Paul Southwell of Australia's Loud magazine recently conducted an interview with guitarist Thomas Youngblood of American/German/Swedish symphonic metallers KAMELOT. An excerpt from the chat follows below.
Loud: How has your new singer, Tommy Karevik, gone across for all the hardcore fans?
Youngblood: He is absolutely amazing. He brings a different dynamic to the show now, too, which is a little bit more in your face with the fans. I wasn't sure how that was going to work out as he'd done a couple of songs as a backup singer on one tour. Making him the man and saying "this gig is yours" opened up his confidence. His pitch is perfect every night and he has this super connection with the crowd. Plus the chemistry in the band has everyone having a great time. He has exceeded my expectations.
Loud: For songwriting, are you still the core songwriter?
Youngblood: Up until this point, it was myself and the previous vocalist, Roy Khan, but with this record, "Silverthorn", Oliver Palotai, our keyboard player, and I worked on the majority of the music. Also, Tommy, the vocalist, worked on vocal melodies and lyrics along with our producer, Sasha Paeth. It is a little bit different, but bringing in Oliver as one of the songwriters has been really cool for me, because as a well trained musician I can give him ideas and he can translate that to a keyboard or orchestral part. In the past, it would have been something we had done later on in production process with our keyboard arranger, Miro [Michael Rodenberg]. I'm looking forward to writing the next record. This one wasn't rushed but was a bit faster than normal. A lot of times that is how things get done.
Loud: You've been doing it for almost twenty years.
Youngblood: You've got to write a song no matter what kind of technology you have. When I first started, I had a little four-track recorder and a drum machine. I did everything on that, bouncing tracks down to make more tracks available. That is how the first few albums were written. "The Fourth Legacy" was written on a four-track, but after that I started working with computers and using Sonar and then got Pro Tools. Everything we were doing was recorded in the final process with Pro Tools. So I got a Pro Tools rig and I use Superior Drummer. It is easier now to copy and paste verses to avoid redoing things again but you've still got to be able to write a song.
Loud: Is technology a hindrance at all?
Youngblood: I don't know. There are so many good productions but at the end of it, is it a good song? Is there a good melody from the vocalist? You can fix the pitch of the singer, but do they have a good timber to their voice? Does it sound original. You can't fix these things with technology. I hear so many bands that are ripping off so many other artists, and it just drives me nuts. A lot of fans may not know that a certain band did something five years ago. The cream of the crop always rises, though, and you have to try to be original, be fresh and be true to your core, but you have to grow. That is what we use as a motto for each record. We want to be different, but we don't want to lose that backbone of what we started. That is really important for us and the fans.
Read the entire interview from Loud magazine.