Archive for January, 2014

Morten on Skavlan

Morten on Skavlan, January 31st

Morten on Skavlan, January 31st

Morten was one of the guests on Skavlan tonight, alongside Gordon Ramsay and Sir Kenneth Branagh. The show was taped in London last week.

Morten was the last guest to come on, for a brief interview. Following a conversation about Branagh being knighted and Ramsay receiving an OBE, Morten was asked about the fact that he’s been knighted as well:

Morten singing "Brother", with Sir Kenneth Branagh listening.

Morten singing “Brother”, with Sir Kenneth Branagh listening

“It’s a strange thing. Mainly because we grow up in a society where equality is hugely important. I wouldn’t say it’s forced upon you, but we are all the same. We don’t have a class system in Norway, so it’s a strange thing to bring in knights. I think that’s one of the elements of it. But to be recognized like that is also a very nice thing. Because it’s well meant. And I suppose it’s well thought through – I would hope. So I can’t say that I think it’s wrong. I don’t know what I think about it. But it’s not the same as being knighted in England.”

Fredrik Skavlan also asked Morten about his strongest memory of the early days of a-ha in London, thirty years ago:

“Just getting there. The days before [the breakthrough]. All the anticipation and that bubbly sort of joy, where you knew it was going to happen. And it hadn’t happened yet. I think that was the best time in some ways. Of course it doesn’t mean that you don’t appreciate it, but when [fame] hits you it’s like a train. And you’re not on it – you’re under it.”

At the end of the show he performed a shortened, acoustic version of “Brother”, accompanied by Peter Kvint on guitar.

The episode can be seen at

Paul works with Linnea Dale on new album

Linnea Dale (Photo: Warner Music)

Linnea Dale
(Photo: Warner Music)

Sunnmørsposten reports that Paul is among the producers on Linnea Dale‘s second solo album, set to be released later this year.

Linnea Dale was one of the finalists on the fifth season of Norwegian Idol in 2007, where she was mentored by Morten and performed “Velvet” in one particular a-ha themed episode. In 2009 she was a guest-vocalist on the Donkeyboy album Caught in a Life, which included the hit singles “Ambitions” and “Sometimes”. Together with Donkeyboy she toured the UK and Norway with a-ha on the Foot of the Mountain tour.

Her first solo album Lemoyne Street was released in 2012, which included the single “Children of the Sun”. This was followed by “A Room in a City” in March 2013; the first single from the upcoming second album – which was going to be released last fall, but is now coming out in 2014.

“I’m aiming for a more electronic sound. At least elements of it, unlike Lemoyne Street which was a more acoustic, live-based album”, Linnea told last year.

Linnea has been in New York several times over the last couple of years, and is listed in the credits of Paul’s studio engineer Eliot Leigh.

“There’s a female singer that has recorded a lot of Paul’s songs, that may be released”, a-ha manager Harald Wiik told fans in September 2012, possibly referring to Linnea.

Before the album is released she’ll be taking part in the Norwegian Eurovision Song Contest finals in Oslo in March with the song “High Hopes”, which is why she’s in the news today.

Update (Jan. 29th): posted an update on this, with some info from Paul:

“Linnea and I wrote and recorded some songs together this last fall. A truly enjoyable and new experience for me. I’m really glad to hear that the album is coming out now. When it does; do check out a song called “With eyes closed”… I like it a lot!”

5-year anniversary of

Various versions of the website; 2009 (top left), 2011 (top right), 2012 and 2014.

Various versions of the website; 2009 (top left), 2011 (top right), 2012 and 2014.
(Click to enlarge)

Today it’s five years since I posted the first news update here on, on January 27th, 2009.

Originally intended to just offer some info about tour dates, the website quickly turned into a sort of news blog about all things related to a-ha.

The site has continued to grow, with a total of 3 million page views so far. Just last month the site had 76,000 hits.

Thanks to the fans who visits the site, contacts me with useful information and follows me on Twitter.

Let’s keep going for another five years! 🙂


Successfull exhibition opening in Stavanger

Magne at the opening, January 25th (Photo by Kunstgalleriet)

Magne at the opening, January 25th
(Photo by Kunstgalleriet)

Magne’s new Beatles-inspired exhibition “Norwegian Wood Remix” opened at Kunstgalleriet in Stavanger yesterday, with 250 people in attendance. There’s a selection of photos from the event on the gallery’s Facebook page.

According to Stavanger Aftenblad the opening was hugely successfull, with all the artworks – 11 oil paintings, 2 monotypes and 2 lithos – being sold during Friday’s private view and Saturday’s official opening.

Which means that Magne sold art for around one million kroner this weekend.

“We’re sold out! That’s a new record. This almost never happens. It’s exceptional”, gallery manager Elin Halvorsen told the newspaper.

“This was a great reception, and not something you take for granted as an artist. I had my very first exhibition [“Maleri”] here in Stavanger. That was at Galleri Sølvberget way back in 1989. The last time I exhibited here was in 1995, so it was about time that we made this happen“, Magne told Rogalands Avis.

Magne is still busy working on the music for the upcoming Beatles movie, some of which he’ll record at Abbey Road in London in March:

“Beatles were the greatest when I was growing up. They were the inspiration when Paul and I started writing songs. Without Beatles there wouldn’t have been an a-ha. And now I’m currently composing music around what I heard as a kid. So this is a journey back in time for me, which ends up at Abbey Road Studios in March, where I’ll record my own music using the original Beatles equipment”, he said in a radio interview with NRK Rogaland on Friday.

Beatles is set to premiere on August 29th, but test screenings of a 2-hour raw cut of the movie will be held in Oslo, Bergen, Trondheim, Stavanger and Tromsø tomorrow.

“Norwegian Wood Remix” is open until February 16th, and the artworks can be seen on the gallery’s website.

Morten to perform on Skavlan

Skavlan is one of Europe's largest talkshows

Skavlan is one of Europe’s largest talkshows, with an audience of 3 million viewers each week

Morten was at the ITV Studios in London yesterday, where he was interviewed and did a performance of “Brother” on the popular Scandinavian talkshow Skavlan, hosted by Fredrik Skavlan.

The show will air next Friday, 31 January on NRK1 in Norway and SVT1 in Sweden. It will also air on DR2 in Denmark on 1 February.

Other guests in the episode include Kenneth Branagh, Gordon Ramsay and David Walliams.

This will be Morten’s fourth appearance on Fredrik Skavlan’s talkshow. He previously appeared on the show in 2002 (Oslo), 2003 (Oslo) and 2011 (Stockholm). Read more about the 2011 interview here.

Details on Tini’s vinyl EP

The vinyl picture disc, designed by Magne

The vinyl picture disc, designed by Magne
(From Tini’s Instagram)

Tini Flaat‘s limited edition vinyl EP Good Morning/Good Night, which features production, songwriting and artwork by Magne Furuholmen, was released in Norway last month.

The EP was released by Vox Watch Music, the publishing company co-owned by Magne, which has also signed Tini to a full 360 deal. But apparently Good Morning/Good Night is only distributed by The Thief hotel in Oslo, so it’s not easy to get hold of.

Few details about the release have been available so far, but a new post on Instagram has revealed this tracklisting:

1. Window Shopping
Written by: Espen Gulbrandsen
Produced by: Martin Terefe & Magne Furuholmen
2. The Ladies’ Gentlemen’s Club
Written by: Lowell
Produced by: Martin Terefe & Magne Furuholmen
3. You Can’t Have It Both Ways
Written by: Magne Furuholmen
Produced by: Martin Terefe & Magne Furuholmen
4. Solitary Me
Written by: Espen Gulbrandsen & Magne Furuholmen
Produced by: Martin Terefe & Magne Furuholmen

Martin and Magne did several London recording sessions with Tini after The Voice in 2012, and work on her debut album continued in Magne’s studio in Oslo last year. The album, reportedly called Undo My Heart, is expected to be released soon.

Links:   Ladies’ Gentlemen’s Club (video)     Solitary Me (audio)

In other news, Magne has designed the bottle label for a new “pale ale”, made by a local group of beer enthusiasts in Asker. There’s a picture of it at

Morten performs “Brother” at Spellemann

Morten on stage in Stavanger Konserthus

Morten on stage in Stavanger Konserthus

Morten performed “Brother” live for the first time last night, at the Spellemann Awards 2013 in Stavanger (although much of it seemed to be playback). If you missed it, it’s been uploaded to YouTube.

He was joined on stage by two very familiar Swedes on keyboard and drums; Christer Karlsson and Per Lindvall, plus two other Swedes on guitar and bass; Peter Kvint and Jerker Odelholm.

On the red carpet before the show

“I’ve brought along a really good band. It’s good to get started”, Morten told VG on the red carpet

“Brother emerged when we did a 5-day session at a cabin in Southern Norway, and the identity of that song set the tone for the whole album. I can recognize myself again as an artist now, and things are completely different than on the last album. The collaboration with Peter Kvint has opened new channels within me”, Morten told Aftenposten in an interview before the show.

The song was released yesterday in Norway, where it quickly went to number 1 on the iTunes chart. It’s also available on WiMP and Spotify, and will be released in other countries soon.

VG’s reviewer Thomas Talseth gives the song 5/6 and calls it “a triumph”:

“Brother, a serious yet uplifting song, has melodic hooks that pushes the right buttons. Empathic and moving. (…) This could – and should – be his biggest solo-hit in years”, Talseth writes.

Video clips from the red carpet at Spellemann:
Dagbladet    Se og Hør    VGTV    NRK

Morten to perform at NRK’s Studio 1

Studio 1 logo

Studio 1 logo

Morten will be doing an exclusive live performance at NRK’s Studio 1 in Oslo on February 24th, the official site announced today.

The 30-minute show will be broadcast April 9th on NRK2, as part of the third season of the concert series Studio 1. Typically, each artist performs five songs, with backstage interview clips shown in between. Other acts performing on the upcoming season will include Thomas Dybdahl, Sivert Høyem, Ingrid Olava and TNT.

120 free tickets for Morten’s Studio 1 performance were available last night from, but they all seem to be gone by now.

As for Morten’s performance of his new single “Brother” at Spellemannprisen 2013 in Stavanger today, it seems that NRK1’s live broadcast will be streamed worldwide through Morten will perform in the Fartein Valen orchestra hall, the largest auditorium in Stavanger’s new concert hall, during the second half of the show, which starts at 9:50pm (local time).

Concert in Istanbul

Biletix, the Turkish branch of Ticketmaster, has announced that Morten will do a concert at KüçükÇiftlik Park in Istanbul, Turkey on May 2nd.

This will be the opening concert of his 2014 solo tour, unless more dates are added. It’s also the first time anyone from a-ha performs in Turkey.

Morten on the new album: “This is a new start”

Morten in the studio in Stockholm (From VG's paper edition)

Morten in the studio in Stockholm
(From VG’s paper edition)

VG has an interview with Morten today, in connection with his new single “Brother” which is released next Saturday, January 18th. There’s a 1-minute sample of the song available now on

As stated in the VG interview, the new single has a more organic sound than the material on Out Of My Hands and has Morten singing in a lower register. “You’re still my brother / till the end of time” is quoted as part of the lyrics.

The interview was done in Peter Kvint’s studio in Stockholm, where the duo is apparently still busy trying to finish the album.

“I didn’t like the a-ha machinery on Out Of My Hands”, Morten says – referring to having many of the same backing musicians and crew members as on the last a-ha tours in 2009-10.

Cover of the new single

Cover of the new single

“The a-ha backstory was still present in my system, but I was impatient and didn’t want to wait before starting again. This [new album] is a much more peaceful project, without all that noise. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very happy with Out Of My Hands and everything that happened afterwards, but now I don’t have those connections anymore. There’s an open sky before me and I feel completely free. This definitely feels like a new start.”

The title track of the new album was the first song Morten wrote together with Peter Kvint. He has only good things to say about the Swedish producer:

“I feel that we’re responding to the same things. He’s a good listener, and none of us feel that we’re standing in each other’s way. He’s curious about what I want to do, and so am I. I really feel that I’ve landed with this collaboration. He’s a real find. Things have never been easier, not least in the studio.”

Morten agrees that his new material has similarities with Wild Seed:

“And that’s incredibly liberating. I have the same feeling now as I had back then; of starting all over again.”

As usual, he is also asked about the possibility of a-ha ever reforming:

“I don’t know if that will ever happen – that’s not for me to decide anyway. But it was definitely the right decision to quit when we did.”

Phil Everly dies

Phil Everly

Phil Everly

Phil Everly of The Everly Brothers died in Los Angeles yesterday at the age of 74.

Together with his brother Don he released a number of classic hits in the 1950s and 60s, including “Bye Bye Love”, “Wake Up Little Susie”, “All I Have to Do Is Dream”, “Let It Be Me” and “Crying in the Rain” – which was covered by a-ha on East of the Sun, West of the Moon in 1990.

Magne talked about a-ha’s connection to The Everly Brothers in a 2010 interview:

“Our manager Terry Slater had played bass for the Everly Brothers during the ’60s and was a close personal friend of Phil Everly. He also managed them during their comeback at the Royal Albert Hall in 1984 where we met the Everlys for the first time. Next Christmas they presented a-ha with three Everly Brothers guitars made from the same tree! Being huge Beatles fans, growing up and knowing how influential the Everly Brothers had been for the early Beatles’ sound, we thought that it would be a nice tribute to cover one of their hits.”

Paul and Magne with Phil Everly and his wife Patti in 2004

Paul and Magne with Phil Everly and his wife Patti in Oslo, July 2004 (Picture from VG)

a-ha also covered the Everly Brothers song “Bowling Green” at the final concert in Oslo on December 4th 2010, as a tribute to Terry Slater who co-wrote the song back in 1967.

The black Everly Brothers signature models (as seen on the ltd. ed. cover of Stay On These Roads) have continued to be among the guys’ favorite guitars. Morten has used it on a lot of his solo stuff, and they all used their guitars on the a-ha farewell tour in 2010.

Update: a message from a-ha about the passing of Phil Everly has now been posted on There is also an article about the band’s friendship with him on

Rolling Stone: Phil Everly, Everly Brothers Vocal Legend, Dead at 74
USA Today: 10 great covers of Everly Brothers songs (including a-ha)
YouTube: Morten Harket and Bjørn Eidsvåg perform Everly Brothers songs (1991)
YouTube: Morten Harket and Pia Tjelta perform “Let It Be Me” (2009)

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