changes to keep the passion in Kamelot”
Oliver Palotai –
impressive Curriculum Vitae as a composer, guitarist and pianist. He
worked with Doro, many jazz- and classical musicians. He is also the
mastermind behind Sons Of Seasons. Currently he is working on a musical
production, besides playing keyboards in Kamelot. It is almost too
perfect to be true, but Oliver Palotai stands firmly with both feet on
the ground with one motivation: his strong passion for music.
than ever before, the new Kamelot album ‘The Poetry For The Poisoned’ is
a puzzle. This album title does not reveal its meaning as easily as
‘Epica’ or ‘Ghost Opera’. What is your interpretation of the title?
Palotai: Since the titles of the songs are linked to the lyrics I am
also referring to them when I am saying the album is more open to the
subjective viewpoint of the listener. See it as a mirror of your own
soul and experiences you had in the past. Maybe more like a modern
painting. But then there are also titles like “The Zodiac” based on
true, solid stories.
the first time, the artwork was done by several artists and also with a
Palotai: I think it is the best artwork of all the Kamelot albums so
far. So it was a nice surprise seeing it the first time. Seth Siro
Anton has a fantastic surreal and dark touch to his art.
Khan (vocalist) and Thomas Youngblood (guitar) are the Kamelot writing
duo. Does more teamwork take place after the preproduction phase?
Palotai: From my first months in the band on they offered me a chance to
contribute to the song writing. I wrote for many bands in the past and I
am maybe even more of a composer than an instrumentalist. But Kamelot
has such a delicate and special sound, and every band has a different
approach to pre- production. So it took until 'Poetry For The Poisoned’
to take this step, resulting in “Dissection” and the Japanese
bonus track “Thespian Drama”.
bonus track has a long piano intro, the first one on the album. You
chose a less compact way of song writing?
Palotai: I wanted a song with a touch of the older Kamelot titles, like
on ‘Epica.’ The song changed a lot and was originally meant for vocals
as well. In the end it became an instrumental.
‘Poetry For The Poisoned’ is the ninth Kamelot album, a very complex one
with many details. Every second of the album, the listener can hear that
the team spent a lot of time on it.
Palotai: It was not more of a struggle than the other albums, but it was
quite an effort. Not an easy birth and the layers are more complex than
ever. I see it as the most homogeneous Kamelot- album. We started three
years ago and in the end we had to crawl more into the details and the
fine- tuning than before.
the format for Kamelot to work on every detail to get the best out of
Palotai: It takes an immense energy, and definitely not only for showing
that we did everything we could to reach perfection. I feel fulfilled
afterwards, but also a bit empty. That is probably always the case when
something is determining your life so much for a long period.
there more pressure as Kamelot gets more popular with every album?
Palotai: I guess you feel the same pressure when you have only 50 fans
out there in the world. What is different with bands which have been
around for a while successfully, is their strategy to exceed the
preceding album. Either you don't do that at all and deliver the same
sound again and again. Or you take turns with the risk of losing fans.
We decided for the latter, also to keep the spirit and creative energy
within the band fresh.
it hard sometimes to challenge yourself and develop new ways of creating
music with Kamelot?
Palotai: My basic life philosophy is to stay a student forever. I could
probably make much more money if I would just produce the same stuff
over and over. But I decided to become a professional musician when I
worked in the only 9 to 5 job of my life, during civil service here in
Germany. So, learning, improving, going new ways is why I do this, what
keeps me motivated.
every album it is the same process of writing and touring. So you are
all a part of the same game right?
Palotai: Well, after all we are just a rock band with all that comes
with it. We rehearse, we write music, we play and it doesn’t matter if
it is for forty thousand people at Wacken or in front of seventy fans
with Sons Of Seasons. Sometimes I prefer the smaller gigs because they
are more intimate.
there one day in your life on which you aren’t busy with music?
Palotai: (laughs) Besides Kamelot , I produce bands and single artists,
I teach and orchestrate. Right now I am preparing the presentation of a
new Yamaha keyboard series. I have to keep myself busy, need those small
bits of success every day. Not the success given to you by the approval
of others, but the success when you challenge yourself and win. But of
course I take days off, sometimes. In the past I sometimes went too far,
so I force myself to calm down here and there.
it comes as a shock when suddenly vocalist Roy Khan has a break down and
needs torest for a while.
Palotai: It came pretty sudden but that is the case with burn outs. Khan
was one of the main persons involved in the production of ‘Poetry For
The Poisoned’. I guess he didn't even feel it coming.
Metal more open to experiments in comparison to other genres?
Palotai: Classical music is totally the opposite, not experimental music
at all. Since 1900 not much has happened, almost nobody is listening to
modern classical music from the twentieth century. In Jazz it is
different but you need a million first to survive as a Jazz musician.
When I got into Metal first - as a musician , which was pretty late - I
was surprised how tolerant the fans are towards different sounds.
Muzikantenweb has a round-tabel interview format: one artist creates a
question for the one after him. Arien and Yves from Epica recently had a
special question for Kamelot: ‘What would you do if you won one million,
and would you stayin Kamelot then?
Palotai: I am from Southern Germany, Swabia, and we are a bit like the
Scots (laughs). The money would probably end up under my pillow until
the end of my life. No, seriously, I wouldn't change much. I was never
much of a materialist and you can't buy yourself into a life- time
experience like being a member of Kamelot. (Silvia
A word of
thanks to : Kamelot, especially Oliver for all his time, and Edel
Youngblood - Guitars, Backing vocals (1991−present)
Roy Khan -
Lead vocals (1998−present)
Tibbetts - Bass guitar (1991−92, 2009−present)
Grillo - Drums (1997−present)
Palotai - Keyboards (2005−present)
Vanderbilt - Vocals (1991−1997)
Warner - Drums (1991−1997)
Pavlicko - Keyboards (1991−1998)
- Bass (1992−2009)
(2010)Poetry For The Poisoned