Tommy Karevik has had a busy life as of late. Between fronting one of the biggest Power Metal bands in the world, Kamelot, fronting one of the best Progressive Metal bands, Seventh Wonder, and many cool guest spots; Karevik has really been able to show off everything he is capable of with his voice. A while back, I got to send Karevik a few questions about everything he has going on lately. ENJOY!
Thank you very much for taking the time to do this interview!
TK: No, Thank you =)
First things first. The brand new Kamelot album, The Shadow Theory, came out April 6th through Napalm Records. How does it feel to have your 3rd album with Kamelot out?
TK: It feels great. We are all very happy with the album and the general direction the band is moving in right now. Needless to say the sound has evolved in comparison to the the old Kamelot records which is only natural because times evolve and people as well. But the cool thing is that we managed to keep that Kamelot trademark sound through it all, the instant recognition factor when putting on a song.. Yup this is Kamelot!
How did the songwriting process begin for The Shadow Theory?
TK: The same as always actually. Thomas and Oliver got together to work on ideas a couple of times to hammer out the basis of the musical framework. I was then working on song ideas with Oliver over skype mostly. I spent the majority of the time writing with Sascha in Wolfsburg though, writing music, melodies, arrangements and lyrics as well as recording the final product.
What is the story behind The Shadow Theory lyrically?
TK: It is a loose concept based around the theories of Carl Jung´s “The shadow aspect” where everyone has a shadow and the less we embody it the darker it gets. We use that as a platform to tell a story of a dystopic world where most of the worlds money is in the hands of only a handful of people. These people rule the world behind closed doors and make us believe that they want us to believe, making us think we are making decisions based on what we need or want. There are 3 main elements to the story.
The Shadow Empire being the top layers with all the power. The Shadow Key being the growing resistance of enlightened and free thinking people. Connecting the shadow key back to psychological aspect of the overall theme we also want to convey the message that only you possess the key to your own happiness and self growth. No one else can do that for you. It will require work but you can do it. The 3rd one is The Shadow Wall and that is the smoke screen they put in front of our eyes to distract us in favor of their hidden agenda… Social media, commercials, religion and war.
I noticed throughout the album, Kamelot has really spread their wings, musically, and a lot of diversity is going on throughout. Was this a conscious decision or did that happen naturally?
TK: I think it just happened naturally. I mean we always try to have diversity in every album. There has to be a certain flow and pacing for the fans that wants to enjoy the album from start to finish. We still write for people to be able to listen like that and we take pride in that.
As of the time of writing this, Ravenlight is the sole single for the album so far. How was Ravenlight chosen to represent the album as a single?
TK: Well knowing what the first 2 real video songs would be we felt that ”Ravenlight” would be a great instant gratification track in terms of having all these elements that a Kamelot song should contain. It is a pretty direct song with a great message that you can instantly hear is us=)
Now that you’re 3 albums deep into Kamelot, how did you approach your work on this album?
TK: Every new album is always a great challenge. The more music you write, the harder you have to work to not repeat yourself. It can be daunting at times but the feeling of finding solutions that is something new and fresh and that hasn´t been written before but that still sounds like you, is just fantastic. Of course writing is also more relaxed though after 3 albums in terms of feeling comfortable with the band and the fans. I know that I have their support and that feels great. This time around I just sat down and started writing and basically didnt stand up before it was done. It was very condensed and intense in the end.
The album not only features your amazing vocals, but also features Lauren Hart and Jennifer Haben doing guest vocals. How did they come aboard for The Shadow Theory?
TK: Thank you! Lauren Hart was recommended to us by my girlfriend Kobra Paige. She joined us for a show in California where we opened up for Iron Maiden and did a great job. She is a screamer and when there was a few parts on the album that called for that style she was asked and happily accepted. Jennifer is the singer of ”Beyond the Black” and has been working with Sascha a lot in the past. He knew she was a great person and easy to work with in the studio so she is singing a duet with me on the ballad ”In Twilight Hours”. I really like that song and her voice fits perfectly.
Earlier this year, Kamelot hit North America with Battle Beast and Delain. How did it feel to be back on the road to promote the new album?
TK: It was a great tour. Our biggest and best North American tour to date and that was awesome to see. NA is growing to be a real main market contender for Kamelot. It was a great package with bands that delivered a killer show night after night for month straight… Very consistent tour and great people.
With playing song from both your era and previous work; what are your favorite songs to sing live (from before your time, and what you’ve recorded)?
TK: From the older songs I would say ”The Human Stain” is a favorite. I think it is just a beautiful song with fantastic lyrics and a highly relatable topic. When it comes to my own songs it is more difficult ha ha… The energy with songs like ”Sacrimony”, ”Liar Liar” and ”Insomnia” never fails though and those are songs that people know word by word so it´s very rewarding to play live.
What is next for Kamelot?
TK: We got kind of a busy festival summer ahead of us followed by a European tour in the fall where we will also record a live DVD in Tilburg Holland. After that we have a Japan/Australia tour planned so some exciting times for sure!
Any updates in the world of Seventh Wonder?
TK: The new concept album ”Tiara” will finally hit the streets in October this year. It will feel very nice after such a long time to give something back to the fans. We are very proud of the album and we are looking forward to be able to play some shows on it come release date! There are some things brewing as we speak =)
Last year, you lent your voice to the amazing project, Ayreon for the album, The Source. What was it like to lend your voice once again to Arjen’s masterpiece songwriting?
TK: Yeah Arjen asked me again and I totally didn't expect that since I was on the previous album, so yeah I was surprised. I had a lot on my plate at the time but I made it happen anyway for Arjen because I love that guy and I really wanted to do it. Arjen typically sends me guide vocals of melodies he wrote and I adapt them to my style of singing and make adaptations. It´s fun and very different to all my other bands where I write my own melodies and lyrics from scratch.
Was their any albums in 2017 that you enjoyed?
TK: Actually 2017 was such a crazy year in terms of being totally buried in work so I don´t even remember most of it… Let alone did I have time to listen to a lot of music unfortunately. Whenever there was time to wind down I would typically turn to music completely different from metal or rock. I listen to a lot of Swedish singer song writer music and my favourite is Lars Winnerbäck. There is nothing like listening to beautiful lyrics in your own language I find.
Once again, thank you very much for taking the time to do this interview. As a long time fan of ALL of your work, it was a complete honor to be able to ask you some questions about everything you have going on and promoting the brand new album from Kamelot; which I very much enjoy. Before we are done, is there anything else you would like to mention that I haven’t brought up yet?
TK: Thank you for those kind words and thanks a lot for your support! Also a big thank you to all of the readers out there! Hopefully I will see you all somewhere down the road!
Kamelot- The Shadow Theory is out NOW through Napalm Records.
Seventh Wonder- Tiara is out October 12th through Frontiers Music.