Kamelot’s Thomas Youngblood Talks ‘Silverthorn,’ Band Chemistry + More
Kamelot have had a busy year with touring North America, especially after a massive trek with Nightwish. Not to mention they’ve released their tenth studio album ‘Silverthorn,’ the first to feature the band’s new vocalist Tommy Karevik and they are currently on tour all over Europe in promotion for the new disc.
While they were in the States we got the chance to speak with Kamelot guitarist Thomas Youngblood who looked back on their tour with Nightwish and talked about the band’s chemistry with the Agonist frontwoman Alyssa White-Gluz. He also expressed his enthusiasm about the release of ‘Silverthorn’ and Kamelot’s future as a whole.
How would you describe the experience of touring with Nightwish?
It was great. I think the musical styles of both bands complement each other really well even though we’re different from each other. We’ve been talking about doing a tour with them for a few years now so it’s cool to finally see it happen. It’s been great. You were at the show in New York and they all have been pretty packed and the fans love the combination.
Alyssa White-Gluz of the Agonist joined you on stage and she’s offers vocals on the new record. How would you describe your relationship with her musically.
Yeah, she’s been on my radar for a few years, we had the Agonist as one of the supporting bands on our last U.S. tour and I kind of knew about her before but on the tour we had her come out for a couple of shows and do ‘March of Mephisto’ with us — from then on it was just really cool chemistry between her and the band.
When it was time to do the new album we had a spot on there that normally we probably would’ve had a guy do but I thought it was a cool twist to have a female growler. She kicked ass with the part and we shot the video for ‘Sacrimony’ and she’s also in the video so it’s been fun. It’s cool to see her in action when she comes onstage because she’s got this dominating presence which I think is really cool.
‘Silverthorn’ is the tenth studio album. What does the name of the record mean to you personally?
Well the fact that we were able to make this record so quickly, we got this perfect blend of beauty and pain. The title ‘Silverthorn’ itself is a sort of a contradiction — the literal meaning is something that’s in the story but for us we just look at it as this strange and beautiful creation that we were able to achieve.
This new record is a concept album –- do you find that there are any particular challenges with a concept album that are different from creating a non-concept album?
Definitely, you have to stick within the storylines –- for example lyrically if you want to write stars and it has nothing to do with the story, it’s more open and easier to do a non-concept album. With a concept record you have to stay with the story, it wasn’t a massive challenge in terms of inspiration; things just seemed to fall right into place from the very beginning. I don’t know if we will do another concept record or not but with this one everything went super smooth. We’re totally stoked about the record and we knew we had something special when we were about half way in the middle of this thing.
The newest member, vocalist Tommy Karevik, was exceptional at the live show in New York. What does he bring to the band?
I think when we knew we had to bring in a new person on vocals we wanted the opportunity to grow the band not just to maintain the band or survive. We wanted to look at this as an opportunity to make the band bigger — I think with Tommy we can do that. Not only is he an exceptional singer, he’s a great songwriter and he’s way ahead of what I thought he would be in terms of being a frontman. People who come out to shows will see that this guy is a force to be reckoned with. [Laughs] I can’t imagine a better choice, honestly. In the beginning when this whole thing started we were a little unsure of what the future might be but now we’re really excited about it.
The members of the entire band — you have a couple of Europeans and Americans from different states. Do you find the international mix adds to the creativity of the band at all?
It probably does somehow, everybody has different likes and tastes –- I think the most important thing is getting along, just having a similar sense of humor, having a similar sense of social skills like being polite but also having a good time. That whole kind of chemistry is the most important and that way when we go to create things we do it more as friends instead of just being colleagues or business partners -– I think that’s the key to the chemistry and the band’s future.