It was a hot summers day in Tampa, Florida when Kamelot lead guitarist Thomas Youngblood, answered the call. One more interview for the day and he would be off to jump in the pool with his family. But before that, he launched excitedly into a discussion about the band’s upcoming Australian tour, which will kick off at the beginning of December, in support of their latest album The Shadow Theory. Thomas starts off by going into how it feels to be returning for the first time in 5 years.

“We’re excited! It’s crazy it’s been five years! It seems like a year and a half ago. We had a great time last time. I get to brag to a lot of my friends about coming down there and meeting the people and seeing some really cool places. This time we wanna make sure that we kinda start a legacy of Kamelot coming to Australia on every album cycle. That’s kinda the goal and we’re planning to come down there and kick some teeth and have a good time!”

The conversation progresses onto what the live show will be like and what Australian audiences can expect this time around.

“The show is really dynamic now, it’s a mixture of theatrical but it’s definitely interactive. We really expect the fans to be part of the show. We have a setlist that I think kinda enhances that philosophy. We did some shows recently and you got people that are hanging out listening, with their arms folded, just listening. Then you got mosh-pits, you got freaking crowd surfing. So, it’s a really cool mix that we have with our fans and we love every aspect of that as long as everybody’s safe and no one’s getting hurt, it’s all good you know?”

Continuing on that train of thought, Thomas gives some more details about the kind of setlist that they’ll be bringing to Australian shores.

“It’s a mix. Obviously, we have a new album ‘The Shadow Theory’ so there’s gonna be at least four or five songs from that album. But we’ll be mixing in songs from ‘Haven’, ‘Silverthorn’and from the albums before. It’s been a philosophy of ours to make sure we present the new album with every tour. We’re not gonna go out and just play one new song and then the rest is gonna be songs from the nineties for example. A lot of bands do, to their detriment, because all you do by doing that is you cater to your old fan-base and you’re never gonna be successful and grow if you just play old songs. We’ve had that philosophy from the beginning, I would say from ‘The Fourth Legacy’ on we made sure that we wrote and we played songs that we could play on the tour and we’ve done that.”

With the new record being a coherent concept album, the conversation turns to whether there will come a time when the band play the album in its entirety, start to finish.

“It’s something we thought about when we first listened to the album after it was mixed. It’s really hard because the album is basically an hour and most concerts are an hour and a half. I guess you could do that and then mix in some old songs at some point. But for now it’s really important to kind of present the songs and gradually bring in new songs like Burns To Embrace at some point we’ll bring in. I’d love to be able to do The Proud and the Broken which a little bit more progressive. But to be able to the whole album in its entirety that would take a little bit of work. We’d have to find the right place to that. So it’s definitely something we have thought about in the past and who knows? I mean let’s see what happens in the future.”

As is customary when two guitars players talk, the conversation moves to gear and what Thomas will be bringing to use on tour in Australia, as well as his stop at the ESP guitar factory in Japan beforehand.

“I will be bringing at least a couple of my ESP’s. I’m also coming from Japan so I might have a new one! Every time I go to Japan I ask them to borrow a guitar and then I say, ‘Can I just take this with me?’ I’m really good friends with the Vice President, he always comes out and we meet. We try to get a couple guitars as spares in Japan. So both Sean and I will be bringing our ESPs. But in terms of staging we basically just have to bring deco because we’re flying all over the place and it’s impossible to bring the normal stage set-up. We try to do what we can do and present the show. If you can’t do a show without all the big staging then you’re not a good band and you’re not a good musician. It’s always a challenge to do that but we love it. Luckily on this tour, there’s some pretty cool venues, it’s gonna be fun. I’ll bring my Kemper and we’ll have a spare Kemper. I’ve been playing Kemper for a couple years now and it’s been great!”

As the interview begins to reach its end, the founding member informs us what he hopes Australian audiences will take away from the shows in December.

“I always have this idea that we do a show and as the people are leaving, they can’t wait for us to come back. We leave everything on stage. So even if somebody doesn’t like the show, we can’t blame ourselves because we did everything we could in our power to make the show good and an enjoyable experience for them and for ourselves. We have to have fun ourselves. My philosophy is I want these people to go ‘Damn I can’t wait for Kamelot to come back because I’d like to see that show tomorrow!’”

Thomas leaves us with one last piece of advice for guitarists and musicians in general.

“Make sure you enjoy what you’re doing. One of the things I would say is; learn about recording! Learn about songwriting, learn about writing drum parts. At least that way you can write songs without having to rely on anyone else. Then you can kind of be the master of your own destiny. It’s not only about being a particular type of guitarist or musician, it’s also about understanding how compositions work and that to me is even more important than being a shredder.”