Nick Tevelis of Australia's Metal Obsession recently conducted an interview with guitarist Thomas Youngblood of American/German/Swedish symphonic metallers KAMELOT. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Metal Obsession: "Silverthorn" is the first record with Tommy [Karevik] on vocals. How was the recording process for this album compared to the past? Did Tommy have a lot to do with the writing of the record or was it basically written before he joined the band?
Youngblood: Most of the record, especially musically, was written before Tommy joined. It's something that we had been working, on and off, with for a little while and toying around with song ideas. The concept and style that we were going for was something that we knew we wanted from quite a while ago so we were pretty advanced along the track when Tommy came in. Still, though, we had an idea about how we wanted it to sound and when Tommy came in, a lot of that changed for the better, we think, because he bought things to it in terms of melodies that we didn't even think of the first time around. So, really, Tommy had a lot to do with the record, especially in regards to lyrics and melodies.
Metal Obsession: What does Tommy bring to the band that was missing in the past, whether it is with Roy Khan or Mark Vanberbilt? Correct me if I'm wrong, but from watching the studio clips and the behind-the-scenes clips for the new record, it seems like a more "unified" band now when you compare it to the footage off the live DVD.
Youngblood: Thanks for that. It's nice to hear that, and I agree about the band being more [unified]. I guess first and foremost, we were looking for someone that could fit into the band on a personal level and Tommy is just a really great guy to have around with his energy and passion. He's also a fantastic songwriter in his own right, which is great for us. Some of the things he has already come up with for the record after this is really phenomenal stuff. Really, that's just another feather in his cap so to speak. I guess the main thing he brings to the band is that he's a fantastic vocalist and frontman. I think the band is better now on stage, on record and off stage than it ever has been.
Metal Obsession: With the members of the band being so dispersed geographically, how do you overcome some of the challenges that brings like not being able to get in the same room and rehearse and write with the rest of the band?
Youngblood: Well, there's a lot of emails and file sharing and air travel involved. Really, though, you just have to prepare yourself as best as you can and make sure you know your stuff before you go into a studio to record. We really just focus on our own game when we're away to learn the set, new songs, etc., so when we do finally all get together, we can hit the ground running, and at that's point its more just a matter of ironing out the kinks more than anything else. So, I guess, it really comes down to preparation and keeping in contact as much as possible throughout the process. It can be done.
Metal Obsession: Given this band has been around for over 20 years now you would have seen the music industry and landscape change quite significantly over that time with the introduction of Internet and all the good and bad things associated with that. How have you had to change as an artist to remain relevant in today's industry? Is it more about touring now to make a living out of music as opposed to relying on album sales?
Youngblood: I guess you just have to take the good with the bad and embrace it. I mean, the Internet thing, for all its drawbacks, has had some really huge advantages for a band like us. Like you said earlier, being in different parts of the world, the Internet has helped get us together more often and quicker than might have otherwise been possible. It's also allowed us to connect really closely and communicate with our fan base, which is a huge deal for us. Really, we have heard people say it, but we believe it that without the fans we wouldn't be here, so that's been a great benefit for someone like us too. It's not all doom and gloom. Sure, there's a downside to it all, but all you can ever do is your best and that's what we try to do with everything we approach in this band.
Read the entire interview from Metal Obsession.