Thorbjorn Englund of Winterlong - Back
1. How did the band get started? How did you meet and how long have you been together?

Thorbjorn Englund: Hi Jeffrey nice hearing from you, Thorbjorn Englund here!

Well the band Winterlong has actually been a band since the early school-days, only under different names during the years...

For me the guitar-playing has always been equally important as the songs themselves so this is something that has always been around, and eventhough all the old members nowadays are replaced I still do my thing with Winterlong. The first album Valley of the lost (2001) was very popular and is concidered a great debute-album by many, but I prefere to look to the future nowadays as the whole concept and the sound of the band now is a bit different from the early days.... I guess the approach to "more compact" songwriting and lyrics with sense came about more this time than ever before.

2. How would you describe your music?

Thorbjorn Englund: I´d describe our music as powerful and melodic metal, with lots of heavy drumming and guitars - NOT AS ALL THE OTHERS. This last sentence is maybe something everyone and every band tries to put in somewhere more or less to stick out, but this is actually THE CASE with Winterlong, cuz if you hear Winterlong once you will never mistake it for something else. I am proud to say we have managed to achieve a very personal sound, and especially for this one "The second coming".

3. What are your biggest influences?

Thorbjorn Englund: The influences on my music and compositions are many! I grew up with Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, and also of course bands like WASP, KISS and Black Sabbath etc etc....(love ´em all) so the list is almost endless when it comes to that, but I think the most "visible" ones (strange word for music) must be Helloween, Yngwie and Priest, and of course Iron Maiden.

The main influence on my solos however I´d say comes from the Maestro Yngwie! There is no reason to hide that, or to say that I am somekind of "prophet" when it comes to guitarplaying, cuz down to the bone, doesn´t 90 percent of all powermetal-solos today remind you of Yngwie? I think they do, and I (like few, I guess) can´t see why that would be so negative. I have heard numerous "guitarplayers" saying this or that about the neoclassical way of soloing, and that "it sounds like a Malmsteen-clone", so what?? I´d say that the man created something very special, he´s a true innovator, and I think that if you really like a special kind of style, in my case Yngwies style, then why not make it your way and play it, expose it - the style you like?! So my biggest influence in soloing is definitly mainly Malmsteen, but also Joe Satriani, -he is incredible, as well as Kee Marcello and Marty Friedman, and I also like the violinplayer Vanessa Mae very much!

4. What influence do you think your bands has in music and metal today?

Thorbjorn Englund: As I mentioned before I think that the new wave of powermetal that we have been seeing a couple of years now is very much influenced by musicians like Yngwie and Helloween. As for other styes, like this neo-metal-thing I don´t know really, and I don´t wanna know.... hehe, no seriously I respect all artists who creates with passion, and If some feel their hearts belong to neo or rap-metal that´s great, cuz the music-world needs to loop in the famous cycle and blend with different styles to create new things. The boring thing, and sad, is that nowadays most of the mega-star "one hit wonders" are just that, and if you´re only in it for the money and the glory you are overlooking the important thing with music, it´s an artform that should not be misused, I think personally.

5. What made you want to be in the band? And if you weren’t in the band what would you be doing now?

Thorbjorn Englund: I have always known my purpose, and that is to be a musician and a bandmember in a great band. When we were younger we had school-bands here and there and played little gigs and stuff like that all around, and this turned out to be what we stuck to and now we can´t ever imagine a life without music.

I have been making music since I was six years old, but the actual career started more or less three years back...

It was in the cold nordic winter in the year 2000 me and my former bass-player Erik Tornberg recorded a guitar-oriented demo with 13 songs which we later sent to various record-labels all around the world. (We had at the time a break with the band) The anwers we got from the labels were all more or less positive. We got some offers, but turned them down. Then we got connected with LionMusic, and had some talks and they thought our music was interesting and well worth to bet on, so we collected our band again and went to Åland in Finland to record the "Valley of the lost"-album, which turned out to be very successful!

If I wouldn´t be in the band, which nowadays IS me, or if I wouldn´t have the music I´d probably be something else creative, like a painter or an actor..... I don´t know, but I just have this constant need of creating something...

6. Are any band members in side projects? If so what are they, and explain a little about them.

Thorbjorn Englund: Currently I´d say I am very very buisy, in the studio! Eventhough I´ve just completed "The second coming" there´s no room for rest since I am currently working/writing on the next Starqueen album together with the Starqueen -Stella Tormanoff, as well as I´m composing and writing for a future solo-album parallel with everything, so I´ve got plenty of work ahead I´d say...

As for the other members on the Second coming both the drummers we hired for the album has their permanent bands, Anders Johansson has Hammerfall and projects a little here and there and Andreas Lill has got his band Vanden Plas, and as well as the keyboardplayer Mistheria who has his solo-album going on right now.

I talked to Mikael my new singer the other day, and he has also got some side-projects going on together with LionMusic.

I think it´s great to work with different things, cuz that keeps you up and running.

7. What current bands do you like or respect?

Thorbjorn Englund: I´d say Hammerfall is a splendid band, and they are playing very great metal! I really respect those guys.

Others..... Rhapsody, Masterplan, EdGuy etc etc..... there are lots of great bands out there, and not to forget my old bandmates who are still making great music.

8. How many demos/albums do you have? Tell me about them!!

Thorbjorn Englund: Up to date - three albums, and out of those three two are Winterlong-albums, the other one is Starqueen -Faithbringer which is a great and solid album. And of course there are lots of guest-appearances and "tribute-songs" I have done here and there, actually two tracks are coming out from LionMusic soon, with Winterlong we are making a version of Deep Purple´s Highway Star, and the other one is Uli Jon Roth´s Indian Dawn which will both appear on tribute-albums.

The first Winterlong album is still today I feel a great album, as well as the Starqueen-album, cuz I´d never make anything half-serious, so therefore I am also proud to look back at what I have created.

By the way, check out Starqueen, the female singer Stella Tormanoff is just incredible!

9. What demo/album do you like the best?

Thorbjorn Englund: I´d say all three, hehe...

10. What is the meaning behind the songs?

Thorbjorn Englund: This was a tricky question Jeff! It of course depends on the vibes and everything around at the moment of writing, but it is always very serious and somekind of thought and meaning behind them, expecially on The second coming which contains more "down to earth"-lyrics. Since we live in a world where everything is REAL and not just about dungeons and dragons I have this time approached my songwriting a little more to what´s going on on this planet. Not always of course, but it is sometimes horrible enough to write about the world as it is instead of searching lyrics and rimes among demons and wizards.

11. What are the bands favorite songs?

Thorbjorn Englund: On the new album "The second coming" my personal favourites are "In worlds of illustions" and "Ride into the skies".
I don´t know about the opinion of other bandmembers.

12. What does the future hold for the band?

Thorbjorn Englund: Lots! I think Winterlong will be a band to reccon with for the future, and we´ll struggle on in the metal-scene!

13. If you could play with any band who would it be and why?

Thorbjorn Englund: Hard to say..... No requests really, but it would be great to do something together with guys like Kee Marcello or Ia Eklundh, both great Swedish guitarplayers... Eklundh is by the way the most incredible jaw-dropping player I have ever heard, he amazes me everytime I hear him. Check out his band - Freak Kitchen, you won´t believe what a human can do with a guitar. Stunning.

And of course I´d like to play with Yngiwe. As a matter of fact I have been playing guitar with Manowar at a concert, and our band once opened up for John Norum, so that was a great experience!

14. Who writes the majority of the music?

Thorbjorn Englund: In the early daze we more or less came to split it, but that came very natural at that point since each of us always had some pieces here and there to contribute with to paint the whole picture. On "the Second coming" however I wrote everything, all music all lyrics arrangements etc..

15. Where did you get the band name from?

Thorbjorn Englund: The name Winterlong actually was the name of a rockband here in our hometown in Sweden ages ago, and once when we were younger and speculative about a great name for the group, the frontfigure of that retired local band "Stebbe" heard our discussion and suggested Winterlong, and so it was. It is a very suitabel name actually since the winter is very very long here in the north of Sweden, and very cold...... by the way; you can hear me reflect my thoughts on the winter in "wild winter nights" on the new album. Brrrrr.....

Thank you Jeff for your time, and keep up the great work!!

And to all our fans; Check out Winterlong, The second coming, from lionmusic.com.

Also my website at www.thorbjornenglund.com

Cheers!
Thorbjorn Englund.