Morten turns 60

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday to Morten Harket, who turns 60 today, September 14th!

In connection with his birthday and the new book Hjemkomst, he’s on the cover of VG’s weekend magazine today. Inside there’s a 9-page interview by Stein Østbø, with new pictures by Janne Møller-Hansen.

“How I feel about [turning 60]… It’s an inherent process, the body keeps renewing itself. At the same time there’s a program in our system that controls aging. And that program hasn’t been written by us. I have just asked my body to delay the aging process until I’m a bit wiser”, he jokingly tells VG in the interview.

The interview is also available online here (paywall).

Waaktaar-Savoy update: Paul working on new album, Augie doing radio interviews

Picture by JS

Paul has been working in studios in Oslo this summer, on what seems to be a new album.

On 10 July he posted a video from his home studio featuring some new sounds.

Together with former a-ha drummer Per Hillestad he’s also done a few sessions at Studio Paradiso, one in late June and one in late July.

And on 15 August he did a string recording session at Studio Paradiso, featuring the a-ha string trio. The string score was done by Joe Mardin, and the Instagram post was tagged with #waaktaar and #newalbum.

Meanwhile, Augie did a couple of radio interviews last week, to promote his True August debut EP and the current radio single I “Can See You Clearly”. He appeared on NRK P2’s Kulturstripa on 28 August and NRK P13’s Selskapssjuk on 30 August.

Picture by Stian Andersen

On the True August EP, which has been getting great reviews, Paul plays the drums and bass (except for the programmed bass), while all guitar and synth parts were done by Augie. In the P13 interview he was asked what it’s like to work together with his father:

“It’s really cool. He’s a gear freak and really into strange drum machines, weird effects and stuff like that. He knows everything about music gear. So it’s great to get his input.

We listen to totally different music. So taking that gear and using it in a different way, that’s been really fun. There are some music genres that he usually stays away from. He’s not that keen on electronica, rap and stuff like that. So it’s cool to incorporate those influences in the music.

He’s very melodic, but in an indie-music style. Sometimes you want to abandon that and just create a certain atmosphere. That’s something he’s not that used to, so it’s cool to introduce that element.

But I have always assisted with his music as well. In the studio I would sometimes play on a song or come up with some ideas. It’s been a natural thing.”

Augie was also asked to pick one of his favorite tracks written by his father and he chose “Early Morning”.

White Xmas Lies album tracklist

The cover art unwrapped

A press release quoted on Northern Irish music website xsnoize.com has revealed more details about Magne’s upcoming solo album:

“‘White Xmas Lies’ is the third solo album by A-ha co-founder and keyboard player Magne Furuholmen. As the title suggests, it is an album with a different take on Christmas. A melancholic winter album, it consists of fourteen original new songs and two surprising cover versions.”

Although the release date is not mentioned, it will apparently be out on 25 October.

Looking at the full tracklist, the album does include the current single “This Is Now America”, plus what could be a new version of “Differences” (originally recorded by a-ha in 2001) and a cover version of AC/DC’s “Hells Bells”:

  1. There Goes Another Year
  2. The Light We Lost
  3. A Punch-Up On Boxing Day
  4. Caprice Des Dieux
  5. This Is Now America
  6. White Xmas Lies
  7. Differences
  8. Revelation Song
  9. The Season To Be Melancholy
10. Snow Is Falling
11. Dark Days, Dark Nights
12. Hells Bells
13. So Cold It’s Hard To Think
14. A Wintry Silence
15. The Ghost Of Xmas Past
16. Come Back Home

a-ha perform in Tallinn

Morten on stage in Tallinn
(Instagram screenshot)

a-ha were in Tallinn, Estonia this week, to perform at a private event held at the Pirita convent ruins on 29 August, according to Estonian media.

Drummer Karl Oluf Wennerberg posted a picture from the rehearsals, and there was also a picture of Magne, Karl Oluf and Even Ormestad visiting the Tallinn restaurant 180 Degrees.

According to the Estonian news site Elu24.ee, the event was the 50th birthday party of Rina Vosman, the wife of Russian oligarch Oleg Tinkov. Guests included Vladimir Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov and his wife.

A video clip of a-ha performing “Take On Me” in Tallinn has been posted on Instagram here. Oleg Tinkov has also posted a picture of him and his family on stage with Morten.

Also performing at the event was UK singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor. The three-day celebration is reported to have cost around two million euros.

“This is now America” available for streaming/purchase

Single cover

Eight days after posting the song on Instagram, Magne’s new single “This is now America” is now available for streaming and purchase through this link.

Magne has recently signed with Drabant Music, the Oslo-based label that already has Waaktaar & Zoe and Savoy among its roster of artists.

Drabant Music describes “This is now America” as “a single from an upcoming project by Magne Furuholmen”, but it’s not yet clear if this refers to his White Xmas Lies album or something else.

Magne posts new song “This is now America”

Screenshot from Instagram

Magne posted a new solo song called “This is now America” on his Instagram on Thursday, 22 August, along with a home-made lyric video.

The song is a melancholic and poignant look at what America used to be, and what it has become.

In a longer response to one of the Instagram comments, Magne explained some of the background for the song:

“(…) this song is an instinctive artistic response to my own growing concern about our drift towards division and entrenchment – happening all over the place, and on all sides of thinking. if we conclude that the ones who share our opinions are the good guys, and the ones who do not are bad, then we are on a dangerous path.
it could have been written about a great number of places, like my second home great britain, or indeed my native norway…i don’t care much for what is happening here either.
but truth is, what happens in america is just much more important to the world.
(…)
so it came out this way: a lament for an america i think a lot of us are still trying our best to dream about. both inside the country and out.
as an artist i cannot help but express how i feel – about everything around me. this does not mean there is an ambition to push a partiular political agenda, or even advance my own personal views – i am not even sure that i am right half the time. i do however believe in the power of art to open minds – my own as well as those of others.”

Magne’s entire response can be seen here.

The lyric video was directed and edited by Magne’s son Thomas Vincent, with artwork and concept by Magne.

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