Kamelot interview with Thomas Youngblood
Nearly a quarter century has passed since guitarist Thomas Youngblood founded Kamelot in Tampa, Florida. This year marks not only the release of the band’s eleventh studio album, Haven, but also the 20th anniversary of its debut release, Eternity. Metalholic caught up with Youngblood to talk about the scope of Haven, some of the record’s special guests, and a look back at making the band’s debut album in 1995.
Over the course of its career Kamelot’s sound has evolved through power metal, progressive and symphonic metal elements. The new release, Haven, blends everything the band has done previously and presents it with more eloquence than ever before. Each effort magnifies the band’s growth as musicians and songwriters.
Youngblood, has been the band’s sole constant; watching Kamelot’s creative journey unfold. Original bassist Sean Tibbetts returned to the band in 2009, joining longtime drummer, Casey Grillo, and keyboardist Oliver Palotai.
Haven marks the second full length studio effort with new frontman Tommy Karevik, who joined in time for the band’s 2012 Silverthorn record. Karevik replaced longtime vocalist Roy Khan. On Haven, as Youngblood shares, Karevik has come into his own.
“With this album, after touring with us for two-and-a-half years, and everybody knows each other now–I think that lends itself to him being more confident and comfortable and also to be able to reach out and show more of his individual vocal ability and also his songwriting. He wrote all of the lyrics and most of the vocal melodies. I think it’s a great thing to have a person like that be able to step in and to fairly seamlessly continue to evolve with the band.”
Youngblood and Kamelot recorded their initial demos and first three albums, Eternity, Dominion and Siége Perilous, at the legendary Morrisound Studios with producer Jim Morris. Thomas still has fond memories of recording that first record in 1995:
“I think everybody’s debut record is really a special moment because for years you’ve been in the garage or wherever it might be, working on songs. So to finally be able to kind of have that validation and to have someone else actually pay for the studio was really cool. I remember going in the studio and seeing this massive board and this huge studio and thinking, ‘Man, this is how it actually happens. This is what goes on.’ And the funny thing is now it’s almost gone into the reverse, where everybody has Pro-Tools, and the big, massive studio days are behind a lot of groups.”
Although the tour cycle for Haven will find the band celebrating its 25th year, Youngblood offered that the band has no big plans to mark the anniversary:
“A lot has changed over those years. Time has flown by and we’ve always been the kind of people that are always looking forward. Not so much nostalgic. It would be cool to do something for the fans that have been there from the beginning, but what that will be I have no clue right now.”
Kamelot will release Haven on May 5 and hit the road for the first leg of the new tour. A second leg for the U.S. tour was just announced and the band will take Dragonforce out with them for all U.S. dates.