"I am pleased to be the first that I know of in the UK to interview this awesome band, which was put together by a young talanted guitarist under the name of Torben Enevoldsen from Denmark, who has released 2 previous releases both through Lion's Music from Finland. This is Torben's new release and it also features some well known musician's such as Andreas Lill & Gunter Werno from 'Vanden Plas', also joining them are Andy Engberg on vocal's, ex (Twilight & Lions Share) and Derek Sherinian ex (Dream Theater) as special keyboard player.

I managed to get some question's to Torben to find out more about his guitar playing and also to find out more about Section A, a great project and a great album that I highly recommend if you're a fan of Progressive Metal. Here is what Torben had to say to the following questions."

My first question is, what age did you learn to play guitar and can you remember your first guitar? Do you still have it?

"I must have been around 14 years of age when I first started playing the guitar, but I didn't get serious about it until I was 23 years old. My first guitar ever, was not a genuine guitar as such. It was an acoustic guitar and more of a toy really and I never learned how to play it at all. I don't recall at what age I got it though. My first actual guitar was a copy of the classic Gibson SG. An extremely cheap guitar and real crappy! I don't have it anymore."

When you were growing up, who were your guitar influences?

"In the beginning, I was heavily into Tony Iommi, Richie Blackmore and Edward Van Halen. Later on I got more into guys like Yngwie Malmsteen, Paul Gilbert, Vinnie Moore and Tony MacAlpine. Apart from these guys, I'm also very influenced by John Petrucci, Michael Romeo, Allan Holdsworth, Frank Gambale, Eric Johnson, Steve Lukather and Dan Huff just to mention a few names."

What about bands, who inspired you?

"I have alway been into a lot of different music, so here's a few names to prove my point: Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Van Halen, Dio, Dokken, Boston, TOTO, SAGA, Jethro Tull, Yes, Allan Holdsworth, Dream Theater, Symphony X, Freak Kitchen, Frank Gambale etc."

So what was your first band called and what covers did you do? Did you record any of your own material? If so did you make a demo?

"My first band ever was called The Chair and it was sort of a joke. None of us could play and the band dissolved very quickly. We only played a few songs and they were actually originals. My first demo was years later, while I was playing in a band called Freak Attack. We recorded a demo containing 3 songs total, 1 original and 2 covers."

Before you started Section A you record 2 previous albums as instrumental releases, well one had vocals by Kenny from Nartia, how did you hook up with him? Also who else did you have in mind to do the vocals on that album? Did you intened to record both of them as instrumental or part instrumental releases? Do you think it is a shame that Kenny is now doing backing vocals for Royal Hunt? Nartia were great band, he should reform them do you agree?I 

"I have played with Kenny in different bands here in Denmark. We are from the same area, so I have known him for years. When it was time for me to record the 2 vocal songs, it felt very natural for me to ask him to do it. I didn't really have anyone else in mind for that gig. When I was going into the studio to record "Guitarisma", I pretty much recorded the material I had available at the time. I wanted to make the strongest album possible, and wasn't concerned with the songs being vocal or not. When I did "Heavy Persuasion", I wanted to do an all instrumental album however. I simply focused on writing instrumental material only. Kenny is making a living singing and he is mainly into pop music these days, so I seriously doubt that Narita will ever reform. Also, Henrik Paulsen, who actually WAS Narita, is busy with his "new" band Prime Time."     

Ok so lets talk about Section A, why the name and did you have any other names for this project, or is it a band?

"Section A is definitely a band. It started out as a project, but as soon as we got to know each other, it felt only natural to turn Section A into an actual band. I have had the name for a while and I knew that I was going to use it at some point, so when I got the idea for this band, I immediately wanted to name the band Section A."

Does the bands name reflect in the bands music?    

"I'm not completely sure that I know what you mean, but I personally think that the name goes really well with the music!?"

Most people out there know Andy use to be in Twilight & Lions Share, what did you think of his previous work with these bands? Also how did you hook up with him? Is he easy to work with? Also who else did you approach for the vocals on this album, was Kenny approached?

"I have been a fan of Andys ever since I heard the Eye For An Eye album by Twilight. I simply e-mailed Andy and asked him to participate. As luck would have it, he had just parted ways with Lions Share and was immediately interested in joining Section A. It has been a true pleasure working with him and he has definitely put a lot of effort into his performance, so I couldn't possibly ask for more. Kenny was not approached, but I did have a few other singers in mind obviously. Apart from Andy, I had Russell Allen (Symphony X), Jorn Lande (Masterplan) and a few other names written down. However, Andy was my #1 choice, so I didn't have to approach anyone else."

Has Andy contributed to the lyrics for the album?

"Yes. He and Conny Welén wrote all the lyrics." 

You also approached Gunter & Andreas from Vanden Plas for this album, how did you hook up with them? Also who else did you approach for the album? I know you also have Derek ex Dream theater, how did you hook up with him? What was the the impressions from all the guys when you told them about this project?

"I sent out enquiries by e-mail to everyone involved. Everyone I approached were very excited about this project, but not all were available. I asked Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater) to do some keyboard soloing on the album for instance, but he was about to start recording with David Bowie at the time, so he was way too busy to participate unfortunately."

 How long did it take to write the material and did these guys rehearse with you or was it done on a computer?

"The material was written over a period of a year. The way we work is that I do demos at home, complete with vocal suggestions and all, and then I send the demos to Andy and Andreas. Andreas simply works on the songs himself and prepares for the recording sessions.  Andy is participating in the actual song writing process. He listens to my demo and sends back a demo of his own with his vocal lines. He might keep my verse in a song for instance, but then perhaps add his own chorus and so on. In the end, the final melody lines are created as a co-operation between Andy and myself."

OK, so lets talk about the album, why the title and cover? Where there any other covers & titles in mind? If so what were they?

"The title was chosen from a song, and purely based on the fact that we (Andy and myself) thought it would make for a great title. The cover artwork was done by Thomas Ewerhard. I wanted the cover artwork to match the music, so I gave Thomas some key words and he came up with a few suggestions. He came up with some great stuff, but I feel confident that the final artwork, was the right choice for this particular album."

How long did it take to record the album and where was it recorded? Are you happy with the end results?

"We started recording the album around April of 2002 and I believe that we were completely done by November of 2002. The recordings took place on and off during that period, mainly because we had to record the album at so many different locations. The basic recordings (drums, bass and guitars) took place in Finland at "Lions Cage". After those sessions, I did a lot of additional recordings here in Denmark at "The Last Resort" and some at at studio called "Tune Town". Andy recorded his vocals at a studio in Stockholm. Günter recorded his solo at home in Germany and Derek did his solos at his own studio "Leopard Room" in California.  Yes, I am very happy with the end result!"

What are the songs about on this album? Me personally I love this album, it rules!! I cant stop playing it!! It’s driving me mad – ha!! It’s one of the best Prog album of this year, certainly the best album so far on Lion Music.

"Well, instead of telling you what I think the songs are about, how about I just go through each song and give you some quick thoughts...!?"

"The Seventh Sign – I pretty much completely wrote this song on the keyboard. When the song was completed and Andy had done the vocal parts, I felt that this song would be the perfect opening track. It has got a lot of power and energy to it and I think that Derek Sherinian’s soloing fits the bill perfectly… I don’t really know what inspires me to write these songs however. The music just seems to come out by itself… Riot – I remember writing the intro riff of this song by mistake so to speak. I was working on a completely different thing and all of a sudden, this riff just came out of nowhere. The song was written in no time and just felt really good and Andy’s vocals truly takes it over the top! Pray For Rain – This song was also written very fast. I had a good feeling about this song from the very beginning. Now it’s definitely one of my favourite tracks on the album…

Nightmare –  This song was based on the intro riff and like with “The Seventh Sign”, I wanted some keyboard soloing in there as well. I am very happy with this song and I really like the outro chase between Derek Sherinian and myself… Tomorrow – This song was build from the piano intro actually. I wanted to make an epic song with some prog influences. I really wanted to experiment with this one and I definitely like the outcome. I might add that I wanted a completely different ending at first, but after trying that out in the studio, I finally decided to ask Günter Werno of Vanden Plas to do an outro solo instead. I think he did an excellent job! The Man In The Mirror – Yet another song that was written really quickly. I wasn’t entirely sure about having this song on the album, but now it’s one of my favourites… Killing Fields – This was the second song I wrote for the album and actually the first song on which I got to hear Andy Engberg sing my material. I am very happy with this song and I am particularly pleased with the guitar solo parts on this one… Into The Fire – This was the first song I wrote for the album. The intro keyboard/guitar riff was composed on the guitar and I simply built the song from there. Andreas Lill did a great job on the drums! I know it wasn’t an easy gig…"

Which are your fav & least fav trax and why?

"Like I mentioned before, one of my favourite tracks are definitely "Pray For Rain". I just like this song a lot and it truly  came out the way I thought it would.  If I have to pick a least favourite track, I think I will go with "Into The Fire". Mainly because I wrote this as the first song, and this may sound strange, but I feel like I have moved on since then..."

Is there anything you would of changed about this album in the production or song writing?

"No, not really. I try not to concern myself with thoughts like that too much. I think that this album, production and all, captures the period of time in which we did this album perfectly."

How well is the album selling & are there any bonus trax on the Japanese version?

"I have no idea how the album is doing in terms of sales. It was released on June 21st, so it's a bit too soon to tell really. The bonus track for the Japanese version is called F.Y.I. and it's an instrumental song"

Do you have any new material wrote for the next album? If so what are they & how do they differ from this album ‘7th Sign’ ?

"I am actually in the middle of writing new material for the next album. The style is overall quite similar to that of "The Seventh Sign", but I think that the new stuff is a bit more defined actually. I hope to be done with the new material by November and if all goes well, I hope that this new album will be released in the spring of next year."

Will you use the same line-up for the next album? If not who will replace them? I think Andy & Kenny should do the album together, do you think this is a good idea? Like one song one singer.

"I will use the same line-up for sure!  I seriously doubt that I will ever work with Kenny again, so no, I don't think that what you're suggesting sounds like a good idea. Thanks for your input though."

Are you ahppy with Lion Music and what other labels approached you to release the album?

"I haven't approached any other labels, because I am very happy with Lion Music."

Will you tour for this album? Any Prog festival in the pipe line? Also have you played with anybody yet?

"It is not possible for us to tour at this point unfortunately, but I sincerely hope that we will be able to do some serious touring as soon as the second album is released."

Well thanx for the interview, take care and stay in touch. Remember me on the next album, thanx. Do you have anything to ad before we finish? Thanx!! 

"I hope that everyone who reads this will go out and buy a copy of our new album and then later on, I seriously hope to see you all out on tour!!"

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