New concert dates

Tour ad

Tour ad

Two new dates on a-ha’s Cast In Steel Tour 2016 were announced this week:

  • 31 March: Heineken Music Hall, Amsterdam, Holland
  • 1 April: Le Zenith, Paris, France

This will be the 12th a-ha concert in Paris since 1986, and the 5th a-ha concert in Amsterdam since 1993.

The total number of concerts on next year’s Cast In Steel Tour is now 17, with many additional dates expected to be added.

Tickets for Paris and Amsterdam are available now from gdp.fr and ticketmaster.nl.

Morten and Magne attend Echo Awards

Echo Awards

Echo Awards

Morten and Magne attended the 24th Annual Echo Awards in Berlin on Thursday night (March 26th), to present the award for Best German Music Blu-ray or DVD.

“I thought we were here to get a prize for ‘most comebacks in a band history'”, Magne joked on stage, before presenting the Echo award to Helene Fischer for her live DVD Farbenspiel – Live aus München.

A video clip of Morten and Magne on stage can be seen at ardmediathek.de.

Two short interviews with them before the show have been posted on YouTube here and here. Plus a clip of Morten signing a few autographs here.

Paul was unable to join the others at the award show, as he had a flight to catch earlier in the day. But all three of them did appear together on Wednesday night (March 25th), as they attended the Echo Award 2015 Charity Dinner at Grill Royal. Some pictures of a-ha arriving can be seen at gettyimages.de and purestars.de.

And if you missed the a-ha press conference on Wednesday, a new 24-minute video of the band in conversation with Tom Bromley has been posted on YouTube.

The ticket pre-sale for the 2016 Cast In Steel a-ha tour in Germany, Switzerland and Austria started yesterday, while the general sale starts on Monday, March 30th. Visit a-ha.com for info on how to buy tickets.

New a-ha album and tour: Cast In Steel

a-ha at today's press conference in Berlin

a-ha at today’s press conference in Berlin

a-ha will release a brand new studio album called Cast In Steel on 4 September 2015.
They will also do an international tour next year, in support of the album.

This was announced at a press conference at the Norwegian Embassy in Berlin today, which was streamed live on several Norwegian news sites.

After a photo session, Morten, Magne and Paul sat down with writer Tom Bromley to discuss the new album. Bromley started by quoting some lyrics from one of the new songs called “Open Face”: “It’s been some time since we’ve spoken / guess you’re wondering how I’ve been”.

“The songs I’ve heard so far are fantastic”, Bromley said of the new material.

"The making of our album has so far been such an uplifting experience", Paul says.

Paul: “The making of our album has so far been such an uplifting experience”.

Paul: “There are so many ways to make music now, you can make a very professional product on just a computer or whatever. For me it was very important to step away from that and make everything handmade. There is nothing on this album that is from a drum library or a preset, everything is made from scratch.”

Some of the work on Cast In Steel so far has involved an old collaborator from the 80s, British producer Alan Tarney:

Paul: “He did the first three albums. I just always felt that he really understood our thing, you know. We did a show at Royal Albert Hall and I invited him for that. He sat next to my parents and said: ‘I’m the one they used to quarrell with in the 80s’. He knows us from before we were us. So it’s kinda cool to go back to him. You can set back the time and make it a little more naive again. It’s all about just the song, how that chorus hits and how Morten sounds in it. He’s got a lot of knowledge about music. He’s just got that no-nonsense feel that I like and respect a lot. So it’s been great to be in contact with him again, and I hope he can be a part of this album.”

Magne: "It is a really unexpected pleasure to be writing songs for Morten’s voice again".

Magne: “It is a really unexpected pleasure to be writing songs for Morten’s voice again”.

Magne: “It may be worth interjecting that Paul is the one who’s been working with Alan. We’ve worked in very different ways, which is not something that’s new to us. We have made quite a few albums like this, where we are based in different places, working on our own material – but with a-ha as the overriding factor. I think the main difference now is that Morten, through his work over the last few years, has found a center for his creativity – mainly in Stockholm, I would say. So we’ve had three camps shaping an album, where the left hand hasn’t really known what the right hand has been doing – which isn’t new, but has been embraced slightly different this time. I think there are colours and differences on this album that may not necessarily fall into that warm, handmade version. I certainly have to own up to using some presets and drum machines on this one! But I think to a certain degree, it’s the type of album we can make at this point. Part of the reality is that we live very different and separate lives. But a-ha is a legacy that we have together, it’s a common fate. And we can run as far away from it as we want to, but it’s always there. Every day you’re reminded of it.”

Morten: "I knew sitting down with Paul and Magne, that this would be a real genuine effort".

Morten: “I knew sitting down with Paul and Magne, that this would be a real genuine effort”.

Morten: “As you may understand, the album, Cast In Steel, is being molded today – as we speak. We don’t know exactly how it’s going to turn out either. There’s a lot of songs to look into, and productions and directions to sort of taste your way through. So it’s very much still in the mold. But it’s also taking shape. We know very well what we’re sitting on, but we’re curious where it’s going to land.”

Morten: “To walk on stage at Rock in Rio and not do anything new, feels very wrong. It doesn’t mean that we’ll use it as a stage to present a lot of new material. But not to have anything that is *now*, feels just wrong.”

In addition to Rock in Rio, a-ha will also be embarking on an international tour next year, in support of the new album.

Paul: “I’m really hoping we can introduce a lot of the new stuff into the set. We have released maybe 30 singles, but we have to carve space for the new stuff as well.”

Fifteen tour dates in Germany, Austria and Swizerland in April 2016 were announced today, with pre-sales starting this Friday. But the band will be touring South America before that, according to Paul.

The whole press conference can be viewed again at tv2.no.

And read the full press release about the comeback on the re-designed a-ha.com.

a-ha’s own thoughts on the reunion

Morten in Stockholm, Magne in Edinburgh and Paul in New York. Photographed for Dagbladet Magasinet, March 2015.

Morten in Stockholm, Magne in Edinburgh and Paul in New York.
Photographed for Dagbladet Magasinet, March 2015.

Here are a few more selected quotes from yesterday’s 10-page Dagbladet article, in which the members of a-ha talk about their surprising reunion:

Morten: “It’s always interesting to hear what Paul has come up with. There were no thoughts of an a-ha reunion at the back of our minds, it was just his songs, my vocals, whatever. The idea was simple. We wanted to build a collection of songs, for possible use here or there. It would have been much harder to explain why I *wouldn’t* have agreed to something like that.”

Paul: “It’s like we were right back in the cabin at Nærsnes, where it all began [in 1982]. ‘Here’s a tune, you wanna lay down some vocals?’ Back to square one.”

Morten: “We could talk a lot about the reasons behind the reunion, but for me it’s actually very simple. I simply feel like doing it.”

Paul: “Everything has been turned on its head in this business. A comeback is something you’re quite simply expected to do. When we say that we’ve disbanded, they’ll go: ‘Sure, but when are you getting back together?'”.

Magne: “The prospect of Rio made me want to join. I’m not particularly looking forward to being on stage in Rio, but I’m looking forward to having done it. The concert will be a celebration of both a-ha and Rock in Rio. I would have been OK with doing just one concert, but once I had made up my mind, I was 100 percent committed. Suddenly I was writing songs with Morten’s voice in mind. It’s fun to be thinking ‘what can I contribute to a-ha in 2015?’. I never thought I would be in that position again.”

Paul: “Re-entering the stage at Rock in Rio, that will be quite a steep learning curve. But I hope we can use it to showcase different sides of the band, and that we’re able to surprise both the fans and ourselves.”

Paul: “I’m the one who didn’t want to end the band in the first place. But now I’m very happy that it turned out the way it did. As a travelling musician you’re not always where you should be. Now I’ve had a few years with more time on my hands, which means I’ve been able to be there for Augie.”

Morten: “On a purely social level, it would probably have been good for us to just go on the road and celebrate with old material. But that’s not something we’re very good at. We need to create new material. But this time it has to happen in a way that we’re comfortable with, like a good opportunity in our lives.”

Magne: “I’m interested to see if this triggers me to do something I wouldn’t have done otherwise. And it does. It’s creatively rewarding, and I’m thankful for that. Thank you, a-ha, for locking your jaws around my leg one more time.”

Paul: “If we’re not able to return with good material, that’s unfortunate of course. But I haven’t thought much about that possibility, because in my head it was never over.”

The whole article is available at dagbladet.no (subscribers only).

It’s official: a-ha are reuniting!

They are back again - and not just in Rio! (Photo by Jakob)

They are back again – and not just in Rio!
(Photo by Jakob)

Although the Berlin press conference isn’t until Wednesday, the big news is already out: the members of a-ha have signed a new deal which commits them to at least two years of new a-ha activities.

Jan Omdahl has done an extensive 10-page comeback interview with the band, which is printed in Dagbladet‘s weekend magazine today.

“I believed and wanted a-ha to be a finished chapter. But it’s possible to change your mind. I said it was over, but I was wrong”, Magne says in the interview.

It all started with Paul testing out a few of his songs together with Morten, just to see if some of it could be used in various settings. But it turned into something more.

“When Morten and Paul started talking about working together again, I had three options: refusing it altogether, let them do it without me, or join them. Refusing to join them didn’t feel right”, Magne says.

The three of them are currently working on new a-ha material. One of the new songs is called “Mythomania” and was written by Magne.

“I feel I have a few killer songs ready, that could potentially turn into a really good album. But there are always a few adjustments made when we get together. (…) All of us like to be a bit bossy, so we must try to end up in a position where we don’t ruin things for ourselves”, Paul says.

In addition to recording a lot of new material with Morten recently, Paul has also written and recorded at least 50-60 songs in the last few years.

“Me and Lauren have a new Savoy album almost ready, while my own solo album is all finished. I have also written and produced an album with Jimmy Gnecco’s daughter, Zoe, which I’m hoping will be relased later this year.”

a-ha to make announcement at Berlin press conference

Back in December 2014, a-ha announced the Rock in Rio concert. Now they have more to tell us...

Back in December 2014, a-ha announced the Rock in Rio concert. Now they have more to tell us…

The German music site musikexpress.de reports that a-ha will hold a press conference at the Norwegian Embassy in Berlin next Wednesday, March 25th, to make a major announcement.

a-ha’s record company Universal and their media partners ProSiebenSat.1 Group have invited the press to the event, using the tagline “A-ha has something to say”.

Update: rollingstone.de is speculating that a-ha may announce a new album and tour at the press conference. The German concert promoter Peter Rieger is apparently also involved in staging the event, where the band will be speaking about “the past, present and future”.

a-ha have previously held two press conferences at the Norwegian Embassy in Berlin. In 2002, to present the Lifelines album, and in 2009, to present the Foot of the Mountain album.

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