Kamelot – Embrace the ShadowSunday, 8th April 2018
Dead Rhetoric: The consumption model of music generation to generation has changed – physical sales have declined as streaming or digital music means appears to be the most popular method for listeners to take in content. How has Kamelot adapted to the changes, do you believe your fans prefer the physical products considering the time, effort, and energy you expend into all aspects of them?
Youngblood: So far, we are still at 70% physical sales, which is really good. So yes, the fans definitely appreciate the time and effort that we put into the packaging. With every record we work hard to give them something that they will get their money’s worth. At the beginning, the Spotify model I was not a big fan of – I’m still not really totally cool with it, but it’s not going anywhere- and the best way for artists to embrace it is your content is out there so at some point you should at least get compensated for it. It’s gotten better at least in the last three to five years. Some of the older albums I own the rights to and I didn’t put them on Spotify- but since then I’ve allowed them to be there because I feel that this model is what’s going to take off. There are still fans that buy physical product, but you can’t ignore this platform. To complain about it at this point doesn’t really make any sense.
Dead Rhetoric: When first starting out with Kamelot, could you have ever imagined the level of success and respect you’ve been able to establish with the band – not just stateside but worldwide? Does that fuel your desire to reach even bigger goals for the future?
Youngblood: Well thank you for that comment. I don’t know- these things happen in steps, and sometimes you don’t even realize they are happening. We’ve always had this love for what we do- it’s still there and it’s still the same. I think once we get tired of that it’s going to be weird. I’m still super excited to be planning the tour, the staging, the set list, to look at the venues, and how we will set the shows up- flying to Germany to work on the records. This whole thing is still fresh to me- musically we have a lot of things to offer. It’s hard to say – you always think when you are starting out you want to play at this local bar, then headline at that local bar- then eventually you want to tour. From my aspect, I never take anything for granted- but we embrace where we are and we always try to do our best to maintain that.
Dead Rhetoric: You’ll be recording a live DVD in Europe during the fall of this year –outside of obviously a different set list, how will this package differ from One Cold Winter’s Night– which many in the power metal community rate as one of the best live DVD’s in the genre?
Youngblood: First of all, the stage will be twice as big, and the venue will be three times as big as far as capacity – so it will be a bigger production. We have some amazing special guests lined up that we are not going to announce quite yet. We want to make the bonus footage a little bit more unique than in terms of what we did before. We want to make it more documentary style. We have a lot of cool plans for it. My goal is definitely to raise the bar on DVD/Blu-Ray concerts – because traditionally they don’t really sell very well. My goal is to make something that all Kamelot fans will definitely want to have.
Dead Rhetoric: Losing your dad at the age of 12, do you believe picking up an instrument and playing music helped you channel that loss into a healthier outlook in the end? And were there other strong male role models in your life that helped mold your teenage years before adulthood?
Youngblood: A good question. For sure, music saved me. I don’t know if it was specifically playing an instrument, but before I started playing music I got into different types of music. Especially metal – I ended up having to move to all these different cities, and I didn’t have any friends. I would just come home from school and listen to music- I remember listening to the Scorpions, Ozzy, stuff like that- getting lost in the visuals of the music and the lyrics. It definitely saved me from going off the rails.
And then when I started learning the guitar, I had a deeper love for the music. In terms of strong male role models- there was really none. I think that’s why today I really do my best to be a good father. That’s my number one job for sure, and then husband, and then musician. It wasn’t a cool thing to happen to me as a kid, but it’s definitely helped me be a better parent.
Dead Rhetoric: Where do you see the state of the heavy metal scene worldwide today? What changes or improvements would you make if you had the power, time, money, and energy to do so?
Youngblood: I don’t really pay too much attention to the metal scene as much- I’m so wrapped up in what we are doing. You see a big mixture these days- you’ll have this metal fest and it’s a lot more variation. Maybe that’s because it’s harder for a band to break out, unless you have something really very unique and special. What would I change or make different? I’m not a huge fan of the phones in concert thing- that would be something I would like to see go away, but I’m not going to be the guy on stage yelling at them to put their phones away. It would be cool for people to take a couple of pictures, put their phones away, and actually experience the concert in the moment. We are very happy with the status right now and the market- we are very fortunate with all the new offers coming up.
Dead Rhetoric: Is it cool for you to see multiple generations of fans now getting into Kamelot?
Youngblood: (laughs). Yes, definitely cool. One of the girls that has worked with us has been a fan of ours for over 12 years, her daughter is now a woman so it’s weird to see that. My daughter now, she’s 15 and she does the merchandise when we play in Orlando. It’s cool to be able to see where we are now. I think also with the steps we’ve made and continue to grow, it makes it even more exciting.
Dead Rhetoric: What’s on the agenda for Kamelot over the next twelve to eighteen months as far as touring, promotion, products, etc.?
Youngblood: We have a new video coming out, “Phantom Divine.” Our North American tour kicks off in April-May, we have some festivals in the summer and then we come back to Europe for a headlining tour there from September to October. We will probably then be doing Japan and China, Taiwan in November. We have already most of 2019 set up that I can’t announce right yet and we have the DVD shoot in September. We are investing a lot of time, energy, and money into that show – and that will probably come out in 2019 as well.
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