Kamelot Germany recently conducted an interview with KAMELOT frontman Roy Khan. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Kamelot Germany: Thomas [Youngblood, guitar] said in an interview that the overall sound of the new album is very KAMELOT-like, but the lyrics are much darker, even darker than on "Ghost Opera". What is it that makes darker themes more interesting to write about than positive and uplifting stories?
Roy Khan: It has more to do with the music which is even more melancholic and darker in its expression. Not way more though, it's still very KAMELOT, but the themes this time are spinning around serial killers, hell, failure...it's just a slightly different thing. And sometimes things are not really planned out, they just happen to be the way they are coming up. That's how we write our music.
Kamelot Germany: But what makes it more interesting to write about dark themes?
Roy Khan: It's not really more interesting although it has always come quite naturally...it's about making it fit an athmosphere that is already there.
Kamelot Germany: What do you think are the main differences between the new album and the previous ones?
Roy Khan: I would say that "The Black Halo" and "Ghost Opera" and the new one are not too far from each other. There is no humongous difference. Except for the fact that "The Black Halo" is a concept album, of course. Maybe the main difference, at least from "Ghost Opera", is that there are quite a few guest artists this time. There's also a 10-minute piece I think people will love.
Kamelot Germany: There is an interview with Jon Oliva [SAVATAGE, JON OLIVA'S PAIN] on the Internet where he says he will be on the new album too.
Roy Khan: Yes, he's one of the guest guest artists.
Kamelot Germany: Which songs of KAMELOT do you like to sing the most? Don't say all of them, there have to be favorites!
Roy Khan: I love our ballads. That also has to do with the fact that I can hear myself properly on stage. When the double-bas is going and all the instruments are playing, it's really hard for me to find my way through the sound picture sometimes, but I really like all the songs. Playing live is a trip especially now that we have so many albums to choose from. We all like all the songs. Of course "March Of Mephisto" is a favorite. The crowd participation is always humongous. So many songs I like...there's not one that stands out as my favorite. I can't give you one though, when fact is there is not one that stands out in this regard.
Kamelot Germany: And which one is the most challenging?
Roy Khan: In general the older stuff is harder for me to sing, but we can always tune everything down anyway. Like the other guys can tune their instruments down, so it's not really about that. The ballads are easier because I can hear myself better, but it's not like there is a song that is very different in difficulty for me to sing.
Kamelot Germany: You've been thinking about doing a solo album for quite a while. Are there any concrete plans and can you tell us a bit about them?
Roy Khan: There has not been time nor energy. I mean... the production like the one we just did takes a long, long time and then there is touring, videos and festivals. I write stuff all the time though. The songs are just stacking up. Like I always say, at some point it just has to come out, but right now it just doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me.
Kamelot Germany: How do you prepare before a concert? What are the things you do to warm-up? Do you have a specific ritual?
Roy Khan: One thing I do is I stand in the shower or sit in the tub for like hours. That's because I like to be warm in the whole body and in air that is as moist as possible. The air must be humid, that's good. Before the gig I do the normal thing, I jog a little bit, I do push-ups and just try to be really warm before I walk on stage. Drink lots of water for example. At home I actually like to play the clarinet before rehearsing. I play the clarinet because it's nice for the voice. Not a lot of people know this, but it's really, really good because it creates this pressure around your vocal cords. You can also just use a straw and blow into half full bottle of water or whatever. It gives the same kind of effect, just a little bit more boring.
Kamelot Germany: How do you cope with being away during the weeks on tour?
Roy Khan: I try to go home when there is a day off. We've been doing this for a while now and you get used to it. And when you have a family, it's really like going on vacation, honestly. When we are touring, we can sleep as long as we want and after all, there is basically only this 1 1/2 hours at night. We have people who do everything for us. I can't say it's a lot of hard work. All the traveling is a chore, however. I really have to be careful with my voice, so I try not to talk to people after shows, which is, of course, very hard for people to understand. In London, for example, it was really bad. There are a lot of these people showing up that I haven't seen in a long time and I have to talk to them, but at the same time I know that my voice really needs to rest. It's always a balance between trying to take care of my voice and satisfying the people that are actually the reason why we do this. Everybody feels they should get their share and it's hard for people to understand that I cannot spend two minutes with them out there. If there's thirty people and all of them want to have two minutes it means I have to stay out in the cold for an hour, talking right after a gig, where I shouldn't be talking at all. After all, I feel a certain responsibility to make sure my voice is fit for the next show.
Read the entire interview from Kamelot Germany.