Kamelot Guitarist Thomas Youngblood Discusses New Album "Poetry For The Poisoned" And Cancelled Tour
U.S. based power metal act Kamelot has had a run of mixed luck lately. Kamelot has seen some of the band's highest chart positions ever with the new album "Poetry for the Poisoned," but also had to cancel a North American tour due to the health issues of vocalist Roy Khan. After the cancellation of the tour, I spoke with guitarist Thomas Youngblood about the new album and what the band has planned for the future.
Commenting on how the new album advances Kamelot's sound, Thomas said, "I guess you could say, in my opinion, the new record is a bit more progressive and maybe more diverse. It’s another Kamelot album, another step in the direction we want to go in. With this album the direction we wanted to go was a little more progressive and darker. I think we achieved that." He also discussed the band's brief attempt at continuing the ill fated tour with Circus Maximus vocalist Michael Eriksen and working with Elize Ryd of Amaranthe.
xFiruath: Let’s jump right into the new album “Poetry for the Poisoned.” Tell me about this album and how it came together.
Thomas: Since “Ghost Opera” we’d been doing a lot of touring. We had some time off in between the touring parts so we started working on the new record. I guess you could say, in my opinion, the new record is a bit more progressive and maybe more diverse. It’s another Kamelot album, another step in the direction we want to go in. With this album the direction we wanted to go was a little more progressive and darker. I think we achieved that.
xFiruath: I saw that it landed on some of your guy’s highest chart positions ever as a band.
Thomas: Yeah, absolutely, we charted in the top 100 of Billboard, which we’ve never done before. In Norway it was in the top 10, which is amazing. All over the world the chart entries are higher than ever, which is a testament to our amazing fans and all the work we’ve done. It’s an exciting time for us.
xFiruath: What themes are present on the album and in the lyrics?
Thomas: There’s not really a theme to the lyrics. We talked about doing a concept album, but we scrapped the idea after discussing it. We’ve done a couple of concept records, so if we’re going to do another one we’ve got to make sure we’ve got the perfect idea for it. The album itself is basically a collection of different songs with different topics. “Poetry for the Poisoned” is a four part, concept song, but in general the album has separate themes for each song.
xFiruath: Where did you record the album and who did you work with?
Thomas: We worked with Sascha Paeth and Miro again in Wolfsburg, Germany. That’s where the bulk of the recording was done.
xFiruath: Kamelot released a music video for “The Great Pandemonium.” How did the shooting go for that one?
Thomas: The director was Owe Lingvall, who is also the drummer for the band called Nocturnal Rites. He has a video company called Village Road Film and we contacted him about doing the video. While we were on tour in Europe we went over to the studio and the video came out amazing, I’m very happy with it.
xFiruath: You guys had a North American tour planned, but it was canceled due to issues with your vocalist. Can you give me a rundown of what happened there?
Thomas: I guess about 10 days before our first show I got an email from our singer saying that he had kind of a break down and went to the doctor and the doctor really suggested he take a couple months off from doing anything. Roy worked really hard on the album and did touring a lot and he hadn’t been getting sleep. All of these things compiled and unfortunately the timing just coincided with the U.S. tour. We’re waiting to hear back from him on his health so we can start rescheduling the dates again.
xFiruath: There were plans for awhile to go ahead with the tour with the Circus Maximus vocalist, but that eventually got scrapped. What made you guys decide to stop the tour?
Thomas: We did one show with Michael. We were working with him and it felt like we were making a fast decision based on what everyone else wanted us to do and not on what we felt was the right thing to do. When you find out something so quick you have to make quick decisions. Sometimes it’s the right one and sometimes it’s the wrong one. We just felt like it wasn’t the way we wanted to do the tour, so we wanted to reschedule it.
xFiruath: Kamelot has also been having Elize Ryd from Amaranthe join up for shows, will she be joining you on the rescheduled dates?
Thomas: I would say it’s a 99.9% yes. We’ve discussed all the future touring for this record, and as long as it doesn’t conflict with Amaranthe. We’ve even discussed having Amaranthe as one of the opening bands. She’s a great vocalist and adds a lot to the show, so yeah it’s 99.9% that she’ll be on the tour.
xFiruath: So I’m assuming until Roy’s health is more stable that there won’t be any way to know when the dates will be rescheduled?
Thomas: Yeah, for now I really can’t tell you. All I can say is that obviously there’s got to be a certain amount of time that is given and a certain amount of time not given. At some point you have to make decisions about things, and it’s not a situation where it’s his voice. It’s not a physical thing, I guess it’s a mental thing, so we’ll have to see how that’s going and find out from the doctors what’s happening.
xFiruath: On the subject of touring, do you have any particular tour memory that sticks out for you?
Thomas: One of the first things I remember is the first time we went to Japan, because I’d always dreamed of playing there. The culture there is just so different from anything you could experience. My last favorite show was the Wacken concert this year in Germany. Playing in front of 80,000 people, that’s a very surreal sort of thing when you walk out and there is a sea of people as far as you can see. We do a bit of touring. We could do more touring, and I think in the near future that’s what we want to do, is tour more. One of the things I love is being on stage and sharing those 90 minutes every night with the fans, and that’s a really crucial element to why myself and the other guys in the band do this. We love that experience.
xFiruath: What bands are you listening to and what musicians influence the way you play?
Thomas: I don’t listen to a whole lot of music when I’m not making Kamelot music or touring. Occasionally I’ll get a CD from somebody or one of the guys in the band is digging something like Breaking Benjamin and we listen to it for the production values. There’s really nothing we’re listening to personally that influences Kamelot. I’m still into classical music and film score type things.
xFiruath: Anything else you’d like to say about “Poetry for the Poisoned?”
Thomas: You can get it in jewel, digipack, and iTunes. Go out and get it and hopefully we can reschedule the U.S. tour dates soon. We want to get out and meet everybody face to face on new tours.
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