Interviewer: Jeffrey D. Adkins
In June 2007, Kamelot released their eighth
studio album entitled "Ghost Opera." It has been receiving
attention all over the world, hitting top world-wide charts in Norway,
Sweden, Finland, USA, The Netherlands, Germany, France, Switzerland,
Greece, Japan and the U.K. ėGhost Operaî continues to add to their
already impressive repertoire. Founder and lead guitarist, Thomas
Youngblood comments about their creation, the new album, the band,
life on the road, among other things. Join me as I journey to Kamelot
with our guide Mr. Youngblood...
Metal Fanatix: Hi Thomas! I thoroughly
have enjoyed your new album ever since I popped it into my CD player
the first time… possibly the best Kamelot record yet. What do
you think of your new album “Ghost Opera”? How successful
is it in your opinion?
Thomas Youngblood: Thanks! Well success
can be defined in many ways. Success for us is usually personally
being happy with a disc and getting the full push from our partners
to get it out to the masses. This time we have to say we are very
pleased and its just the beginning.
Metal Fanatix: How do you think it compares
to the rest of Kamelot library?
Thomas Youngblood: There are 10 unique
and separate songs and stories on Ghost Opera. So in comparison to
The Black Halo that was a concept album based on Goethe’s Faust
this one was quite different. The challenge to make a great album
is always there, but on Ghost Opera we wanted to create a fresh sound
without leaving our musical roots. There are several new elements
on the album that we have not used in the past. Bigger choirs, orchestration,
darker tunings and also subject matter.
Metal Fanatix: “Ghost Opera”
has a great atmosphere. A nice mood is set for each track. How important
are these atmospheres to Kamelot’s music?
Thomas Youngblood: Much of the new album
has a melancholy feel that somehow explores the human condition and
where we are in time right now. So we wanted to explore different
elements of melancholy atmospheres. Deep orchestral sections, choirs
and eerie female vocals here and there.
Metal Fanatix: My favorite tunes on
your latest disc are “Blücher” and “Silence
of the Darkness” amongst others. Do you have any favorites?
What are they?
Thomas Youngblood: My faves at the moment
are Ghost Opera, Rule the World and Love you To Death. I am sure it
will change with time.
Metal Fanatix: How was it working with
with Sascha Paeth and Miro for your recording and mixing?
Thomas Youngblood: Like usual these
guys are fun to work with and very skilled at making a band retain
their unique sound. They have become very good friends and colleagues
for us. Germany has been a second home for us in a sense, we spend
4 months a year either recording, writing or touring in Germany, so
we have a fondness for Germany in many ways. In regards to working
with Sascha and Miro in Wolfsburg, it’s been a great experience
and pleasure to work with these guys. They know how to find the essence
of a song and find a sound that compliments it. They produce many
bands and not one of them sound alike in my opinion. So none of the
bands lose their identities along the way.
Metal Fanatix: What’s the first
thing you think of when I mention these songs:
Lights Are Down: One of my favorites
Human Stain: Also fun live, a more modern
song. We usually have 1 on every album like this.
Center Of The Universe: One of the first
fast songs I felt was cool from us, features my wife Mary on the mid-part.
Love the song and live the fans go nuts!!
Nights of Arabia: One of the most unique
in our catalog, we played this for 5 years straight and finally dropped
it for a few tours. I am sure we will play again in the future.
Metal Fanatix: How did you decide on
the name Kamelot for the band?
Thomas Youngblood: It started from my
Mom’s suggest of Camelot, since she loved JFK. We changed it
to Kamelot since there was a music store named Camelot.
Metal Fanatix: Mr. Youngblood, what
song in the Kamelot collection best describes you best as a person?
Thomas Youngblood: Karma!! No doubt.
Metal Fanatix: What are your favorite
topics to write about when you are writing material?
Thomas Youngblood: Religion, death,
love, hope, history, Over the course of writing the music we think
about what we want to write the lyrics about. If a song has a certain
sound or inspiration then we do some research based on this. On Love
You to Death the story of two young asian lovers. At the age of 15
the girl finds out that she will die and tells her boyfriend that
she will die and that she will come back to him after she dies.
Metal Fanatix: Where do you pull your
inspiration from? Any specific influences?
Thomas Youngblood: Life and history.
Metal Fanatix: Some guitarists swear
by the brand of guitar they use. Do you have any favorites? What are
the specs on your setup? Any endorsements?
Thomas Youngblood: I use ESP Electric
guitars direct from Japan and just started working with Dean on acoustic
guitars. I am not a huge tech freak, Most of my ESPs have EMG 81s
for pickups. I used to use Custom light strings, 9-46 but I recently
moved to 10s on the high strings. I bend much more now than I used
to and it has more control.
Metal Fanatix: So how was your recent
trip to Moscow? I understand that you had a little trouble getting
there? What happened?
Thomas Youngblood: We finally made it
and it was amazing, the fans, the culture. We had to postpone a previous
date due to problems with our VISAS. Not the easiest or cheapest process
Metal Fanatix: Touring has taken you
all over the world. Do you have a favorite place to play? Any tales
from the road you would like to share with us?
Thomas Youngblood: Lots of Tales!! Too
many to mention haha. Most places are really killer to tour, Japan
is very special due to the cultural differences.
Metal Fanatix: Thomas, what’s
the oddest item you’ve asked for when on tour?
Thomas Youngblood: Maybe garlic..? We
have it on our rider for anyone that needs it.
Metal Fanatix: What bands have been
the best to tour with? Why?
Thomas Youngblood: Leaves Eyes has been
a cool band, nice people. We just did a festival with Heaven and Hell
and Dio was really super cool. Also some of the Queensryche guys.
Metal Fanatix: I’ve seen your
upcoming tour schedule including the US and Canada, Europe and Japan.
What do you expect on these trips?
Thomas Youngblood: Crazy and loud fans
every night and a special connection hopefully for the future. Every
tour is special and unique.
Metal Fanatix: What are your festival
plans for the summer? Which one are you looking forward to the most?
Thomas Youngblood: We just did Monsters
of Rock in Spain with Ozzy and Dream Theater, was killer. We have
two more this summer before the US tour. They are in Italy and Norway,
should be a blast!
Metal Fanatix: If you were to show us
your music collections, what would you play for us first? Any other
Thomas Youngblood: I like to play some
old Saigon Kick for friends, I love their first two albums. Also,
I like strange stuff like Jellyfish, Enya and a lot of non metal music.
Metal Fanatix: What is your favorite
movie? Favorite book?
Thomas Youngblood: Lots of favorite
movies, Fight Club is one, Heat, Crash. I don’t read a lot but
DaVinci Code was great, the movie didn’t do it for me though.
Metal Fanatix: Kamelot has been a band
for fifteen years now. Where do you see Kamelot in another 15 years?
Thomas Youngblood: Well the band as
we know it now started in 1999, so we look at it a little different.
As long as we are having fun and making great music I don’t
see why we couldn’t be around for 15 more. My daughter would
sing the female parts by then, haha
Metal Fanatix: Well Thomas, I have one
last questions for you. Do you have anything to say the Metal Fanatix
of the world?
Thomas Youngblood: Thanks for your heart
and support, we do this because of you and will never forget that.
See you all on tour very soon!!
Metal Fanatix: Thanks for the interview!
To keep up with all the latest news & much
more on Kamelot check out the following websites:
- Official Kamelot Site
- Kamelot MySpace Site
© Jeffrey D. Adkins July 2007 Not to be re-printed in any form
without written permission.