Picture this: You listen to a band and immediately imagine exactly what they're singing about. A group from Ireland set out to be that band, and they're starting to take the music world by storm because of it. So what's their name? Picture This, of course.
"Picture This really resonated with us because it's exactly what we wanted the songs to give people when they heard it," drummer Jimmy Rainsford tells Billboard. "We wanted our songs to be descriptive and put a picture in your head."
With their self-titled EP going No. 1 in Ireland after its January release -- and subsequently selling out every gig they had lined up -- clearly their visual lyrics are resonating. But the Picture This guys (Rainsford and singer Ryan Hennessy) don't want their music to just make you envision what they're singing about -- Rainsford insists that they want to make a difference with what they're creating, also inspiring others to not be afraid to be different. And above all, what they want the world to know is, "the ball is rolling and it's not going to stop."
One of the songs the guys have released so far is titled "Let's Be Young," an anthem for living life in the moment. They recently released an acoustic version of the track, and today (March 31), they're premiering a special performance video of the stripped-down version on Billboard.
Watch Hennessy and Rainsford perform the acoustic "Let's Be Young" and read our interview with the guys about the song, as well as their forthcoming music, below.
What made you guys want to record an acoustic version of "Let's Be Young"?
Rainsford: When we made that song, it was kind of a game-changing moment for us. It had a subject matter that was very different and timeless, in a way. It could be played either acoustic or full band, and still has a very strong message to it. It's perfect for "Let's Be Young" because the lyrics are so direct.
What does the song mean to each of you personally?
Hennessy: The message, in itself, is sort of in the title. I was at a party and everybody was kind of looking at their phones -- nobody was really interacting with each other, it all seemed very impersonal. So I wanted to write a song that said, "let's put down our phones, go out and live, experience one another... and not through a screen." When you put down your phone and actually concentrate on people, it's very liberating.
Rainsford: When that's said so clearly in a song, and such a big, positive sounding song, it hits you kind of in a different way. It makes you realize that everyone is guilty for doing it. For me, it's a refreshing song to play -- having a big anthem with such a simple idea.
Why do you think fans are able to connect with songs like "Let's Be Young" so easily?
Hennessy: Because there's absolutely zero manufacturing in them. I'd say a lot of music is kind of hard to connect with these days, because people will spend six months writing a song when you can write a song in five minutes. Our biggest song ["Take My Hand"] was written in five minutes, because that's what I was feeling in the moment -- and everybody has felt how I feel in that song.
We've connected with people on an emotional level through our songs, and they all seem to latch on to it. We have the kind of fans that are very stoic and truly believe in our music just as much as we do.
What can fans both old and new expect from your debut album?
Hennessy: There's big, anthemic songs, and then there's songs that are more kind of fragile and more bare. It reflects my life personally, and the lives of people my age, older, and younger... anyone who's experienced relationships. You can definitely expect a very personal, yet very universal album, which is an emotional rollercoaster from start to finish. It'll make you feel every sort of emotion -- emotions you didn't even know you had.
What was it like recording your album in Nashville? Did the location have an impact on the kind of music you are creating?
Rainsford: To take the songs and bring them to such a different place... they had kind of a magnifying glass put on them. And to have [advice] come from a different perspective was really interesting, and it kind of made you think very carefully about how the song should be recorded. It's very easy, in Ireland, to get stuck in a rut of what a song should be -- but to have the outside influence of a producer in a different area, it kind of makes you more confident in what you're doing. And Nashville fits our kind of music perfectly.
For those who haven't heard of you in America or across the world yet, what do you want them to know about your band?
Rainsford: I'd say, if you want to hear a band and music that can be a soundtrack to the important parts of your life -- being a teenager, being in your 20s -- and you want to think about the things that really matter to you, you should listen to our music. It's that theme, the parts of your life you look back on, like the teenage years, or first loves... when your whole life is changing. That's the soundtrack to your life, and you should listen to it. You might like it.