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CelebMix Exclusive Interview – Picture This

Picture This – comprising of members Ryan Hennessy (Vocals/Guitar), Jimmy Rainsford (Drums), Owen Cardiff (Guitar) and Cliff Deane (Bass) – have made quite the impact on the music scene since the release of their debut single ‘Take My Hand,’ released several years ago.

The four-piece released their self-titled debut album in August 2017, which was certified three times platinum in Ireland and remained in the Number One position in the country for four weeks, additionally achieving success around the world.

The album featured hits such as ‘Let’s Be Young,’ ‘Smell Like Him,’ ‘Carry On’ – amid other tracks. The quartet have gone on to become the biggest selling Irish act in 2017 and 2018.

Following the release of their debut album, the band embarked on a headline tour around the UK and Ireland, along with supporting artists on their tours and performing shows in other cities around the world. They have continued to work on new music, with the release of singles ‘This Morning’ and ‘When We Were Young’ earlier this year.

Picture This have recently released their new single ‘One Drink,’ also announcing the upcoming release of their second album ‘MDRN LV,’ set for release in February 2019.

CelebMix had the opportunity to exclusively speak with Ryan and Jimmy from Picture This about their new single ‘One Drink,’ their upcoming new music and much more. Keep reading to check out our exclusive interview!

You’ve recently released your new single ‘One Drink,’ accompanied by a brilliant music video. What has it been like for you guys to release new music, particularly as this is the first preview of what can be expected from your new album?

Ryan: “It’s very exciting! We’ve been sitting with the new music and the new video and everything – all the creative side of things – for quite some time now. We started recording late last year/early this year.

We’ve had so much new music and we wanted to release it from the minute we recorded it. To finally have it out there and have the reaction to it exactly as we wanted it to do is an amazing feeling. It feels great to be back, even though we never really left in the first place. It’s great to be back with some new music and a new video.”

Your debut album was immensely successful, not just within Ireland, but world-wide. Do you feel there is a pressure on yourselves to maintain that level of success?

Ryan: “No, I don’t. We didn’t feel any pressure. I think the reason we didn’t feel any pressure is because of the way we write music and produce music so often. We’re constantly writing and recording and as soon as the last album was finished, we were writing straightaway for our next album. We write and produce so much music. With the first album being so successful, that is amazing and we’re so happy, but we’re confident in this new music, that it can be even more successful, which, obviously, we hope happens. I never felt the pressure anyway. I don’t think any of us ever felt any kind of pressure – we just kind of went with it. Making music is all we do anyways. There was nobody asking us to make the second album or putting pressure on us for new music – we just wanted to do it. That relieved a lot of pressure as well.” 

What can be expected from the new album? Will it be a different sound compared to your first album?

Jimmy: “It’s going to be a different sound, but I’d say it’s the most Picture This album that Picture This could ever make. We haven’t changed our style, we haven’t deliberately changed anything about ourselves. It’s progressed exactly how we wanted to progress. There’s a lot of different kinds of songs on the album. It’s a big spectrum of music. We didn’t exactly go out with a plan to make this album – this album just kind of came together and it just naturally happened, which was the best way for us to make an album really.”

The new album is called ‘MDRN LV.’ What is the meaning behind the title?

Ryan: “The title came from a song that I had written for the album, a song called ‘Modern Love.’ It just happened to be a lyric in the song and I really liked that kind of concept and that idea of modern love. I remember that we were in the studio working on another song and we were listening to ‘Modern Love’ and I said to Jimmy ‘oh, that would be a cool name for the album – MDRN LV’ and then he dropped everything and was like ‘oh my God, that’s it! That’s the name of the album.’ Jimmy then said ‘right, well that’s the name of the album, that’s it’ and it just sums up the whole album as well. It was the perfect way of summing up each song and Jimmy has actually said to me before that you could call any of the songs on the album ‘MDRN LV’ and it would make sense. It was just the best way to sum up the vibe of the whole album – lyrically and with the songs.”

Who are your musical influences – individually and collectively?

Ryan: “Individually for me, I grew up listening to Oasis, The Stone Roses and that kind of Manchester scene. I also listened to a lot of hip-hop, which you don’t exactly directly hear in our music. We grew up listening to classical bands really.”

Jimmy: “I grew up listening to similar style bands. I listened to a lot of a heavier stuff – a lot of Metallica and The Beatles, stuff like that – when I was a kid. But when I started to figure out my own music, I listened to a lot of John Mayer and a guy called Ben Rector, who directed my production and how I got involved in production, producing music and all that kind of stuff. It’s a common theme throughout the band that the music that we are influenced by is usually ground-breaking music, ground-breaking bands that made a difference.”

Whenever you write tracks, do you write together or separately and then come together with your ideas?

Ryan: “We’ve never actually written together – ever. Have we?”

Jimmy: “No.”

Ryan: “Usually, I write the lyrics and melody of the song from start to finish and then I send that to Jimmy, who then goes to the studio and puts all the music around it – that’s the structure to the song. He changes bits here and there, but it is a very separate process and that’s why it works. My thing is lyrics and Jimmy’s thing is music. I’m not going to go and start telling Jimmy to do this with music and he’s not going to tell me ‘oh maybe you should do this with the lyrics.’ We just found that it works. We never came up with a process. I was just writing songs and Jimmy was putting music to it. That’s just how we started and we didn’t change it, because it worked. We come together at the end and then make the final decisions together. Mostly, we’re in the studio together all the time, but for the initial stages of the song, it’s me in my room, playing guitar and singing along or recording a melody for a song into my phone and then Jimmy puts the music to it. It is separate, but we come together in the end.”

Your music is renowned for being relatable to listeners. Do you rely on past experiences when song-writing?

Ryan: “Yes, for sure. I think most of the time for me, though, it’s quite sub-conscious and it’s only after the song is written and out there in the world that I think ‘do you know what? I was actually probably writing about this certain time in my life or this certain experience in relationships.’ It’s not always obvious to me when I’m writing it that this is why I say it, but I definitely do rely on past and current experiences and what I think may happen with people in future experiences. Then, of course, there’s the aspect of creativity – creatively coming up with a story that doesn’t necessarily happen, but it’s always kind of easier to write about an experience you’ve had. I think that’s why it is so relatable, because I’ve lived a very normal life, as a twenty-three year old as well. I’m just the same as any other twenty-three year old around the world. I’m talking about real life experiences. I’m not singing about things that people don’t know about.”

For anyone who may not know, how did you guys meet and then go on to form the band?

Jimmy: “Me and Ryan are from the same town. I had been doing music for a long time – just playing music and whatever else. I saw Ryan post a video on Facebook of him singing. I knew of Ryan, I didn’t know he sang. I just messaged him and asked did he want to start a band, not thinking anything of it and we just got together and there was a great chemistry. We had the same vision of what we wanted to be and what kind of music we wanted to make. That’s just how it happened – it’s been a roller-coaster since then. We didn’t really have any preconceived ideas of who we wanted to be or how we wanted to do it. We just went along with it and let the music do the work for us.”

What has been your biggest achievement to date and what is something you would like to achieve in the future?

Jimmy: “It’s tough, because there’s always new things that happen to us. I suppose a big achievement for us in the past anyway was the release of our debut album. When you start a band, you never think that you’re going to release an album that goes three times platinum and does all these record-breaking things. To do that was an incredible achievement. We were very proud of ourselves that we could actually do that and were able to do that. In terms of achievements for the future, I don’t think we like to look too far ahead. We always have goals that we set, but things are happening quickly and things are kind of coming to us. We don’t want to lose the run of ourselves. We always approach the future with an open mind and prepare ourselves for anything that could happen. But we are extremely confident in what we’re doing.” 

You regularly interact Interact with your fans – through crowd interaction at shows and engagement on social media – do you think it’s important to give something back to the people who support you, making them feel involved?

Ryan: “Yes. The fans are everything to us. I know every band says that, but our fans have literally changed our whole lives. When we brought out ‘Take My Hand,’ we had no idea what we wanted and all of a sudden, we started getting a lot of fans and they wanted new music, so then we started producing more music. It’s all because of the fans that this band is where it is and that’s why we always like to talk to them on social media and we always want crowd interaction at our live shows. We’re so passionate about this band. This band is everything to us. When we see people who feel the same way as us and who are so passionate, going to every show and love every song, it means the world to us. The most satisfying part of being in the band is when you’re standing on a stage and you see thousands of people singing your words back to you that you’ve written and you’re standing on a stage with all your best friends, being received so well. The fans mean everything to us and they always will. We will never lose sight of that.”

You are embarking on a huge 2019 tour, rounded up by five sold-out nights at Dublin’s 3Arena, your home country. How does that feel?

Jimmy: “It feels amazing to be finishing in Ireland. On previous tours, we’ve started in Ireland, but to be finishing with five nights at the 3Arena – which is nearly a full week of gigs in such an iconic venue in Dublin – is insane. It’s going to be a great journey for us to go on a month-long tour across Europe and come home for the last week and be able to play to that many people, seeing everyone and play the biggest week of gigs of our life. Our new album will be out as well – we’ll have so many new songs. It’s going to be a magical experience. You can’t really beat coming home to play for your friends, family and the people who really got you there in the first place. That’s going to be a special week for us for sure!”

Before going on stage, do you have a pre-stage ritual?

Ryan: “No, we don’t actually, which is something we’ve never really thought about before we starting getting asked. We’re just all in the dressing room together. Twenty minutes before we go on stage, we clear everybody out of the room and it’s just us and the band in the room. Before we go on stage, Owen (our guitarist) has an amazing Hollywood-sounding scream – I know this sounds weird! It sounds like a scream from every Hollywood movie ever. That’s the only kind of ritual we have.”

Finally, do you have a message for your supporters?

Ryan: “Thank you for everything you’ve done for us. You mean the world to us. We wouldn’t be where we are without our fans and anybody who’s supported us in any way. We’re very excited to share new music with you, coming to play live for you. They’re a part of this band as much as we are. Thank you for everything.”

You can buy ‘One Drink’ from iTunes by clicking here, along with pre-ordering their new album ‘MDRN LV.’

The track can also be streamed on Spotify through the link below, along with being available to purchase through other responsible music purchasing outlets.

Picture This’ new album ‘MDRN LV’ will be released on February 15 2019.

Are you as excited as we are here at CelebMix to hear Picture This’ new music? Are you going to see the band on any of their live dates next year? Make sure you tweet us and let us know: @CelebMix.

Written by Rachel Dempster