Kamelot is one of Metal‘s most unique, influential and prestigious acts to come along in decades. The group‘s reputation among fans and media alike is marked by enthusiasm and esteem, with each of their nine studio albums surpassing its predecessor in terms of songwriting, production and commercial success. As one of the most difficult-to-categorize artists in the Metal scene, Kamelot are one of the few bands ready to keep the great tradition of Metal mixed with Progressive Rock influence, in the vein of acts like Queensryche or Dream Theater.
What makes Kamelot unique is the crossover with the Gothic scene. Ready to continue their rise to the pinnacle of Metal royalty, founding guitarist Thomas Youngblood and vocalist Roy Khan are joined by spectacular drummer Casey Grillo, keyboardist Oliver Palotai, and new bassist Sean Tibbets. Kamelot’s 9th studio album “Poetry for the Poisoned” was released on september, via Ear Music.
Today I have a pleasure to interview Thomas Youngblood, guitarist of Kamelot.
Hi, I am doing fine thanks! I’m not sure how Roy is doing since his burnout. The last I heard was he was attending religious classes. We are hoping the time off is what he needs to get back to business at hand.
Your new 9th studio album “Poetry for the Poisoned” was published on september, How have been the reactions so far?
The reactions have been mostly very positive, we are very pleased with the results.
Comparing to Ghost Opera (2007), what are the main differences?
This album is a bit darker and moodier than Ghost Opera. I think the times are reflected in the album. Many friends and family here have lost jobs, homes and more. I lost my last surviving parent when my Mother passed recently. Look around at the world, its not so idyllic a place these days. The music is more progressive on this album simply because the ideas for the music came out that way.
And where do you see your sound’s going in the future?
I see more a return to the Epica Black Halo vibe but with some new ideas and concepts. It’s hard to say at the moment but there are so many ideas popping in my head and I can see a concept album coming. Also I plan to bring in the other guys more on the songwriting.
The album has many guests, (like Björn from Soilwork, Gus G. from Ozzy Osbourne), can you tell about how and why you’ve chosen these musicians? How was it working with these guys?
Working with these folks was fantastic, all of them are the best at what they do and very unique. Gus has been a friend for years and I have always liked Bjorns vocals. Roy contacted him for the Pandemonium song.
Yes, I can imagine having all of the guests on stage at various shows. It’s hard to get Gus lately since he is touring a lot with Ozzy.
Can you tell us something about the writing process for this album, and how you chose the tracks and title?
The writing occurred in Germany and Norway, in seclusion for several
months. We chose the title as a metaphor for all of us and society.
What bands and genres have the greatest influence on your music?
I would say Maiden, Queen, Rush and Queensryche. Musically however I am influenced by classical, new age, Av-ant Gard, Persian music and much more.
One curious question, in your album The Black Halo (2005) one song’s sung in italian, why this choice?
We like to blend different cultures into our music, this was a scene from the storyline. Cinzia Rizzo is from Wolfsburg where we recorded the album and she was amazing on that part.
Thomas, you founded Kamelot with Richard Warner in 1991, so next year you’ll celebrate your 20th anniversary. … can you reveal us already something what will happen next year?
I think most of us feel we are just getting rolling, yes we are very happy with where we are. But I still want to grow, musically and with the live shows. I want to push the envelope of what we can do with our live concerts. I still believe there is room for growth in the production of the albums and sound.
So, awaiting for the celebrations, do you have now a chance for some holidays?
Oh yes, we are gearing up for Christmas and its starting to get cold. Even here in Florida we have cold weather, for a day or two haha.
Most of the band meets fans after the shows, also I go into the Forum and keep in touch with them. Our fans are amazing and unique. There are no other fans like ours, I mean that.
I’ve heard that you put a lots of efforts on the stage production, offering always new elements. Would you like tell me about this?
Yes, well as much as a budget will allow we want the show to be great. I
remember seeing Maiden as a kid and they put so much into their shows. It
was a great model for Kamelot.
Thomas, I know that you’re working also for your solo project – how the things are proceeding?
Going well, but Kamelot takes so much of my time. I am also planning another band with some other musicians from “known” bands. It will be different than Kamelot but interesting as hell.
Now the last question, a must… what would you say to your fans?
Thanks for your support of Kamelot, we love you guys and girls. Remember we will do our best to not let you down, trust in us for now and the future!
Thank-you very much Thomas for this interview! and as I’m originally from Finland, I’d say, hope to see you on stage soon, or here in Italy or in my homecountry :-)
Ciao Tarja and many thanks!!