Kamelot Guitarist Thomas Youngblood Talks New Album ‘Haven’ + More
Kamelot guitarist and founding member Thomas Youngblood has been a part of the band for more than half of his life. We recently spoke with Youngblood about Kamelot’s new album Haven. He expresses that after 20 years of music, Kamelot still feels new, and he also discusses why the balance of his music career and life outside of music is so important. Check out our interview with Thomas Youngblood of Kamelot below:
I'd like to hear about the track “Insomnia” musically and lyrically.
It’s a bit more of a modern approach to the Kamelot DNA that we have but it still has some of those key elements that are important for our songs and to always maintain a certain sound. Lyrically it’s a bit self-explanatory, it’s about the pressures of life and everything that keeps me and everyone else up.
Do you have insomnia at all?
[Laughs] A little bit yeah. I wake up in the middle of the night thinking about stuff I need to do or song ideas, stuff like that. I think everybody can relate to the song in some way whether they have it or not. Life can be stressful.
The new album is Haven -- what does this title and word mean to you personally?
When I was a kid I had a couple years of issues and I got lost in music and it probably saved my life or at least kept me out of trouble. Even if only a handful of people found a haven in the record then it’s a good title for us. It also kind of transcends the different places where we release the album, in Europe and Asia, everybody kind of understands the word. It’s a nice, strong title and a word that transcends all different cultures and languages.
How was the recording and creative process for you on this new release?
It was similar to the previous one Silverthorn. Oliver [Palotai] and I got together in Germany and put together some basic song ideas and we’d send those over to Tommy [Karevik] in Sweden and he started working on vocals and lyrics. It sounds simple and short but it’s over an eight month process of back and forth. That’s pretty much how we worked on the last two albums.
How was it working with guest artists Alissa White-Gluz, Troy Donockley and Charlotte Wessels on this new release?
It’s always fun, over the past few years whenever we do that it’s usually with friends of ours that we’ve toured with. On Haven we have Troy of Nightwish and we toured with those guys a few years ago and he’s a really awesome dude. In this whole crazy metal business, he’s one of the few super nice, always happy guys.
Charlotte from Delain, they’ve toured with us several times. She’s got a really unique voice and I think it’s special. Alissa from Arch Enemy, she’s been touring with us for several years, it’s cool to have her on the record and also to sing some parts clean and a lot of fans probably didn’t even know she could do that.
How important is it for you to have that camaraderie between bands and artists?
At times people try to make music like sports instead of having everybody working together. There are plenty of fans for everybody. I think that’s an important vibe we like to bring to our albums and on tour.
Where do you usually draw inspiration from when writing lyrics and music?
On this record, a lot of the ideas were coming from the way our society is letting technology run everything whether it’s our phones, we’re just giving up a lot of freedoms. If I go to Target, they want to know my phone number and e-mail address and it’s like, I just want to buy a toothbrush. [Laughs] It’s that and also a lot of these post-apocalyptic movies I’ve loved since I was a kid, it was kind of cool to make an album that wasn’t based on so much of history, it’s more about today and the future.
How has technology positively and negatively impacted your career over the years?
It’s hard to say. We can start with the internet for example and downloads. I think the end does not always justify the means. If something is wrong and you know inherently that it’s not right you can’t just go, “Well it’s going to work out in the end.” Those are some things in technology that I don’t agree with, free stuff, especially when people work their asses off.
Recording processes now, it’s easier to send ideas back and forth. There are pros and cons to it, we’re in a good place and we’re happy with how things are going. Time is flying but we feel like we’re just getting started, with Tommy on vocals and now with Haven. It’s a nice progression.
Speaking of time flying, you have been with Kamelot for more than 20 years. What does it mean to you to be in the band for that long?
I’ve never let any one thing define me as a person. It’s a part of my life that I love and I’m proud of but there’s other sides to what I do when I’m not touring and making music. It’s important to have that balance with anything – that’s probably why I’ve been able to continue to do it for so long because I don’t want it to be consuming. It still takes a lot of time of course. [Laughs]
Outside of music, what are your other interests that keep you balanced?
Sports and I like to travel. I also have two kids who keep me busy, I’m like a soccer dad. That’s an important balance that a lot of musicians might not have and they wake up one day and they’re 50 years old and they don’t have a family or whatever and the music’s gone. That balance is really important for me.
What advice do you have for the younger artists out there?
I think you definitely need to learn how to record your own music, that’s how I started. From day one I bought a recorder and drum machine and started making songs. That was the crucial step - I didn’t have to depend on anybody else to be creative. Also I think you have to make sure you’re well-rounded not only as a musician but get a degree in business that’s going to help you as well. The whole business side is super important.
What does the rest of 2015 have in store for you and the rest of Kamelot?
We already have a second U.S. tour planned for November which will take us to different cities that we didn’t hit on the first tour. We go to Europe in September and we do Loudpark in Japan in October. Through 2016 it’ll be touring Asia and South America and we’ll see from there. [Laughs] I think that’s enough for right now.
Our thanks to Kamelot's Thomas Youngblood for taking the time to chat with us. Pick up Kamelot's new album Haven at iTunes.
Check Out Kamelot's Video for "Insomnia"