Metal Wani’s Prathamesh Hoshing had a chat with KAMELOT mastermind Thomas Youngblood in Paris, France to discuss about the new album, The Shadow Theory, set to release on April 6th, 2018.
Talking about the evolution of Kamelot’s music over the last couple of decades, Thomas agrees with Prathamesh that for a long part of their early career the music and lyrics were based on fantasy elements but over time the band members realized that it tended to get a bit cheesy and ultimately limited. He recalls that after the release of Karma, the band decided to add more symphonic and gothic elements in the music.
Speaking of evolution, how is the new album different? It is set lyrically in a futuristic world, but what’s different in the music? Thomas assures us that symphonic elements are still present, but a few different sounds were experimented with to make the concept clearer. The lyrics talk about technology and AI and most importantly their impact on society. Further there’s a whole combination of styles involved: “The Proud and the Broken” is for the progressive fans, “Amnesiac” is Haven-style catchy and finally “Phantom Divine” is a signature double-bass Kamelot track. Not too many production changes to fit with the concept either, just a few synth sections and other cool bits but not too different from older works.
Thomas also cleared some queries on whether The Shadow Theory is a concept album. He informs us that it’s more of a hybrid album, there’s an overarching conceptial structure to it without a traditional story-based concept.
So how does Kamelot choose its guests vocalists? With a lot of research apparently. Lauren Hart was on tour and played with Kamelot during their concert in California, opening for Iron Maiden. Thomas has heard Jennifer Haben with Beyond the Black plenty of times. He confirms that they are absolute professionals who not only fill in their sections well, but also add extra flavor and spice to the upcoming album.
Would Kamelot be interested in recording the older albums with Tommy Karevik at helm? Thomas shakes his head, surely to the disappointment of a few. He says Kamelot doesn’t want to be a nostalgia or a tribute band and are always forward-looking in their approach. Even in gig setlists, most of the songs are from newer albums with only a few absolute classics. Finally, rerecording the albums with Tommy would just increase unnecessary comparisons with Roy Khan. On that note, anniversary tours are in fashion these days – do they interest Kamelot? Not at all, Thomas dismisses, saying he sees these tours just as cash grabbers. And again, they don’t want comparisons.
A short bit about how Thomas goes about in his songwriting procedure? He says there is a very varied approach. If he comes up with an interesting drum beat or a particular chord progression, he writes it down and then builds around it. But there is no hard and fast rule.
A few words on upcoming tours – Which collaborators would be joining Kamelot on tour? Lauren Hart is a definite yes on the North American and Japan tours. But for Europe, they haven’t decided yet. What about the live DVD? Why the delay? Thomas talks about a few contract issues that marred the release in the previous instances as well as budgetary constraints, but he delightfully announces that now with the right budget and the right partner, the live album is a sure thing.
A final cheesy question – If Thomas would like to introduce Kamelot to someone, which three albums would he recommend? Answer – Haven, Karma, The Black Halo. Not too many surprises there.