Jackson Simmons vocals/guitar • Brandon Walters bass/synth • Troy Bruner drums

Upon first listen to new music from Dallas alt-pop trio little image, you’ll probably find yourself
asking, “With songs this well-constructed, how have I not heard of this band before?” That’s primarily by design, says drummer Troy Bruner.

“We’ve been playing music together for eight years, but it doesn’t look like we’ve been a band for eight years, and there’s a reason for that,” he explains. “This is the beginning.”

Throughout that near-decade, little image morphed from a group of perpetually online suburban teens who were obsessed with underground indie rock and had no idea what they wanted to be, into the tight-knit outfit you see today. (Along the way, Bruner toured with platinum-selling act Judah & The Lion.) While many young artists had their careers derailed in 2020 due to COVID, it actually managed to save little image, which was gearing up to announce itself to the world without realizing the members needed more time for reflection.

“It was a blessing in disguise,” Bruner says of lockdown. “We were about to jump into something we didn’t exactly have figured out.”

”More than half the record came out of that downtime,” frontman Jackson Simmons elaborates. “We got to hone in on some ideas. To be able to sit with them was really good.”

That extra time allowed the members of little image to fully expand on the promise of their early
singles “WORTH IT” and “EGO,” exploring different ways to create a pop-rock song beyond the
basic guitar/bass/drums template. This new burst of creativity led to a partnership with producer
Chad Copelin, whose CV includes such sonically diverse artists as Third Eye Blind, Sufjan Stevens and 5 Seconds Of Summer. Simmons credits Copelin with creating a warm, nurturing studio environment that allowed each member to explore their influences.

“Something we talk about a lot is if little image could be anything, it would be a world people could live in,” comments bassist Brandon Walters. “It’s very important to us to create a world where someone can have a safe place to question things and not know the right answers and not have it all figured out.”

“It starts with the three of us,” Bruner continues. “We’re all best friends. If we can start there, which is how we love each other, that expands and a culture is created. At the end of the day, we make all of this so someone can go to a show and be impacted — socially, mentally, spiritually. We
want to give them an opportunity to step into something bigger than them.”

Of course, all of this is moot unless you have the songs to back it up, Luckily, little image doesn’t lack in memorable moments. Their current single, the M83-esque indie-dance number “LUNGS BURN” is a diamond in a sea of gems:

“Taking a broad scope view of current culture and how damaging the idea of technology and the obsession with our self-image can be, ‘LUNGS BURN’ is an invitation to let go, be yourself, and be present instead of drowning yourself in your phone and the toxicities that exist there. The song is a cry for people to come together and experience something without those things in play, and truly feel something bigger than themselves.”

Then there’s the more guitar-oriented vibe of “BLUE,” a song spawned out of the past few years of political strife in America, described by Bruner as “a very special song to all of us.”

“What inspired ‘BLUE’ is that sometimes in our culture, things can be very, very loud and you can hear a lot of opinions,” Simmons begins. “We love to hear all kinds of sides, but instead of screaming and yelling, we take a back seat and just listen and try to find the voice of reason. I think if a lot of people would take that approach more often, there would be a lot less chaos going on. I respect the passion and the rebellion in some aspects of things, but sometimes you have to take a step back and say, ‘Let me learn from you.’”

This level of self-reflection is a rarity in music these days and is a testament to the work little image’s members do on themselves. (Therapy and journaling are among the topics that get brought up freely in conversation between the trio.) It’s part of what makes Bruner’s big-picture goal for little image so compelling.

“When bands headline Red Rocks in Colorado, they write their name backstage,” explains Troy. “This was probably not the right thing to do, karmically speaking, but when I played there with Judah & The Lion in 2019, I wrote half of our name — ‘little’ — and took a picture of where it was, so when we headline Red Rocks, we finish it off together.”

Together. If there’s a single word that can sum up little image — from their music to their mindset — that’s it.