Kammelot signed a deal with Noise Records; the release of their debut
album ‘Eternity’ followed in 1995. The next album, ‘Dominion’, was
released in 1997. Later that year, drummer and founder Richard Warner
and lead vocalist Mark Vanderbilt were replaced by drummer Casey Grillo
and vocalist Roy Khan (formerly of Conception) respectively. With the
two new members, Kamelot released their third studio album, ‘Siege
Perilous’, in 1998. The new line-up undertook an extensive tour through
Europe during the fall of the same year; twelve months later, they
returned to the Gate Studio in Wolfsburg to produce the fourth studio
effort, ‘The Fourth Legacy’.
brought the "New Allegiance Tour" through Germany, Austria, Switzerland,
The Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Greece and Spain during which the
recordings for Kamelot's first live album ‘The Expedition’ were made. A
few months later, the band presented their fifth album ‘Karma’. Their
sixth album, ‘Epica’, was released in 2003. Both "Epica" and the band's
seventh effort, ‘The Black Halo’, which was released in 2005, are based
on Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's version of the legend of Faust, a man
who sells his soul to the devil.
On October 5th 2005, Kamelot added Oliver Palotai as the fifth official
band member; Oliver handles both keyboards and (additional) guitars. On
February 11th, 2006, the band's live DVD, ‘One Cold Winter's Night’ was
shot by Patric Ullaeus at Rockefeller Music Hall in Oslo, Norway and was
released on November 2006. In fall 2006 the band returned to Gate
Studios in Wolfsburg, Germany to record their upcoming album, Ghost
Opera. Drummer Casey Grillo flew in to record in Wolfsburg for the first
time since the Karma album.
21st, Kamelot announced on its official website the release dates for
‘Ghost Opera’, their upcoming album, through SPV / Steamhammer Records.
The dates are set for June 4th in Europe. ‘Ghost Opera’ was recorded and
mixed at Gate Studios and Pathway Studios in Wolfsburg with producers
Sascha Paeth and Miro.
were called by Roy Khan, so with a new album coming out in a
couple of weeks we had a lot of questions for him, so here you read what
he had to tell us.
were the goals you had in mind when you started to record ‘Ghost Opera’,
did you have a certain idea of what you wanted to do or any elements you
definitely wanted to have on the album?
the only thing we were completely sure about is that it wasn’t going to
be a concept album but that was a good start.
you decide to do it this way?
Because we had been working on concept albums for five years now, this
time we really just wanted to let the music inspire the lyrics and not
the other way around like we did on ´Epica´ and ´The Black Halo´.
your previous studio album ´The
Black Halo’ and ´Ghost
Opera´ a lot of
things happened, you toured a lot, released a live album and DVD and in
between you recorded this new album, so there was not time to relax, did
this influence the songs on ‘Ghost
´Ghost Opera´ is more monotonous in a way, still very melodic but it has
a certain monotony hanging over it and I think both the lyrics and the
music on this album are some sort of reaction to the stress and all the
increased amount of work that has been put on us. Plus the fact that
anything you experience in two and a half years is going to be
reflected in your music somehow.
responsible for writing the songs and the lyrics on the new album, how
does Kamelot write new songs?
the same as it has always been, I write mainly all the lyrics and me and
Thomas write all the music together.
other band members have any input?
they don’t have the same need to express themselves as songwriters but
they also have some ideas. Sometimes it is a matter of making songs that
fit in the frame that is Kamelot these days, and I think we set the
standard pretty high right now so it’s not easy to make a song that is
good enough, we’ve had to throw away a lot of out own ideas at times.
But sometimes the other guys would come in with some input.
writing, what is the utmost important ingredient for a song for Kamelot
as a band?
know, we don’t really think like that, it’s just got to be good! We just
sit around and play around with vocals, guitars and keyboards.
Kamelot does have a very distinctive sound..
but we could just decide to go and do something totally different, a lot
of people think that we are totally dependent on the huge orchestral
element for example but we coiuld easily do a record with just four
chello’s, you never know. The way we’ve been working all these years
with Sacha?????? Worked really well so we don’t see any reason why we
should end that. It just still seems to be growing and with every
release there seems to be some kind of new development. And working this
way is basically fun for us.
you please describe the implications of the title ‘Ghost
what does it stand for and is there a special meaning behind it?
all, this was a complete song before we chose it as a title track. The
song itself represents Kamelot in a good way and we thought that it was
cool to use a fast song for the first single, too. A lot of people seem
to think that it is commercially more attractive to use a mid-tempo song
or a ballad but this is the music that we like to play, it’s just one of
the songs on the album. The story is about a woman who is about to make
her debut at the opera. She is young and beautiful and she gets
assaulted and raped on her way to the concert. So she misses her debut
and she goes crazy, she’s just sitting in her own big old house (first
the idea was to put her in an asylum but that was a bit cliché) and she
has all these memorabilia like tickets and a record from the concert and
she goes crazy. she’s imagining what life would have been like if she
had made it to her debut. The reason why we chose this song as a title
track, apart from the fact that it represents Kamelot in a good way, is
that this record looks back on our last two and a half years in a way.
We also put in some references to stuff that we’ve done, like for
instance the way the lady in the video is moving around, this is a
reference to ´March Of Mephisto´, we just had to do that. And there’s a
lot of other little things here and there that refer to the last two and
a half years but the title of the song is also a good title for the
album to us. It’s just a cool title, that counts! Haha! Sometimes there
are also just shallow reasons for doing things. And, of course, the
title has to describe the atmosphere on the album.
still kind of intrigued by the story about the lady, where did this come
The way it
started is that we made the music first and then, like I said, we let
the music inspire the lyrics. On Ghost opera you have the main theme,
the melody in the chorus, (sings it). We sat down and asked ourselves
what kind of associations we have with this melody and we had this
cabaret-ish spooky sort of feeling. It’s hard to describe, it’s just a
certain feeling. So we came up with something ghosty and then we came up
with Ghost Opera, and that’s how the process was. The same goes for a
lot of other songs on the album.
important is it to you that people pay attention to the lyrics apart
from listening to the music?
not that important. I do appreciate it when people dive into it a little
deeper than just enjoying the music but the reason why that is not such
a big deal to me is that the lyrics are a big part of the music. A lot
of people don’t realize that but suddenly the lyrics will affect you,
whether you actually read them as a story or not, because there’s a lot
of music in the words. Different words sound different in different
you think that are the main differences between your last album ´The
and ‘Ghost Opera’?
difference is of course that it’s not a concept album but a lot of
people are going to perceive this as a concept album anyway. It’s not
such a conscious process, the way we change is just us stretching for
new things. The songs are absolutely amongst the strongest ones we have
ever written. But ´The Black Halo´ was also a phenomenal album and of
course ´Ghost Opera´ is not as grandiose and detailed as ´The Black
Halo´ but it is still as good an album because the songs are so strong.
previous album you had a lot of guest musicians, how about this album?
many. Simone Simons from Epica is still there, she participates on the
song “Blücher” and Amanda Sommerville from Aïna, an American
singer/songwriter who lives in Germany participates on four songs; three
of the regular ones and on the bonus track which is on the European
limited edition and then of course there’s the people in the choir. But
it’s not like we focus on having lots of guests, that’s not important to
us. It either has to be that the song demands it, or it has to be
someone that we know or happen to meet in the studio, people we meet
along the way.
be great to work with a choir, did you sing with them or record the
No, I sang
the vocals first and then the choir part was laid on top. It would have
been great to sing with them but that’s not very convenient when you
work in a studio.
recorded this album in the Gate Studios and Pathway Studios in
Wolfsburg, Germany, was this a conscious choice?
been using them on the last four records, we’ve been developing as a
band from record to record and it’s not just about working with good
people because they are obviously very good but it’s also a friendship
thing. We’ve known each other for along time now, we understand each
other, we know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and we know how to
get the best out of each other in different situations As long as this
band keeps developing the way we do I don’t see a reason to change this.
the recording process proceed and how much time did you spend in the
I think it
lasted four or five months, a little bit shorter than we spent on ´The
Black Halo`. But this album was easier for us to do in the sense that we
did not have this big overall lyrical idea that had to make sense in
addition to all the songs.
have a larger budget for this album than for the previous albums and, if
so, did this change the way you worked?
No, we had
exactly the same budget but there’s bigger budgets on other parts like
the videos. We can get it all done with the budget that we have so we’re
lucky I guess. I feel very lucky to be able to do what I do at this
level and I’m very happy that Kamelot is in the position it is in right
now. The music is really taking off.
have any favorites on this new album, songs that you think are somehow
above the others?
A lot of
people ask me that question but it’s really very hard for me to choose a
favorite song, I really like all of them, ehm, I like (then proceeds to
name practically all the songs on the album and laughs out loud). We
don’t put any songs on the album that we don’t like. I like ´Rule The
World´ because it’s so energetic and it also has all the traditional
Kamelot elements, like an exotic touch. This time the sound is more
Indian than Oriental or Arabic but I find the chorus very special and
powerful. ´Love You To Death´ is a great ballad. And ´Up Through The
Ashes´ is maybe one of the heaviest songs we’ve ever done but as I said
I like them all.
recorded a video for the song 'Ghost Opera’, why did you pick this song
for a video and can you tell me something more about it?
of course is that we wanted to promote the album and a good way to do
this is to push the title track. But the song is very representative for
the album and not a lot of people take a double-bass fast song for a
single so we thought this was something people wouldn’t expect after
´The Haunting´ and ´March Of Mephisto´. The way we do fast songs is
something we completely stand for. There will be videos for many other
songs if we have our way, but doing this is extremely expensive so we’ll
see what happens. ´The Human Stain´ is going to be the second video,
it´s being edited right now and it will be finished at the beginning of
the touring and over eight albums and several live albums under your
belt, how far has Kamelot surpassed your original dreams and what would
you say is the most rewarding part of being in the band?
To be able
to sing every night in front of a lot of people makes me feel very
fortunate to be in this position at this time. I get to sing every day
and that’s my big passion. The singing part is why I do this, I just
love that one and a half hour on stage!! It’s everything around it that
I don’t like, I’m not a very big partier, you know sometimes I party but
as a singer you can’t really do that excessively or you’ll f*ck your
voice up. So I take it easy when I’m on the road. I don’t like sleeping
on a nightliner, I really hate it and it’s a lot of waiting around, you
don’t really get to see anything unless you get up early and get a cab.
It really is that hour and a half that makes it worth it.
we expect from Kamelot in the near future?
going to be a lot of fuss around the new release, it’s going to be on
MTV, the videos are going to be a big focus. We’re also going to do some
festivals this summer, the first one we’re going to do is actually
Fields Of Rock!
thank you for talking to us and we´ll see you there..
forward to it!!
Youngblood - Guitars
Palotai - Keyboards
Grillo - Drums
Ghost Opera (2007)
Winter's Night (2006)
Winter's Night (2006)