Thomas Youngblood - Kamelot - Back
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:

Thomas Youngblood:

Lights Are Down: One of my favorites live,fast, energetic!

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 to do.

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 favorites?

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:

http://www.kamelot.com/ - Official Kamelot Site
http://www.myspace.com/kamelot - Kamelot MySpace Site


© Jeffrey D. Adkins July 2007 Not to be re-printed in any form without written permission.