Morten on Tørnquist Show

Morten on Tørnquist Show

Morten on Tørnquist Show

Morten is the main guest on this week’s episode of VGTV’s online talkshow Tørnquist Show, which can be viewed at vgtv.no.

Host Einar Tørnquist had talked to some Harket family members in preparation for the interview, which resulted in some unusual questions about Morten’s teenage interests; the caiman he kept in a bathtub, the orchidarium he had in his bedroom and the butterflies he imported from abroad.

He was also asked about the Rock in Rio concert and the hilarious megaphone incident in Salem, 2010.

Meanwhile, the Brother album has entered the German album chart at #11 in its first week, while it’s #62 in Switzerland. And details of the next single “Do You Remember Me?” has been posted on the French site qobuz.com. Apparently it’s released on May 12th, with the same cover image as the UK promo CD.

Brother enters at #1 in Norway

Straight in at number 1

Straight in at number 1

Morten’s new album Brother has entered the Norwegian album chart VG Lista Topp 40 at number 1 today.

This is his fourth solo album to reach number 1 in Norway, following Wild Seed (1995), Letter From Egypt (2008) and Out Of My Hands (2012).

In the UK, the album initially appeared on the midweek chart at #23, but has since fallen down to #32 and then #39.

Update: Brother enters the UK album chart at #56, with first-week sales of 1,461 copies. In comparison, Out Of My Hands sold 3,454 copies in its first week two years ago.

Update II: Brother is “album of the week” on the Ken Bruce show on BBC Radio 2, from 21 – 25 April.

Morten interviewed by Vårt Land and NTB

"This album is a tribute to the diversity among us", Morten tells Vårt Land.

“This album is a tribute to the diversity among us”, Morten tells Vårt Land.

A few additional interviews with Morten have appeared in the Norwegian press today.

In its album review on Friday, the Christian newspaper Vårt Land wrote that “Brother is without a doubt his most existential, wonderingly, even sacral and religious album that he’s made on his own”.

Today’s interview follows up on that notion. Here is one quote:

“Our reviewer feels that the lyrics on this album are deeper than in a long time. Is it your Christian background that shines through?

- Absolutely. I still have the same Christian faith that I grew up with, but I can’t use that as a starting point, because I wish to communicate with people who don’t share the same faith. That means my starting point can’t be that God created us, that Jesus is his son and that he gave his life for us. If I am to communicate, I need to start somewhere else and trust that these things will get across on their own, which I believe they will. I strongly believe that the search process in itself is valuable. It’s the questions that make us spiritual people, not the answers. There are no eternal answers, only eternal questions. Christians will also benefit from questioning everything. Including the scriptures and the history. That will make you a true child of God”, Morten says.

In an interview with NTB, available at dt.no, Morten talks about the upcoming festival tour in the summer and how it turned into more than he first imagined:

“I agreed to do a few, and then it turned into a lot. (…) It will be interesting. I haven’t done many festivals before. And we mostly did our own concerts with a-ha. I said I wanted to give it a try, and now I’m suddenly staring at this really long list”, Morten says with a slightly self-deprecating grin.”

In other news, Morten will be a guest on Sounds of the 80s on BBC Radio 2 on Saturday, April 19th. And a-ha.com has announced plans for a 2014 fan weekend in Oslo on November 14-15, which would include “a fan party on November 14 and an ‘intimate’ concert with Morten”.

New Morten Harket biography in the works

A new biography about Morten is currently in the works, an interview in UK’s Sunday Mercury newspaper revealed today:

Morten is currently working with writer Tom Bromley on his biography and says “It’s been very good, he’s a really nice guy and we have had some interesting sessions. He makes me remember things, makes me see things again”.

He chuckles: “I then read his interpretation of me and attack that and then resurrect it.”

The book does not have a title as yet, although Morten laughingly promises it will have one.

Tom Bromley has previously written books like The Encyclopeadia of Guilty Pleasures and The Weird and Wonderful World of One Hit Wonders, which makes him seem like an odd choice if this is supposed to be a serious biography. He has also written about a-ha in a chapter of his 2012 book Wired for Sound: Now That’s What I Call an Eighties Music Childhood.

On the other hand, Bromley was the one who gave Morten his copy of Maajid Nawaz’ Radical, which resulted in “Brother” being written. “It triggered something in me. It touched me. The guts that guy has, the balls of steel and capacity for depth. It spoke to me”, Morten says of Nawaz’ book.

The Sunday Mercury interview is not available online, but pictures of it have been posted on Twitter: Page 1    Page 2

Also, if you missed yesterday’s interview with Morten on BBC Radio Devon, it’s available on bbc.co.uk (starts at 23:10 mins) until April 19th.

Brother album available now

The CD features cover design by Jeri Heiden and photos by Just Loomis

The CD features cover design by Jeri Heiden and photos by Just Loomis

Morten’s new album Brother is released in Norway, Germany, Austria and Switzerland today. The UK release is on Monday.

Morten spent yesterday meeting the Norwegian press at The Thief hotel in Oslo, which has resulted in interviews in Aftenposten, Dagbladet, Dagsavisen, Adresseavisen and Budstikka today.

There is also a 7-page interview in Dagens Næringsliv’s weekend magazine. It has been posted online at dn.no as well.

Today he’s done more radio promo, starting with Nitimen on NRK P1, where he did an acoustic version of “Do You Remember Me” with Dan Sunhordvik. The interview and performance can be heard on nrk.no. There is also a picture and a video clip from the rehearsals on Nitimen’s Facebook page. Later on he was a guest on Michael Direkte on P4, a few audio clips have been posted on p4.no.

Morten and Dan have also done a live session for VGTV. The performances of “Do You Remember Me” and “There Is A Place” can be viewed at vgtv.no.

Some of the coverage in today's newspapers

Some of the coverage in today’s newspapers

The album reviews are generally favorable, with Aftenposten (5/6) being the most positive so far. “The title track’s longing melancholy, naked sensitivity and timeless reflection on the term identity, sets the standard”, Aftenposten’s reviewer writes. He also mentions the “believable intensity of the songs” and how Morten “has let the music develop naturally and harmonically” this time.

Vårt Land’s reviewer feels it’s “without a doubt his most existential, wonderingly, even sacral and religious album that he’s made on his own”.

Bergens Tidende feels the album is “a step in the right direction”, compared to “the forgettable Out Of My Hands”. Drammens Tidende expects the album to be a commercial success, “because of the many catchy, radio-friendly songs”. Bergensavisen highlights the songs “Whispering Heart”, “Brother” and “There Is A Place”, but feels “the album is a little uneven as a whole”, partly because of the lyrics.

Both VG and Dagbladet (3/6) are rather lukewarm in their reviews. “Brother has been produced to death by the Swede Peter Kvint; who I’m sure is a nice guy, but why should Morten f***in’ Harket work with these anonymous, mediocre collaborators?”, VG’s reviewer asks. Dagbladet feels that the album “starts well, but fades away into a series of semi-ballads that don’t take him anywhere he hasn’t been before”.

Here are all the reviews so far:

Aftenposten (5/6)

Bergens Tidende (4/6)   Bergensavisen (4/6)   Adresseavisen (4/6)
Drammens Tidende (4/6)   Fædrelandsvennen (4/6)

VG (3/6)   Dagbladet (3/6)   Dagsavisen (3/6)

Over on a-ha.com, the Q&A with Peter Kvint has now been posted. “We had fifteen finished songs (written and produced) and out of those we chose the ten songs that made it to the album. Some of the other songs (like “Did I leave you behind”) will be released later in some form”, he says in one answer. Read the whole thing here.

Morten to perform in Trondheim

Another summer concert was announced today; Morten will perform in Trondheim on 31 July, as part of the annual Olavsfestdagene festival.

“Trondheim is a special city with a completely different atmosphere than other cities. It’s good to perform up there every time, whether it’s with a-ha or on my own. I associate Trondheim with the Wild Seed album, which was partly recorded at the Nidaros studio”, Morten tells Adresseavisen.

Tickets are available now from Billettservice.

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