Collective Soul: The Interview
by Vish Iyer
Collective Soul is prepping the release of their new live DVD Home: A Live Concert Recording With The Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra. The live DVD -- to be released on the band's own El Music Group record label -- is scheduled to hit major retailers on February 7 and will also be available as a two-CD set. Recorded in April 2005, the concerts were filmed in the band's hometown of Atlanta during two special performances featuring the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra. The 20-song collection spans ninety minutes and encompasses hits from throughout Collective Soul's seven studio albums, including their latest CD Youth. Bassist Will Turpin was kind enough to do a telephone interview with me and talk about the project with the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra and the new DVD.
Daily Vault: What gave you the idea of doing a live show with the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra (April 23 and April 24, 2005 at the Woodruff Arts Center, Atlanta)?
Will Turpin: We had the idea really for a long time; I am moving and I went through some old papers and stuff, and I found a correspondence dating back a decade where we contacted the Atlanta Symphony, and exchanged thoughts on doing a show together. So, the idea came up a decade ago, but the timing and the finances and things like that never did work out right. So, when we started this new project Youth on our label, the idea of the symphony came up again, and when we saw that it was the Youth Symphony -- and I don't know who came up with the idea of a Youth Symphony -- but when this idea was put forth to the group, we all unanimously thought that it would be real cool to play with 14 and 19 year old kids as opposed to professionals. We thought the energy would be different, and were very excited about it.
What was the reaction of the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra when you approached them to do a concert together?
I think, all along, they were totally into it and very excited about doing it.
Was the release of the DVD/CD planned before the concert itself, or was it something that was decided afterwards?
It was something that was already planned out; I mean the whole production. There was a lot of planning involved in serious details to prepare for recording the live DVD/CD. The whole idea all along was to release it; we haven't released anything live either. So this (DVD/CD release) was something that was definitely part of the whole plan.
I am sure there were intense rehearsal sessions before the shows. How did that go? Did the Youth Orchestra have trouble learning rock tunes?
There were definitely some growing pains. It was slightly different for us, being a rock band. We have rehearsals here and there, but we don't have full drawn-out dress rehearsals like we did with the Youth Symphony. So, it was like a weeklong event as far as dress rehearsals went. We even had a rehearsal on the day of the show to go over some rough spots. I mean yeah, there were some things to go over with, like trying to figure out how to lock with those guys, and those guys figuring out; you know, they still have to watch the director. The director has to be a little ahead of our beat so that the symphony is on top of our beat. Because if the director is with our beat, then by the time they see the director's arms and play, they are behind us. So there were some growing pains. But, proper planning and, like I said, two full dress rehearsals got it all figured out.
How was the overall experience like working with the Youth Orchestra?
It was a killer. I mean, if I have to do it all over again, I wouldn't do it any other way. The Youth Symphony brought in the energy and the vibrancy that I don't think would've been captured had we used the adult professionals; nothing against the professionals, but it was just different to use the kids.
Did this project have an effect on the band in terms of its future direction?
I don't know if has an effect on future musical direction, but this summer or fall we might do some live shows with some more youth symphonies around the country. But, I don't think that this is gonna affect our next offering.
Now, speaking of live shows, I understand that the band will be going on a tour in February following the album release. Is there a tour, and how extensive is it going to be?
We're gonna be doing some shows, but we are not necessarily jumping on a full-scale tour quite yet. Maybe we'll be hitting the road for about three months (as Collective Soul), and then like I said, at the end of that, we're talking about doing some more shows with other youth symphonies.
You have chosen "How Do You Love" (from Youth) as the first single off of this live double CD set. Now this song -- as you know -- has a mellow sound already, suited for orchestration. Why didn't you choose one of the more harder tracks like "Gel," "Counting The Days," or "Heavy" that are bound to sound completely different with the orchestral arrangements?
Basically because, "How Do You Love" is also a single that we are working off of the Youth record. So it's kinda like "you can't be watering down one or the other if you have two singles in the market at the same time." But, as far as the live DVD goes, all the songs that you've mentioned are gonna end up getting exposure as well. But, as far as the actual studio recording of Youth, the single that we're pushing right now is "How Do You Love."
Now, the tour; is it a "Youth" tour or a "Best Of" tour?
It'll be a "best of," tour, but we'll still be pushing Youth.
Is there an album of new material in the pipeline sometime soon?
Yes there is. We're gonna stay consistent here for a little bit. We're gonna release a couple of albums and stay in the public eye for a little bit. We are already contemplating going into the studio this year. I wouldn't expect a record this year, but early next year we should have a new record out.
[Editor's note: Many thanks to Will Turpin for visiting with us. You can visit with him and the band at www.collectivesoul.com]