KAMELOT Singer Talks About 'Ghost Opera', Possible Solo Album

Chaosankh of Metal-Rules.com recently conducted an interview with KAMELOT frontman Roy Khan. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow:

Metal-Rules.com: It looks like you have scheduled quite a few U.S. tour dates which is really refreshing as an American metal fan because so many bands choose not to tour this continent. And I wonder if there is anything besides just the amount of people who show up at an American metal show that is different about an American audience than an audience somewhere else in the world?

Roy: No. The American audience is awesome. It totally surprised me actually. The first little tour that we did two years ago was great, but that was only like five dates or something. Than we did the full tour last year with EPICA and that was great. It was a little bit like starting over again or almost like five years back in time as far as the amount of people goes. But the people themselves: fantastic. I guess it has to do with the fact that the country is extremely big and the visa cost is quite a bit. I don't know. It's for sure not the audience.

Metal-Rules.com: As far as preparing to sing for a record or tour, what kind of techniques or rituals do you have that prepare you to do something like that?

Roy: Nothing totally out of the ordinary, I'm afraid. I try to be warm in the whole body. Like do a short jog or pushups and sit ups and I like to be totally warm and sweat. That's when I sing the best. But of course I do the regular, standard exercises. I drink a lot of water during the day and a lot of tea, preferably with honey right before the gig. I like to brush my teeth before the gig. That's a bit awkward.

Metal-Rules.com: What, if you had to pick a few, would you say are your best highlights since you've been with KAMELOT?

Roy: The video. The first video that we did, "March of Mephisto", with Shagrath [DIMMU BORGIR]. That was the first video we did and that was great. Same thing with the DVD. That was also a highlight. But also this last tour that we did just now was also…I mean we had like sixty, seventy percent more people than we ever had before and it was just fantastic and it was even a month before the record came out, in some places two months before the record was out. But of course a lot people looked upon it as a nice opportunity to hear some of the new stuff. That was actually quite a bit beyond our expectations.

Metal-Rules.com: On the complete opposite end, have there been any low points since you were with the band where you thought maybe the band would not continue or you wouldn't stay with them?

Roy: No. I mean the band has been progressing since "Siege Perilous". I mean, even "Siege Perilous" sold considerably more than "Dominion", for example. And from "The Fourth Legacy", it really took off. I don't think there's ever been a point where any of us…of course we have our arguments, especially me and Tom. Over the years we've learned to manage each other. No real low point where everything looked black and hopeless.

Metal-Rules.com: Has the recent concert DVD, "One Cold Winter's Night", been a successful release for the band, and do you see yourselves doing another one in the future at some point?

Roy: I think it has…it's really hard to tell because "The Black Halo" also did a lot for us, and "The Black Halo" kept selling. You know in the U.S., for example, it's selling as much today per week as it did two years ago. The bulk of it you sell right when it's released. That's quite normal in this genre. But then it kept on selling and up until today it's still selling really good in America. The same goes for Holland, Belgium, France, UK, Norway, Sweden and Finland especially. Canada is great. I think the DVD just added to the whole thing because that was a nice opportunity for people to experience the band in a live setting without actually having been able to attend a KAMELOT gig. Of course, the DVD we spent a lot of heart and energy, and not the least money, into that production. So I would like to think that it helped.

Metal-Rules.com: The new video for "Ghost Opera" is another very elaborate production. It looks great, like the DVD, like the "March of Mephisto" video. It seems that KAMELOT is actually able to do videos that are quite a bit more in production than a lot of your contemporaries. And I'm kind of wondering how you guys are able to do that. Is it because of the label or are you guys spending a lot more money out of your pockets to make these things so good?

Roy: We're probably spending more money, but you have to have original ideas for anything to work. So I mean all of the ideas of how everything should look…actually everything down to the least little itsy-bitsy details, whether it's a photo or anything, me and Tom control. Not because we want to control it but because we passionately…we really like what we're doing and we really like to see this thing happening. I guess it's mixture of artistic freedom and a talent for what we're doing, and, of course, a record label that backs us up with promotion and money.

Metal-Rules.com: I read that the CONCEPTION reunion show at ProgPower 2005 was recorded. Are there any plans for that to see the light of day in any capacity? Or any plans to do anything else with CONCEPTION in the future?

Roy: Yeah. We're talking about doing some more live gigs. I don't CONCEPTION is ever gonna like release anything like a studio album, but we've been talking about this…we actually recorded three shows. The filming from the ProgPower gig wasn't good enough, but the audio we might do something about and release it on our own label or whatever. I don't know, but that's not really…I'm so busy with KAMELOT right now that it doesn't make any sense to even think about it right now.

Metal-Rules.com: The next question I was going to ask, but you probably just answered it. Do you ever want to do anything solo on your own that might not be as metal or do some other different kind of style of music?

Roy: Yeah. There's a lot of stuff that I want to do. I wouldn't mind doing a jazz record for example. I wouldn't mind doing… I really could do a lot of stuff, pop, jazz, stoner metal, whatever…there's a lot of stuff that I could do and would like to do, but as I said I'm so busy and I'm not the least artistically dissatisfied with KAMELOT so it's not like that big urge in me. But there will be a solo album eventually. I just need to go ahead and do it. The songs are there.

Metal-Rules.com: What are some of your goals or hopes for KAMELOT in the years to come?

Roy: That we keep on releasing albums and whatever it is that we want to release that we can feel we did our absolute best about. As long as we do our best with the money and resources that we have available, we can't really do any better. Whether that means losing fans or getting more fans like it has been, doesn't really matter because we need to…this is an art. You do actually express some sort of inner feelings somehow, whether you do it consciously or subconsciously, and you have to, at least we do, we have to be proud of what we do and at least feel when we release it that this is something that we could be proud of twenty years from now. And as long as we manage to do that and stretch into new territory, musically speaking, and it's fun, than I'm happy. But, of course, any band would like to play arenas. It's not that I don't want to do that, but that's not really a goal.

Read the entire interview at Metal-Rules.com.

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