With an upcoming inaugural tour of Australia just around the corner, Kamelot are preparing for what should be a mammoth run of shows down under. The band have gone from strength to strength with each album and have becoming a staple band in any metalheads music collection. We caught up with lead guitarist, Thomas Youngblood for a chat to see what his thoughts are on the bands first trip to Australia.
Have you ever been to Australia? What are you impressions of the country?
I’ve never been to Australia, so I’m really looking forward to it. Uh, I mean of course I know a little bit about Australia, you know, mostly from tv, but I’m kind of going in there with an open mind and I’m hoping that I get to see a little bit of the country and I can tell you that the band and the crew and everybody are really excited about coming down and doing some concerts down there.
That sounds awesome! So what can we expect to see from Kamelot’s first Australian tour?
Well we’re going to be playing some songs from the new album and of course we’ll be mixing in songs from our back catalogue that we expect, or hope that Australian fans have wanted to hear for a few years. We’ve been hearing about fans wanting us to come down there for at least five or six years, so we’ll be playing songs from The Black Halo, Ghost Opera, and of course some new songs. We’ll bring as much of our normal show that we can; we’ll be flying in so you know, we’re not going to have the same stage set up but we’re going to be bringing as much and our set list that we can, that the fans in Europe and the US have been able to see over the past few years.
From a logistics point of view, how difficult or expensive is it to get a band like Kamelot to tour Australia?
I mean logistically, it’s a little bit better this time because we’re going to be going to Japan first, then Korea and Taiwan. So we’ll be flying in from Taiwan which I think is a ten hour flight verses you know, being in the air for twenty hours flying from the US. When we get there, we’ll be ready. We’re going to be tired but we’ll be ready to kick ass. The first show will be in Brisbane so that’l set the tone for the rest of the tour. I think it ends in Melbourne and from what I understand the pre-sales are already really good for that show. We expect to have some great times with the Australian fans.
Do you have to downscale or alter your guitar rig when you tour globally?
Uh, usually what I do is request certain amps, and I have a guitar tech that kind of knows exactly my sound, he dials in what I want and you know, we have a set of pedals — I’m not a big gear freak, so I like to just plug in to a Mesa Boogie or a really good Marshall and you just use some foot pedals and a wah pedal and that’s all I need. I don’t really need a bunch of things with lights, you know.*laughs* I really just like to plug in it, get a good crunchy, killer distortion sound, a nice clean sound, and I’m good.
Awesome! Is there a market for Kamelot in Australia? Do you think you’ll be touring here again?
I don’t know, we’ll see. I mean the pre-sales have been really good and I would like it to be a market we come to with each record release. I think that you can also see different countries opening up to the western bands like China, for example. A lot of bands are going to China. So I’d like to be able to go to Australia with each album. I think it’s going to be a good gauge and it’s gonna depend on the fans, you know? I think if they’re there and the make the band want to come back we’ll do it.
Fair enough. Can you tell me about the worst hotel or worst place you’ve been to while on tour?
Yeah, probably in Greece. On our first time going to Greece we stayed in a hotel with like roaches and you know, the shower curtain was probably like barely the size of the person to get in the shower. You know, the edges were all rusted… Yeah I remember that. I also remember our lighting guy, he probably weighs about 350 pounds — I don’t know if you use pounds in Australia, you probably use kilos
Yeah, we use the metric system over here
But he sat on the bed and it completely collapsed, so I totally remember that hotel like it was yesterday. That was probably about eight years ago. Since then we have a certain standard that we try to go by when we stay in a hotel now.
Do you ever stop and think about how far you have come as a musician, and as well as with the band Kamelot?
Yeah, I mean sometimes when I see old friends or guys that are in other bands, I kind of think about that stuff but for me it’s been like a way of life so I don’t really look at it as a contest or anything, you know? I’ve always been the kind of person that enjoys the journey without really thinking about any humongous goals. Of course, we have goals that we create for ourselves, but we’re really focused on living in the now, you know? So I do reflect on it at times, but I think that when you start doing that you kind of lose your lust to do things creatively. I dunno, I thought about it and I really don’t think too much about it, I just have a great time and that’s kind of how we live our lifestyle.
Have you ever discovered any local talent while you’ve been on tour?
Yeah, all the time. Actually just last night I was at a small pub where I live, in Florida. There was this guy singing and playing acoustic guitar and I was thinking how unbelievable this guy was and there was five other people in there. So you see that all the time where there’s something like that or maybe one of the support bands, you’re like damn, they’re really good! you know? I check that stuff out all the time. A lot of the time that’s also how I find people for albums like guest vocalists. Alissa White-Gluz from the Agonists is going to be with us in Australia. Her band opened up for us in the US about three years ago and I was like wow, she’s really got something special. Then I had her come on the Silverthorn record, then she toured with us in the US when we did the tour with Nightwish so now she’s going to be touring with us for the rest of this album. Yeah, I definitely check all that stuff out.
That’s awesome. Thanks so much for chatting with us, Thomas. Good luck with your Australian tour and I hope everything goes well.
Thanks a lot, Will. We’re really looking forward to coming down there and we wanna see everybody at the shows in June.