Drawing on influences such as Alexisonfire, Billy Talent, and CHON, alternative-rock four piece Pictures of Richard have cultivated their own unique sound and a high-energy live show to match. Read on as we discuss Alexisonfire, keys to a killer performance, and sneaking into their own show.
AMBY: Hey guys!
Pictures of Richard: Hey!
AMBY: As emerging artists, it’s great for you and our readers to get acquainted with one another, so tell me about Pictures of Richard and about your music.
Jonah Kissoon: We’re a bunch of friends that decided to make a band. I’ve been playing Ryan for quite a while and things just fell into place. Alex picked up the drums just so he could play with us
Alex Taritsano: It was nothing!
AMBY & POR: [laughing]
AMBY: Alex, you didn’t play drums before joining the band?
AT: Well, I took lessons for about a year in 10th grade and stopped playing for a while; about 8 years and then I picked it back up last year!
AMBY: Awesome, it seems like it was pretty much in you from the beginning. So Joel, how did you come to be part of the band?
Joel Lavigne: Ryan and I used to play in another band called Genghis Khan, kind of a cover band. We played two shows and then Jonah joined up and then Alex
Ryan Genis: We started writing our own stuff and just grew into a band.
AMBY: And now here we are at the Diezel Room. You guys just played a really great set; super high evergy! What are the keys to putting on a great live show?
JK: Sweating! [laughs] Just liking what you do! Practicing is great but for me, the key is just being happy while playing; that’s why I do it.
RG: A big thing is believing in the songs that you write. Using the energy you have from the songs that you’ve created and just giving that to the crowd; getting them hyped up too.
JL: Making the crowd relate to it for sure.
AMBY: I can definitely hear an Alexisonfire influence – especially in ‘My Paradox’, are you guys big fans?
AMBY: Did you see them at Riot Fest?
RG: Yes! I was there!
AMBY: And it rained, and it rained, and it rained.
RG: [laughs] Yea! I saw them before they broke up and then I saw them when they got back together. I always make sure to see them play; they’re so good live.
JL: Actually, at Riot Fest the year before, we thought they were going to show up because City and Colour were playing.
RG: And Wade (McNeil, AOF guitarist) was there
JL: Yea, so we thought… surprise show?
AMBY: Yea, and actually Wade kept teasing a big announcement that day, which ended up being ‘You and I’, the collaboration between Dallas Green and Pink, which was still cool, but not what some of us were hoping for. That was a great year for Riot Fest.
JL & RG: It was.
AMBY: So, other than Alexisonfire, who would you consider to be sources of inspiration to you as artists?
JK: Wow. There is a huge, huge list. If I had to pick a few, I know that Ryan and I are really influenced by CHON. All of us love Billy Talent and also our local music scene; there are a lot of inspiring and talented bands making music in our area.
RG: Joel loves Rush, of course, as every bassist does.
JL: Oh yea, Rush! I’m also a big fan of The Cure and jazzier acts like Jamiroquai – I try to bring some of that into our music; some of the cooler runs that I’ll do.
AMBY: Your hands were flying!
RG: He’s one of the best bassists I’ve ever known.
AT: Best bassist in the band, by far.
AMBY & POR: [laughs]
AMBY: Tell me a bit about ‘The Big Kick’ concert you were a part of recently and what it was like playing at The Opera House.
POR: It was great.
JK: Well, tonight is the first show I’ve played since turning 19, so at The Opera House I had to sneak in through the back. Playing on that stage and knowing all the bands that have played there was such a great feeling!
AT: There’s a huge poster that tells you the bands that have played there before you and it got us really excited.
JL: We spent so long just looking at all the different names.
AMBY: What were some names that stood out to you?
RG: You name a band, it was on there! Everyone! It also felt great to advance; out of the nine bands that played we are one of four that get to move on to the next round and we play the finals on July 9th
AT: Come check it out!
AMBY: So this was a battle of the bands?
RG: Yea exactly.
AMBY: You guys recorded your single ‘Soldier’ at Gas Station. I noticed there was a pretty involved process in finding the right space to record your music, how did you know that Gas Station was the right place?
JK: The big thing was the location – it’s on Toronto Island, there’s a beach right outside. Dale, the producer is an amazing guy, his space is super comfortable.
AMBY: I think that taking a boat is also symbolic of starting a journey
JK: [laughs] and also trying to figure out how to keep everything dry
AMBY: I’ve noticed you are releasing your singles gradually – are there any upcoming projects in the works that you can share?
JK: We are looking to start recording again, and get an EP out there.
AMBY: My final question for you tonight is: What is the single best piece of advice you’ve ever received as an artist?
JK: Just do it. You can get caught up in trying to make the perfect sound but I think it’s better to go out, even if you’re unpracticed and just do it. What you get from doing something is far more valuable than just waiting to be perfect.
RG: We’ve done that with Open Mics – sometimes the first time we’ve played songs has been at open mic nights.
AMBY: That’s awesome. Open Mics are very supportive collaborative environments
AT: It’s good to get out there and make friends in the music community. Once you understand the style of another artist you can kind of incorporate them into your own music and grow as an artist yourself.
AMBY: Thanks so much for sitting down with me today guys, can’t wait for your next show!
Thank you Pictures of Richard, for giving us your answers!
Interview by Heather Cook | @Outroupistache1