Australia’s Heavy magazine recently conducted an interview with KAMELOT guitarist Thomas Youngblood. You can listen to the entire chat via the Spreaker widget below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On whether he still gets a “buzz” from performing new songs live:
Thomas: “Oh yeah, totally. For me, it’s also because some of the songs are challenging. It’s always fun to play them versus a song we’ve been playing for years and is a little bit kind of where you don’t have to think about it. I like the new songs because I get to think a little bit and it challenges me as a player. So, yeah, it’s always fun to play new songs. They’ve been going over great.”
On what he’s thinking about while performing new or challenging material live:
Thomas: “I’m thinking, ‘Don’t screw this up so bad where it’s on YouTube where everyone is going to laugh at you.’ Of course, we work really hard before we even start rehearsing. We work really hard individually on our parts, but, you know, there’s always the intangibles that you have with a live show, whether it’s the sound onstage or in your monitors. All of these things affect you psychologically. Luckily, there hasn’t been any disasters. The songs are pretty much nailed down now. When we come to Australia, we’ll be coming out of Japan. Everything should be firing on all cylinders.”
On how KAMELOT prepares for touring:
Thomas: “We really try to pace our touring. If you look, it might look like a ton of touring, but if you look at it, sometimes it’s only four months a year. I really enjoy the time at home as well so that when I’m on tour, I enjoy that, but then, when I’m home, I enjoy that. You have to have that balance, I think, as a musician, when you’re a young guy or older like me. You have to have that balance to enjoy everything. Otherwise, you’ll just get consumed with it. This tour cycle is almost on the edge. There definitely have been some touring opportunities that we’ve said no to already because we really want to make sure we enjoy the whole process. I think it’s really a balance that you have to have.”
On the difficulties in choosing a setlist now that KAMELOT has so many well-received albums:
Thomas: “It gets harder, but we really are a forward-looking, forward-thinking type of band. As much as we love playing older songs, we’re always focused on the new album. We’ve done that from day one and I think it’s one of the reasons why KAMELOT has not become like this nostalgic thing. We have relevancy with each record. With each album, we make sure we have songs that are relevant to the times. That’s an important aspect, I think, for any musician and anybody that’s been around for more than five, ten years. Don’t just focus on your older songs. Make sure that you’re playing songs from your new album.”
On whether living in 2018 is a “songwriter’s dream” because there are so many topics to write about:
Thomas: “I think, in my opinion, I’ve always grown up with this as well, so this is not so much about 2018, but, I really love bands like QUEEN that could play hard rock songs, but they did ballads, they did songs outside of the box and I always wanted KAMELOT to be at least a tiny percentage of what they were in terms of not being pigeonholed into just playing, for example, double-bass songs or a ballad. So, we have different kinds of songs on the album. It’s packed with a lot of music, so there’s progressive stuff, there’s simple stuff and I think it’s really important for us as songwriters to really have a lot of diversity on the album. This, in my opinion, has been one of the most diverse KAMELOT records in quite a few years.”
On new drummer Johan Nunez:
Thomas: “He did a great job on the album. Unfortunately, when we started the U.S. tour, he was experiencing some issues with his legs. He got into some kind of injury and he had to go home to take care of it. We’ve had Alex Landenburg, who has been in RHAPSODY OF FIRE, or LUCA TURILLI’S RHAPSODY, he’s in the band CYHRA. So he’s been filling in while Johan has taken some time off. Having Alex, he’s an old friend of ours. He also did that IRON MAIDEN show that I was talking about earlier when our previous drummer [Casey Grillo] couldn’t make it. He’s been able to kind of step in seamlessly. He’s been a fan of KAMELOT for quite a long time. He’s also a drum teacher, so he really knows his stuff really well. It’s been pretty seamless with Alex stepping in. We’ll see what happens here in the next few months with Johan, but we’re really happy to have Alex joining us.”
“The Shadow Theory” was released April 6 via Napalm Records. The follow-up to 2015’s “Haven” was helmed by acclaimed music producer Sascha Paeth and mastered by Jacob Hansen. Guests on the album include Lauren Hart (ONCE HUMAN), Jennifer Haben (BEYOND THE BLACK) and Sascha Paeth. The cover artwork was created by Stefan Heilemann.