On the ocassion of the new Kamelot album “Poetry For The Poisoned”, Metalpaths made a call to Thomas Youngblood. The guitarist and the founding member of the band talks about the composing and the recording process of the album, the guest appearances and Roy Khan’s health.
You can listen to the audio format of the interview here.
Hello Thomas, I am calling from Metalpaths, Greece… How are you?
I’m doing great, thank you.
“Poetry for the Poisoned” is your ninth studio release; tell us a few things about the recording and composing process of the album.
The album was composed very similar to the previous ones where we got together in Norway and Germany. We usually do writing sessions that consist of 2 to 3 weeks. Recording was done again in Volksberg, Germany, with producers Sascha and Miro at Gate Studio.
So, are you satisfied with how it is going so far? What was the reaction of the fans to the new songs?
I think with each record you always have different degrees of reactions, but so far the reactions have been great. You know, with each record, whether it’s “The Black Halo” or “Ghost Opera” there is always initially some fans like: “I’m not sure…” and then a couple of weeks later they’ve listened to the record and they love it. You know, we don’t wanna make albums that you listen to one time and you make a judgment on it. We wanted the album to be listened to, you have to soak in everything about it and you can’t do that just by putting it on the computer one time or listening to it on your iPod one time, you’ve got to read the lyrics and get into the story, you know…
There are four versions of the self-titled song in the album, something like chapters; is “Poetry for the Poisoned” a concept album?
No it’s not… I mean the song “Poetry for the Poisoned” is a concept song, which is four parts, but the album itself is not a concept record.
You have also made a video clip for “The Great Pandemonium” track; do you think that this song is the most representative song of the album, and maybe the “hit” of the record?
I wouldn’t say necessarily, I think we just felt like that song was good for a video, and it had an upbeat kind of feel that we wanted to start the video clips with. You know, with “Ghost Opera” we did “Ghost Opera” first and then we did different songs after that, but we wanted the song to be more of an upbeat kind of fast tempo song, and I think that was the right choice for the video.
“Poetry for the Poisoned” is also the first album that features Sean Tibbetts on the bass; did you have any auditions to select a bass player? How did this cooperation come out and how is it going with Tibbetts in general?
Sean and I are doing great. He is a friend of ours from years ago, he was actually the first base player in Thomas, and he was in the original demos that we recorded in More Sound Studios. So, we knew Sean and we knew his personality which fits perfectly with the band, and I think his playing live also has added another dimension to our live shows. Since Glen could no longer be in the band, Sean is a perfect replacement.
On the other hand, there are some really interesting guest appearances in the album, tell us a few words about them.
Oh, we have Gus G…
Yeah the Greek guy!
Yes, he’s played a solo on a song called “Hunter’s Season”. Basically, Gus and I have been friends since Dream Evil toured with us in Japan. I really liked his playing and we were kind of chatting back and forth on the computer and I asked him if he was interested in doing a solo, and he said: “Yeah, sure!” and it worked out like that, you know? We have Bjorn from Soilwork, the idea came from Roy to have Bjorn do “The Great Pandemonium”, and Simone is a long time friend of ours, so we had her do some of the vocals like on “House on a Hill”, and Jon Oliva was an idea that I had for the “Zodiac” and he did an amazing job, and I think his voice was the perfect choice for that song. Growing up here in Tampa, you know, I was a big fan of Savatage so it’s really an honour to have him on the album.
So you must be on tour right now, how is it going with Michael Erikson and what was the reaction of the fans to this replacement in the group?
Well, right now we’re not on tour. We did one show with Michael in Atlanta and the reaction was great, it was amazing, he’s a great singer and I think the songs that we have to play was really a key factor to have someone else sing them, you know? We’re hoping Roy gets better soon so we can have him back on tour with us in the near future.
Do you have any news about Roy’s health?
Right now there are no changes; he had this breakdown, what they call a “burn out”. So far his status is not really different, so we’re just hoping that the time off will be enough for him to recover from it.
We wish the best from Greece.
So, is there any hope for a live show in Greece? What’s next for Kamelot?
Right now we’re planning the European dates and the spring of next year, summer festivals… I know that it has been talk of coming back to Greece I’m not sure if it’s gonna be in the spring or fall. The last shows that we did in Greece went really, really good. I remember my first time going there with Crimson Glory; ever since then it’s been amazing to come to Greece.
So, is there anything else that you would like to add in conclusion?
I wanna thank everybody for their support, of course, and go out and get the new record, check it out, and we hope to see you guys all soon, live and in concert one day… Yeah, I look forward to that!
Interview by: Karagiannidis Panagiotis.
Transcribed by: Elpida Petraki.