Q&A with The Collective

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Members of The Collective are very busy these day with a new single, Beast, recently released.

The Advocate caught up with band member Brett MacDougall for a quick Q&A before the band takes the Riverfront Jubilee stage on Saturday …

Q: Have you ever played the Jubilee before?

A: A few of us have played the Jubilee individually before. This is my third consecutive year performing at it as a freelancer — I played with Alert The Medic at last year’s event and with Pictou County Pop Classics in 2017 — but this will be the first time doing it with my own band, so it definitely feels a lot more meaningful. Jay, who’s our drummer, has played it several times as well with his band Grooveback, and Leah was a part of PC Pop Classics as well, but I know that we’re all excited to have the chance to perform together this year, and especially to be able to share the experience with Kyle, Niki, and Michelle.

Q: What is it that you enjoy about playing in front of a hometown crowd?

A: I think in a lot of ways, the Jubilee is something of a rite of passage for musicians in Pictou County, so particularly with regard to this event, it’s always a hugely exciting opportunity. We get so much support from so many people in the community, and there’s a lot of pride that we feel being a part of the music community here. Playing out of town is a blast but nothing compares to the unique feeling of seeing familiar faces in the crowd, cheering you on and singing along to your songs.

Q: How did the band begin?

A: One of the coolest aspects of our band, for me anyway, is the way it’s evolved even just since I’ve been a part of it – the ‘origin story’, if you can call it that. Leah and Kyle Samson, who are our lead singer and guitarist respectively, started performing as a duo act back in 2014. Over time they picked up a few additional members and became The Leah & Kyle Collective, which was at that time primarily a blues/R&B cover band. I joined the band back in 2017 and our bassist, Michelle Tracey, followed shortly after. This past fall, we added our two newest members (Jay and Niki) and took that opportunity to do something of a re-brand, shifting our focus more toward songwriting, which has been really rewarding, and re-defining ourselves as just The Collective. It’s really the perfect name to capture the essence of what this group is all about — it’s an incredibly collaborative experience writing, rehearsing and performing together.

Q: Who is in the band, what do they play?

A: The current lineup of The Collective consists of our two amazing frontwomen and lead vocalists, Leah Samson and Niki Campbell; myself, Brett MacDougall, on keyboards, alto saxophone and vocals; guitarist, Kyle Samson; bassist, Michelle Tracey; and drummer, Jay MacLeod. All of us come from very diverse musical backgrounds and I think we’ve got a pretty unique sound as a result.

Q: Is Beast your first release? Where can people hear it? Buy it?

Beast is our first “official” studio release, and the response so far has been incredible. We’ve done some other live session recordings, which are also floating around out there as releases, but nothing as polished as this.

The single is available to stream on all major streaming platforms including Spotify and Apple Music, and it can be purchased on most digital music stores such as iTunes and Amazon. There’s also a pretty awesome accompanying music video that you can find on our YouTube channel as well, which Jay produced himself. It’s pretty impressive.

Q: What’s next for The Collective?

A: In the short-term, we’re finishing up our summer with a few more show dates following the Jubilee, including at Music Mountain Rock Fest in August. We’ve already started booking into September and it looks like we’re going to stay pretty busy. As far as long-term plans, we’re always writing and putting together new music. Right now, we’re about to start working on our first EP, which we’re looking to release sometime in late 2019 or early 2020, so stay tuned for that.

Q: Anything else you (or other band members) want people to know?

A: We love to hear from you on social media, and we’re pretty active on there, so feel free to check us out – we’re on Facebook and Instagram at @thecollectivens, and we’ve also got a YouTube channel.