【face-to-face / interview】KAMELOT
Symphonic metallers KAMELOT return after 2 years of touring the globe and 12 months of writing and recording. Produced by Sascha Paeth and mastered by Jacob Hansen, Haven will be released worldwide (excluding Asia) via Napalm Records as part of an exclusive licensing deal through the band’s Kamelot Music LLC. The CD will be made available on May 5 in North America and May 8 in the rest of the world. Following the release, KAMELOT will embark on a world tour, starting with North America in April/May, followed by European shows in the summer and with the “Haven” European tour in September/October.
What was the direction you wanted to take, music-wise ?
Tommy : We talked a lot about the concept of this album before engaging ourselves into the making-process. We wanted to do something very different from the last one, Silverthorn. Haven features all the signature elements of KAMELOT but it also includes new and modern elements. Since the very beginning, there has been a continuous progression : an evolving outlook and an evolving music. Each album has new flavors. We wanted to do the exact same thing with this album. We gathered and discussed the project together. We came to agree on having a futuristic and modern theme. Haven has a cinematic and epic dimension. We actually drew inspiration from futuristic movies like Gattaca. This one really fits the band’s vision, theatrically. Music-wise, Haven contains fresh and new industrial sounds and nice melodies. There are beautiful emotions yet Haven has an aggressive edge. Guitar riffs are bit heavier than the last couple of releases.
Haven will follow 2012 Silverthorn which was the first album with you as the singer. How was the approach different from when you joined ?
Tommy : When I joinded, we didn’t have so much time to think about ideas. Everything was going really fast. I had to do research on what KAMELOT was about. I had to think of how to make KAMELOT sound like KAMELOT. There was no space for other things at the time. I come from a different musical background — I sing in Seventh Wonder, so I had to adapt to fit the band’s music. It was challenging. I didn’t want to disappoint the fans. We worked hard on creating a basic KAMELOT album, I would say. The approach is now very different. I feel freer. I spent a few years together with the other guys. I have found my feet. Now, I can bring new stuff, new elements and have my own style. Although, I won’t leave KAMELOT trademark away. I don’t want to disappoint the fans. They expect a certain sound. I think, with this album, I’ve found balance between those two variables : incorporating my style of singing and respecting KAMELOT’s music. Actually, this is what makes this record interesting. It’s very diverse ! There are different flavours, different colours, different moods. This album brings back the uplifting beats like the earlier days of KAMELOT.
What are you most proud of on this new album ?
Tommy : Its diversity and the fact that it covers a lot of different emotions. It’s an emotional album. It has a good flow, a good pace. It never feels like it gets boring, at least to me.
But what was the most inspiring emotion to you ?
Tommy : Everything that triggers negative emotions — like sadness, pain, guilt, resentment, or anger — is a great source of inspiration because music allows me to channel them in a good way. Even harsh emotions coming from beautiful stories — like missing someone very badly — are good to write about. Those feelings are the most inspiring to me.
Thomas Youngblood stated that you want to give the listener a ‘Haven’. Do you agree with him ?
Tommy : Yes, I do. Definitely ! I want people to play the music on when they go to bed and let themselves be carried away by all the emotions its covers. Thomas said : There is a grey cloud that is forming over our world. We are here to find that silver lining with an album that is both dark and melancholy yet uplifting and giving the listener a Haven in a world gone mad. I cannot agree with him more. Thomas and I wanted to offer people what music has offered us when we were younger. We want to give people an experience of travel through emotions. I hope Haven will help the fans feel better. Though it deals with dark emotions, the message it conveys is positive. There’s hope, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Don’t let yourself be influenced by the negativity of people, don’t be like them, don’t be selfish, don’t use your elbows to get what you want. Because in the end, life will return you the favor.
Guest musicians on the CD include Alissa (ARCH ENEMY), Troy (NIGHTWISH) and Charlotte (DELAIN). Musically, how did they affect the sound direction of the songs they collaborated on ? Why did you choose them in particular ?
Tommy : They’re our friends. We know all of them very well. When you make a living out of music, it’s important to be surrounded by people you like. Friendship was the first criteria. They are all very good musicians. Troy from NIGHTWISH played the flute on Under Grey Skies which came out really cool. It brought a folkloristic aspect to the album. Alyssa brought feminine aggressiveness. She is a great singer and a kick-ass person. She did an awesome job on Liar Liar and Revolution. Charlotte is featured on Under Grey Skies, like Troy. It’s a duet, a beautiful ballad. She brought sweetness and delicate flavors to the song.
You filmed a video for last week in Belgrade, Serbia with director Ivan Colic. Can you tell us more about it ? What song was it for ?
Tommy : I cannot tell you more about it at the moment. I can’t reveal the song but the video is going to be fantastic. It has a futuristic touch. There will be another video which will be linked to this one. These videos will tell a story. It’s gonna be two songs connected.
Which ones ?
Tommy : No ! (laughs). All I can say is that this is a kick-ass project.