Archive for July, 2010

Tour update

“(Seemingly) Nonstop July” made a rare appearance at the concert in Dresden on Sunday, as it was performed live for the first time since 1994:


Dresden, 25 July.

Dresden, 25 July.

Pictures and info from the Dresden concert, 25 July:
YouTube videos
DNN online
Photo gallery

Halle concert, 24 July:
YouTube videos
Borkener Zeitung
Westfalen Blatt
ImageShack album by Gosia

Emmendingen concert, 23 July:
YouTube videos
Badische Zeitung
Baden Online
Photobucket album by Claudia
Photobucket album by basi9 – video interview with Morten and Paul.

Want a copy of 25?



To celebrate 400 followers on Twitter (and nearly 400.000 visitors on the website), I’m giving away a copy of the new 2CD a-ha collection 25, which was released in Norway this week.

For a chance to win, send me an e-mail with the subject line “a-ha 25 collection”. The 4th person who e-mails me gets it.

Update: We have a winner. Congratulations to Malin!

Concerts in Ukraine and Belarus

Two additional concerts have now been announced – not on, but in the farewell tour book (which is available from the official store).

The dates are:
4 November: Palace of Sports, Kiev, Ukraine
6 November: Palace of Sports, Minsk, Belarus

This means that the total number of concerts on the farewell tour ends up at 70.

Events in London

a-ha will do a signing session and an exclusive live performance in London on 6 October, to promote the UK release of 25.

Some info from a press release posted here:

“25 – The Very Best Of comes at the start of a bumper week for a-ha, as HMV have announced today that they will exclusively celebrate the album’s release with a signing at HMV’s Oxford Street flagship store at 6:00pm on Wednesday 6 October (due to limited time, 350 wristbands will be issued in-store only from 9:00am on 6 October on a first come first served basis).

This will be followed the very same day at 7:30pm by a very special live performance by
a-ha at the HMV venue Heaven. Tickets for this unique gig are exclusive to HMV customers who pre-order the album now. For a chance to obtain tickets go to Marking
a-ha’s 25-year anniversary, the first 25 people in the queue for a signing session wristband will also win a pair of tickets to the evening gig at Heaven.

New interviews

Magne on the cover of Magasinet, 24 July.

Magne on the cover of Magasinet, 24 July.

This week the guys have been busy doing promo in Germany – at least Paul and Morten.

Sound Base Online Magazine has talked to Paul about a variety of topics. Of particular interest is the fact that he hints at an a-ha video collection being released on blu-ray. An English translation of the interview has been posted on the WOTM forum by Sandra.

Another interview, with Paul and Morten, appeared in Badische Zeitung today.

There was also a short radio interview on WDR2. A link to download the audio has been posted by Frank on the German forum here.

And in Norway there’s an interview with Magne in Dagbladet’s weekend magazine on Saturday. There’s a TV-ad for it at the moment, with a voiceover saying: “An open Magne Furuholmen talks about life after a-ha and his serious illness“.

Interview with Frode

Lauren, Bjørn Ivar Tysse and Frode in Bergen, 2007. (Picture from Bergensavisen)

Lauren, Bjørn Ivar Tysse and Frode in Bergen, 2007.
(Picture from Bergensavisen)

Savoy drummer Frode Unneland was recently interviewed in Bergensavisen’s paper edition, in connection with the release of the West Side Tennis Club album.

The album is only available digitally at the moment, which he admits is a bit strange:

For me, who’s been in this game for so long, it’s strange to release the album exclusively online and not physically in a record store. But the world has changed and we have to use the methods that are available.

We had a lot of response from abroad to the songs that we had posted online. And then one of the songs was used in the TV-series “Himmelblå”, so we decided it was time to release the album. We got a deal with Geir Luedy and Your Favorite Music, who distributes albums via Sonet. And they release everything digitally first, apparently.

The links to Savoy and a-ha gives us a chance to promote West Side Tennis Club through their network as well. That has given the music a lot of attention.”

– Will there be a CD release as well?

“I don’t know. I hope we can release something in the fall, either on CD or vinyl. But that depends on the response we’ll get this summer.”

– The album has been ready for a while?

“I guess the oldest songs are from 2004. We are both very busy, so we’ve never found the right time [to release it]. But now I’m really happy that it’s out there.

Frode and Bjørn Ivar Tysse play and sing everything themselves on the album, with one exception;

Lauren Waaktaar-Savoy came over to Bergen and wrote a song for us that she and I sing as a duet.

– What will happen with Savoy, now that a-ha are retiring?

“We have plans to enter the studio and record a new album. We’re often talking with each other and writing new music, but at the moment a-ha are very busy, so that means Savoy is lying a bit dormant.”

Tour update

Salem, Germany, 18 July.

Salem, Germany, 18 July.

The tour continued this past weekend with concerts in Austria, Switzerland and Germany.

On Friday they played for 3.500 people by Clam Castle near Linz. Some reviews and pictures are available here, here and here.

Some great pictures from Saturday’s concert at the Live at Sunset Festival in Zurich can be seen on Flickr (taken by Monica).

And be sure to watch the excellent HD clips from Zurich that Judith has posted on YouTube:
Move To Memphis
We’re Looking For The Whales
Stay On These Roads
The Living Daylights
Hunting High And Low
The Sun Always Shines On TV

A short clip from the soundcheck, filmed by Carole.

Pictures from Sunday’s concert in Salem have been posted here and here

Possibly the funniest moment of the tour occurred in Salem, when Morten experienced problems with the megaphone that he uses on “Manhattan Skyline”. The hilarious video can be seen here.

Apparently the setlists at these concerts were the same as in Budapest.

Budapest concert

Budapest, July 14th

Budapest, July 14th

a-ha played their very first (and last…) concert in Hungary on Wednesday night. Around 7000 people were present at the Papp Laszlo Sportarena in Budapest as a-ha entered the stage.

The set opened with the first live performance of “Butterfly, Butterfly”, as can be seen in this YouTube video. Unfortunately, the rest of the setlist is getting very stale, and there was only one song from the 90s this time. Despite Paul recently saying that the European setlist would be different from the concerts in North America, we have yet to see any significant changes. Let’s hope they have some surprises in store for the upcoming shows.

Budapest, July 14th

Budapest, July 14th

1. Butterfly, Butterfly
2. Foot Of The Mountain
3. The Bandstand
4. Analogue
5. Forever Not Yours
6. Minor Earth Major Sky
7. Summer Moved On
8. Move To Memphis
9. The Blood That Moves The Body
10. Stay On These Roads
11. The Living Daylights
12. Scoundrel Days
13. The Swing of Things
14. We’re Looking For The Whales
15. And You Tell Me
16. Manhattan Skyline
17. I’ve Been Losing You
18. Cry Wolf
19. Hunting High And Low
20. The Sun Always Shines On TV
21. Take On Me

Leading up the concert, there were several interviews in the Hungarian media.

Paul was interviewed by Radio Juventus. Audio and picture here.

RTL Klub had an interview with Magne. Video here.

And Morten appeared on Hungary’s TV2. Video here. has a review of the concert here. Another good review appeared at Nepszabadsag Online. Overall the Hungarian press was very positive toward the concert, Tamas reports.

Today the band travelled by train to Linz, Austria. The trip has been thoroughly documented by Augie on Twitter.

(Thanks to Qouda, Tamas and Lorien)

Casiokids winner of final talent grant

Magne says hello from Budapest.

Magne says hello from Budapest.

The fourth and final winner of the a-ha talent grant was revealed at the VG chart show in Bergen tonight.

Local rapper Lars Vaular and indiepop-band Casiokids were the two finalists tonight, and the winner of one million kroner turned out to be Casiokids. The band released its second album earlier this year.

No a-ha members were able to be in Bergen tonight, but Magne appeared in a video clip from Budapest, where a-ha are playing indoors at the city’s sport arena tonight.

“Butterfly” update

“Butterfly, Butterfly” has entered the Norwegian singles chart Topp 20 at number 13 in its first week. On the airplay chart Hit 40 the song is currently at number 6 in its third week.

The song will be released as a physical single in both Germany (July 30th) and the UK (Sep. 20th), reports. The second track on the CD single is an alternate version produced by Steve Osborne, which is longer than the Martin Terefe version.

The UK radio premiere of “Butterfly, Butterfly” can be heard tomorrow morning on Ken Bruce’s show on BBC Radio 2.

Steve Barron directs final a-ha video

Paul is using a G-Sharp guitar in the video.

Paul is using a G-Sharp guitar in the video.

a-ha have teamed up with director Steve Barron one last time, to make the music video for the final a-ha single “Butterfly, Butterfly (The Last Hurrah)”.

This was revealed by on Twitter today, where various pictures from the video shoot have been posted. Apparently the video is being shot somewhere in the UK.

Steve Barron directed seven music videos for a-ha between 1985 and 1990; “Take On Me”, “The Sun Always Shines On TV”, “Hunting High And Low”, “Cry Wolf”, “Manhattan Skyline”, “The Living Daylights” and “Crying In The Rain”.

I liked working with a-ha. I actually met them in New York last year. At that point I hadn’t seen them for 15 years. Magne hinted that they could be interested in doing some more work with me, but nothing was decided“, Barron said in a 2006 interview.

Five years after that meeting in New York, Barron is back in the director’s chair and a-ha’s history of music videos now seems to have come full circle.

Interview with Magne

Picture from Adresseavisen

Picture from Adresseavisen

Adresseavisen has an interview with Magne today, which was done while he was in Trondheim on Wednesday.

I have translated some parts of it:

About talent grant winner Moddi:
Of all the artists that ended up being nominated, Moddi is probably my favorite. He has a very strong stage personality. He makes me a bit happier to be Norwegian. He is part Sigur Rós, part Damien Rice, he writes interesting songs that he performs in a sad and believable way.

About the farewell tour:
– How is it to say goodbye throughout a whole year?

It’s better to make a one-year farewell, than keep doing it for ten years, like some bands are doing.

– You don’t feel like a Rolling Stone dinosaur when you’re standing there, still singing “Take On Me” after 25 years?

No, no. And the Stones are 30 years older than us!

– Will you be suffering from mental phantom pains when a-ha is finished for good?

Maybe I’ll be longing back to what has been. Still, even if you’re fearing phantom pains, it’s not wrong to amputate your foot if it’s the only way out.

Picture from Adresseavisen

Picture from Adresseavisen

About Apparatjik:
Even though the music isn’t too far removed from a-ha, we still can’t be compared to a-ha. It’s not a particularly commercial concept. We’re a kind of loose collective of creative individuals who work with other people within the field of arts.

I guess the name [Apparatjik] plays on the fact that we want to make things a bit difficult for ourselves, tear up the format a little.

About the upcoming a-ha concert at Trondheim’s Lerkendal stadium:
– People in Trøndelag are known to be slow [ticket buyers]. Do you fear a low audience turnout?

I’ve been given that warning, yes. It’s strange really, the people from Trøndelag that I know are far from being slow.

For fuck’s sake, you guys have to come to our concert! We’ll put on a real show and turn up the heat at Lerkendal. We’ll offer less make-up and less pyro than when Kiss played there, but there will be much more feelings instead. Because this is the end, a-ha will never again return.


The newspaper has also asked Magne about some of his favorites:

Favorite albums: Beck’s “Sea Change”, Leonard Cohen’s “Songs of Love and Hate”, Radiohead’s “The Bends”.
Favorite movies: Everything by the Cohen brothers. I quite like movies by Kieslowski og Sydney Pollack. “Repulsion” by Polanski and “Midnight Run” with Robert De Niro.
Favorite books: “The End of the Affair” by Graham Greene, “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy, “Possession: A Romance” by A.S. Byatt, “The Idiot” by Dostoyevsky.
Favorite comics: I don’t read comic books.
Favorite TV-shows: “The Sopranos”, “The Wire”, “South Park”, “Entourage”.
Favorite theatre plays: I really liked this Strindberg play that I saw at the national theatre not too long ago.

Where do you go out on the weekends: I never go out on the town.

Magne’s weekend: My weekends are not too different from the weekdays. I’m working on things that I find interesting. I read books, watch movies and spend time with my sons, 16 and 20 years old – if they can be bothered to hang out with their father. I drink way too much espresso, take the dog for a walk and cook (my wife will probably object to the part about cooking, I don’t cook as much as I used to).

Moddi wins third a-ha million

Moddi shaking hands with Magne on stage

Moddi shaking hands with Magne on stage

The two a-ha talent grant finalists at tonight’s VG chart concert in Trondheim were Sami joik group Adjagas and indie songwriter Pål Moddi Knutsen – aka Moddi.

This time it was Magne’s turn to open the envelope and reveal the winner – which turned out to be Moddi.

Moddi has received good reviews for his debut album Floriography, which was released in February 2010, and will be supporting a-ha at Lerkendal Stadium in Trondheim on September 4th.

"Moddi has strength and integrity", Magne says.

“Moddi has strength and integrity”, Magne says.

Moddi has the balls to face [tonight’s] audience without making any compromises, he just does his own thing. He has strength and integrity“, Magne told VG after the show. Magne has liked Moddi’s music for several years, and makes comparisons to Damien Rice and The National when he talks about the young songwriter.

The final a-ha talent grant will be given out at the show in Bergen on July 14th, where Lars Vaular and Casiokids are the two last finalists.

Every time I step out the door, I’m giving away a million kroner. Now we need to earn more, so we’ll be able to give away even more money next time“, Magne jokingly told VG.

Meanwhile, the international press has finally started to take notice of the a-ha talent grant. Here are links to some new articles:

Drowned in Sound: Norwegian bands compete for AN AWFUL LOT of a-ha’s money

The Guardian: A-ha invest millions in Norwegian talent contest

Spinner: A-Ha Invest in Norwegian Music with Talent Grants

How much is 1m kroner? It’s about £100,000. In other words, A-ha are giving each of four bands a grant worth twice that of literature’s most famous award, the Man Booker prize. It is, as far as we can tell, one of the biggest arts prizes in the world“, Guardian’s Sean Michaels writes in his article.

West Side Tennis Club releases debut album

Album cover

Album cover

Savoy-drummer Frode Unneland’s side-project West Side Tennis Club (WSTC) have now released their first album.

Frode and producer Bjørn Ivar Tysse, who played together in Chocolate Overdose back in the day, have been working on WSTC on and off since the late 90s. And now, in late June, their self-titled debut album was finally released.

The album, which is available digitally from, and 7digital (among others), includes the song “In The Waters Glow”, which has been written by Lauren Savoy and also features her on vocals.

That song, as well as several others from the album, can be heard on WSTC’s Urørt page.

We’re hoping to do some live gigs with WSTC. Either alone or with a band“, Frode told me last year. In April 2010 they did a support gig at Kvarteret in Bergen, but further concerts have not yet been announced.

In 2007, Frode and Lauren worked on some new Savoy material in Bergen with Bjørn Ivar Tysse producing. An article about this can be found on

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