Collective Soul will release their new album, Blood on June 21st. It’s the band’s tenth album and their first since 2015’s See What You Started by Continuing. Alternative Addiction recently chatted with Collective Soul bassist Will Turpin about the band’s tenth album, their upcoming tour with Gin Blossoms and a special feature they got to do on the new album.
“We really started on it in 2017,” said Turpin about when the band started officially working on Blood. “’Right as Rain’ was written out on the road. It’s on the live album that we released that year. But for the most part, we recorded early in 2018 at a place called The Barber Shop Studios in New Jersey. It’s in the middle of New Jersey by a lake.”
Previous acts to record at The Barber Shop Studios include Breaking Benjamin, I Am the Avalanche, Chad Smith, and The Pretty Reckless. It’s a beautiful location in New Jersey by Lake Hopatcong’s River Styx Cove and in the studio, it features a full-service Italian bar and restaurant. Close to the studio there are plenty of lake houses available to rent and that’s the route that Collective Soul took.
“It was just a blast being there. The place where we recorded was an old church. You’d get up on one side of the church and you’d get up and you’d go to an actual restaurant and a bar facing the lake. We’d sit there at the bar at the lake and talk about the record and how we could make it better every day, that was probably my favorite part of this.”
“We took ourselves on location and we all lived in a big house together and we had a blast,” said Turpin on what the band did a little different with this album. “We were on a lake with a golf simulator and a bunch of other big amenities there too. We’d stay up late and then we’d brush it off and record together the next day. Mentally, we might have approached the music a little differently. But after 25 years, we do the same thing. You get in there and you try and come together as a band. We come together and get the chemistry and the feel right. That’s what we’re focused on and that’s the same thing we were focused on twenty years ago.”
Collective Soul has always been big on song writing. Frontman E Roland (that’s what he goes by these days) has always been a mastermind at it whether writing for Collective Soul or The Sweet Tea Project and the rest of the band is great at it too releasing solo albums and other projects outside of the band. Together they’ve released a mountain of music and with every time recording the songs develop differently.
“Not every song is produced and comes to it’s ending the same way,” said Turpin talking about how the band wrote for Blood. “Some songs, E might have a great vision and the whole song is written on acoustic, then we work it out in the studio. Then on some songs we create on the fly, we work on it at a soundcheck or we finish it up in the studio. Song for song, we service the song first and then it’s just an overall creative process of coming up with ideas and then shooting them down or expanding on them.”
When asked if he had a favorite, Turpin was honest. That’s always a tough question to answer, but that doesn’t mean there can’t be a couple that he likes a little bit more than the rest of the album.
“It’s a cliché, they’re like kids. It’s hard to have a favorite. If I had to say one on this record, ‘Them Blues’ is one of the most dramatic, experimental, progressive song maybe that we’ve ever recorded. I Like ‘Big Sky’ a lot too. It’s got an amazing feeling and an amazing message.”
Turpin’s favorites are “Them Blues” and “Big Sky” but that’s a very fluent thing for any musician. A big moment for Collective Soul and music fans is on this record, Collective Soul has a feature on this album from STYX’s Tommy Shaw – he contributed to the album’s final track, “Porch Swing.”
“We’ve hung out with STYX and Tommy several times. We have a manager in common but even before that, Tommy reached out to E for Ed to do a vocal on one of Tommy’s solo records. Tommy is one of the best. His vocal ranks up there as one of the best. We didn’t think it was going to be a problem for him to do it, but we were still crossing our fingers for him to do it.”
Experimentation is a key factor for keeping things interesting after spending twenty-five years in a band but that’s not the only factor that determines whether a band still can have that chemistry together. Sometimes some band’s just have that long-term chemistry.
“Experimentation helps, but the fact that we still get an adrenaline rush when we create a song and know it’s great. We still get that rush. It’s just as much of a rush as playing in front of 10,000 people. We still get together and that. If that was missing it wouldn’t be the same. We’re proud of these songs and we’re proud of this new record."
Next up for Collective Soul is a tour with Gin Blossoms. The two legendary bands will start their “Now’s the Time Tour” on May 25th in Atlantic City and they’ll wrap up those shows at the end of the summer.
“We’ve played a number of shows with Gin Blossoms. It goes back 22 years. The chemistry is going to go well, we get a long with those guys and that will stay that way. I saw a lot of the same stops on this tour, but I look forward to the crowds every night. I look forward to those places and it’s great to get to work and get at it.”
Look for Collective Soul to play five or six songs from the new album on their upcoming tour while filling the rest of their set with plenty of classic Collective Soul songs.
Collective Soul is celebrating 25 years as a band this year and they’re doing it right with tours and the release of Blood – their tenth album – we asked Turpin if there would be an eleventh somewhere down the road, and he was confident that there would be.
“I definitely would bet on that. It feels good, and we feel like we’re on a roll again creatively with this album, so I’d bet for sure there’d be a new one coming around sooner or later.” - aa