The Collection

The Collection

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Little Deaths is a nuanced, emotional and intimate step inward for the otherwise hyperbolic band The Collection, the North Carolina-based indie-pop band founded by frontman David Wimbish.

In their time together, the tightly knit, six members of The Collection have inspired listeners with their raucous, folk-based indie-pop sound, resulting in an unabashed positivity and participatory spirit of shared celebration, creating an almost congregational connection with their audience. The Collection built their familial fan base over three independent albums, 2014’s full-length debut Ars Moriendi, Listen To The River [2017] and Entropy [2018]. The latter featured “Beautiful Life,” and its 8.7 million-and-counting Spotify streams, earning the band praise from American Songwriter, Glide, Parade and more, even landing on NPR Tiny Desk Judges’ Picks This was bolstered by the band’s riotous and righteous shows touring with the likes of Oh Hello, RIPE, Tall Heights and Sammy Rae & Friends.

Their 2023 EP and first effort with Nettwerk, How to Survive an Ending was a post-pandemic roadmap of resolve and celebrating the moment.

With Little Deaths, however, Wimbish writes about the aches, joys and acceptance of deeply personal growth. The progression of the band’s sound, he says, is palpable. “Our last record was triumphant,” he says. “Little Deaths is about vulnerability.”

Key to that vulnerability was Wimbish’s decision to get sober during the pandemic. “I’d been isolated and drinking a lot, and I realized I’d lost any sense of presence in the moment,” he explains. “When I got sober, I realized the best — and worst — thing about it was that I felt all my feelings. I felt really vulnerable.”

Factor in pandemic isolation, and Wimbish was faced with an almost existential urgency writing what would become Little Deaths. “I had about 200 ideas, mostly just voice memos when I started. But if I was going to develop an idea, I had to ask myself, ‘Do I believe this in my core? You’re going to sing these songs every night and you have to be able to feel it in your soul’,” Wimbish says, adding, “Sometimes I need to write songs just to kick myself in the butt.”

And kick he did. With his five bandmates spread out all over North Carolina, The Collection’s usually collaborative writing instead fell more to Wimbish alone during lockdown, which allowed him to tap into a hardwon presence and introspection. “I wasn’t relying on everyone else – my vocals and melody had to be front and center and so the songs had to be able to stand on their own,” he explains. “Then I’d send them out to everyone to add their parts.”

“Medication,” the album’s breakout single about overcoming the stigma of needing, asking for and getting mental health help, came from a January 2023 writing retreat in a cabin in Maine. “‘Medication’ came very, very quickly. I woke up one morning, walked downstairs, made a fire,

and just recorded the line, ‘I deserve to be well.’ Then I just broke down crying. I knew when I sang it this was something I needed to believe deep in my soul,” Wimbish says. “I wrote the rest of it that morning.” “Medication” has since become a viral phenomenon, inspiring tearful reaction videos, fan art and covers.

Recording in Nashville with producer Jeremy Lutito (NEEDTOBREATHE, Joy Oladokun, Jars of Clay, etc.) and engineer Reid Leslie created the opportunity to push Little Death’s sound to match the raw vulnerability of the songs by rearranging them with unconventional instruments, from duct- taped pianos to rubber-bridged guitars, giving the songs an intimate immediacy.

The album’s titular intro “Little Deaths,” another song from the Maine writing retreat, is just Wimbish at a piano. Lutito set up an extra microphone to record the sound of Wimbish’s fingers tapping at the keys. He sings about his own transformation, the radical honesty people in recovery use to describe leaving past selves that no longer serve them, with only the faith that things will get better to guide them forward. “I’m still not the person I had hoped for/But no longer who I was/ And maybe all these little deaths are keeping me alive/Like a piece of tired wood underneath ambitious vines.”

It’s a somber, sober way to begin, but it also establishes the vulnerability that shapes the album as Wimbish’s voice at times quivering with the fragility of the moment. “I had a lot of fear recording it that way. It just felt too vulnerable to put on the record,” he admits. “But Jeremy was like, ‘No, that’s it, this is where you need to be to sing these songs.’ I’d come in with this idea that my voice needed to be clean and technically perfect, but this way, it actually feels more like my voice live.” Present, indeed.

Embracing this vulnerability also meant songs were free to take on new, thrilling shapes, as on “The Weather,” about being at an emotionally exhausted low and just hoping that this too, shall pass. “The demo version was me picking through an acoustic guitar and [guitarist Joshua Ling] on an electric, but Jeremy wanted me to play it on a rubber-bridged guitar, which sounds like a cello. Then we used a baritone guitar, which made it deeper, and recorded the bass through a vintage guitar amp,” says Wimbish. “We basically completely deconstructed it, but it was Jeremy’s way of keeping us on our toes instead of just recreating the demo.”

Likewise, “The Come Down,” which navigates a rush of highs and lows musically and thematically, finds Wimbish empathizing with being there for someone experiencing bi-polar mood swings— from the perspective of also suffering from them himself. It is thrilling and at times even jarring, featuring perfectly imperfectly distorted horns.

With its hands-in-the-air deluge of emotion, “Rain it Down” may be the most classic-sounding The Collection-esque song on Little Deaths, but it, too, finds Wimbish tapping into a deep empathy that’s more about trying to accept his flaws than simply celebrating overcoming them. “When my heart starts anticipating a majorly needed change in my life – a breakup, a move, a job – it can take a long time to express it. Fear and anxiety take over, worrying that my needs will hurt others or leave them feeling abandoned. It becomes easy to be closed off and put up walls,” he says. “But often, expressing my truth, breaking the dam, and releasing the flood brings such an intense sense of relief.”

“The Mood” started out as a demo without much of a beat, but found its groove in the studio, the track winding its way around an insistent breakbeat punctuated by horns. Wimbish details

rebounding after a break-up, even though it may not be the best idea: “Break my heart again, I’m already in the mood.”

As one of the hardest songs for the band to write on the album, “Spark of Hope” has a patient, almost timid feel to it that gives its title and message a hard-won feel. “I started to analyze how I feel about life, as someone who is often optimistic about projects, but not about my own mental state or health or future, and realized I don’t feel like someone who drowns in hope, but I’m not void of it either. I always try to at least carry a little spark of it, just enough to see in the darkness, and hope it’s enough to get me through,” he says. “I wrote this song while we were in the studio, after almost a year of trying to write it and failing. It came together in a half hour and we recorded it the next day, with the lights low, during a thunderstorm.”

“Over You” isn’t so much a break-up song as a break-down song, realizing a relationship is over but still not wanting it to be. “It took awhile for us to get this one right, “Wimbish admits. “We recorded it three different times with very different arrangements. But with Jeremy in the studio, it finally found its voice – an ever growing build of emotion that comes crashing back down into a smooth onward momentum.”

Little Deaths shows the band that once wrote songs like “You Taste Like Wine” now sober and self-searching, but even more deeply connected to listeners because of it.

“I want people to relate to the record in a way that they can feel vulnerable listening to it, because sharing that vulnerability makes it easier to talk to each other, and help each other get better,” Wimbish says.

To that end, the band hosted their own music festival, Soil & Sky, in September 2023, on 32 acres of land in rural North Carolina, with plans to make it an annual event. The band plans to include playing a series of house parties to tour in support of Little Deaths, “kind of a potluck thing,” Wimbish says. “Our community tends to have a lot of room for depth and connection, so we’re like, why don’t we create a space of intimacy and connection ourselves?”

With Little Deaths, they already have.

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Ticket Price - $22

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Date And Time

10-15-2024 @ 08:00 PM to
10-15-2024 @ 10:30 PM

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