Will Turpin has been a very busy guy being in the alternative rock band Collective Soul for so long. Collective Soul has always had a busy touring schedule usually being part of some big summer tour like this year on the Rock and Roll Express tour with 3 Doors Down and Soul Asylum. Due to their busy touring schedule, it makes sense that Will didn’t put out a solo release until 2011. Released in 2011 was A 5 song EP called The Lighthouse. In June though he will be putting out a full album called “Serengeti Drivers” which features 11 songs.
“Serengeti Drivers” features a diverse set of songs in which he brings over some influences from Collective Soul while exploring some new areas too. One example is “Belong” which has a “jam” influence. Overall though, the album has all types of songs (slow, mid tempo, and fast). “One and Done” is one of those fast tracks that hits you hard which some might think it resembles Collective Soul.
In this interview, Will talks about the new album, co producing it with Jonathan Beckner, co writing with Jason Fowler, how he plans to support this album, and gives an update on new Collective Soul music.
To pre-order Serengeti Drivers and/or buy new song “Demons”, go HERE.
To stream new song “Demons” on Spotify, go HERE
To stream The Lighthouse EP, go HERE
Interview with Will Turpin
Did you always want to record a solo album? Why did it take so long? Was it hard to find the time with Collective Soul being busy all the time?
WILL: I released The Lighthouse, a 5 song EP, in 2011. So, technically its my second solo release. It’s not that I always wanted to release a “solo” record, although that is the outcome, It’s more about having another creative outlet. When these melodies and song ideas pop in my head I feel like they should be shared. There so much creative output with Collective Soul that recording a solo record makes the most sense to me.
What was the difference between recording the solo album from a Collective Soul album besides that you are the frontman here?
WILL: With Collective soul everyone has input but there are roles that each individual takes the lead on. I primarily focus on the overall feel from the rhythm section and my individual bass parts. I depend on Ed to find the main themes and obviously sing the lead, I listen to his words and do what i can to get the desired effect. With my solo material I come up with the “overall” vibe and try to find individuals that will fit in my plan. Its different from a “band”.
AR: Was it hard stepping into the position of being the singer after being a bass player for so long?
WILL: I don’t look at it as hard or easy… Creating is something I really enjoy, and that’s all that it is. I think if the songs are quality then the rest is an evolution of an idea to a complete song. I would say the “hard” part is being content with my vocal performance.
AR: The new album seems to sound like Collective Soul somewhat but also something new. What kind of sounds were you trying to get across while recording the album?
WILL: My influences are broad. I like lots of different artist from different decades and genres. I approach each individual song with it’s own vibe and direction. First, picking musicians that style fits the song, then focusing on sounds. I usually start with a keyboard sound or guitar feel then record the drum set. That way i feel like its easier to get the right sounds from the kit.
AR: Jason Fowler co wrote five of the songs with you. Why did you choose him to write almost half of the album?
WILL: Me and Jason were spending a lot of time together in 2013. He is good at taking me in a different direction. When the song is in its early stages, its good for me to hear another perspective and see if anything grabs me.
AR: Why did you choose to co-produce the album? Did you have a good idea on what direction you wanted to go? What did Jonathan Beckner bring to the table?
WILL: I have worked with Jonathan since 2011. We have a good working relationship. I know his strengths and I use them often. I trust him to help me out and I want my people to get noticed for what they do.
AR: This might be far fetched, but I heard similarities between your album especially on “Make It Home” and Pat Mcgee’s music on the vocals. Were you by any chance influenced by him on this album?
WILL: I love Pat, i appreciate that reference! I can’t say i was directly influenced but who knows. An artist work will almost always reflect some of their peers stylings.
AR: “Belong” seems to be one of the standout tracks on the album. It is one of the more upbeat songs and seems to have vibes of a “jam” kind of song somewhat in some parts. What was it like recording that and why did you choose to have sort of “Jam” song like that on the album since it is different from the rest?
WILL: Belong started at a rehearsal with Will and The Way. So you are right on with the Jam reference. It started as a funky drum and bass groove that Mark Wilson and Scott Davidson came up with. I told them to continue the groove and follow me… almost the entire song had popped in my head in a moment. Jason adds the signature guitar riff and I have a song.
AR: “One And Done” is also another standout for me. It has some elements of a Collective Soul song having somewhat of a straight ahead hard rock vibe mixed with the style of some other songs on the album. What made you want to add those strong elements of a straight ahead rock song into this one when the other songs didn’t have this vibe as much?
WILL: One and Done reminds me of a rocking Joe Jackson song. Started out as a piano riff. The band was still in rehearsals for that one as well, so It has a more aggressive feel. I don’t think I will ever record a record that has a limited range of style… My records reflect who I am musically, and thats the thing that ties them together not the style of the song.
AR: Are you going to tour to support this album?
WILL: I have a couple of shows in hometown Atlanta, Ga. during the release week. After that, Collective soul is touring thru mid September. I want to book some solo shows in the Fall… we will see 🙂
AR: Can you give an update on how far done you guys are with the new Collective Soul album?
WILL: 2018 is 25 years for Collective Soul. We have some great tunes recorded for release in 2018. I can tell you we are ahead of the game but release date and tour plans are still being discussed. I can also say that we caught a nice wave of creativity on the latest recordings and I am rather certain these songs will be received with enthusiasm!