Hennessy replies. “It’s what we always do.” The band’s entire discography proves just that. From their self-titled debut album released in 2017 to their 2020 single “Unconditional,” it has always been an involuntary commitment for Picture This to follow the sound, follow their passion, and follow their instinct — even when it means writing and producing all their original music themselves.
“I write songs, Jimmy produces music, we love it,” Hennessy explains. “We believe in ourselves that we’re good at it. And people have confirmed that to us by supporting the band. It just feels like the right thing. There’s nothing wrong with working with different people or other artists who have songwriters write their songs, but for us personally, if I’m a songwriter and Jimmy’s a producer, we should write and produce our own stuff. It’s what we enjoy, it’s all we do, and we love doing it.”
Hennessy and Rainsford have been a writing-producing duo since day one. When the first song sample of “Take My Hand” was uploaded to Facebook and YouTube in 2015, the band gained traction in almost the blink of an eye, amassing over 4 million views across both platforms. With a growing audience to support them and their talent for lyrics honesty masked in pop sound, they sold out venues across Ireland in no time.
For many live bands, 2020 as a year without live music has been difficult. Picture This, who are well-versed in taking their instruments to stage and giving their songs the chance to live in front of an audience have been separated from their fans because of the pandemic. However, there was no lack of connection between the band and their fans. While Picture This was in lockdown, all they thought about were their fans.
“We’ve been thinking about our fanbase the whole time,” Hennessy says about how the lockdown has given time for the band to reflect and create. “We’ve been thinking about how we can help them because this is the first time where we don’t have any shows, and it’s harder to shoot music videos and do all that, so we’ve had to be creative in trying to keep the fans going. We’re very aware that we are an outlet for them and a source of escapism and enjoyment.
“We’re so aware that they’re the reason we get to do all the amazing things we do,” he continues. “They’re the single most important thing about the band. I believe most of them would know that, but I just want to reassure them that everything we do is for the fans.”
To do exactly that, Picture This has just released a full live stream of their April 2019 shows at the 3Arena in Dublin. Having been the first band to play five consecutive sold-out nights at the venue, the band made sure the full show was captured on film. The virtual concert gets as close to seeing Picture This live as 2021 will allow, but for so much of the band’s faithful audience, it’s been a gift to relive the experience worldwide.
Echoing the sonic honesty of The Script with a flair for integrating the best of pop music into its story, “Things Are Different” marks a new chapter for Picture This, and with all the hope for a better future laced into it, how can you not be excited? The band surely are.
“We have a lot of music coming out,” Rainsford hints at future Picture This plans. “It’s going to be great for us; we’ve been holding back a little bit just because we had to, for a million reasons, but I think from the end of April on, is like a floodgate opening. It’s all finished, it’s all there, it’s just waiting. It’s just when we release it and how we release it. That’s the most exciting thing is just how much music is coming.”
Picture This, as open and honest as they’ve ever been, are just at the beginning of their new era, and the best part now is that it’s all for their fans.