Louis Koot speaks to Kamelot's Khan

Kamelot is ready to continue their ascension to the pinnacle of metal royalty!

This is the kind of tacky statement that labels use in their promotion sheets. Sometimes we should take these statements with a lot of scepticism but in case of Kamelot Iím inclined to agree with the label. The band that was founded in Florida back in 1992 keep on making records that seem to be getting better every time. Ever since in 1997 the excellent Norwegian singer Roy Khan (ex-Conception) joined the band things are going upwards with increasing success. Their music is described by guitarist Thomas Youngblood as a mixture of power, gothic and progressive metal. All of these elements are present on their new album Ghost Opera which is their eightieth studio album. DPRP could catch up with singer Khan to reflect on this new release and some other novelties.

Ghost Opera seems to be a darker and more experimental album yet very straight forward. Was it deliberate to go for this kind of sound?

Well the thing that was deliberate is that this time around itís no concept album. The last five years we have been busy working with the concept of Faust by Goethe for the albums Epica and The Black Halo. This time the approach was refreshing as we did the song writing without having to go by a predefined lyrical context. But the way the music and the atmosphere of the album turned out wasnít really deliberate. Ghost Opera has a somewhat darker feel but I think itís more of a live vibe. It is just the way it turned out to be.

I think your albums keep getting better and better. Did you feel any pressure to top the great The Black Halo?

No, there is not really any pressure. Of course itís great when an album turns out very well but whenever we start with the whole procedure of a new album we try to look forward and not look back. We just give our best each time without comparing it to our other efforts.

Kamelot - Ghost Opera 2007 Kamelot - Black Halo 2005

Can you tell me some more about the way Kamelotís music is created? Who is responsible for the lyrics?

Usually the music comes first. It was different with the last two albums as I mentioned but Ghost Opera started out with the musical ideas. We focused on the more essential parts of the songs. We also stayed in the format of short songs this time. All songs are under the five minutes and more straight to the point. Iím the main person in Kamelot to come up with the lyrics. And I can count on the help of Thomas (Youngblood) who as Native American speaker can assist me if there are some English language problems in the lyrics.

Where do you get your inspiration from when writing the lyrics?

When we are making the demoís I sometimes come up with all kinds of phrases. Just little things that sound interesting to me. Usually that evolves in some lyrical lines that work as a foundation or framework for the song. Then the other words have to match with these lines to create the lyrics.

This time around it is no concept album. But is there a theme of some sort that connects the songs?

Not really a theme but the whole vibe of the album is a bit melancholic. The lyrics have some sad topics. These are some of the heaviest lyrics I have ever written. So there is a whole of a darker mood on the album. It also shows through in the way the orchestration is done in some of the songs. For example how the deep trombones give a darker vibe. And there are certainly progressive elements. But some are more subtle on this album.

What does BlŁcher mean?

I get asked a lot for that! haha BlŁcher was the name of a German ship that was involved in the invasion of Norway at the beginning of the Second World War. The shipís purpose was to invade the Norwegian city Oslo. At the starting of the war it was the newest ship of the German navy but the ship got destroyed on its first journey. It was shot down in 1939 by two torpedoes and sadly most of the crew died.

Love You To Death is a very captivating song with interesting lyrics. What is it about?

It is based on a Japanese legend about the sad tragedy involving a young couple in love. The girl dies at the age of 15 due to an unfortunate disease. But she comes back to life in some strange way to guide her love through his suffering.

Who is the lady singing on Love You To Death?

Amanda Somerville! She also sung on the track Abandoned from The Black Halo. She is an excellent singer. Amanda is also known for her participation on Aina: Days of Rising Doom.

Is there any female singer you would love to duet with sometime?

Right now, not really no.

You are planning to shoot ten videos for Ghost Opera. Very ambitious! What is the reason behind this?

Ah, like you said it is in a planning stage. I canít say too much about it now. Of course the costs are enormous so we have to work things out with the record company. But we only want to really do this if we can do it right so we have to see.

Kamelot is a band with a very strong image if you think about the videos and the artwork of the albums. How important is image for Kamelot?

The image is very important. But we spend not too much time on it. Itís just that it comes with being in a band like ours. In some way the whole image thing becomes a part of us. It gets part of our personalities. It is almost like playing a role. But more importantly is that we love what we do and that is the image we portray.

You did a photo shoot for Nocturnal Model's Yearly Calendar! How did this come about? Did you like the experience?

Well some friends of mine contacted us if we would be interested to participate in a photo shoot. They do this every year with different bands. So it was no big deal. It was like a normal day of work reallyÖhaha Just posing for a couple of hours.

You have a very distinct, dramatically way of singing. I think almost theatrical. What are your main influences for singing?

A lot of different influences and people really but I have to mention Geoff Tate (Queensryche) and Morten Harket (Aha). And Elvis Presley! I mean subconsciously I got influenced by his way of singing. My father and especially my mother were big fans of his so itís kind of in my upbringing. It was a big part of my life so Iím sure he has influenced me. When it comes to the song writing Iím influenced by the great names for example The Beatles and Pink Floyd. And I would name TNT as an influence. This is a fellow Norwegian band.

Do you do anything special to keep your voice in shape?

Not really. I just try to live healthy. Not too much smoking and drinking. And Iím warming up my voice every time I have to sing. Warm up for the studio recordings and warm up for the concerts. But there is not something extraordinary that I do.

Rock operaís in which various musicians / singers contribute are very popular nowadays (like Ayreon, Avantasia or Genius). Have you ever been asked to participate? Would you consider participating?

Yeah, I have been asked. But the thing is Iím not interested if I donít have complete freedom, artistically, with my contributions. I donít really do this as I donít feel the need. I can say what I have to say creatively with Kamelot. And also Iím very busy with this band. There have been some offers and at one point I had some dealings with someone who was involved with Ayreon. But this didnít result in any firm offer.

Well I thank you for the interview and I wish you all the best of luck in the future.

Interview for DPRP by

with Special Guests Leaves' Eyes

16 Jun 2007 - Fields of Rock Festival Biddinghuizen, NL
18 Jun 2007 - Club Tochka Moscow, RU
23 Jun 2007 - Monsters of Rock Festival Zaragoza, ES
07 Jul 2007 - Evolution Festival Firenze, IT
14 Jul 2007 - Kvinesdal Rock Festival Kvinesdal, NO

with Special Guests Leaves' Eyes

17 Aug 2007 - Jaxx West Springfield, Virginia
18 Aug 2007 - The Chance Theatre NY, New York
19 Aug 2007 - B. B. King New York, New York
22 Aug 2007 - Le Medley Montreal, Quebec
23 Aug 2007 - L'Imperial Quebec City, Quebec
24 Aug 2007 - The Opera House Toronto, Ontario
25 Aug 2007 - Peabody's Cleveland, Ohio
27 Aug 2007 - The Pearl Room Mokena, Illinois
28 Aug 2007 - Station 4 St. Paul, Minnesota
30 Aug 2007 - Bluebird Theater Denver, Colorado
01 Sep 2007 - Galaxy Theatre Santa Ana, California
02 Sep 2007 - Key Club Los Angeles, California
04 Sep 2007 - The Clubhouse Tempe, Arizona
05 Sep 2007 - Launchpad Albuquerque, New Mexico
07 Sep 2007 - White Rabbit San Antonio, Texas
08 Sep 2007 - Ridglea Theater Ft Worth, Texas
09 Sep 2007 - Meridian Houston, Texas
28 Sep 2007 - Mean Fiddler London, UK
29 Sep 2007 - Podium Hardenberg, NL
30 Sep 2007 - Waerdse Tempel Heerhugowaard, NL
02 Oct 2007 - Transbordeur Lyon, FR
03 Oct 2007 - Rock School Barbey Bordeaux, FR

with Special Guests Firewind

10 Oct 2007 - Shibuya O-East Tokyo, JP
11 Oct 2007 - Shinsaibashi Club Quattro Osaka, JP
12 Oct 2007 - The Bottom Line Nagoya, JP
14 Oct 2007 - Yokohama Blitz Yokohama, JP


Kamelot Official Website
Kamelot MySpace
Ghost Opera Website
Leaves' Eyes

DPRP Review of Kamelot's "Ghost Opera" (2007)
DPRP Review of Kamelot's "Black Halo" (2005)
DPRP Review of Kamelots's "Expedition" (2000)


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