- 17 Oct 18
We had a brief chat with Picture This at the Westbury Hotel, following the announcement that their second album, MDRN LV, will be out in February and that they'll five 3Arena shows in March.
It's often mentioned how far along Picture This have come in such a short space of time. From viral social media videos to playing at the RDS, the Athy band have emerged as one of the most popular contemporary act in Ireland. They've sold over 300,000 tickets in the space of about three years, become the most streamed Irish act of 2017, and have barely left the Irish Album Charts since the release of their self-titled debut album in September 2017.
They look set to cement that reputation, and extend it across the Atlantic, if their press conference to announce the release of their second album, MDRN LV, is anything to go by. For the announcement, they were flanked by Avery Lipman, President of Republic Records (who oversee the likes of Drake, Ariane Grande, and The Weeknd), who gave a speech praising the band and indicating that the ambitious was to take them global.
Lipman said he saw "levels of passion and levels of activity (around the band) which didn't make sense - in a good way". He went on to say that he felt as though the entire country has a secret that he's "really excited to share it with the rest of the world".
Right after the press conference, the band played a rooftop gig on top of the Westbury Hotel. Following this, Hot Press sat down for a quick chat with Ryan Hennessy and Owen Cardiff.
Hot Press: You've just playing in front of a crowd from the roof the Westbury. Who's idea was that?
Ryan: We all had a meeting about what we’d do for the press conference. We wanted to do something a bit different so we came up with the rooftop thing. It was amazing, felt like I was in The Beatles or something.
Ryan, I know you've wanted to make this album announcement for a long time. How exciting is to say it’s out?
Ryan: It’s honestly the best feeling ever. We’ve had to hold on to this news for so long. We’ve had this album recorded for so long and we’ve known about the gigs for so long. You get into the habit of forgetting that people still don’t know it yet. You’re sort of half about to talk to them about it then you stop yourself.
Owen: It’s been over a year since the first one and so everyone's been asking, ‘Where is it? When's it coming to come?’
You released ‘One Drink’ to coincide with today's announcements. Is it fair to say it represents a direction for the band?
Ryan: It's very indicative of what people can expect from the album itself. It’s like, I’ve said, the first album was very acoustic driven. This album, there’s maybe one acoustic song, so it’s different sonically. Lyrically it’s still very conversational and colloquial. But I’ve grown up a lot since the first album. The first album was me - 18-20 years old, living in Athy, all the relationships and friendships back there - whereas now, I’ve been all over the world, I’ve experienced crazy things and met incredible people, so I’ve changed. That's what this is about.
You've embraced a sound with more electric guitars, more synth...
Ryan: We went saying, ‘This album has to sound different. It can’t be another acoustic rock album. That’s too easy. It doesn’t fulfil our creativity.' It all stemmed from when we were put into a writing session over in the UK. Like, I don’t write songs with anyone else. I write songs myself. So we were put into a writing session with a songwriter, and it was the worst experience of my life. It was soul-destroying. I hated it. I told Jimmy and how I felt and when we got to the hotel room, I said, ‘Please Jimmy, let’s just write songs, just us. Just do something on the laptop.’ So he worked away for about 10 minutes putting something together on the laptop, then he played it to me on his phone and just said, ‘Sing’. And from that I just sang a song which eventually became ‘MDRN LV’, the title track for the new album. That was the basis for the whole album. The whole album started to sound like that. Nothing’s changed though. We’re still writing the songs ourselves, we still play every single instrument on the album. Everything, every lyric, it’s us.
Avery Litman, one of the most powerful people in the music world, flew over for this. What does it mean to have someone like him backing you?
Ryan: It means so much. It really does. When you think about him - somebody who’s so powerful, who has so much going on - he doesn’t need to be here. He looks after some of the biggest artists in the world, and he flew over just to be with us. It’s really special and we really appreciate it.
Owen: And it’s such a good indicator that they really believe in us. He’s not going to fly over here if he’s not into us. He’s only here for 24 hours.
You’re no strangers to the 3Arena, but five shows is monumental.
Ryan: We sort of thought, where do we go after the RDS? After playing that stadium show. The obvious thing was, play Marlay Park or play Malahide. But we wanted to do something different. No band has every played five nights at the 3Arena, so we wanted to do that. It’s one of my favourites venues to play in genuinely, and it’s cool to be the first to do it.
Owen: You’re setting the record to break here. U2 have done four, everybody knows that. Now they’ll know Picture This have done five.
Picture This play five nights at the 3Arena, from March 27-31. The band's second album, MDRN LV, is out on February 15.
Tickets for the Irish dates go on sale next Wednesday 24th October at 9am at www.ticketmaster.ie A pre-sale is available from 4pm through https://PictureThis.lnk.to/OfficialStore