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Interview: Kamelot

mit Thomas Youngblood vom 11. Mai 2011 in der Markthalle, Hamburg
Am Mittwoch, den 11. Mai 2011 hatten wir die Gelegenheit, mit Thomas Youngblood, dem Begründer und Gitarristen der US-amerikanischen Symphonic Power Metal-Band Kamelot, im Zuge der Pandemonium Over Europe Tour 2011 zu sprechen.
Er erzählte uns einiges über die Tour, Kamelots Beziehung zur niederländischen Band Epica, die Arbeiten am neuen Album, die mit Roy Khans Ausscheiden aus der Band verbundene Suche nach einem neuen Lead Vocalist und welchen Weg Kamelot mit diesem in Zukunft bestreiten möchten.
Viel Spaß beim anschauen und lesen!
Übrigens haben wir nach dem Interview auch einige Konzertfotos geschossen, die ihr in der Galerie bestaunen könnt!
Moderation: Arne Luaith; Fotografie: Arne Luaith; Kamera: Alexander Kipke

Das Interview (Textform)

Arne: Hi guys! I’m here in the Markthalle in Hamburg with Thomas from Kamelot. Hi Thomas! Nice to have you here! Would you mind saying a few words to the fans?
Thomas: Hey guys! It’s Thomas. We’re excited about being in Germany. Ready to kick some ass tonight. This is our last German show and I think it’s gonna be a big party tonight.
Arne: How’s the tour been so far?
Thomas: It’s been really good! I mean, we’ve been playing … I think this is like the 3rd week of the tour. Everybody is still like energized, still excited about every night and the fans have been amazing. So it’s been really good. I mean, it’s basically one of my favorite tours of our career, you know. We had a great time, all the opening bands are good along. Very good. So it’s been cool.
Arne: Your latest album – Poetry For The Poisoned – has been released in 2010. What has been the feedback by the fans and how would you personally describe the album? What makes it special?
Thomas: With each record that Kamelot does it’s that the fans have been there to support us, and … of course you always have different opinions with each record because we never want to repeat ourselves. Well, with the new album we kinda went up with a little bit darker direction. A bit heavier elements. And, you know, there was sort of a little bit of a experimental edge to it. But the feedback’s been great and we’re excited about working on the next record now.
Arne: What can you tell us about the next record? Is it already in process? Or any new experiments, as you said?
Thomas: There’s gonna be some new twists and turns of course with the vocals and stuff like that. I think what we’re gonna do is kinda go back a little bit to what we did with Black Halo and Ghost Opera and then of course add new elements. More theatrical things. We’ve got about 2 songs already written and after the US tour in September we’re gonna be full force into writing the new album.
Arne: Any expected release date yet?
Thomas: Well, we’re shooting for like the end of 2012, but realistically it probably will be like 2013. That’s when we’ll do an all new world tour in support of that record.
Arne: With Poetry For The Poisoned having been your ninth studio album and Kamelot being founded in 1991 you have nearly 20 years of band development now. What would you say have been the main stations of the band or the main twisting point?
Thomas: I think that when we released The Black Halo that was a big turning point. That’s where we really found our sound, we sort of worked with producers that we really respected and that kinda knew how to bring out the best in what we do! With each record we still feel like we have something to say, something to prove. We don’t feel like a band that’s been around that long now. And with each show we try to bring a new exciting modern element to what we do. Everybody in the band is excited about, you know, the next 5 or 1Gamma Ray0 years and it’s a pretty cool time.
Arne: What would you say are these new elements on this tour?
Thomas: Well, it depends on the stage, of course. Like we have fire, pyros and things like that. On some of the concerts we have a big lighting ring that we bring with us. So we’re always trying to push the envelope when it comes to what we do live and give the fans more than they expect from when they buy the tickets. We want them to come to the show and after the show hope they’re just waiting for us to come back.
Arne: The title track in Poetry For The Poisoned is a 9 minutes epos which you have split up into 4 parts, and I think it’s also the first split-up track in the Kamelot history since Karma in 2011 except for some interludes, I guess. And some fans criticized the band for pushing up the track count of the album with that. What inspired you to do this long epos and split it up into 4 parts? What would you say about that?
Thomas: Well, I mean, if we wanted to split it up because they were 4 different feels with each song. I don’t understand, by the way, why they complain about it. We’re not benefiting by splitting it up, you know? It just gives the fans the chance, if they have the disc in their car or their cd player to take out and check track 3 right away instead of waiting or having to skip through the whole song. So that’s why we did it that way.
Arne: And what would you say is the main message that you wanted to put into this song?
Thomas: I mean I think it’s some sort of a metaphor for life and the society where there’s all this different elements that kind of poison the human condition. You know, whether it’s television or drugs, alcohol … these kind of things. So it’s kind of a metaphor for the things that kind of affect all of us.
Arne: The dutch Band Epica named themselves after your album. How did you personally feel about that back than and right now and how is your relationship to the band now?
Thomas: We’re great friends. Simone has been on this tour up until yesterday. She’s been on this tour with us, she’s part of the family. You know, when I first got the phone call from Sascha, the producer for Kamelot and Epica – now Epica – he asked me about them using the name and I said, well, yeah, that’s fine! It’s cool. As long as the band doesn’t suck, then I’m cool with it.
Arne: So they asked you if they could use the name?
Thomas: Well, they didn’t ‘ask’, but they said that they were thinking about doing it. And of course I could have immediately trademarked the name if I’d wanted to, but it wasn’t a big deal.
Arne: So it was kind of an honor to you?
Thomas: I wouldn’t say it’s an honor but it’s … well, I like the guys and they do really good music, so I don’t have any regrets about it now.
Arne: So you knew them before?
Thomas: No, not really. Sascha just told me there’s this Dutch band in the studio and they’re called … ‘Sahara Dust’, I think was the name. And they wanted to use the name ‘Epica’ for their record.
Arne: On April 21st Roy declared his permanent departure from the band and he said on his website that his decision reached back to November 2010, right after his burnout, and the band wanted to give him some time to overthink it. What did you actually think when he told you that he’s planning – or already has decided to – leave the band?
Thomas: I thought it was premature because when you're burned out you don’t want to make this kind of decisions, you know. We’ve been working together for 10+ years and I’ve heard about this burnout syndrome taking time to get through it. So there was really no reason to make the decision now, and we’re not gonna make any records next year but it was something that I guess he felt compelled to have to do. I’m not totally sure why but … well, you know, it is what it is.
Arne: You said on your website that you’re already looking for a new vocalist and that you already have a few people in mind. Can you tell us something about that? What will be the main factors upon which you will decide for or against a particular new vocalist and maybe any speculations yet about who it might be?
Thomas: Well, I definitely don’t want to say any names right now. But we’ve gotten a lot of emails from people that are known, people that are unknown. Obviously they’ll have to have a certain charisma. They have to understand the dynamics of what Kamelot is and also what we’re going to be with the next record. Vocally they have to be master in what they’re doing. So I mean there’s a lot of elements, a lot of things to it and also some social part about it, you know. Making sure that they have no religious restrictions, no addiction issues, they don’t have a girlfriend or a wife that say’s ‘you can’t tour!’ or something like that. There’s a lot of different factors that will come into it and I like to say that it’s – so far – a lot of the emails that I’ve gotten have been very encouraging.
Arne: The new vocalist – Is he supposed to have his own style, to bring his own influences into the band or primary to ‘mime’ Roy and his singing style?
Thomas: No. I think that the new guy should have his own thing going on. Of course he has to be able to sing the old songs and do it properly, give it justice and respect. But to bring in a clone, that makes no sense. That’s not our goal.
Arne: You’re now touring with Fabio Lione from Rhapsody Of Fire and Labyrinth. Can you tell us something about how this cooperation came to be?
Thomas: Yeah, our producer – Sascha Paeth –, we talked about him earlier, he also does Rhapsody’s records and he suggested Fabio because he knows that the guy can sing anything. So he’s like … he sings totally different than he does with Rhapsody with us. You’ll see tonight. An amazing singer! I mean, technically, he’s probably the best singer that I’ve ever worked with. So I think he was a perfect choice to finish this tour, to fill our obligations to ourselves, our fans … and he’s actually adding a new dynamic to the show which I think is really cool.
Arne: Any possibility that he might become the new lead singer?
Thomas: There’s always possibilities, you know. I mean, he’s got his band but … I think what I want to do is do this big audition progress where we have as many people as possible to choose from and then we’ll make a decision.
Arne: So in general – What’s up for the future of Kamelot?
Thomas: Well, we’re going to finish up our European tour next week and then we go to the United States and Canada. And then we’ll get started right away with the new album. So, it’s exciting.
Arne: Anything more you would like to tell your fans?
Thomas: Oh, just thanks for your support! And get ready, cause the ride is just beginning!
Arne: Thanks for the time and all the best for the show tonight. Goodbye!
Hörproben aus dem 2010 erschienen Album „Poetry for the Poisoned“ findet ihr gleich hier:

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