We spoke to Kamelot founder and guitarist Thomas Youngblood at this years Hammerfest about the band’s new album and looking to the future
With Kamelot releasing their eleventh album in just a few months’ time, we sat down with head honcho and guitarist Thomas Youngblood to discuss the new release and if they’ve ever take a trip to medieval Camelot.
So, we’ll make a start. Welcome back to the UK! How are you doing?
Excellent, excellent. We just came over from Dublin and we played a show last night. It’s also our first time in Wales so we’re excited!
You played a show in Dublin last night, you’ve had quite a long break now. How was it being back on stage? Any nerves?
Well honestly we’ve been doing this now for a while, so we kind of know what we’re doing at what time in a set. But we were itching to get back on stage. Not being on tour for so long and working on the new album. After these two or three shows here we’re gonna have a month break. Then we set off on a big tour across the US with Dragonforce.
This weekend marks ten years to the date of the release of “The Black Halo”, have you any plans to celebrate this?
I don’t tend to look at any of our records as being more or less special than the others. I know a lot of fans feel like that is their favourite record of ours. But for me, they’re all special in their own way. Also with new line up and everything, it’s good to look forward to the future. But you know, it’s a cool thing! It’s crazy that it’s been ten years already.
Moving onto Haven, after the success of Silverthorn did you find a follow up hard to write?
Not really, but we wanted to be a bit more artistic with this record I guess you could say. Maybe be a little bit not as safe, to grow the band. Take a few risks here and there. It still has the typical Kamelot songs but we wanted to do a few things that were a little bit different. It was something we wanted to do and I think our fans are ready for that. A lot of people said they loved Silverthorn but they also said Silverthorn was too safe so…but it’s been great, fun and exciting to write.
I read some comments from you guys saying that the album has elements of a world gone insane and a completely dystopic feel to it. Does that mean there is no narrative concept to this record?
It’s a theme, it’s not a particular concept like Silverthorn. But the theme is definitely dystopic kind of feeling. We were talking between the band, the whole thing with mobile phones and internet. If you look it’s not really social. Even though it’s called social media, people have become so disconnected from one another personally. But you’ve got the whole mega corporations involved with governments. So we wanted to kinda have some topics about this. You’ll see a group of people on vacation on Facebook and you’ll see them trying to portray this perfect world and it’s just a thing that we’ve grown to know.
Moving towards the performance of the album, you have Alyssa White-Gluz of Arch Enemy, Troy Donockley of Nightwish and Charlotte Wessels of Delain on this new record. How did this come about?
Alyssa is our good buddy. I wanted to have a track for her where she was singing clean as well. We have a song called “Liar Liar” which for me is one of the standout songs. It’s typical Kamelot but with new elements on it. Alyssa is singing cleanly and doing growls, it’s a freaking awesome song. With Troy, we toured with Nightwish in the US a couple of years ago and we became good friends, we kept in touch and we had this perfect part for him on the ballad that also has Charlotte from Delain on it. We’re very fortunate to have some very cool friends that are also super talented.
You shot a music video last week in Belgrade. How did that shoot go? Can you tell us what track it’s for and when it might be released?
It’s freaking awesome, the guys are awesome. It’s super passionate about making the best videos. They have the most beautiful models there too. Although I can’t tell you what track it’s for. The video should be out on April 21st though. I think…
So some shorter questions…what is your favourite Kamelot song to play live?
I still love playing “Centre of the Universe” live. Also “Sacrimony” is still one of my favourites.
Are their still any songs that you want to put into a live set but haven’t yet?
Yeah, there’s quite a few actually. I’d like to add “Prodigal Son” from Silverthorn. I’d like to add some of the stuff from Fourth Legacy into the set also.
Is there anybody you’d want to guest on a record that hasn’t yet?
Honestly, not that I can think of right now. Whenever we’ve had a list of people we’ve wanted, we’ve always been lucky enough to get them, you know? And now that Haven is finished, I haven’t even thought about the next one yet. We don’t really have to do the guest thing, but it’s fun and it adds a little bit of an element of different spice to every record.
You guys live literally all over the world. does this offer up unique challenges or advantages to you as a band?
I mean it could be an advantage in some respects. The challenge of course is writing, but with this album I flew to Germany and stayed near Oliver’s place and recorded the songs in two weeks and then Tommy and Oliver worked over VST Connect in Cubase so they were albe to work on songs at the same time in two different places and record parts. It’s something you don’t wanna use for a final piece but it’s excellent for being able to sketch out ideas and stuff. So for me it’s best being in the same room together that is when ideas flow. You have to leave your house or someone has to leave their house and get together with the band. It also helps that I’m not stuck in a home office studio though.
I asked a few of our readers for some questions to put to you, so I picked a couple of the best. The first is from Robert David Norman: Transylvania, vampires, thunder and lightning. Will you put these on a future album?
I always liked vampires, but then again we don’t wanna get on that Twilight bandwagon. I think with Haven we wanted to go with this dystopic feel. I love movies like Logan’s Run and Mad Max. It’s something I’ve always been keen on including into a Kamelot record so I’m glad we could.
And the second question comes from Marcin Power, he says: Would you ever like to take a trip to the past to see medieval Camelot?
Oh yeah! I mean if it really existed. I’m not sure if it did. But someone told me it’s not too far from here. But it would be awesome, in the beginning the whole idea was this medieval stuff you know. We were totally into the fairs and all that. But we got to a certain point and switched up from just being a medieval power band.
And finally! You guys have a tour in North America with Dragonforce, but you also have an EU tour coming in September. What other tour plans do you have?
We have some summer festivals, but we also have the EU run. I want to come back to the UK with that. Then back to North America in November. Then 2016 is going to be South America and Asia. We’ll play anywhere as long as it’s safe and it covers the costs of getting there. A lot of times people want you to come to places but we have 12 or 13 people in our touring party. It’s not cheap to tour. We wanna see as many fans as possible.