Oliver Palotai (Kamelot) interviewed

What distinguishes Silverthorn from Poetry?Oliver Palotai: My intention behind Silverthorn was to bring more melodic elements back into our music. Poetry for the Poisoned is a good album, but at certain parts too dark and monotonous. I always ask myself how often I would listen myself to a CD I create or co-create. While Poetry didn't get too many spins, things look completely different with our latest release.

Why did Roy leave? I’ve read about three different reasons, but I’m sure you must’ve had some inkling prior to his pre-tour departure. Oliver Palotai: Roy was pretty much burned-out from the whole touring-recording-promotion cycle. Some have the strength to do this a lifetime, others not. What was really going on, we don't know.

Is there a song on Silverthorn you feel particularly close to? Oliver Palotai: Not really. I am happy that so many people confirm there is no weak song on the album. At least a special relationship exists with "Song For Jolee". That is the first song I wrote for the album, and the song we send out to a limited choice of singers to record their version on. Tommy Karevik's version blew us all away, and the decision was easy from then on.

You’ve enlisted Tommy as your new full-time vocalist. What does Tommy bring to Kamelot’s table? Oliver Palotai: Strength, discipline, and lots of fun. It feels good to have a singer on board who has himself and his needs so much under control. Still, we joke around during tours and in the studio like never before. He's a great person and musician.

Did you write Silverthorn with Tommy in mind? The vocal patterns are very Kamelot. Oliver Palotai: Thomas Youngblood and me wrote about 70 percent of the songs before Tommy was confirmed. He then added a lot of vocal melodies afterwards, and naturally we re-arranged some of the parts around his voice.

How much of Silverthorn is Tommy’s? Oliver Palotai: Quite a lot. Most of the vocal melodies, indeed, and the greater part of the lyrics.

Tell me a little bit about the concept and its main character Jolee. Oliver Palotai: It is based on the concept of classical tragedy, transferred into the 19th century. A wealthy family experiences a tragic accident, and the events unfold upon that. Jolee is the daughter, killed by one of her brothers. We describe the whole story in a 44-page booklet in the special edition.

When you write Kamelot material is there a drama threshold? I mean, when do you know to hold back on the orchestration, the stories, the image, etc.? I realize this is a form of rock 'n' roll, but I’m sure you have limits. Oliver Palotai: Good music is about tension and release. If you exaggerate too much, you wear people out. This is something you keep in mind as songwriter and producer all the time. Kamelot's style just allows you to go more into extremes. Which is fun.

So, you kept the Kamelot production team in place. Do you find it’s less of a risk working with Sasha and Miro rather than use another producer or set of producers? Oliver Palotai: They are an important part of the whole production. Many things are understood without saying. It's a great team and there was no reason to change it.

What are the next steps for Kamelot? Tours and more tours? Oliver Palotai: Tours for Silverthorn just began. We are also working on the second video, and are slowly planning the next live DVD. So there's lots to do.

** Kamelot's new album, Silverthorn, is out now on SPV/Steamhammer Records. It's available HERE. Or, you can try out that new Virgin Steele record, but throwing caution to the wind can sometimes backfire.

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