I had the chance to interview symphonic metallers Kamelot’s founder and leader Thomas Youngblood, while the band was rehearsing for their upcoming tour to promote their upcoming album “Haven” (out on May 5th). This album will be their second with Tommy Karevik on vocals, having replaced longtime singer Roy Khan in 2012.
Jean-Frederic Vachon (JFV): “Haven” is your second album with Tommy on vocals. How was the writing and recording process for this album, compared to the previous?
Thomas Youngblood (TY): I would say it was a bit less stressful but we worked harder than ever and in a fairly short time period. Touring together for two plus years has made us a stronger unit and even closer friends.
The album has a theme, but it’s not a particular concept like “Silverthorn”. Nonetheless, the theme definitely has a dystopic kind of feeling. We were talking between the band about the whole issue of mobile phones and internet: if you really look, it’s not really social. Even though it’s called “social media”, people have become so disconnected from one another on a personal level. But you’ve got the whole mega corporations involved with governments.
So we wanted to kind of 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.
JFV: What kind of progression in the band’s sound can we look forward to on this album?
TY: We added more modern elements and a fresh mix and master to the album, while still keeping the Kamelot DNA.
JFV: Can you talk a little about the guest performers on “Haven”?
TY: Alyssa (White-Gluz of Arch Enemy) 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 (Donockley), 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 (Wessels) from Delain on it. We’re very fortunate to have some very cool friends that are also super talented.
JFV: You’ll be hitting the road (and Montreal) before the album comes out. How do you prepare for the challenge of playing new material for an audience that hasn’t heard it yet?
TY: We believe in the new songs, so that will translate into the live show. Also we will have already released two new songs before the tour starts and lots of snippets.
JFV: Changing singers is one of the hardest change for a band, because of the impact it has on the band’s sound. How did your fanbase react to Tommy’s arrival?
TY: Our fans have been amazing and frankly awesome. They welcomed Tommy with open arms and he really appreciates that as well. He is engaging with the fans too, something that is also fresh and fun for all of us.
JFV: What are you planning for this tour’s setlist?
TY: Well, we have to cut something. We will add at least 4 new songs into the set so we have to figure out what stays and what goes. Not so easy.
You can catch Kamelot (with Dragonforce) on May 2nd at Metropolis. Tickets are available here. The new album “Haven” comes out on May 5th from Napalm Records.
Jean-Frederic Vachon also maintains the amazing music site Diary of a Music Addict