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The Life of a Guitar Master
Interview with Torben Enevoldsen

Interview by R. Scott Bolton - March 2001

Rough Edge: Tell us about your latest CD and what it's all about.

Torben Enevoldsen: My latest CD is called "Heavy Persuasion" and it's an all instrumental album. The style on this, my second album, is basically very melodic hard rock with progressive and neoclassical influences. It was recorded in "Aabenraa studiet" here in Denmark in May of last year and released by my new label, Lion Music, on October 3rd, 2000. I was assisted by my band, Flemming Hansen on bass and Mickey Hurricane on drums and the whole thing was engineered, mixed and mastered by Jacob Hansen and I produced the album myself.

Rough Edge: When did you first realize that the guitar was going to be your instrument? What led up to it? What were your feelings then?

Torben Enevoldsen: I guess I knew this when I was about 14 or 15 years old. I really wanted to become a drummer, but since my parents couldn't afford a drum kit, I was simply offered an old beat-up SG copy and since the main thing for me was to play music, I accepted. What lead up to it I guess, was that my older brother had already got a guitar (the aforementioned SG copy) which I had fooled around with a little bit, so my interest was definitely caught. Soon, my brother wanted a better guitar, so my dad simply bought the guitar from my brother and gave it to me. As I mentioned, I really wanted to play the drums, but since I was already listening to stuff like Deep Purple, Black Sabbath etc., I quickly grew very fond of the guitar and the way it sounds. 

Rough Edge: It's a cliché to ask, but the influences are apparent in your music. Who are your influences and how did they shape your music today?

Torben Enevoldsen: I started out being very influenced by Ritchie Blackmore, Tony Iommi and Eddie Van Halen, but it was in 1990 that I truly became blown away by a guitar player. I was listening to the first Steeler album in a store here in Copenhagen and I was completely overwhelmed by Yngwie Malmsteen's playing. Amazing stuff!! Up to this point I had only practiced on and off, but listening to guitar playing like Yngwie's, made me realize that if I were ever to become a better player, I really needed to start taking things a lot more seriously. So from then on I actually began to practice every single day. Today I'm inspired by a lot of different players, but to name a select few, I'd have to mention John Petrucci, Michael Romeo, Allan Holdsworth, Frank Gambale and Steve Lukather. In terms of how my influences actually helped shaping the stuff I do today, I guess that the style of music I play is of course very influenced by these people and perhaps also in my choice of chords and notes etc., but that is all very subconscious I think.

Rough Edge: I always have to ask musicians who seem to focus on instrumental but who have at least dabbled with vocal songs in the past - what's the difference? How is it different writing an instrumental tune compared to a song with lyrics and vocals? How is it different performing? 

Torben Enevoldsen: I don't think that writing instrumentals as opposed to vocal music is that different. First of all you need a strong melody line. I always start off writing new stuff with a melody and then I will automatically start working on the arrangement. I actually build my songs in the same way a vocal band would do. You know, with a verse, chorus, bridge and a solo. Regarding the difference in performing, I'd say that when I perform an instrumental, I have to be a lot more focused on what I'm doing because I'm also the "lead singer" in a sense. I don't really have time to relax that much on stage because I'm doing leads all the time, but when you're performing with an actual lead singer, I can stand back and let the singer do his thing and just concentrate on the rhythm playing. 

Rough Edge: Speaking of performing - describe a live Torben Enevoldsen performance.

Torben Enevoldsen: When playing a live gig, the band and I will be jamming a lot. We will, of course, stay true to the songs, but we will definitely go in different directions when we, or the audience feel like it. This is one of the great things about playing live, you can really have fun playing and the audience always picks up on it, so the music will always be very unpredictable in a live situation. We usually have both an actual bass solo as well as a drum solo, but no two crowds are alike, so we just go with what feels right. The audience always come first!

Rough Edge: One of the things I enjoy about your music is the emotion that seems to be bubbling under each tune. Can you elaborate on that for us?

Torben Enevoldsen: Thanks a lot! It's very hard to elaborate on that, I'm afraid, because I just write the music in order to make me happy and this involves using different harmonies in different songs in order to achieve a certain mood or emotion. I really don't put too much thought into that process, but just try to do what feels natural.

Rough Edge: Do you envision expanding on your repertoire? In other words, would you consider joining another band - sort of like Joe Satriani when he did the Deep Purple tour a few years ago?

Torben Enevoldsen: Definitely. If opportunity knocks, I will answer!

Rough Edge: How does the music scene in your hometown help and/or hinder your career? 

Torben Enevoldsen: Well, in this case, it's more a case of hinder than help. The musicians who live in Copenhagen are very cliquey and it's very hard to find good and loyal musicians these days. The guys I play with don't live nearby, so I have had to travel a bit in order to rehearse and make things work. The club scene is almost impossible to get in on, because the bookers don't really want either original or instrumental music. There's a lot of so called jam bands in this town (and in Denmark generally) and they are playing live regularly, so it's actually quite hard to get gigs! 

Rough Edge: If you couldn't play the guitar, what would you do?

Torben Enevoldsen: Play the drums! No, seriously, I think I would open up my own store and just sell CD's...

Rough Edge: How does the Internet affect your ability to promote your music?

Torben Enevoldsen: The internet is a big help for promoting music in general I think. With serious sites like yours, the possibilities simply expand tremendously.

Rough Edge: What's in the future for Torben Enevoldsen?

Torben Enevoldsen: Well, in January of this year, I went to Lars Eric Mattsson's studio in Finland, The Lion's Cage, and I recorded "Zantac," which is going to be the bonus track for the re-release of my debut album "Guitarisma," which will be released in a week or so. I also recorded my own version of Jason Becker's "Altitudes" as well as a guest solo for Lars Eric Mattsson's "Outro Jam," which will be released on the Jason Becker Tribute album "Warmth In The Wilderness" this summer. Right now I'm busy writing new material for my next album. I can reveal that this album will be an all vocal effort and that this will be a band project. 

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Copyright © 2001 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 23 Aug 2016 22:57:11 -0400