Interview with Torben Enevoldsen, Section A (January 30th, 2006)

Talented guitarist Torben Enevoldsen, main man behind Section A has written another great progressive metal album, we have put a few questions together for him.  

Kenn - Torben, “Parallel Lives” is your second Section A album – first album was the highly acclaimed debut “The Seventh Sign” (2003 on Lion Music ), and before that you released some albums under your own name. But I am sure there is a lot more to be told about your background, so please fill us in...
Torben: Well, I started playing guitar back in the late eighties. I played on and off for a few years, until’ I finally decided to get serious about my playing. I started practising regularly and quickly got involved with various artists and bands here in Denmark , doing live gigs and whatnot. I soon realized however, that I had to write my own music. I experimented at home with a 4-track tape recorder and a drum machine, and the songs I wrote, were all hard rock instrumentals. A friend of mine, who also happened to be a studio engineer, really liked the demos I made and offered me some free time at the studio where he was working. I recorded 3 songs which I released on a demo CD called “Just In Case”. This was back in 1995. I didn’t succeed in getting a deal, but that didn’t stop me. In 1997, I went back into the studio to record another 9 songs. This effort eventually paid off and I got signed by a small Dutch label called Roxon Records. They released my debut album in December of 1998 called “Guitarisma”. And the rest, I guess, is history…

Kenn – “Parallel Lives” will be released shortly, what kind of expectations do you have for it?
Torben: I just hope that people will like the album!

Kenn – What do you think set “Parallel Lives” apart from “The Seventh Sign”, I think the new songs are more complex and diverse – do you agree?
Torben: I think that “Parallel Lives” is a big step forward for us. Musically, this new album has a much better flow to it and I personally think it defines the Section A sound. Also the fact that “Parallel Lives” is a concept album makes it lyrically a lot more interesting.

Kenn - If you should suggest one single song to understand the full Section A musical potential, which title would you choose and why?
Torben: Wow, that’s a tough question. If I am only allowed to pick one song however, then I think I will have to go with “Dark Alliance”. To me, this song sums it all up. In this song you have the progressive side, the melodic side, the heavy side as well as the more self indulgent side

Kenn – You have recorded the album in 3 different studios, with 3 different people at the helm – was that decision made from a financial standpoint, and how do you feel about the result looking back?
Torben: This was simply the most practical way for us to do the recordings. The financial side of things also plays a part of course, but I never felt that to be much of an issue. We are all very busy and in Andy ’s case for instance, it’s a lot easier for him to record a few hours one day when he is able to do so.

This was actually the problem we ran in to with our former drummer. It was impossible for us to find a few weeks combined time to do the drum recordings. It may be a bit more time consuming in the long run, but I think that this way of doing the recordings are necessary for us.

Kenn - If your music was an emotion, which one would it be?
Torben: Sheer pleasure!

Kenn – I know you write all of the music for Section A, but how is a song completed? Do you have specific lyrically ideas as well you pass on?
Torben: When I do a demo, I always do two versions of each song. One without vocals and one with vocals. I simply sing my vocal ideas on a separate track, so that Andy is able to hear the melody line I have in mind. I am mostly singing complete gibberish, except for a few words in the chorus. I normally use these words as  working titles. I pass these on to Andy and Conny and sometimes, my working titles become the actual titles, but that is fairly rare. They write the lyrics and decide the names of the songs.  

Kenn - Is there any plans for you to go out on the road to support “Parallel Lives” or is this strictly a studio project?
Torben: There are unfortunately no immediate plans of touring. I would love to play the songs live, but this will depend on a lot of things. I am keeping my fingers crossed however!

Kenn - I was wondering – is there a deeper idea behind the artwork?
Torben: Definitely. The artwork is build upon the concept of this album.

William’s face is visible in the back (to the right) and in front of his face are two spheres. One big and one small. They suggest the two worlds in which he lives his parallel lives. Big empty spaces in the back - darkness and light - is to suggest that one part of his life is filled with hope and the other with a dark mission.  

To the upper left, you will find William’s wife Gloria and to the lower left, the characters from the song "Dark Alliance". They seem to appear from out of the building in the back, which is half-ruined, in order to suggest that something of big importance is crumbling (a society, the president…?). And because William is on the run a lot in the story, there’s also a city with streets that look like a maze or a labyrinth.  

Kenn - If someone told you tomorrow that you can't be involved in music anymore, what do you see yourself doing in 5 years from now?
Torben: I have absolutely no idea!

Kenn – Name a person, event or maybe an album, that have had a big influence on you life, and why?
Torben: Well, I think I am able to combine a person and an album actually. When I heard the first Steeler album, I was completely blown away! Not by the songs, but by their guitarist. This was the first time that I heard Yngwie Malmsteen play and I was amazed to say the least! I knew right then and there, that I had to start taking my guitar playing a lot more seriously!

What are you doing besides Section A, job wise as well as hobbies?
Torben: I am teaching and I am also involved in several other musical projects. Music is my life, so it pretty much takes up all of my time! 

Kenn – When you sit back to relax at home, what kind of things do you do? Listen to music, read, watch TV or…
Torben: I listen to a lot of music and I watch way too much TV. Or so I’m told :-)

Section A isn’t the only thing Torben has going on at the moment, he released a solo album a little over ½-year ago called "Flying Solo", and Peter has put together a few questions one guitarist to another…  

Peter - How old were you when you first picked up a guitar for the first time?
Torben: I think I was around 13 or 14 years old. I put it right down again however, because I thought that playing the guitar was easy

Peter - Who are you influenced by?
Torben: My main influences are Yngwie Malmsteen, Steve Lukather and Allan Holdsworth.

Peter - Do you practice every single day?
Torben: More or less.  

What’s the main difference between your first solo album "Guitarisma" and the third one “Flying Solo”?
Torben: On “Guitarisma” I had a lot of help from various people, but on “Flying Solo” I did everything by myself.  

Peter - You are currently very busy working on material for a new project… can you give us some details or is it too early?
Torben: If you are referring to the brand new project I am doing right now, then yes, it’s too soon. Sorry, but I will be able to reveal some info on this project on my web site in about a month or two.

Maybe you don’t know this, but I have just finished another project I was working on together with the Swedish singer Mats Levén (At Vance, Ex-Malmsteen). The name of this project is Fatal Force and the debut album will be released in Japan on April 26th and in Europe a few weeks later. The album was mixed and mastered by Tommy Hansen at Jailhouse Studios here in Denmark and the style is very melodic hard rock / metal. There is of course more info on this project on my web site…

Peter - Could you tell us, in very few words, what you think of these guitarists?
Yngwie Malmsteen
Torben: He is just amazing! He will always be one of my all time favourites!

Steve Vai

Torben: He is very gifted obviously, but a bit too smooth for me…


Torben: I love his early stuff. Great bluesy guitarist!

Richie Blackmore
Torben: An outstanding song writer and definitely a true legend!

Tony MacAlpine

Torben: A true virtuoso!! Doesn’t get the respect I think he deserves!

Allan Holdsworth

Torben: Awesome!! My favourite fusion guitarist of all time! I especially love his early solo albums…

We thank you very much for participating in this interview and sharing this information and your thoughts with us - these last lines are entirely for you. Any final words you would like to round off with?
Torben: I just want to thank you guys for the support and for doing this interview with me!

Section A - Parallel Lives

Album available February 27th, 2006 on Lion Music.

Click on the album cover to see more info on Section A and all of Torben's projects.