Exclusive interview: Collective Soul bass player Will Turpin says ‘The Lighthouse’ is about helping yourself
Collective Soul bass player Will Turpin is using his downtime from playing in the ‘90s-originated alternative rock quintet wisely. Between releasing a fresh EP, The Lighthouse, and plenty of live shows, Turpin’s schedule is jam-packed with indie rock creativity. Turpin spoke exclusively with Audio Ink Radio about The Lighthouse, his love for the Beatles and news of new Collective Soul album on the way. Read what he has to say, below!
How does your solo music differ from what you do with Collective Soul?
It’s really what’s going on in my head, since there’s no real collaboration. Because it’s all in my head, it’s going to be different from Collective Soul, so I would say it happens a little bit more naturally. Also, it’s maybe a little more funky.
Why did you choose the title, The Lighthouse?
The title is in reference to a lyric in, “Sailor.” It basically refers to the fact you can’t really save somebody unless they want to help themselves. The Lighthouse is there, but the sailor has to choose to use it.
What was your goal going into the writing and recording of, The Lighthouse?
The goal was to finish an entire record with 11 or 12 tunes, and I started with 14 songs. I went to Collective Soul and we sat down about this time last year and decided to take it easy on the Collective Soul touring this year. So, I thought, “It’s now or never,” as far as recording some of these songs and letting people hear them. Midway through the process, I decided to finish five tunes and release them, and I’ll finish up another seven or eight tunes and release them six months from now.
Most of songs on The Lighthouse are piano-based.
Definitely. I started playing piano when I was eight or nine years old, and I took lessons for five years, so I’ve always referenced everything off of the piano and keyboard, as far as when I play any instrument. A lot of these songs start with me behind a piano.
I’ve read that you’re a big Beatles fan. Is that true?
Absolutely! I think in, “60 Seconds,” it’s evident, and I think it also comes out in the bridge to, “Her Name.” It’s nice and Beatles-esque in those songs.
What was the first song you learned to play on bass?
That’s hard, because when we decided I was going to play bass for Collective Soul, I didn’t know how to play bass! For me, music is something that’s in your head, and I reference it by the musicality of the song. So, the songs I was learning on bass I knew beforehand, musically.
Did you take to bass right away when you picked it up?
Rhythmically, it was a perfect fit. Playing on the fretboard was a learning curve, for sure, so it took me a while to develop the skill. I’m always extremely interested in bootlegs from ‘94 and ’95 of Collective Soul playing, and listening to the bootlegs — even though I didn’t know how to play bass — we were doing it pretty well! [Laughs]
What advice do you have for upcoming musicians?
Be yourself. I’ve always thought that part of what made Collective Soul popular was that we created music by feel. If it felt right to us, we felt like that’s all we could offer. We created it by feel. You want to try to be different in some way, but you don’t want to sacrifice what you feel naturally.
Do you foresee Collective Soul doing a new album at any point?
Yeah, I sure do. Can’t really say for sure, but there are definitely discussions going on about scheduling that, and songs have been played and started, so we’ve already started some creativity. But, nothing is really scheduled yet. I would think that the next six months, we’ll get something going on.
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