INTERVIEW WITH KAMELOT – OLIVER PALOTAI
«Sure; the first months after Roy’s departure were not easy. Replacing the singer is a most critical action[…]. But we gained a lot of new fans.»
KAMELOT are back with their new album «Haven«, a record many has called their best so far. Being their second album with Tommy and their first under Napalm Records, we couldn’t miss the chance to have some words with the band. So we talked with Oliver Palotai about the new album, tour plans and many more and this is the outcome:
“Haven” has just been released and it’s generally being received as your best album in years, how do you feel about this album?
Right after sending an album to mastering I usually need some distance to it, because I was so deep in the process for months. After some weeks I listen to it again. Of course you always think you could have done this or that better, but I am really happy with HAVEN. Then it is even nicer to get that confirmation by the fans and the press.
What can you tell me about its creation?
Well, the “new” songwriting team, including Thomas Youngblood, Tommy Karevik, Sascha Paeth and myself, got even more stable and productive than on “Silverthorn”. Tommy could bring more ideas into the music, and write most of the lyrics himself.
“Haven” is your first album with Napalm Records, why did you decided to change label from SPV after «Silverthorn»?
That is mostly a matter of offers and perspectives. We were not unhappy with SPV, but Napalm had a fantastic concept to offer. They want to bring the band to the next level, and so far we are very happy with their work.
Personally, when I reviewed the album I wrote that “all experimentation and evolution during KAMELOT’s career was meant to lead to this album”. I feel this album shows your sound as a whole, with all the elements and styles you’ve used in your whole career, plus a few new ones, What do you think?
Sounds like a good summary to me, haha. Yeah, we wanted to include some “older” elements from former periods, like “Black Halo” or even “Epica”. Still, we never want to stand still, and especially from my side, the use of natural orchestral instruments mixed with synthesizers and grooves gives unlimited possibilities to experiment.
After spliting up with Roy Khan a big sector of your fans was concerned about such a difficult replacement to find. Many bands have struggled to replace a charismatic singer (Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Helloween, Nightwish…), but after “Silverthorn” and “Haven” you’re on top of your game and everyone is happy with Tommy, where you ever afraid the band’s sound and career could be harmed due to the line-up change?
Sure; the first months after Roy’s departure were not easy. But we decided to focus on the future and went straight for searching a replacement, which took almost a year. Replacing the singer is a most critical action, and there will always be fans which are not willing to give the “newbie” a chance. But we gained a lot of new fans, on the other hand. Right now we´re on US and Canadian tour, and it really surprises us how many people in the audience only joined the Kamelot family not before “Silverthorn”.
What can you tell me about the concept behind «Haven»?
It is about the present and the near future. About the fact that we live in pretty crucial and dangerous times. Robotics, Artifical Intelligences, Biotechnology, but also the return of old-style imperialism and barbarism like the IS; and probably most of all, the ecological threat. I think a lot of our decisions nowadays will deeply change the world of our children. The songs of HAVEN are mainly about this.
I am honestly surprised and pleased how many people mention and love “Here´s To The Fall”. It is a very intimate, orchestra- and- voice- only song, which I wrote, and Tommy came up with these fantastic vocal ideas which fit the mood at once. I had total freedom here orchestrating, and it is a very personal style of mine.
You’ve worked with Sascha Paeth on productions since «The Fourth Legacy» if I’m not mistaken, What would you say he has brought to KAMELOT’s sound? What does he have that makes him perfect for you?
Sascha is just a fantastic musician and producer. Also one of the funniest and nicest persons in the music business! Super- creative and very honest. The latter resulted in some heated arguments, sometimes, but that is normal in a musical family.
You’ve got a extense tour plan for this album, is Spain in your plans?
I am not a booking agent, so I can´t really tell. I know we´re not touring Spain the first round of the European tour, but I hope we can come soon after. Whole Southern Europe got less and less the past ten years. I´d say because of the crisis, extensive illegal downloads and weak merch sales. After all we´re also a company with a lot of people and bills to pay. But I really hope we can come soon again to Spain, because I love the country, the energetic, powerful crowds, and I LOVE the coffee!
And after the tour, what is next for Kamelot?
First, more touring, haha. Europe, second leg of the US tour, Asia, South America and Australia. Then it will slowly be time to sit down and collect ideas for the next record.
Getting a little more business oriented, the Internet is a big element in today’s music industry, being a massive way of promotion but also providing the chances for ilegal downloads, etc. What is your point of view on the pros and cons of the Internet?
The whole massive impact on music business started when I just got into it. At the beginning, it was all dark clouds – people were, in fact, stealing your music, which you worked and studied for with passion and energy. Lately, the situation got somewhat better. I think informing the people about the artists´ situation helped, unfortunately also the prosecution of some of those fucked- up download platforms, and the learning process of the labels, which completely missed out on the digital revolution in the beginning.
Being some kind of nerd I appreciate a lot about the digital age, even if it struck especially the music business really hard. I am surrounded by computers all day, if in my studio at home or on stage. Social Media, though, is more or less some necessary evil for my job. Of course I like the direct contact to the fans, but I am a reclusive person to start with, and I hate the superficial aspects of the internet. I watch people wasting many hours a day with Facebook, WhatsApp and other stuff. Some of them lost the ability to focus on something longer than a minute altogether.
Even though online magazines (webzines) are proven to be faster and more efficient, reaching more people (bastly more) than printed magazines, the last ones still have more prestidge among many artists and people involved in music industry, What’s your point of view?
It´s like with any other forms of journalism. Especially with all the free stuff around I turned even more than in the past to printed journalism (which involved also digitally spread forms of printed journalism), because I know there is generally more professionalism behind it, and it is usually better chosen and supervised. Also, I want to pay for good journalism. I fucking hate this attitude that you don´t have to pay for quality- journalism. Some of the stuff written in the internet, reviews, articles, interviews, is just abysmal badly written. Those “writers” wouldn´t stand a chance in real journalism. But then you have writers which are definitely very talented, and I hope they see that there must be appropriate compensation for their talent.
Last, but not least, I would like to ask you for some words to your fans and our readers at MetalCry.com:
Keep your eyes, ears and hearts open for new directions in music. Stay a student all your life!