Interview with Oliver Palotai (Kamelot)

Soon will be released the new Kamelot album „Silverthorn”.
What can you say about it? What can we expect from this CD?
It is the third concept album in the band´s history. The story is about a 19th century family experiencing a tragic loss. The events unfold upon that and so does the music. In the Special Edition you find a complete 40 page- booklet with the full story. It was interesting to write the music around that. Especially regarding the sequence and the tension flow it is different compared to writing a „normal” record.

Listening to all CDs of Kamelot, man has the overwhelming impression that travels from the Medival through the present, to the future. Do you perceive this work too?
If you mean the way Kamelot´s sound has changed during the years, there is of course a strong development regarding songwriting, production and sound. Unlike some bands, we want to re- invent ourselves  with every record, without losing our character. We are influenced by other music, we grow as musicians, and we are curious to try things out. Luckily we have a very sophisticated fan base which don´t expect the same sound over and over.

You’re keyboardist and guitarist, tell me if you train still in play on these
instruments, maybe are you fascinated by some other instrument?

Yes, I still practice. Especially now, since I have a personal musician´s channel coming up, where I give some insight in my work and playing style. I practice a lot of classical music and Jazz, since these are my roots. Since one of my main tasks every day is to write for symphonic orchestras, I must have a deep insight into the style of every instrument, from strings to wood winds to brass and percussion. Piano, guitar and bass are just my personal mediums to express music.

How did you like the concert in Poland and when we’ll see you in Poland again?
I can tell you, I had the best Pizza EVER after that concert, haha. Couldn´t stop eating. The audience was at least as good! No, really, we couldn´t have had a better welcome in Poland. I was touring with so many bands in the past – Doro, Blaze Bayley, Uli Jon Roth, Circle II Circle, Sons Of Seasons etc. – and somehow never made it to my neighbouring country. Finally it worked out!

How you arranged and the other members of Kamelot working with a new singer? And how the audience took Tommy’s Karevik as a vocalist?
We were a bit nervous beginning of this summer, I admit. A difficult, unstable period was behind us until we decided for Tommy. Also, Tommy blew us away with his recordings, but we had him as a backup singer for a tour in the past, and back then he appeared a bit shy on stage. Then, we played first time with him as a permanent singer, and it felt as if he was in the band forever! He is a awesome singer, a great performer, and a really nice, disciplined guy. We consider ourselves very lucky finding him.

How was your work in the studio? Who was responsible for the lyrics of Kamelot, and who for the music? Roy wrote earlier texts together with Thomas, and now?
The songwriter´s team changed, of course, due to Roy not being in the band anymore. The biggest part of the songs was composed by myself and Thomas. While Thomas and Roy asked my already in the past to contribute, it was not before now that I really got involved in songwriting. Lots was written before Tommy became part of the band. Then we met with him, worked out some vocal lines. Tommy also worked with Sascha Paeth in our main studio in Wolfsburg. Most of the lyrics Tommy wrote, with a smaller contribution from me and Thomas.

Until this time your CD is promoted by single „Sacrimony”, are you going to release next singiel?
These days the video to „Sacrimony” will be released, then, somewhat later, a video to the song „My Confession”. So that could be considered the second single.

Where for you best concerts are played: in South America, North or maybe in Europe?
The mentality is different in every part of the world. I like the heat in South America, but also the kind of attentive listening in countries like Japan. There are great audiences everywhere. The difference is more in the traveling style and the quality of the venues. There are unfortunately big differences.

What music do you listen now? What’s currently playing in your iPod?
I don´t have an iPod, haha. I am not an Apple user. Besides that, I am listening to Adam Harasiewicz´ recordings of Chopin´s Etudes a lot, since I am working on these since a long time and I love his approach. Lots of orchestral works, Bach, Debussy, Händel. Lots of Jazz, mainly piano players like Chick Corea and Gonzalo Rubalcaba. Regarding Metal I still listen a lot to Opeth´s „Heritage”.

In 2011 was released the album „Magnisphyricon”, your second band Sons Of Seasons, when we can expect his successor?
I hope end of 2013. Unfortunately 2012 I focused fully on Kamelot and didn´t have time for Sons Of Seasons. I want to start writing for the third record after the European tour, around December. By now I am fully re- loaded creatively and very eager to work with my band again!

In the new tour will be able to hear the older songs like Silent Goddess, Heaven or 4th Legacy?
We want to include at least one older song. Especially, since Tommy really can sing those! But it is hard by now: We have a lot of songs people request and the choice is never easy.

How did you feel on a common tour: Kamelot with Nightwish?
We just finished the US tour with Nightwish. It was a great package, since our fans share a similar taste. We had a good time with the guys from Nightwish and definitely are up to repeat this again!

Do you keep contacts with Roy Khan? Do you know what is he doing?
No, Roy retreated into privacy. Last time I spoke with him after Prog Power USA, two years ago. I hope he is doing well.