Archive for June, 2009

Radio interviews / VG webchat

Paul and Morten did a few radio interviews together yesterday.

In the morning they were guests on the NRK P1 summer show Reiseradioen.
Audio is available here (starts after the first song: P1 interview

They were also guests on the P4 show Ett-To-Tre.
The whole 15-minute interview is available here: P4 interview

Today it was Magne’s turn. He was a guest on Radio 1’s breakfast show. There doesn’t seem to be any audio online, but seher.no has an article about a funny anecdote that Magne told on the show.

a-ha will do a live VG webchat on Thursday 18 June at 15:00. You can now send in your questions here.

And a-ha.com has an update about the HMV signing session in London next month. Turns out that Paul will be able to be there after all.

CD signing in Oslo / New movie

Oslo City, June 15th

Hundreds of people stood in line to get their Foot Of The Mountain CDs signed at Platekompaniet at Oslo City shopping center in Oslo today.

More pictures from the signing session are available here and here.

And here is a blog with pictures and a video clip: Frank Eivinds verden

 

Morten’s longtime collaborator Sigurjon Einarsson has directed a new movie called A Name is a Name – titled after one of the songs on Morten 2008 solo album Letter From Egypt.

According to info on WithMacedonia.org, A Name is a Name is “a road film that follows an intrepid Scandinavian traveler as he journeys across Macedonia by motorcycle. Along the way, this traveler – who never speaks on camera – listens to the Macedonians he encounters, people from different regions and all walks of life, as they tell their stories.”

Morten visited Macedonia in October 2007, where he had a meeting with Macedonian prime minister Nikola Gruevski. He also attended the “World Conference on Dialogue Among Religions and Civilizations” in Ohrid, and visited the Marita Macedonia Foundation in Skopje. But it is not known if Morten also appears in the film.

According to the same website, the movie is set to premiere this month, with a DVD to be released in the fall. In addition to Morten’s solo song, the soundtrack will also feature contributions by a-ha and Graham Nash, among others.

The movie’s official website is now online at anameisaname.net.

 

An interesting new interview with photographer Stian Andersen is now up on a-ha.com.
The official website also has new details about Andersen’s upcoming a-ha photo book.

 

And the FOTM single remains at number 9 on the German singles chart this week, which means that it has managed three weeks in the top 10.

VG article

VG Helg cover

a-ha are on the cover of VG’s weekend magazine VG Helg today. The cover picture was taken by Janne Møller-Hansen in London last week.

Inside there is a 9-page article, focusing mainly on pictures Møller-Hansen took of a-ha from 1985-87, with new comments from a-ha themselves.

Magne’s comments are especially hilarious, with lots of friendly mocking of how Morten looked back then, but also of himself.

There is also a picture of the a-ha members revisiting their first London apartment at Orfali House in Queensway last week. They lived there for a while back in the early London days, from January 1983.

An exhibition consisting of seventeen of Møller-Hansen’s old a-ha pictures will be held at Lillesand art gallery from 20 June – 19 July.

BTW, a few video clips from the Berlin press conference are now up on YouTube:
Part 1     Part 2     Part 3

Interview day in Oslo

Oslo, June 12th

a-ha were back in Oslo today, to meet the Norwegian press at Grand Hotel.

They were interviewed both together and seperately, and the first press reports have started to appear.
Varden.no has an article here, while TV2 had a report in their evening news. A video clip of the TV2 news report, as well as the new music video, can be seen here.

 

a-ha.com reports that Magne and Morten will do a signing and an acoustic performance of the single at HMV Oxford Circus in London on 13 July.
Unfortunately, it seems that Paul won’t be able to join them for this event.

a-ha.com also reports that the UK release dates have once again changed. Now they’re back to the original dates, with the single out on 6 July and the album on 13 July.

 

On Wednesday, Morten answered listeners’ questions on the German radio station FFN.
Twelve short extracts of his answers (which were, by all accounts much, much longer), are now up on the radio station’s website here.
As West Of The Moon forum member Claudia points out, Morten says in the last answer that 2010 will be a much bigger touring year for a-ha, compared to 2009. So that’s good news.
In another of the answers, you can also hear Morten managing to use his favorite word “response” four times in 12 seconds. An impressive feat, even for him.

“We’re taking back what once belonged to us”

Here is a selection of quotes from yesterday’s press conference in Berlin:

The band in Berlin

Magne: “We aren’t sure if this album is the beginning of something new, or the end of something. But it encompasses a-ha’s entire history and sums up all the directions we have tried.”

Magne: “We worked by trial and error, but something happened during the process. This is vital! We’re taking back what once belonged to us.”

Morten: “We are never satisfied, but I think this album is really good. This is an album I can listen to. I usually need a distance to albums I have contributed to, but not this time.”

Morten: “The reception we’ve had here in Germany has been fantastic. It feels great.”

Morten: “But the album we have made now is good enough to be our last one.”
Magne: “The album isn’t just good enough. It is more than good enough.”
(After denying that they have any plans about retiring)

Magne: “It wasn’t synthpop back then. It was just something new. Bands like Depeche Mode, Yazoo, Kraftwerk, Soft Cell – they were all a big inspiration for us back then. Their sound influenced the edge in our own sound. And it worked.”

Morten: “As a vocalist, the most important thing for me is that the songs have the right
a-ha-identity, rather than who has written them.”
(When asked why he hasn’t written any of the songs on the album)

Magne: “In order to make a-ha function as it should, Morten has to function.”
Morten: “But I am completely dysfunctional.”
Magne: “Yes, we are aware of that. But we’re trying to make it function anyway.”

 

More pictures and video clips from the press conference can be found at tikonline.de.
And additional articles has appeared in Dagsavisen, seher.no and in VG’s paper edition.

Berlin press conference

At the press conference

a-ha held a press conference at the Norwegian embassy in Berlin today, in connection with tomorrow’s German release of the new album.
Following a 10-minute photo session, the “Foot Of The Mountain” music video was shown. The band then answered questions from the press for about 45 minutes.
The Norwegian news website ABC Nyheter has a report from Berlin here.
More pictures from the press conference are available on klatsch-tratsch.de and Getty Images.

 

Promotion in Germany is shifting into high gear tonight, with an unprecedented promotional stunt on the TV-channels that belong to the ProSiebenSat1 broadcasting group.
The “Foot Of The Mountain” video will be shown simultanously on Pro7, Sat.1, n24 and Kabel Eins, in addition to all their websites and the video platform Myvideo.de.
This happens tonight at 8.13 pm.

Tom Bohne, Senior Vice President of Universal Music Germany says in a statement:
We are delighted that one of the most important bands of the 1980s and 1990s also continue to play a big role in the new century. This position manifests itself with the simultanous premiere of their new music video on all the channels and platforms of our partner ProSiebenSat1. We are certain that a-ha will be dominating the charts in the coming months. The successfull performance of the current single has already proven that this will be a “summer of a-ha”.

 

While in Berlin yesterday, the a-ha members took the opportunity to attend the Depeche Mode concert at Olympiastadion.
We never go to concerts together. But it was worth it“, they said at today’s press conference.
A few pictures of a-ha at the concert are available on Wenn.com.

 

Morten was recently in Vienna, Austria to do interviews, and some of them are starting to appear.
Life Radio has an interview available for listening here, and OE24 has a 6-minute video interview here.

Album reviews and chart update

a-ha are currently in Berlin to do more promotion. Here is a Twitter picture of Morten at the Regent Hotel earlier today, where he was being interviewed by Laut.de.

 

The album is getting mixed reviews in Norway and Germany.
Here are links to some of them:

VG (4 out of 6)
“Quite a typical a-ha album. With new reasons to keep loving them. And to keep hoping for an even better album next time.”

Dagbladet (4 out of 6)
“A coherently solid album, with a nice symbiosis between art pop and more commercial music.”

ABC Nyheter (4 out of 6)
“The retrospective sound fits Paul Waaktaar-Savoy and Magne Furuholmen’s song material surprisingly well in 2009.”

Aftenposten (4 out of 6)
“a-ha deliver a solid and well-crafted product, but it’s still a big weakness that the album doesn’t have a single obvious hit-song.”

Dagsavisen (3 out of 6)
“The album brings out the worst in a-ha: the pomposity, flatness and the acute lack of groove.”

P4.no (3 out of 6)
“Morten Harket’s fabulous vocals raise the overall impression of an otherwise mediocre a-ha album.”

NRK Kultur
“Lacks memorable melodies. The production is tame, outdated and sounds cheap.”

Soundbase-Online.com
“The album is, except for the very strong first single, a complete disappointment.”

Spiegel.de
“Foot Of The Mountain” is one of the weakest a-ha albums.”

Lizzynet.de
“I am personally very surprised by how good this album is.”

So that was the first press reviews.
But more importantly – what do you think of the new album?
Head over to the West Of The Moon forum and discuss with other fans.

 

The single climbs up to number 2 in Norway this week, on the airplay chart. Only beaten by Beyonce’s “Halo”, and in front of U2’s “Magnificent”.
On the singles chart, FOTM drops from #17 to #18.

In Germany, the single drops from #3 to #9 in its second week.
But the album is currently number 1 on Amazon.de’s bestseller chart, two days before release.

 

And finally, a-ha.com has the details of an exclusive iTunes version of the UK single release, which includes two new remixes.

Album pre-listening

Universal Norway are now streaming the whole album for free on their website.
All you need to do is click on the banner below, fill in your e-mail address where it says “Epost”, and click on the button on the bottom left which says “Gå til forhåndslytting!”:

New a-ha book

The Norwegian photographer Stian Andersen has been working with a-ha since 2000. He’s taken the pictures that appear on the covers of the Analogue-album and the “Foot Of The Mountain”-single, for example.

In an interview with Fotopia.no, Andersen mentions that he is currently working on a photo book about a-ha:
“Over the last year I have been working on an a-ha photo book, and I will continue following them around the world for one more year.”

When asked about what inspires him, he says:
“It’s a great inspiration for me to work with such creative and skilled people, like the guys in Röyksopp, a-ha, Turbonegro and Øystein Greni of Bigbang. People who are extremely demanding and quality conscious. They are just as focused on their visual representation as on their music, and therefore put a pressure on me to deliver my best.”

Visit Stian Andersen’s website here.

Video premiere / Arqivas / New song from Morten

The new music video premiered on VIVA in Germany last night.
Here it is:

 
Another event last night was a-ha’s live performance at the Arqiva Commercial Radio Awards in London.

They performed five songs, and updates and pictures can be found on Twitter.

Setlist:
1. The Sun Always Shines On TV
2. Riding The Crest
3. Foot Of The Mountain
4. Take On Me
– – – – – – – – – –
5. Analogue

 
The movie Yohan, in which Morten has a supporting role, is set to premiere in Norway on 11 December.

Producer Odd Hynnekleiv reveals in an interview with Fædrelandsvennen that Morten will probably also contribute a song especially made for the movie, which will be on the soundtrack CD.

More info about Yohan on the movie’s official website.

“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

.

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.

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