KAMELOT – When the tour ends

KAMELOT – When the tour ends

(…this article is in English…)

Kamelot’s tenth album studio, Silverthorn, was just released in October this year and the band embarked on a tour through Europe in order to promote the new material, but also to show the skills of their new singer, Tommy Karevik. The show in Oslo was the last one of the tour, and, despite the accumulated tiredness and probably hundreds of other interviews by this date, the band’s keyboard played, Oliver Palotai, took some time to sit down with me and answer few questions about tour life and Tommy and more. You can find out his answers in the below text.

This is the last show of the European Silverthorn tour. How did it go so far and how does it feel when it’s about to end?

It went ok, and when a tour ends, it’s always a mix of feelings. Of course, you’re looking forward to go home after three months on the road. Plus, there’s certain luxuries you are missing on tour. You never have real privacy, or there’s never like a real shower that you don’t have to share with thirty people. I’m especially looking forward to regular work because I’m a studio musician orchestrator and producer. I usually wake up early, I have my regular meals and then I work late. These are some of the things I am missing on tour. But on the other hand, when I come home, after a while I miss the tour as well.
Even if I’m more of a studio person and not so much a ‘live’ one, but it’s always the company of friends that is quickly missed when not touring.


If you’re asked which is the best memory of this tour, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?

It’s always funny, we get a lot of these questions, but in my opinion, a tour is a great tour if it actually runs smoothly. If there’s nothing really out of the ordinary. If something like that happens, then it’s usually not good. We had an accident in France, for example, when a bus tire exploded. If you’re in the bed and that happens, it’s not a very pleasant moment. But besides that, it all went very smooth and that’s the best thing about it.

Do you personally have your own ritual before going on stage?

Not at all. I sometimes read a book until five minutes before the show. It’s like a joke in the band. I can even sleep until ten minutes before the show and then just go on stage. it’s because on stage I’m very much in my bubble and it doesn’t matter if I’m in my living room or on stage.

I read that on the latest Kamelot release you actually contributed way more than you did until now. And I know that what happens often with people who compose music is that they constantly want to improve and change things. And now, after you have gotten to play the songs live, would there be things you’d like to change?

It’s always when I finish the CD, or well, the master, when I keep thinking that ‘Yea, I could’ve changed this or that to make it become better’. But one of the aspects of my development as a musician, or as a personal evolution let’s say, is also that you accept that you’re never perfect. You always strive for perfection but you will never get to the point where everything is one hundred percent perfect. In the past, it was really bad for me, because I often stopped projects in the middle. I always wanted it to be perfect and sometimes you could already foresee that it will not be perfect. But now, I guess as part of being more experienced and being older, is to accept that there’s no perfection in this world.


You also started working with Tommy Karevik as main singer on this release. How was that as a cooperation? Did that bring many changes in your Kamelot life style or did it go smooth as if he’d always been there?

Live, it is as if we’d played for years together and I believe that’s a good thing. Behind the stage, he kinda re energised and refreshed the band a lot. This was one of the funniest or happiest tour since many many years. For example, compared to Roy, Tommy is always around. Roy used to be all day separated. Tommy is always there, joking around, we’re having so many silly shitty things, like making jokes to kill time. He has a very special humor that fits perfectly. He’s a very nice guy and the song writing process was a very creative flow. He is full of ideas. Another good thing about him is that he is very disciplined. He comes from a steady job – fire fighter – and he doesn’t have this thing that, unfortunately, many musicians, especially singers, have and makes it very difficult work with them.

You just told me that for you it’s the same whether you play in your studio or on stage. But is there anything you like in particular about being on stage?

Yea, if the audience is full of energy. Which doesn’t mean they have to go crazy. Sometimes, when I’m in the Southern countries, they are almost too crazy. Sometimes I also wish they listened more and wouldn’t clap along all the time. For example, during my keyboard solos I’m totally happy if the audience is quiet. They are not meant for jumping or clapping or starting a mosh pit or so. But, in general, it’s the exchange with the audience which I love.

Do you think a band can survive without touring today?

No, not anymore.


If you weren’t a Kamelot savvy and only listened to the album for the first time, what do you think would strike you from the musical content?

I had this experience actually. I was asked to join the Black Halo tour ten days before and prior to that I never ever heard about Kamelot. Back then I had to study the songs and such.

And what do you remember making you think ‘wow, this is so cool’?

The very unique mixture of style while at the same time being very groovy. I’m coming from a jazz and classical background and what I often don’t like about metal is that it’s almost dead to the point that it’s not grooving. It has no groove. There’s no blues in it, it’s often really really straight. It probably has something to do with the production methods, they quantify it. Kamelot doesn’t do it and that’s what I really liked about it. Besides, there’s orchestration, synthesizers, really rough guitars, it’s like a very unique mixture that I loved right from the start.

You are both a guitar and a keyboards player. When you have to produce new material, what’s your first choice among the two?

It totally depends on the style. There’s no rule. Sometimes I start with a guitar riff, other times with the piano melodies.

Do you contribute at all on Kamelot guitars?

Yea, when I deliver songs, I record guitars. Then it depends if Thomas is changing the guitars or not. Sometimes he’s thinking that what I did is cool and will just copy it, maybe alternating a bit, other times he doesn’t consider it’s Kamelot style and then he takes my keyboards ideas and records a completely new guitar line. But I don’t record the guitars on the album. Actually, on the Swedish bonus song ‘Welcome Home’ there’s an acoustic guitar which I played.

You have recently toured US as well. Looking at the experiences on the two continents, what makes them different?

US is one big country. It might be a little bit of difference between North and South, but Americans are Americans no matter where. They might say it’s different, but coming from Europe it doesn’t feel like that. Even in Germany we have a huge difference between North and South with totally different dialects. It makes me laugh when I hear them saying that there’s a difference between somebody from Seattle or Los Angeles. If there is, it’s very little. But people are very enthusiastic there, all over US. It’s very steady, constantly at a high level, the reception is always great. In Europe, there are major differences between each country we’ve played in.

You told me the European tour went smooth. Do you find the same smoothness in the US experience? Are people there well organised and professional?

It’s more chaotic there actually. The venues are often pretty shitty. Especially in smaller and middle size venues there’s no catering in the morning, they don’t even have coffee prepared. It happens often that it is dirty as well.
In some European countries, like Netherlands and Sweden, many venues are supported by the cities so they get some financial help. I don’t know if that happens in US, but it seems it doesn’t. What often goes on my nerves is that it happens often to lack a lot of things. Even showers sometimes. I love the US, don’t get me wrong, it’s just the experience as a musician that makes a big difference. If I come to a venue in the morning and I have a little bit of bread, some cheese and coffee I am happy. And this happens in every European country, no matter the venue, while the situation is not the same in US.


For the future of Kamelot, are you guys only finishing the tour now and there’s no plans for the near future or?

We’re working on a second video. We recorded everything and now it’s our Serbian film team supposed to do their job. We are thinking about a new live DVD because the ‘One cold winter’s night’ is quite old by now.

Did you record materials for it on this tour?

Nono, it will be a big production like last time, with special guests, special venue, lots of pyros, stage acting and all these things. We want to make a big show out of it. It’s a hard choice about which country we’ll choose to film in. Last time it was here in Norway, so we’ll see where we go next time.

Norway again?

It is a country where we are very successful and have a great audience. But besides that, there’s a lot of technique and production stuff that needs to be considered.
We also want to tour a lot or we will tour a lot.

What do you want from Santa?

Peace on earth! Yea, that’s a very unique answer. I just want some peaceful days with my family. That’s all, since it happens pretty rare.

I hope you get them and thanks for your time.