Archive for 2009

“Inside the mind of a-ha”

Picture from Dagbladet

Dagbladet has an interesting interview with Magne and Paul today, where they talk in detail about the new direction they have taken with the new album.

“Foot Of The Mountain is an album which makes its mark in a good way, there is more vitality here than in a long time. The album can almost be heard as a tribute to the original idea of a-ha”, Magne says in the interview.

A full English translation is now available here.

Press conference in Berlin

ABC Nyheter reports that a-ha will be holding a press conference at the Norwegian embassy in Berlin next Thursday, 11 June.

This is not the first time a-ha are doing a press conference at the Norwegian embassy. They did the same back in 2002, to promote the release of the Lifelines album.

 
I mentioned yesterday that the download version of the new album would be available on Platekompaniet.no in Norway three days before the CD release. But someone has changed their mind, and the album won’t be available for download until 15 June, the same day as the CD.

But not to worry, as it seems that the whole album will be streamed for free on Universal Norway’s website this coming Monday, June 8th.

 
Some chart updates:
“Foot Of The Mountain” enters the Austrian single chart at number 28, while it enters the Swiss single chart at number 33.

Signing session in Oslo

a-ha will sign copies of their new album Foot Of The Mountain at Oslo City shopping center on Monday, 15 June at 17.00.

This will take place at the same Platekompaniet record store where Morten did his Letter From Egypt signing session last year.

And Platekompaniet’s online store will have the new album available for download in Norway three days before the CD is released. June 12th at 12.00, to be precise.

Chart success in Germany

Some great news from Germany:
a-ha.com reports that “Foot Of The Mountain” has entered the official German Top 100 single chart at number 3!

This is the highest single entry in Germany for a-ha since “Take On Me” in 1985, and is a result of a big promotional campaign, lots of radio airplay and two high-profile TV-performances.

In Norway the single remains at number 4 on the airplay chart in its fourth week, while it re-enters the single chart at number 17.

More video clips

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Amazon.de has posted a small video clip of a-ha to promote the new album. It can be seen here.

Foot Of The Mountain is currently number 3 on Amazon.de’s Top 100 bestselling music chart, ten days before the album is released.

Over on YouTube there is a clip of a-ha meeting the German band Reamonn and its lead singer Rea Garvey backstage at “The Dome” in Munich on 22 May. You may remember Reamonn as one of the support bands during the German leg of the “Minor Earth | Major Sky”-tour back in 2000.

And here is a short clip from “Taff”, backstage at “Germany’s Next Top Model” on 21 May.

BTW, the “Foot Of The Mountain” music video is currently set to premiere on German television on 11 June.

“The Dome” and “All Star Mr & Mrs”

Morten and Paul on “The Dome”

a-ha’s performance of “Foot Of The Mountain” on the German TV-show “The Dome” was broadcast on RTL2 last night.

It can be seen on YouTube here.

 

Morten and Inez’ appearance on the UK TV-show “All Star Mr & Mrs” was also broadcast last night on ITV.

They ended up scoring 3 out of 9 correct answers, and decided to donate their £5000 to the Norwegian Refugee Council.

A video of the show is available here.

 

Two upcoming a-ha specials on German TV have been announced:
– 19 June: WE LOVE in Concert: a-ha – “Foot of the Mountain” (Pro7)
– 28 June: Music Special: “a-ha Documentary – Foot Of The Mountain” (Sat1)

 

And the Norwegian release date of the album has also been changed now – it will be out on 15 June.

a-ha doing mini-concert in Oslo

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a-ha will headline the annual VG-lista Topp 20 summer show in Oslo on 19 June. Other artists performing include Alexander Rybak, Lene Marlin, BigBang and Aqua.

“We are especially proud to get a visit from a-ha, who will do their own mini-concert as part of the VG-chart show. We are also expecting many visitors from abroad when the biggest Norwegian band ever enters the stage”, Thomas Christiansen from VG says.

The show, which is held outdoors at Rådhusplassen (City Hall Square), always draws a big crowd. “Featuring the best package of artists ever, we’re ready to match the audience record of 100.000 people from 2006”, Christiansen says.

It is not known if a-ha will play live or just use playback, as Morten did when he performed on the show in 2008.

The whole show is broadcast live on NRK1 on 19 June, and is repeated on the same channel the following day. The show is also usually broadcast live on NRK’s web-TV and P3 radio.

 
It has also been announced that the new album will now be released one week earlier than planned in Germany. The new release date is 12 June.

The UK, however, will get the album one week later than what the recent press release stated. The new UK release date is 20 July, while the single is released on 13 July. An updated overview of all release dates can be found on a-ha.com.

Album samples and Brisant report

a-ha on Brisant

30-second audio samples of all ten songs on the upcoming album are now available on Amazon.de.

And the “Brisant” report which was originally scheduled to air last Friday was shown on SAT1 today. Although most of the footage is from 2005, we also get a glimpse from the FOTM video shoot in Berlin last week.

The “Brisant” clip can be seen on YouTube here.

a-ha to perform in London, June 5

a-ha are set to perform at the 2009 Arqiva Commercial Radio Awards in London next Friday, June 5.

According to Billboard, “the 14th annual radio awards will be held at the Royal Lancaster Hotel and hosted by Absolute Radio DJ Christian O’Connell. The event, organized by U.K. industry body RadioCentre, recognizes excellence and talent in the commercial radio industry.

 

Chart positions for “Foot Of The Mountain” in Norway so far:

Hit 40
(radio airplay)

Week 19: #37
Week 20: #4
Week 21: #4

Topp 20
(single sales)

Week 20: #14
Week 21: #15

And be sure to read these interesting new interviews on a-ha.com:
Martin Kvamme on the new a-ha cover designs
Short interview with Karl Oluf Wennerberg

Dagbladet interview

Picture from Dagbladet

Dagbladet has an interview with a-ha in today’s paper edition.

They talk about the new album, the new music video and promotion plans.

Morten says about the new album:
This album represents a clear decision when it comes to choosing a specific direction. We have tried to limit ourselves and returned to a more synth-based sound. That’s been a wonderful thing to do. I see it as a revitalization of us as band.

A full translation of the Dagbladet interview is now available here.

TV-performance: “The Dome”

Morten on stage in Munich last night.

a-ha performed “Foot Of The Mountain” at the 50th edition of the music show “The Dome” last night, which was taped at the Olympiahalle in Munich.

Other acts performing included the Norwegian Eurosong-winner Alexander Rybak, Black Eyed Peas and Pet Shop Boys.

The show will be broadcast on RTL2 on 30 May.

And “Foot Of The Mountain” is included on a double CD called The Dome Vol.50, which is released in connection with the show on 29 May. The song is also included on a 3-CD limited edition version of the release.

TV-performance: “Germany’s Next Top Model”

a-ha performing in Cologne tonight

a-ha performed “Foot Of The Mountain” at the big finale of “Germany’s Next Top Model” tonight, in front of 15.000 people in the audience at the Lanxess Arena in Cologne.

The show, hosted by Heidi Klum, was also watched live on TV by millions.

Several clips of a-ha’s performance are now up on YouTube.
(Thanks to the uploaders!)

UK release details

A press release posted on Bandweblogs.com reveals that the upcoming album Foot Of The Mountain will be released in the UK on 13 July. And the single gets a UK release the week before, July 6.

Paul says about the single lyrics:
It’s the dilemma of loving a city life, yet secretly wondering if we’d be happier being surrounded by open fields and sweeping mountains.

Saunders producing

Producer Mark Saunders provides some info about the new album on the blog of Beat360 Studios:

Late last year Mark worked on A-Ha’s eagerly anticipated next record ‘Foot of the mountain’ at both Water Music studios in Hoboken, Jersey as well as our own BEAT360 facility in Manhattan. This last week it has been confirmed that Mark is credited producer on four of the album tracks. ‘Riding the crest’ ‘Real Meaning’ ‘What there is’ and ‘Sunny Mystery’. The record is to be released sometime in June and the guys play a number of arena tours throughout Europe later in the year.

Some additional info about the album:
Paul has written 4 of the songs, while Magne and Paul have co-written 5 songs.

Album tracklist

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Here is the Foot of the Mountain album tracklist, as posted on a-ha.com:

1. The Bandstand
2. Riding The Crest
3. What There Is
4. Foot Of The Mountain
5. Real Meaning
6. Shadowside
7. Nothing Is Keeping You Here
8. Mother Nature Goes To Heaven
9. Sunny Mystery
10. Start The Simulator
 
 

Interview on Breakfast TV

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a-ha were interviewed on Sat1’s “Frühstücksfernsehen” (Breakfast TV) this morning.

The interview was actually taped yesterday, followed by interviews for the “Foot Of The Mountain” EPK-package and the Berlin-part of the music video shoot, which lasted all through the night.

 

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Magne about the music video:
It’s gonna be just a kind of an abstract take on the song, spliced together between two parts. One has a kind of more urban outlook, and one has a kind of longing for more open space. And I think it’s nice to incorporate that into the video. And it will sort of strengthen the two elements of the music.

 

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Paul about the new album:
We’ve sort of taken a different approach from the last two albums. A little bit…picking up some of our earlier electronic dabblings. So I think it’s a pretty good collection of music.

Thanks to Verni on the German forum, the 3-part interview is now up on YouTube:
Part 1     Part 2     Part3

 

A report from the music video shoot will be shown on the entertainment news show “Brisant” on Friday, May 22. The show airs on Das Erste/ARD.

Today the guys went to Cologne to start preparing for tomorrows performance on “Germany’s Next Top Model” at the Lanxess Arena.

Be sure to check a-ha’s updates on Twitter. One recent message says that the album master and artwork were delivered to the record company today. And the album tracklist is coming soon…

“Foot of the Mountain” video shoot

Morten, Olaf Heine and crew members taking a break.

a-ha are shooting the music video for “Foot Of The Mountain” in Germany today and tomorrow, with the German director Olaf Heine.

Today they were on the East coast, where updates and pictures from the video shoot appeared on a-ha’s Twitter page.

Tomorrow they will continue working on the video in Berlin.

And some new promotional pictures are now being published. They were taken in Brazil back in March by Stian Andersen:

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The week continues with TV-promotion:
– 20 May: “Frühstücksfernsehen” (Breakfast TV – broadcast on Sat1)
– 21 May: “Germany’s Next Top Model”, Lanxess Arena, Cologne (broadcast live on Pro7)
– 22 May: “The Dome”, Munich (broadcast 30 May on RTL 2)

“Foot Of The Mountain” album cover

A first look at the cover of the new album, designed by Martin Kvamme:

Album cover

Stavanger video clip + German TV-ad

Morten performing at EVS 24

Morten performing at EVS 24

Stavanger Aftenblad has a video clip where you can see Morten performing “A Change Is Gonna Come” as part of EVS 24 at Stavanger Forum earlier today.

Among the audience were Crown Prince Haakon Magnus of Norway and Prince Albert of Monaco.

Morten recorded his own version of this Sam Cooke-classic back in 1995, and has performed it live a few times since then.

From the TV-ad

From the TV-ad

A new TV-ad for “Foot Of The Mountain” is being shown on German TV at the moment. There isn’t any new footage in the ad, but it’s good to see some promotion going on. The TV-ad can be seen here.

Universal Germany has also set up a new official site in connection with the new album:
www.footofthemountain.de

Morten at EVS 24 in Stavanger + video news

"I'm interested in all kinds of new environmental technology", Morten says. Here with Harald Røstvik at StatoilHydro's stand.

“I’m interested in all kinds of new environmental technology”,
Morten says. Here with Harald Røstvik at StatoilHydro’s stand.

Morten is currently at EVS 24 (a world congress and exhibition for electric, hybrid and fuel cell vehicles), which is being held in Stavanger, Norway this year.

As previously reported, he is scheduled to do a short live performance tomorrow morning. But he will also do a longer set tonight, according to Stavanger Aftenblad.

VG talked to Morten earlier today, as he was given a private tour of the exhibition area to see new environmental technology.

Our society is so slow. The environmental problems that we’re concerned about today are more or less the same things we already knew about 25 years ago. We could have taken the necessary measures back then“, Morten told VG.

In 1989, Morten together with Magne Furuholmen, Harald Røstvik and the environmental foundation Bellona, brought the first electric car to Norway.

But he feels that there hasn’t been enough development happening since then.

Things are still not sufficiently facilitated [for electric cars]. What matters is what the rest of the world and Norway does. There needs to be a pressure from the government which can lead to better environmental technology in cars.

 
In other news, some of you have been wondering if there will be a music video for “Foot Of The Mountain”. It has now been confirmed that they will be shooting the video next week in Germany.

Watch Morten and Pia

Morten and Pia Tjelta on stage, May 7th

Morten and Pia Tjelta on stage, May 7th

Morten and actress Pia Tjelta, accompanied by Kjetil Bjerkestrand on piano, performed the Everly Brothers song “Let It Be Me” at the opening of Eger shopping center in Oslo tonight.

Morten told Dagbladet that they had recently performed the song together at a private party, and when Pia later sent him a text message and asked if he wanted to perform it again at tonight’s opening he was impressed by her initiative.

Morten and Pia

Morten and Pia

Pia is easy to work with and eager to accomplish things. She is curious in a good way“, Morten said of his duet partner.

Morten has performed “Let It Be Me” alone and together with others many times before.

When asked today why this particular tune was chosen, Morten said:
The guitar I’m playing was a gift from Phil Everly. I sometimes use that as an explanation [for playing “Let It Be Me”]. And this is an Everly Brothers classic. It’s actually an even older French song. But they made it famous. And it’s always been a good song.

Videos of the performance and video interviews with Morten and Pia can be seen at VG.no and Dagbladet.no.

Morten to sing with Pia Tjelta

Morten and Pia Tjelta

Morten and Pia Tjelta

VG reports that Morten Harket and Pia Tjelta will appear on stage together for the first time on Thursday night (May 7th).

They will perform a duet at the opening of Eger shopping center at Egertorget in Oslo

It’s correct that Morten and Pia will be singing together. But what they’ll be singing is still a secret“, organizer Runar Vatne tells VG.

31-year-old Pia Tjelta is one of Norway’s most popular actresses, known from numerous roles in films and on stage. But like Morten, she started out in a Ten Sing choir and has also been singing with various bands. Tjelta is currently doing the musical Les Miserables in Oslo.

Morten to perform in Stavanger

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Morten is set to appear at EVS 24 – The 24th International Battery, Hybrid & Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle Symposium and Exhibition, which is being held in Stavanger from 13 – 16 May.

He will be performing a few songs live at the Stavanger Forum conference centre on May 14th. According to the program on the event’s website, a ten-minute performance has been scheduled between 10:30-10:40.

EVS 24 is a world congress and exhibition for electric, hybrid and fuel cell vehicles, with participants from 40 countries. Among the celebrities attending are Crown Prince Haakon Magnus of Norway and Prince Albert of Monaco.

Harald Røstvik, who is the chairman of the organising committee, is a good friend of Morten and they have worked together on renewable energy projects in the past.

In other news, it has been confirmed that Morten and his girlfriend Inez will be contestants on the UK game show All Star Mr & Mrs, which airs on ITV1.

The show was taped on 25 April, but the exact air date is not yet known.

Concert dates, album title and more

Magne and Morten in Chiswick, London last night

Magne and Morten in Chiswick, London last night

The upcoming concert dates in Germany and Norway are revealed in an interview with Magne and Morten in today’s paper edition of VG.

And the album title will be the same as the single: Foot Of The Mountain.

Read all the details plus Magne and Morten’s refreshing take on Norwegian journalists in a translation of the interview here.

Harald Wiik on “Foot of the Mountain” and concerts in Norway

a-ha manager Harald Wiik talks to Dagsavisen in another interview today. Here’s parts of it translated:

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It only took a few hours from a-ha had finished their new single, until it had been sent to radio stations across Europe. The band is now planning a new album and a big concert in Oslo.

On Thursday night a-ha were satisfied with a version of the new song “Foot Of The Mountain”. On Friday morning Harald Wiik brought the song to the Universal office – who liked the song so much that they decided to send it out as a single immediately. On Friday afternoon the song premiered on Norwegian radio – and was at the same time sent out to radio stations across the whole of Europe.

This is the right way of doing it in 2009. There was demand for a new a-ha single from radio stations all over Europe. That’s why we decided to distribute it immediately“, a-ha manager Harald Wiik says.

The quick release came as a surprise to many people, including Wiik himself, who didn’t have more details about the new album ready for publication when the song was distributed yesterday.

The name of the album has not been decided yet, but we’re assuming that it will be released on 19 June“, Wiik says.

The album will be released simultaneously in more than 20 European countries.

(…)

During the autumn, they are planning several big concerts in Norway.

We have had many offers to do concerts in Norway, and they will be confirmed within the next week. There will be concerts in Oslo sometime in October/November“, Harald Wiik says.
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New a-ha single – “Foot Of The Mountain”

Single cover

Single cover

In a surprising move, a-ha and Universal Music decided to release the first single from the new album to radio stations in Norway today.

They are currently in the studio, and the single was finished last night“, a-ha manager Harald Wiik tells Dagbladet. “We have to turn around quickly, that’s how it’s become in this business“.

We took a decision very quickly, and saw no reason to wait“, he adds to Bergens Tidende.

“Foot Of The Mountain” was written by Magne and Paul, and is basically Magne’s solo song “The Longest Night” from 2008 with a new chorus.
It’s been produced by Roland Spremberg, who co-produced Minor Earth | Major Sky back in 2000. The mixing was done by Steve Osborne at Real World Studios and it was mastered at Metropolis in London.

The single will be available to buy on either 4 May or 11 May, I think. And the new album is set to be released on 22 June“, Wiik says.

a-ha will continue to work on the new album, using studios in Oslo, Stockholm og New York.

The press release is available on a-ha.com, and “Foot Of The Mountain” can be heard here.

 
In other news, a-ha will appear on a few German TV-shows next month – presumably performing the new single:

22 May: “The Dome”, RTL2 (taped in Munich)
30 May: “Germany’s next Topmodel” – final, Pro7 (taped in Cologne)

Single and tour update

Jenn on the German forum provided a few updates today (loosely translated):

– The first single is not one of the three songs that have been performed live.
But the song title is yet to be confirmed. Info about the radio premiere will hopefully follow soon.

-The German tour dates for October have now been set, and will be announced at the beginning of May.

Santiago concert

a-ha in Santiago (Picture by Carlos Muller)

a-ha in Santiago
(Picture by Carlos Muller)

a-ha played the last concert of their South American mini-tour yesterday, when they headlined the fifth day of the Pepsi Music Festival in Santiago, Chile, playing for an audience of more than 14.000 people at the Movistar Arena.

After Blondie and Rick Astley had finished their sets, a-ha came on stage after midnight.

A short video clip of “Living A Boy’s Adventure Tale” can be seen on the website of Terra TV. And here is a HD clip of “I’ve Been Losing You”.

More pictures from the concert are available on Flickr, here and here.

And another video report from Brazil earlier in the week is now up on YouTube.

Rio concert

Paul on stage in Rio

Paul on stage in Rio

a-ha played at the Citibank Hall in Rio de Janeiro last night. The setlist was the same as in Sao Paulo.

A Twitter message from the band after the show said: “Great audience tonight! Helped us to get over technical problems! Hope you njoyd anyway.. Night night!“.

Large parts of the concerts can now be found on YouTube. A user called “cybertechno” has uploaded many video clips here.

Links to Rio reviews and pictures:
A-HA relembra sucessos e baladas em show no Rio
A-Ha faz show pasteurizado para seis mil pessoas no Rio
A-ha se apresenta para publico carioca

A HD-quality video clip of the elusive new song “What There Is” is now finally up on YouTube. The song uses the melody from Timbersound’s “Ti Kniver i Hjertet” movie theme from 1994.

TV Norge had a small report from the Rio concert in the Friday edition of “Spotlight”, which can be seen here (starts after 4.25 minutes).

And a Sao Paulo interview with a-ha (in English) from TV Amaury is available here (starts after 2.30 minutes).

From Sao Paulo to Rio

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The Brazilian press has been following the band closely in the last few days. Here they are meeting fans outside their hotel in Sao Paulo yesterday:
Integrantes da banda A-Ha sao cercados por fas na saida do hotel

And arriving at the airport in Rio earlier today:
Integrantes do grupo A-Ha ja estao no Rio de Janeiro

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