Archive for June, 2009

MASSIV interviews

The MASSIV magazine interviews are now online. They include some interesting facts, like Paul mentioning that “Shadowside” was originally written for the producer-duo Stargate and one of their artists. And Magne sheds some light on his Apparatjik-project.

Here are a few quotes from the interview Magnus Rønningen has done with Paul:


Paul on the cover of MASSIV,
photographed by Sigve Aspelund

– Getting a top 10-hit in the UK again with the single “Analogue” from the last album was inspiring to me. It had taken a long time to record the album, as usual, but that particular song was done in five days including the mixing, which felt incredibly good. I could feel that everything seemed easy again. That’s why many of the songs on Foot Of The Mountain were written in the following half-year period. “Nothing Is Keeping You Here” was the first one. Followed by many of the other ones. Some of them were written on tour, and also on travels around the States. It eventually gave me the feeling that it could end up as an album.

– But how does it work? Who picks up the phone and says “Let’s make a new album”?
– It’s a comeback every time for us. After each album we’re thinking “that’s it, never again”. But then things start evolving again after a while. It took quite a while before this one came about. Both Morten and Magne released solo albums. But then we started recording the album last September.
– How were the recording sessions?
– Split in two parts. The first draft was recorded in New York with Mark Saunders. That’s the first time in a long while that we’ve rented a studio for two months, working with one producer. We did it old school, like on the first five albums. I think everyone appreciated that. But then we didn’t get time to finish it. Saunders is a cool producer who has done The Cure and lots of cool music, but perhaps not a lot of single-material. We felt that we didn’t have the first single ready. So then the album was split up between Steve Osborne, who has done New Order, Starsailor and Happy Mondays and Roland Spremberg who did our Minor Earth | Major Sky album. The album is a mix of those three producers. The finishing part was probably the worst period. That’s when the producers were sitting in separate countries, Magne and Morten in Oslo, and myself in New York. That wasn’t ideal.
– Have you seen that Metallica documentary where they argue a lot?
– We beat them by a long mile.

– You do?
– Yes.

Paul photographed at Bislett Stadium
by Sigve Aspelund for MASSIV

– Seriously?
– In our own way, yes. We don’t have a Lars Ulrich or James Hetfield. They have their own things to struggle with. But we beat them when it comes to the arguing part. Still, we just played for all the radio people in England, and there was one guy who said that we keep the world record for being the trio which has stayed together the longest. So in that way, we can probably endure a lot. And the golden rule is that if we feel the album has been worth it, there will be more.
– By the way, what’s happening with Savoy?
– I haven’t had time to think about it in the last two years. But there are many plans. I want to try something new.

– With Lauren?
– She’s working a lot with film these days. But we’re always working together. We are together, all the time.

– When you say that you haven’t had time to think about Savoy, is that because of the new a-ha album?
– Yeah, you have it in mind all the time. Thinking about it. We also worked a lot on more songs than the ones that actually ended up on the album.
– After more than twenty years as a band, what’s the driving force?
– Well, it’s a very exciting life. We have experienced a lot, seen a lot of things. We get to meet people from all corners of the world who has a relation to our music.

– The fact that there is so much money involved – is that a positive or negative driving force?
– We went to London to become famous. a-ha is dependent on reaching a large amount of listeners. When Memorial Beach sold less than expected, we took a seven year break. If it had sold a lot, the next album would have been released three years later. So the money plays a part in this. For example, we never toured the States again after the first tour, when it turned out that we could fill bigger arenas elsewhere.
– Have you given up on the USA, or does the dream still live on?
– The plan is, as always, to tour the USA next year.

Here are links to the individual interviews on
Paul Waaktaar-Savoy
Magne Furuholmen
Morten Harket

Number 1 in Germany

Foot Of The Mountain has entered the German album chart at number 1 in its first week. This is the third a-ha album to hit the number 1 spot in Germany – the other two being Minor Earth | Major Sky (2000) and Lifelines (2002).

The single is also still going strong in Germany. This week it moves up from #9 to #6, which means that it’s managed four weeks in the top 10.

In other news, a video clip of TSASOTV live at the Arqiva Awards on 5 June is now up on

And the Danish music site has a review of the album. The reviewer feels that FOTM has some great songs, and is their best album since the 80s.

Magne in Dagbladet Søndag

Cover of Dagbladet Søndag

Magne is on the front page of Dagbladet’s Sunday magazine today. Inside there is a 3-page interview. Here are a few quotes:

On this album I wanted to find back to the time when we played everything ourselves, worked with synths and experimented with different sounds. For my part I wanted to stop being ashamed of the sound we helped create in the eighties. Because certain members of the band still are.

– Did you ever consider not doing a new a-ha album this time?
Yes. That’s what I’ve done every time since 2000. I think that’s how it is for all three of us. But we’re usually happy afterwards, that we gave it all we had. When I decide on a project, I have a “bulldog-approach”, I keep biting with my jaws locked. Which isn’t necessarily healthy.

– Is there no end to your productivity?
No, not really. There’s so much I want to do, I haven’t really gotten started yet.

The interview is also available online here.
And if you don’t understand Norwegian, WOTM forum member Heidi has posted a full translation here.


Today’s chart update:
FOTM enters the official album chart in the Netherlands at number 83. (Thanks to Johannes)

How to get a copy of MASSIV magazine

The cover of MASSIV magazine
promises 29 pages about a-ha

I was contacted by MASSIV magazine today. They have been getting a lot of questions from a-ha fans from all over the world who want a copy of the latest issue, which comes with 3 different covers featuring Morten, Magne and Paul (see June 18 news update).

They wanted to let everyone know that they are more than happy to send a free copy of the magazine to those who want it – you only have to pay the shipping cost.

All you have to do is send an e-mail to, and you will get all the info you need.

VG show / iTunes Festival / Pro7 special

a-ha on stage in Oslo

a-ha performed four songs live at the outdoor VG chart show in Oslo last night. They were struggling with the sound, especially on “Foot Of The Mountain”, but that’s what can happen when you have to share the stage with so many other acts.

If you didn’t watch the live webcast, the songs are now up on YouTube:
1. The Sun Always Shines On TV
2. Riding The Crest
3. Foot Of The Mountain
4. Take On Me

VG Nett has a video interview with Paul and Morten from the soundcheck on Thursday.


Universal UK has announced that a-ha will be performing live at the London iTunes Festival on 24 July. The event takes place at the Roundhouse in Camden, and they will be supported by German band Reamonn.
Details on how to win tickets for this event can be found on


“This is where I rammed Morten’s head through a window”
– Magne recalls a fond memory from the early days.

Pro7 in Germany aired a TV-special about the new album on Thursday night. It’s recommended viewing, with interesting interviews and Magne giving us a tour of historical a-ha landmarks in London.

The TV-special is now available in two parts on YouTube:
  Part 1     Part 2


The first country where the Foot Of The Mountain album charts is Sweden, where it enters at number 47, according to Farojournalen.
Here is another Swedish album review; 3 out of 5 from Expressen.


And finally, the official site revealed its much-needed facelift yesterday. See how it looks now on

MASSIV Magazine / FOTM goes platinum / Links

Magazine covers

a-ha are on the cover of the free Norwegian magazine MASSIV, which is out tomorrow. Three different covers will be available, featuring Morten, Magne and Paul. Inside the magazine there are in-depth interviews with each band member.

This hasn’t been done in Norway before. The response so far indicates that the magazine could end up as a collectors item among the a-ha fanbase“, editor Magnus Rønningen tells Kampanje.

MASSIV is available at selected shops and hotels across Norway. A total of 40.000 magazines have been printed.


The new album has gone platinum in Norway after three days, Farojournalen reports. Which means that 30.000 copies have been sent out to retailers.

On the Norwegian singles chart, FOTM climbs up to number 11 this week – its highest position so far. On the radio airplay chart FOTM remains at number 2.


In Austria, a video show hosted by a-ha is set to air on the music channel GOTV. The show will air on 21, 25, and 27 June. A list of the videos that a-ha picked can be seen here.


Coldplay bassist Guy Berryman is credited as one of the photographers in the booklet of the new album. In an interview with, Morten says that Guy took the picture of the mountain that the front cover is based on. It was taken on a mountain trip that Magne and Guy did.

In the same interview, Morten says that he has recently made some bronze sculptures for the Norwegian Refugee Council. Sculpting is something that Morten had wanted to do since he was a teenager.


Guy Berryman’s photos were also mentioned in the VG webchat that a-ha did today. The questions and answers (many of which are in English) are now available here.


Recent interviews:
HitRadio Ö3 – video clip (Austria)
Kurier – video clip (Austria)
Kleine Zeitung – video clip (Austria)
NRK P2 Kulturnytt – audio clip (Norway) (Germany) (Germany)
Kleine Zeitung (Austria)
Kurier (Austria)
Vienna Online (Austria)

And more album reviews:
Göteborgs-Posten (Sweden) – 4 out of 5
Now Magazine (Austria) – 4 out of 5
Gaffa (Denmark) – 4 out of 6
Plattentests (Germany) – 7 out of 10 (Germany) – 3 out of 5 (Germany) – 3 out of 5
Bizarre Radio (Germany) – 14 out of 15 (Germany) – 6.5 out of 10
Trønder-Avisa (Norway) – 5 out of 6
AB24 (Norway) – 4 out of 6
Avisa Nordland (Norway) – 4 out of 6
Romerikes Blad (Norway) – 3 out of 6
Nettavisen (Norway) – 3 out of 6

(Thanks to all the fans who have posted links in different forums)

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 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 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, 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


An interesting new interview with photographer Stian Andersen is now up on
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. 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. 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. 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
And additional articles has appeared in Dagsavisen, 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 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
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


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


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.” (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.”
“The album is, except for the very strong first single, a complete disappointment.”
“Foot Of The Mountain” is one of the weakest a-ha albums.”
“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’s bestseller chart, two days before release.


And finally, 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, 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.

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 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: 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

. 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’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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