» Sean Tibbetts - Kamelot
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Interview conducted August 05 2016
Interview published August 29 2016

"We have a ridiculous amount of antics going on when we're on tour."

Kamelot visited Skogsröjet festival in early August and Metal Covenant took the opportunity to have a few words with the band's bass player Sean Tibbetts. This today international band is still touring in support of their May 2015 album Haven and hasn't really begun to come up with anything solid for a coming record yet or for the DVD that was mentioned 16 months ago in an interview I made with guitarist Thomas Youngblood and vocalist Tommy Karevik.

"I'm one of those crazy musicians that doesn't drink while I play."

Tobbe: Your last record, Haven, has been out now for over a year and have you already begun to look forward to another record?

Sean: Yeah. Actually next year is going to be a writing year for Kamelot, so we're real excited about it. We've got a few shows scheduled, but we're really kind of saving the time to write next year, so. There's always some stuff we're kicking around, so it's getting ready to happen.

Tobbe: Is there any specific things you will, like, bring from Haven to the next record? Have you discussed it already?

Sean: No, we really haven't discussed it. I mean, really, at this point we're just throwing around some riffs, you know. It hasn't been a hardcore writing session yet. We're still kind of wrapping up this one, so we haven't really start focusing on that, but that's coming real soon. I believe Thomas is actually coming over to do some writing in August. So the foundation will definitely be there real soon.

You know, every Kamelot album is different. There's no two Kamelot albums that are alike, really. And that's kind of a lead we've been going for. You know, we don't wanna be a one-trick pony and we like mixing it up, so.

Tobbe: So is change inevitable if you want to keep people to pay attention to your band?

Sean: We always have the overall sound. The Kamelot sound. I mean, we always keep that sound, so that keeps people coming back, I think.

Tobbe: Haven is highly rated as one of your better albums, by the fans in particular, and will that fact make you guys work even harder to come out with something at least equally good?

Sean: I think, you know, really it's just about creativity and what comes out of us at the time. Like I said, every album sounds different. Do I hope it's as successful as Haven? Yeah, absolutely, 'cause I mean, we've had some great tours with this. I mean, we did extra touring this year, because Haven allowed us that. You know, we did two US runs this year and we did quite a bit of Europe this year too and we're actually coming back to Europe too, so. When that happens, you can't help being happy about it.

Tobbe: And I heard Thomas saying that Haven was the first time you have considered playing a full album live?

Sean: I didn't hear that. I guess I'm gonna have to start rehearsing a lot. I gotta start practicing. [Laughs]

Tobbe: So does it have what it takes to be played in its entirety, really?

Sean: Yeah, we haven't done that, so that would be fun. I'm down. Let's go! [Laughs]

Tobbe: I would cheer for The Fourth Legacy, but that's an old record now and I know it's kind of an obscure record still, even if it for me was the first record that picked up the pace of Kamelot.

Sean: Well, we like playing some of that old stuff too, you know. With the set, we've kind of honed it down to the ones that the crowd really goes nuts for. We've gained a lot of new fans, especially with Haven, and so playing some of that old stuff really becomes obscure, and you can see it from the stage. When you're playing you can see it in people's faces. They're kind of like "Yeah. I like that, but what is that song?".

I mean, that kind of thing. Personally I like sticking to the new stuff, because I know that's what they're familiar with. But, you know, for the hardcore fans you gotta throw the old stuff in there as well.

Tobbe: There were talks about recording a DVD on this tour. So what's the status of that?

Sean: Yeah. There were. I really can't elaborate a lot on that, 'cause we've only just lightly discussed it, so I'm not really sure what all the details are on that. But we filmed in Oslo last year and we've had some really great shows in the Netherlands this year.

Tobbe: Personally I'd prefer a documentary, but I know that it's a lot of work with a documentary too, so.

Sean: Oh, but we film a ton of stuff backstage. We have a ridiculous amount of antics going on when we're on tour.

Tobbe: I guess it's cool for people to see what's it's like to hang around backstage and what's happening when you're not on the stage.

Sean: Well, I do too. You know, when I watch the documentaries of my favorite bands I like watching it too. That's kind of my favorite part, really. I like that sometimes better than the actual concert, so. I like watching that stuff. It's pretty mean, man.

Tobbe: About your European tour in October. I've only seen 8 dates yet, but how extensive will that tour leg be in the end?

Sean: I think the total on it is like 3 weeks or something. Maybe a little over 3 weeks. It's kind of a short one. You know, it's wrapping up the end of the album, so. You know, we've kind of been everywhere, so. [Laughs] I mean, we could go back again, but I mean, it'd be better to come back with a new album we feel, so.

Tobbe: So you've got Kobra Paige from Kobra And The Lotus with you today and she's been with you before, but what led up to you picking her to be the female vocalist for this particular show?

Sean: Great talent and just a beautiful person. Super to work with and we just love playing with her. She happened to be available. They just finished recording their latest album, so she had a little time off in between. I think they're getting ready to do a Euro run. So she had some time and we said "Hey! How about it?" and she was like "Yeah!", so she came right over.

Tobbe: How many women are there to pick from, really? You seem to just load them in.

Sean: You know, honestly, we usually go with our friends and the girls that we've had have been like opening acts for us, so we kind of got familiar with them and became friends with them and it kind of evolved from there. And like I said, she's great to have on stage and a lot of fun to be around.

Tobbe: Yeah, but the bigger those bands get and the more popular those bands get you lose a lot of female singers.

Sean: Yeah, as they get more popular it gets harder and harder to get 'em to come out. You know, 'cause they're just busy, so. I'm glad. I'm happy for them, you know. The timing's gotta work out, so, and it just happened to work out for this show.

Tobbe: About your own stage presence. You're pretty wild on stage, so from where comes that energy for you to bring forward your full appearance?

Sean: Well, my secret is lots of coffee. [Laughs] Lots of coffee and vitamins. I'm one of those crazy musicians that doesn't drink while I play. I'm about…have water, and coffee, and good stuff for you before you go on. You know, the party and everything can be afterwards. My job is to entertain and I wanna do it as best as I can, you know.

Everyone's money is very valuable to them, so they deserve the best show that I can put out. So I'm very aware of that and I try to give them the best performance I can all the time. Some people play better like that, but I'm not just that guy. You know, I've tried it before, but it usually ends in disaster, so it's way better for me to drink coffee and I think everyone else in the band would agree as well to it. [Laughs]

Tobbe: Tommy is getting more and more comfortable with the band, so what do you think that he has brought to the band in the last couple of years?

Sean: Tommy is just an amazing singer and his range is unbelievable. He's not like a rockstar. He's not that kind of person. He's just a great guy and he's really humble and down to earth and it's a real pleasure to work with people like that. You know, the whole band is pretty much like that.

We're all pretty settled and it's great to be able to work on that kind of level that we do. You know, there's a lot of stress that goes on and also, you know, some people get egos for that kind of stuff and nobody really in this band has that, so it's really great to be working with humble people.

Tobbe: You guys are based in Europe and the US and when you get together for rehearsals and stuff it costs a lot of money and what are your thoughts about that?

Sean: Yeah, that's true. But in all honesty there's not a whole lot of rehearsing that goes on. Everyone kind of rehearses on their own. If we do rehearse it's usually a day before a show or two days before a show, tops. You know, the general attitude is "Don't screw up or you'll look stupid", so. So don't screw up.

Tobbe: So when you eventually are gonna record the album will you meet up or will you send files and stuff?

Sean: No, that's different. That is different. There's definitely a lot of file sending going back and forth. But I mean, the writers really are Thomas and Olly [Oliver Palotai, keyboards] and Tommy and so there'll be a lot of collaboration right there with them and also of course, you know, Sascha [Paeth], our producer. They're getting ready to start on that anyway, so we're just kicking around music right now.

Tobbe: A lot of bands tour each and every city twice for every album cycle nowadays and is that like a clear evidence that bands actually need to tour more in order to survive or to make a living out of this?

Sean: Yeah, that's definitely the deal. If you wanna play music, you gotta play and get out there so people can hear it. You know, there's not a whole lot of money anymore in any part of music, really. I mean, if you wanna make a living out of it you gotta tour. You know, it's part of what you're doing.

Tobbe: You weren't in the band at that moment, but Kamelot started to sell lots of records like 15 years ago and then a couple of years later illegal downloading kind of took over the market completely, so what's your view on this matter?

Sean: I got a pretty opposed view to the downloading and I'd rather not even talk about it, 'cause I've already beat that subject up already. Ask me a different question. I don't wanna go there, 'cause it will open up a whole can of worms I don't wanna go to. [Laughs]

Tobbe: So just a yes or no. Has the war against downloading come to an end at this point?

Sean: You know, here's the thing. If you can't afford a dollar for one of my songs, then you're pretty sorry, man, you know. [Laughs] That's pretty bad. I mean, there's a lot of sense of entitlement, I think, from the younger generation, that they feel that music should be free and the whole attitude of… See, now you opened the can of worms. [Sighs and laughs]

Tobbe: Feel free to quit if you want to.

Sean: You know, they feel it should be free, or whatever, or that you should love it so much that "Hey! It should be OK.", or they think we're rich or something, and I don't really know a whole lot of people in the music industry anymore that are rich. Most of us are… It's our job, you know. We gotta feed our families, so when you're stealing that dollar, that dollar comes directly out of our pockets.

I've never downloaded anything illegally, but I know people that do. You know, I was sitting at a table today and a guy was bragging about it. He didn't know that I was a musician and I came unglued on him, man, you know. [Laughs] But, you know, they know it's bad. You know, they know it's wrong to go steal a piece of bread. They know it's wrong to go steal clothes, or a pair of sunglasses, but it's OK to steal a song? I don't understand how they justify it in their head, but I guess they do.

Tobbe: OK. One last question to finish this up. In percentages, how much of Kamelot's revenue nowadays comes from actual physical sales?

Sean: I can't answer that. I'm not gonna answer that, man. [Laughs] Nice try though. [Laughs even harder]

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