So welcome to Bulgaria again! How do you feel?
Good! Great wheatear, great food.... And flooded bathrooms (laughs)!
Really? Well it happens!
Well let's start with a question for KAMELOT's upcoming album. Things are on full speed now, you already have new singer – Tommy Karevik which was announced 2 weeks ago. Can you tell us few words about him?
Yes, he was already with us on some tour dates as a guest singer, and he was singing on one or two songs. And in the past year we were considering which singer to take, I was strongly on Tommy's side because he made a huge impression on me. Personality of course is really important and he is a little bit introverted and I like this "Scandinavian feel" about him and he fits KAMELOT really well.
As you said you did some touring with him previously?
But is he taking any part in the writing process for the new album?
Yes, yes! The final decision for him was sending in vocals, lyrics and recorded melody on a ballad that I wrote which is on the album. And it was so great and impressive. We all had Goosebumps and when we heard that for the first time we knew immediately that was "It". He wrote most of the vocal melodies in the album also.
When you mentioned Goosebumps I remember that we heard your sound check and we heard a new song from the album. It gave me Goosebumps.
Yes. The title of the track is Sacrimony, it is the first in the album, right after the intro.
Can you reveal more details for the album? Number of tracks? Who did the album cover?..
The Album cover was done by Stephan Heilemann. He also did covers for EPICA and my other band SONS OF SEASONS. He is one of my best buddies, living in the neighborhood and in my opinion he is one of the greatest designers in the whole world. The amount of songs is ... I think 9 or 10 without the interludes.
Do you have a name for the album or it's still a secret.
Well... When is the interview coming out?
Ok then it's called "Silverthorn".
"Silverthorn"? Sounds cool!
Yes, it's a concept album and it has a story. In the special edition you will get a little book where the story is described. All the songs will be around the story. It will be something like "The Black Halo".
*This image should not be considered as the original cover art for the album
This sounds cool. So in the previous tour you did some shows with Fabio Leone from RHAPSODY OF FIRE and he is here also performing just before you. Can we expect to see him on the stage with KAMELOT tonight?
Yes, we talked about that but I'm not sure for the final decision. If he has time to prepare he will be on stage with us.
Ok what was the toughest moment for the band? I know that you are not from the beginning, but can we say that Roy Khan's departure was the toughest moment?
Yes! It was 2 weeks before the US tour. All flights were booked, all crews were confirmed, all support bands were already in the US and then suddenly he called... "I won't do the US tour"... That was really tough, not just from an emotional side, but a disappointment for all the people involved.
We hear different stories of what happened but can you tell us the real one? Why Roy Khan left KAMELOT?
To be honest.. We don't know the 100% real story, because it was so sudden. He already had hard time through the past two years before he left. This business is not for everyone, and sometimes you need many years before realizing that. So nobody really knows the reasons besides Roy. I think it was just too much for him and he missed his family too much. He also had a statement, which was pretty neutral. I don't know.. Maybe he just wanted to be with his family... You know!
And how do you guys cope with this? I know that you also have families but you are completely dedicated to the band. Thomas for example...
We all have other things besides the band but I can't manage it. That is my life, that's what I want to do! That's why I became an artist and this is priority number one, everything else has to be arranged regarding that priority
I know that you play major part in the writing process for the album. How do you feel the new record compared to the old ones? You know "Poetry for the Poisoned" is a bit dark album and not much of the fans understood it completely.
To be honest I'm also not the biggest fan of "Poetry for the Poisoned". For me "The Black Halo" is a bit like a reference also when I produce bands in my studio. So we wanted to go back to "The Black Halo" but also include modern elements, which we included since then. You will never hear from a band „Our new record Sucks", but this record is a real killer and brings KAMELOT back on track. It is exactly what I wanted and I'm really happy with it. I hope the fans will like it as well.
This is your second time in Bulgaria...
For KAMELOT yes, for me personally it's the third. I was here with DORO before.
Yes, yes...So, what do you expect from the crowd?
I hope it is good as last time! You know two days ago we played in Balingen, Germany and the energy was pretty low form the Germans. You never know what to expect, sometimes they are really enthusiastic and sometimes they are just standing there. I hope tonight will be like the last time when we were here, because we have really good memories from the Bulgarian fans.
So how do you find Bulgaria in generally?
Well it's always the same when you are on tour. You see so little... I see my hotel, some of the streets around and I don't get to know the people really well. We drove through a landscape, which was beautiful and I wish to have more time to look around. I love history and i would love to see some historical sites... But we don't have time and are leaving for Serbia after the show. But maybe one day!
Why KAMELOT are not so popular in the US as in Europe?
All metal bands with European influence have hard times in the US. The market there is so much about Mainstream. You don't have so many underground genres and styles and everything its big fucking mainstream ... You know. But it is growing which is pretty cool. The NIGHTWISH tour will help a little bit I guess.
You are joining NIGHTWISH for a tour?
Yes, we are going to be on a US tour in September so we will see. The last time when Roy quit e had booked a bigger theaters and it was a next step for us. When that happened it was definitely the worst time you can imagine. The States are so important because it's such huge market. After all we are satisfied with how things are working there, but we are not that huge.
So another question for the new album. Are there going to be any guest musicians?
Yes, we worked with the girls from EKLIPTICA, they are a string quartet. Amanda Somerville also will be on the album, she was in the previous album too. Elize from AMARANTHE, she has became a best friend to us and she is one of the best ingress ever. Hmm... who else is in the record...? Some other guys which I don't really know about them... (laughs). You know we write the songs and I make solo and then it's replaced by the guest singers which I don't know about. So it is not my part anymore, and I can't really tell.
Ok so as a final, can I ask you to give a message for the KAMELOT fans in Bulgaria ?
Yes. For me the most important thing is to remain true to your musical taste. Don't become influenced to the so called "public meaning". The metal scene is such a cool and honest place to be and I hope you will stay with us through the upcoming year and you will like our new record and I hope we will get some feedback from you guys then.
Thank you very much for this interview
Interview by: Nikola Petras