Heavy Metal Resource: Hello Roy! I appreciate you taking the time to do this interview.
Roy Khan: It’s my pleasure.
Heavy Metal Resource: What I wanted to do to start this out was do an intro, I know overseas you are pretty much established, but for any new fans, give a brief background on how you came to be in Kamelot and where you may have come from in your career.
Roy Khan: I used to play in a band called “Conception,” a Norwegian band that played a similar type of music, probably more progressive, I am sure more people would describe it as that. We split up in ‘97 and Thomas was right about that time on the Internet, he managed to get my phone number somehow and called my grandma, I think it was, well, anyway he got in touch with me and he asked me if I wanted to help him out with an album. And that was "Siege Perilous." Everything was written, and they paid me pretty good and I have never been to the U.S. before so, I thought why not, and I did the vocal tracks for "Siege Perilous" and in the meantime I wrote one song; it was a bonus track for the Japanese version of the album, and that came out pretty good so we started talking about writing a full album from the beginning with the vocalist and that was how we ended up with the “Fourth Legacy.”
Heavy Metal Resource: I am going to fast forward to the “Second Coming”. My first curiosity when I saw this was why did they go ahead and re-issue that as a package, more of a deluxe type thing? For those who don't know, this album contains the entire "Ghost Opera" album, the second disc has a live show and some new tracks as well as some videos.
Roy Khan: There is a pure business motive behind that. We could have released the bonus disc as a separate thing, but in these days with downloading and piracy being a big problem, which means that CD sales in general are going down. Kamelot is a band that is actually growing. We are selling more and more CD’s, but when the stores buy new CD’s, they go into the computers and look at how many CD’s did this band sell last time; okay a 100, so, if the CD market in general has gone down ,say 20% the last three years, which it does, that’s how drastic it is, so maybe they should take in 80 CD’s and that way you just get less and less availability with each release because there are always more fans who want to buy the CD’s every time. The stores take in less and less, so that is simply the reason why we do that. The initiative came from the record company, but of course when they ask us to do something like that, we demand that we have a budget that makes sense for us, that makes us sure that we can make a product which we can stand for in the future and yeah, we are pretty happy with how we did that. You also got to remember that a big part of this budget is spent on the videos “Rule the World”, and “Love You to Death” which is not out yet, but we look upon what we do as the whole package that we are delivering is not only the CD’s that you buy, but it is also the videos that we release, I wish it would have been aired frequently on MTV and all the channels that are mainstream, but that is not the case. It ends up on YouTube and MySpace and but of course that is also good a promotion tool but it is not like these videos that really cost a lot of money are something that pay back directly. But put it this way, if it hadn’t been for the re-issue we had, we wouldn’t have had the bonus disk, obviously, we also would not have had the “Rule the World” video or the “Love You to Death” video which is coming out.
Heavy Metal Resource: So those were shot just entirely for the “Second Coming?”
Roy Khan: Exactly.
Heavy Metal Resource: Okay, good to know. You have been out touring on “Ghost Opera” obviously and I noticed that there are some U.S. dates being scheduled coming up this fall; I believe October is where I saw the bulk of it, I have seen where some more dates have been added in there, are you guys getting to a point where you are finalizing that or are there going to be more dates added to the tour schedule at this point?
Roy Khan: No, that is something that we have to finalize now because some of us have other things that we do before and after, so the one show that we added is probably it.
Heavy Metal Resource: On that U.S. portion of the tour, do you have any idea on whether you are going to be having somebody opening or is it just going to be kind of a smaller venued tour where you guys will take it on yourselves, any ideas at this point?
Roy Khan: I’m not sure. At some of the venues we definitely played before Edguy is going to open up for us, I think that should be a good package for the fans, and hopefully they will also pull in some people that don’t already know Kamelot.
Heavy Metal Resource: That will be a good show. Now just out of curiosity, Kamelot seems to draw from both sides of the pond which has you based where?
Roy Khan: Thomas, the guitar player, lives in Florida, so does Casey and Glenn, and even the guy that has been sitting in for Glen on the last tour, Shawn, he’s also from Florida. But I’m from Norway, I live in Norway and there is Oliver the keyboard player who lives in Germany.
Heavy Metal Resource: Okay, so two of you are based in Europe. That was just curiosity for me. Okay, from here I wanted to find out if there is any timeline yet on writing or releasing any new material.
Roy Khan: We definitely need to work on the new album now, and we have quite a few ideas actually on this, but we just haven’t met and sat down and started putting things together. I don’t know, maybe late next year. That would be my guess.
Heavy Metal Resource: Be looking forward to that. One thing about Kamelot, for new fans of the band, is that you guys, like you said, have maintained your growth with each subsequent album, how do you find in the market with so many bands and music out there, how do you find the ability to keep everything fresh and keep all of that excitement up for Kamelot?
Roy Khan: We try to challenge ourselves, life itself gives you a couple of years depending on what kind of life you live, a couple of years definitely changes you a little bit and you experience things in life during those years, which in itself is inspiration for lyrics, you may have seen a movie, you may have heard a song on the radio that sort of sticks in your head, or it is a different version, you can read a book, there are so many things that can inspire a song. The most important thing is to have fun, and not try to take things too seriously. But at the same time make sure that you at least feel that you have progressed somehow as a musician or as a songwriter. Some people do this very slowly, some people do it really fast, I sort of believe in the middle path to change your style slowly, but always keep the key elements of whatever it was that you had from the beginning. And we consider the “Fourth Legacy” the beginning of the new Kamelot, of when we started writing songs together with Tom. From the beginning when we met Sascha and Miro, and the artwork, the images, everything just slowly started on the “Fourth Legacy.” And it was for sure a big, big dream point for the band.
Heavy Metal Resource: So from a writing standpoint say going into the next album, do you think there is going to be any real big surprising change in sound, or kind of what we are used to from Kamelot, but just a progression on what you guys already do.
Roy Khan: I couldn’t really tell right now, I mean an idea is just an idea. I wouldn’t say that the ideas are that different. At least not my ideas. I don’t know when we'll hook up. We haven’t even sent each other files yet. We have been so busy with touring and the work with the re-issue. There’s a lot of things we have to deal with.
Heavy Metal Resource: Going back to another point you mentioned the downloading and problems of piracy and all that kind of stuff that has been going on and it is definitely an across the board problem. I got an email from somebody over in the European scene was getting pretty heavily hit by that. With you being in the industry as you are, do you see any solutions to this problem any time soon, any ideas or anything?
Roy Khan: Not really. All the big companies have departments that work with that shit. One guy may come up with a brilliant idea one day, but I don’t think I have it. I think as long as you can listen to the file, there has to be a way of copying it, which I don’t see how you can avoid that. It is simply not possible. I know people have tried to make the CD’s not playable in PC’s, but that is not going to stop it. That doesn’t help one bit. That is just annoying. For the person who buys that CD, you should be able to listen to the CD wherever you want to listen to, whether it is on your PC or in your stereo or your car. So I think that is wrong. But that is about the only thing they can do.
Heavy Metal Resource: It is really kind of an interesting thing. I have been around long enough to watch music in general evolve from eight track to vinyl and the whole nine yards. And it seems like to me that with an MP3, this is really the first time that we have actually seen music kind of evolve into a next generation format without evolving into a next generation sound. I find it kind of discouraging because it is a convenient thing obviously, but beyond that we didn’t go anywhere. All we did was compress music even more which may be hard for some to hear with the human ear, but with like multi and surround capabilities that have been experienced with, the MP3 market is a problem in more ways than one.
Roy Khan: It is obvious that it has its grounds but I can’t help but think about what Kamelot would have been without Internet and MP3’s, and all these people being able to hear about the band and check it out. I still believe that a lot of people if they really like the band, if they know that it’s ethically right to support that band somehow. They probably want to come see us live anyway. Of course, the record companies are bleeding these days. The large multi-national companies are in big trouble. What I am saying is, I don’t believe for sure that Kamelot would have been bigger today than what it is, without it. Maybe it is the other way around. It is really hard to evaluate the values and the flow of money in this system.
Heavy Metal Resource: Yeah, well, we only got the results from one end of it, and so it is really hard to say. You never know what could have been, but I think you guys are in a pretty decent place anyway, I think continual growth is good and I agree the Internet has been huge, I am a part of that obviously with the webzine, so, the Internet becomes huge where MTV doesn’t control like they used to be able to control the scene.
Roy Khan: That’s a very good point.
Heavy Metal Resource: Yeah, it’s very positive.
Roy Khan: It’s definitely transferring a lot of power from the big corporations and basically down to all of us. Anybody can put up a file and there is a lot of people that have just done some weird stuff or whatever and gotten famous overnight, and it would never have happened if it hadn’t been for YouTube or MySpace. I am not too deep into that anyway.
Heavy Metal Resource: Looking back a bit, I am definitely a fan of your previous band Conception. I've been following your career from that point. Do you keep in contact with any of those guys from the band?
Roy Khan: Absolutely. Actually I talked to Tore last night. We were at the same meeting at a musician’s organization here in Norway. But we talk on the phone all the time anyway. I see the drummer Arve, and the same with Ingar, but Tory and I talk all the time.
Heavy Metal Resource: Oh, cool. So, have you guys, just ever as a side thing because obviously Kamelot is a pretty big job, but have you guys ever thought of popping another album? I think you have four total at this point.
Roy Khan: Yeah, we have been talking about it, but it is not very likely that it is going to happen soon because Kamelot is steadily growing and we always have to keep pushing ourselves and everybody around us to keep growing and as we grow the whole thing is getting more and more hard to patrol in a way. There are a lot of people working with a lot of stuff and there are bigger consequences when shit happens. We are still doing the same thing as what we always have been doing. There is just more of everything.
Heavy Metal Resource: Makes total sense to me. Okay, I didn't have much more to ask, but is there anything we didn't cover that you might want to add?
Roy Khan: The “Rule the World” video was supposed to have a like a premier on the MySpace in Europe, and somehow the file was leaked and ended up onto YouTube a couple of times. We managed to take it off but then there seemed to be several people that managed to get it down before we managed to take it down. So, we didn’t really get the full effect of the video that we so far have spent the most money on and we are all the most happy with. We recommend people checking it out on YouTube. It is a really, really good video. We are really extremely proud of it. Apart from that, I don’t know, have a good summer and see you in October.
Heavy Metal Resource: All right, Roy, I appreciate that and the phone call. Good luck with everything. I am definitely a big fan of the band, and your career in general.
Roy Khan: Absolutely.