Flavorwire Premiere: We Are the Willows Revive Awkward Family Photos in Their “Picture” Video


For their latest album, Picture (Portrait), released in November, Minneapolis folk-rockers We Are the Willows found inspiration in love letters exchanged during WWII. The soldier and his sweetheart were Alvin Miller and Verlie Branstner, the grandparents of the band’s principal songwriter and lead singer, Peter Miller. Their hopes and fears found new life through the LP, which particularly shines in its orchestral instrumentation.

But the heartfelt and intimate album only accounts for one side of the band. Here, with the video for “Picture,” We Are the Willows show off their less sincere side with a humorous ode to the awkward family photo. Flavorwire is pleased to premiere the Josh Becker-directed clip below.

“All of us in the band are really just a bunch of goofballs and nerds, and given the emotional weight of the album, we didn’t want the music to hide that side of our personalities,” Miller tells Flavorwire. “The song itself is fun, and the video presented a good opportunity to show that side of our band.”

With a large cast of curious characters — like a family of Orlando Magic fans slash dog lovers — the video is a memorable one.

“From the start we wanted our fans and friends to be involved in the making of the video,” Miller says. “We invited as many people as possible onto the set and had a photo studio set up. We definitely encouraged people to use awkward family photos as a reference point for their wardrobes and poses. The best part was just the fun of getting a bunch of people into a room to act goofy together. Some really wild and funny stuff happened, and we think everyone had a good time. Unfortunately, all the characters couldn’t make it into the video, which is why we decided from the beginning to make the photo studio functional instead of just a prop. You can view all the awkward photos in our online gallery.”

We Are the Willows plan to release the second part of Picture (Portrait) this year, and will head out on a brief tour in the coming months, including stops at SXSW and Boise’s Tree Fort Music Festival.