Jeffrey Easton of Metal Exiles recently conducted an interview with guitarist Thomas Youngblood of American/Norwegian power metallers KAMELOT. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Metal Exiles: I have to start out by saying that this ["Poetry For The Poisoned"] is the best work KAMELOT has put out to date. The work ethic is amazing.
Thomas: You know, In a time when bands are selling fewer records we continue to grow in terms of fans and record sales. It's a testament to our fans and working very hard, growing with album and hopefully doing things right.
Metal Exiles: Speaking of selling records, you are no longer on SPV, correct?
Thomas: That is true. In Europe we are on earMUSIC, a division of Edel, which is a major label in Europe. In North America we started our own label called Kamelot Media Group and we are distributed by E1. It is really exciting for us to have our own record label and it may be a sign of the times for other bands in the future.
Metal Exiles: How easy, or hard, is it to do your own thing in America and still have good record sales?
Thomas: First of all, you have to have people working for and with you that believe in the band. We have amazing people working with us that know what they are doing and we got the numbers for the first week of sales of "Poetry For The Poisoned" and we almost doubled what we did for our last record on SPV. It is a cool thing to do our own label and decide where the money goes. We know our fans better than anybody sitting in a record company office, we know the right ways to market the band.
Metal Exiles: As far as the direction, this is possibly KAMELOT's most diverse album. It seems to me with "The Black Halo" KAMELOT started turing away from traditional power metal and with this album it seems to be a darker affair. Did this come out in the writing or was it intentional.
Thomas: Each record has its own thing and we do not set any goals or directions, it just evolves with the songwriting. I will agree with you — it is possibly the most diverse album since "Karma"; it has every element that makes KAMELOT who we are. For some of the newer fans it may take longer to get into this album but for the older fans they love it.
Metal Exiles: For awhile I gave up on power metal because I knew what was coming. The formula was the same, the guitar gallops, the chorus, all of it.
Thomas: You become stuck because people get afraid to try something different. "It has worked so far, so let's stick with the formula." What happens is what you said — fans can start guessing what the next part is going to be and you do not want to get stuck in that camp either. For us, I think we are at a point in our career that we can experiment and try new things. We want to make sure the album has the KAMELOT signature but at the same time challenge ourselves and our fans for different sounds. You really do it hear it though with the emo mallcore bands that have the clean and rough vocals. Normally I do not like talking shit about bands because everybody works hard to get where they are at, but you have to change it up and challenge yourself and the listeners to something different.
Metal Exiles: You guys had to cancel your [North American] tour which I was very much looking forward to. I think Michael Eriksen [the vocalist from the Norwegian metal band CIRCUS MAXIMUS who was supposed to fill in for Roy Khan during the tour] is a great singer but I understand why you pulled the plug. Do you have current tour plans or is everything on hold for awhile?
Thomas: I am waiting to hear back from Roy as he is going to the doctor again this week and see how it goes from there. We have tour dates set up for March in Europe, South America in April and then we come back to the U.S. again to make up those dates. The whole band was bummed out about not doing the U.S. If it is indefinite, we will just have to bring in someone to fill in the dates and see what happens after that.
Read the entire interview from Metal Exiles.