Power metal legends Kamelot won 2 Metal Storm Awards this year, both for Power Metal Album of the Year and Best Video. Their wins reminded us... it's been a while since we talked to these guys! I had an email conversation with guitarist, band founder, and composer Thomas Youngblood; one thing we talked about was composing Silverthorn, as well as why it differs in style from their previous album Poetry For The Poisoned, which received mixed reviews from fans (though THIS fan loved it).
Kamelot starts their latest world tour in just a few weeks. Catch them if you can in Japan, Australia, N. America, or Europe.
Susan: Congratulations on winning two Metal Storm Awards this year! This was your 3rd win for Power Metal Album of the Year (after 2007's Ghost Opera and 2005's The Black Halo) and 2nd win for Best Video (after 2007's "Ghost Opera").
Thomas: Thanks! Well we really respect the Metal Storm Awards and of course our fans for voting, they are amazing. It's also great to see such positive reaction to Silverthorn, we worked very hard on it.
Susan: Please tell us about the concept behind your Metal Storm Award-winning video, "Sacrimony (Angel of Afterlife)." What was filming like for the band?
Thomas: With the first video for Silverthorn we wanted to help show some of the storyline for the concept. So, with the producer and director we went over the main storyline and tried [to] encompass it into this first video. Something we will probably not do on the next video. We decided to go back to Icode on this one, they did "Ghost Opera" and "Human Stain." We shot the band parts in Serbia and they did a bunch [of] shooting after we left with the other actors.
Susan: Please tell us about your recent search for a vocalist. How was the process different than when you hired Roy Khan in 1997?
Thomas: Well they both started with a simple phone call. I called Tommy about appearing with us at the ProgPower Festival in Atlanta. We talked a bit and then we invited him to tour with us as a special vocalist, and he appeared for 2 songs a night. Fabio Lione did most of the other songs. This was a great way to get to know him and also let him ease his way into what we do.
Susan: What were the deciding factors for choosing Tommy?
Thomas: Vocals, songwriting, and how we got along on tour. Of course the final decision was made after sending some demos of "Jolee" and "Solitaire."
Susan: Kamelot has had so much success for well over a decade. Looking back to the early days of the band, what were your hopes for the future and how far did you think it would go?
Thomas: We didn't even think about anything back then beyond putting an album out and maybe doing some tours. It was really a hobby until we did The Fourth Legacy, then each album came out the band grew and grew. We worked very hard and also I brought in some great producers to help hone our sound and really find our niche. We still feel like there are most goals and borders to break [sic].
Susan: Knowing what you know now, as a band that has "made it," what advice might you give young metal bands in the early stages of their careers?
Thomas: Its very hard these days since labels are dying due to downloads. But I would suggest writing songs that are original as possible. That will set you apart from the other new bands. Keep your rights for merchandise and publishing!
Susan: On Silverthorn, how did the partnerships come about with your most recent guest vocalists?
Thomas: I am always looking for new talented people to work with us, this is something we started with Rannveig on The Fourth Legacy. Elize Ryd had toured with us already and we also toured with Alissa White-Gluz (The Agonist). Amanda Somerville has been someone we worked with in the past and is a real pro. I am already thinking about the next tour and album with some new twists and singers.
Susan: Many of us were happy with the progressive side of Poetry for the Poisoned, though not all fans were in agreement. Please tell us about your initial decision to push the boundaries with that composition and how you felt it turned out versus your expectations.
Thomas: I am proud of the album, really. But it could have been worked on longer, that was not in my control or the producers. I will not go further than that. We did want to experiment a bit on that album and in hindsight I think it was good that the album was finished at all.
Susan: Silverthorn is more similar to your earlier albums; what made you discard some of the ideas you tackled on Poetry for the Poisoned, and might we see some of those musical directions return on subsequent albums?
Thomas: I wouldn't say we totally discarded ideas that were used on Poetry, there are still some somber melancholy vides on Silverthorn. But, I felt that we needed more melody on this release, more of that mix of melancholy but also with a feeling of hope and inspiration. One thing I was proud of with the previous albums was the way fans would tell us that the music and themes really helped them with issues or problems. Yes, life is unfair and many times really hard, but at the end you have to make the best of what you are given. At the end of this album, there is a feeling of rebirth and hope.
Susan: How was the writing process for Silverthorn different without Roy? Did that album turn out the way you'd planned or did it take on a life of its own?
Thomas: The process went much better and faster than I expected. I had worked with Oliver before but I think his style was in a different place, which was great but not a perfect fit. When he knew we wanted him to be a main songwriter he instantly assimilated into the Kamelot style and also added to it as well. Once Tommy came in for vocal melodies and lyrics it was a slam dunk in our minds. Lets just say we are just getting started.[sic]
Susan: How do you stay sane and healthy on tour? What's the best tour food and what are some of the band's touring traditions?
Haha! Well its very hard to stay healthy with all the partying. But we are a bit more seasoned now, so we try to take it easy and get a good sleep every-night for the next day. A good walk or job everyday is always great to clear the mind. [sic] Food wise, we try to eat lots of vegetables, fruit, water etc. I stay away from McDonalds if I can.
Susan: Have you decided whether you'll film your next DVD in just one night or several nights, and will you film on this year's tour or next year's?
Thomas: I would like to film many of the shows on the upcoming touring. Even if its just footage of the audience, maybe one show here and the full concert over there. The fans are asking everyday for a new DVD, I think its time too.[sic]
Susan: Thank you so much for taking the time to answer!
Thomas: Thanks for the vine, and see you all on tour!!
Posted on 16.04.2013 by
Susan appreciates quality metal regardless of sub-genre. Metal Storm Staff since 2006.
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