Interview With Symphonic Metal Masters KAMELOT!

KAMELOT are one of metal’s most unique, influential and prestigious acts that blends symphonic metal, prog, power metal and world music – so it comes as a little surprise that the whole metal world is holding its breath in anticipation of “The Shadow Theory”! The band has already unveiled the first track “RavenLight” from their new masterpiece, now they returned with a dystopian inspired vision of the future for the song “Phantom Divine”.

With its new album, “The Shadow Theory,” set for release on April 6 and a North American tour to follow (with Battlebeast and Delain in support), Kamelot will bring its brand of melodic, symphonic metal to the masses. The Shadow Theory was produced by acclaimed music producer Sascha Paeth and mastered by Jacob Hansen. A massive piece of work that will more than please critics and fans alike. Guests on the album include Lauren Hart (Once Human), Jennifer Haben (Beyond The Black) and Sascha Paeth.

Today we’d like to bring to your attention this interview with Tommy Karevik, lead singer of the band! The following interview is taken exclusively for Rock Arena. Enjoy it!


– Hello, Tommy and welcome to Rock Arena! How are you feeling today? Almost 27 years into the band’s career, what’s changed for Kamelot?

♦Tommy Karevik: Hey Toni! I am doing great thank you. Very busy preparing for the upcoming tour in the US at the moment. We are getting ready to bring the new album on the road so these are very exciting times. I have been in the band now for about 6 years and so far it has just been growing with each release.

It´s very interesting to see the development from the early Kamelot to what it is today because yes, a lot has progressed, some lineup changes, but at the same time there is that signature sound that is very strong with the band and that has been there for decades. But yeah, nowadays it´s packed into a more modern format. For me personally, it´s great to see the that the band got a lot of new fans on both Silverthorn and Haven. It makes me proud of course.

– After eleven studio albums and extremely successful concerts all over the world, Kamelot is becoming one of the best metal bands that blend symphonic, prog and power metal music… What does it take to keep the band extremity alive during all those years of Metal Glory?

♦Tommy Karevik: Thank you! Well, I would say that there are a lot of factors. Building a band from scratch is not easy and it takes a lot of work, energy, money, planning, consistency, patience and faith to get anywhere at all. That being said you need to have a strong vision and not give up on it. Thomas had all that and still has. That is a big key to the initial success of the band. Then, of course, you need a team of hard-working people and a great product. I feel that having all this, Kamelot has earned some of the greatest fans in the world along the way.

– Your new upcoming album – ‘The Shadow Theory’, will be released tomorrow (April 6th)… What’s the story behind the album title? Who writes the music and the lyrics and who is on the album (the line-up/guests)?

♦Tommy Karevik: Thomas had the idea of basing it on Carl Jung´s “The shadow aspect“ were he writes that everyone has a shadow and the less you embody it, the darker it becomes. I found it fascinating and very relatable so we decided to use it as a psychological platform for the album. Me, Thomas, Oliver and Sascha Paeth are the main songwriters. We work together as a team and in smaller groups depending on what stage of the process we are in.

Thomas meets with Oliver to work on musical ideas, me and Oliver work on music and vocal ideas via Skype and everything comes together at Saschas place in Wolfsburg. This time around I spent quite some time in Germany together with him to work on lyrics and melodies to finish up the arrangements of the songs. We have a couple of guests on the album… Jennifer Haben from “Beyond the black“ is singing on the ballad “In twilight hours“ and Lauren Hart from “Once human“ is featured on “Phantom divine (Shadow empire)“ and “Mindfall remedy“. We also have Oliver Hartmann singing backup vocals on the song “Vespertine“.

– What keeps you inspired when it comes to the writing process or just overall? What is the main difference between ‘The Shadow Theory’ and the previous Kamelot albums and what do you say in this particular album?

♦Tommy Karevik: Usually life itself is the biggest inspiration for me. The current state of mind and the collected experience. I feel every release is kind of a frozen moment in time and then you move on from it, learn new things, have new inspirations and evolve as a person. Then the next album becomes something unique because of it. 

This album has a self-growth message laying underneath the main concept. We want to encourage people to look inside, face your fears and the things you may not like about yourself in order to unlock your inhibitions and your full potential. First, after we do that, we can truly know ourselves and grow as humans.

– How has the recording process evolved from album to album? And how do you feel the band’s musical approach has evolved over the years?

♦Tommy Karevik: The recording usually goes down the same way. The band meets up in different constellations to work on song ideas and then everything comes together in Wolfsburg under Saschas supervision. Kamelot has a very strong signature sound that has been with the band for decades and that is something that will continue being there. That being said we keep playing with new moods and flavours with each release to keep it interesting and fresh for both the fans and for ourselves. This album definitely has a more in your face sound than previous albums in terms on the mix with more upfront guitars. Also, it probably has some of the more compact and modern structured songs the band has ever written on it, at the same time as it features some of the more adventurous and elaborate songs as well. I think it is a really diverse record.

– Let’s talk about the new album’s debut single, “RavenLight”… is an amazing epic song with killer solos and impressive style, who wrote this song and what’s the story there?

♦Tommy Karevik: It is the first song that I wrote basically everything on. I made a demo of the music and together with Sascha I found a chorus and made it into what it is today. I didn´t write the solos though so credit when credit is due=). I just started writing the lyrics about how I was feeling at the time and it wasn´t until afterward that I understood what they meant. Now it´s pretty clear to me. It is funny how writing can sometimes be therapeutic that way.

– What’s the best part of music making process to you? Is it the songwriting, recording songs and videos, playing live shows?

♦Tommy Karevik: I am more comfortable in the process of creating and I can become completely devoured by it. I think it is my strong point to be able to focus and put in the work needed. I just love the feeling of finding that special melody, word or note. I dread the recording process though. But yeah I enjoy all the aspects of the album cycle but in different ways. Some I had to learn to like though ha ha…

– Kamelot’s epic music is chock full of symbolism relating to how the band feels about the world and the current state of civilization… There is always a reason to aim and fight for something. What are you fighting for with your Music?

♦Tommy Karevik: Definitely to connect people through our music. To provide comfort and hope, but also relief and strength for those who need it We want to be something that people can relate to so that they don´t have to feel alone in their own daily struggles. There is always hope… That is important.

– What do you think about the state of metal music and the music business… What’s the difference between the time of the 80’, 90’s and now?

♦Tommy Karevik: It is a different climate for sure. Now all the bands have to tour a lot to survive as they don´t make enough money selling hard copies anymore like back then. Ups and downs of course. So we see a lot of bands in the same genre touring at the same time that have to fight for peoples hard earned time and money. A good thing with being in metal though is that metal fans are still loyal to their bands. They take pride in owning the album with the booklet and are really showing their support for the art.

– Classic means not only typical for the style but also immortal, eternal, independent of space and time…How do you feel about merging Metal with Classical music? Are you willing to make music/remix your own music/collaborate with artists outside of your genre?

♦Tommy Karevik: That would be a dream come true for me. For us to have a big orchestra at our disposal ha ha. I would love that and I really think our music fits perfectly for that kind of thing. We have been discussing it before so we will see what the future holds.






– You have many fans and maybe more of them are interested what are the Guys doing when they’re not playing? Is music your main occupation?

♦Tommy Karevik: I have been working as a firefighter for 17 years, but since a while back I am focusing on only music for a while. I was drowning in work for a couple of years doing everything at the same time so I had to make a choice for myself. I still have my job to go back to though. They have been very supportive.

– Kamelot will embark on a massive World Tour, and we will meet once again in August at Varna Mega Rock Festival. The Sea Capital of Bulgaria will be the only city in Southeast Europe to tour the Rock Dinosaurs and Kamelot will be one of the top performers there. What more can fans expect?

♦Tommy Karevik: Yeah it´s a very cool place. We have played Kavarna rock festival 2 times but this is a new festival. Great line up and we are really looking forward to that. Fans can expect a Kamelot on fire with a great show ready to kick ass. The new songs will be well broken in by that point!

– Thanks for taking the time out to do this interview! Your message to all the Rock & Metalheads around the globe?

♦Tommy Karevik: Keep showing up! You all make it possible for us to keep doing what we do! See you all on the road touring “The shadow theory“!

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Interviewed by Toni Rock