Archive for August, 2015

‘Cast In Steel’ promotion this week

Screenshot from the video greeting posted by Hydro on Facebook

Screenshot from the video greeting posted by Hydro on Facebook

Promotion is kicking into high gear this week, with the new a-ha album Cast In Steel being released on Friday, September 4th. Below are a few of the events and appearances coming up, with lots more to come:

2 September: Manchester: HMV in-store signing
3 September: BBC Radio 2: Interview on “Steve Wright in the Afternoon”.
3 September: GoTV (Austria): a-ha present their favorite music videos in a 1-hour “Hosted by”-special.
3 September: Hamburg: Deutscher Radiopreis (The German Radio Awards), performing “Forest Fire” and “Foot Of The Mountain”. They will also receive an honorary award. ARD radio/NRD television.
4 September: Berlin: Aspekte (German talkshow), performing live. ZDF
5 September: Berlin: Goldene Henne 2015 (German award show), performing “Under The Makeup” and another new song. MDR/RBB
8 September: Oslo: Platekompaniet in-store signing, at Oslo City Shopping Centre

In Norway, Radio Norge is playing a new song from Cast In Steel exclusively on their morning show Morgenklubben each day this week, as well as other times throughout the day. Morten has done an ad for this – which can be heard below:

In connection with yesterday’s announcement of two private a-ha concerts for Hydro employees in the Pará area in Brazil, Hydro has posted a short video greeting from a-ha on Facebook.

Hydro has also posted a YouTube video where the members of a-ha share their thoughts on Kygo’s new remix of “Take On Me”.

German interviews

a-ha interviewed in Berlin, July 2015

a-ha interviewed in Berlin, July 2015

Two new interviews in German have been posted online recently, by Mittelbayerische and Berner Zeitung.

Here are a few quotes:

– This time you’re doing the interviews together. Does that mean you’re finding it easier to agree on things than before?

Magne: “We’re doing it because it feels good. It’s like group therapy.”

Paul: “It definitely feels different than before. This might be the beginning of a new era for our band”

– Has it been easy to record this comeback album?

Morten: “The songwriting is always the easiest. The hard part is trying to agree on which songs that will end up on the album. That is always an enormous challenge. Personally, I’m surprised by how strong the new album has turned out to be. It’s not inferior to our earlier albums.”

– The music of a-ha is easily recognizable. Did you want to build on this tradition with Cast In Steel?

Paul: “What do you mean, ‘easily recognizable’? Our second album was very different from the first one. With every record we want to take things one step further. Morten’s voice has a clear identity, but in terms of arrangements and melodies we’re not guided by the past.”

Magne: “Morten’s voice is an important element of a-ha, but so is our songwriting and the way we arrange the music. For me personally, it’s completely irrelevant whether the new album sounds like our first, third or fifth album or whether we go in a completely new direction. The main thing; the songs are cool. There aren’t many bands from the 1980s that are still active and keep releasing new material.”

– Do you already know when you will disband again?

Magne: “2015 and 2016 will be all about a-ha. We’re really looking forward to the tour, it will be great. As for 2017, we don’t know yet. We haven’t ruled out anything, but there are no specific plans.”

Paul interviewed by Aftenposten

A selection of pages from Paul's notebooks are included in the Aftenposten article

A selection of pages from Paul’s notebooks are included in the Aftenposten article

Today’s edition of Aftenposten includes an extensive 7-page article that tells the story of how two of a-ha’s biggest fans, P.A. Stenersen and Christopher Hopkins, managed to rescue a number of early a-ha recordings and notebooks, ending a decade-long legal stalemate between a-ha and their controversial first manager John Ratcliff.

Many of these early recordings are now included on the new 5-disc 30th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition of Hunting High and Low, to be released on September 18th.

Getting his old notebooks back also inspired Paul to record one of the early songs, “She’s Humming a Tune”, which has ended up being one of the tracks on Cast In Steel.

“When I got the books back, I saw the lyrics and remembered ‘oh yeah, that one was cool’. Then I thought it would be cool to record this one in particular now”, Paul says.

Paul also talks candidly about what he thinks of the new album:

“It is very hard to think of this as a-ha, because it seems to me that there are three different things – which one calls a-ha. It often ends up like this, and many bands do it this way. But I do miss the feeling of us being in the same studio, working on the same song in real time.”

An English translation of the entire Aftenposten article has been posted online at

Two private shows added in Brazil

Eight concerts are now scheduled in Brazil

Eight concerts are now scheduled in Brazil

As part of a-ha’s ongoing partnership with Norwegian industrial company Hydro, the band will play two exclusive concerts for Hydro employees in the Brazilian cities of Barcarena and Paragominas on October 1st and October 3rd.

The info is available in a press release posted on Hydro’s Brazilian website.

Although the two concerts are closed to the public, fans in the area have a chance of winning tickets to the Barcarena concert, by taking part in a Hydro competition on Instagram called “Renew your passion for the future”. A jury will choose the 30 best pictures.

In addition to the two concerts, Magne and Morten will take part in local environmental projects supported by Hydro.

In Barcarena, Magne will do a workshop with young students, using recyclable materials. In Paragominas, Morten will take part in a seed planting project in a reforestation area.

Magne will also be exhibiting some of his art in the Museum of Contemporary Art in Rio de Janeiro, opening on September 28th.

“Under The Makeup” music video premiere

Morten in the music video, filmed inside one of the tents at Canvas Hotel in Nissedal

Morten in the music video, filmed inside one of the tents at Canvas Hotel in Nissedal

The “Under The Makeup” music video officially premiered on YouTube yesterday, after a preview clip was first shown on German TV on Friday.

The video is now also available on VGTV in Norway.

The video was shot in the Nissedal area in Telemark two weeks ago, and features the actresses Sofie Gråbøl from Denmark and Frida Farrell from Sweden.

Sofie Gråbøl

Sofie Gråbøl

“The German director [Bode Brodmüller] came in contact with Gråbøl, and the band members are big fans of her, so they were really happy”, a-ha manager Harald Wiik tells VG.

“In our opinion she is one of the most interesting character actors we have in Scandinavia. A music video doesn’t necessarily involve much acting, but her presence adds more weight to it – it suddenly becomes “The Killing” meets James Bond”, Magne says.

“It’s not the first time someone kills Morten in our music videos, but it’s extra fun when Sofie Gråbøl is taking part in the crime!”, he adds with a laugh.

“Director Brodmüller was very focused on keeping the Scandinavian landscape and the Scandinavian feeling – a certain Wallander atmosphere – and also trying to get an actress who was already well-known in Scandinavia and Germany for her role as a detective inspector. Luckily the schedules matched up and she was able to be a part of this project, albeit in a slightly different role”, Britta Ostermann of a-ha’s German management tells VG.

The version of the song used in the music video is quite a different mix than the radio version released last month. The orchestra is more muted, while the piano, acoustic guitar and backing vocals are brought forward in the mix. An improvement, some would say, as the orchestra was quite overwhelming in the first version. This new mix is also the one used on the album, judging by the preview clips.

Magne to appear in new documentary series

Magne appears in one of the hour-long episodes

Magne appears in one of the hour-long episodes

Magne is one of the participants in a new six-part documentary series on NRK1 in Norway called Datoen (The date), according to Dagbladet.

Each episode will focus on three people; one well-known person and two ordinary people. Here’s NRK’s own description of the series:

“Three people born on the exact same date. Born in the same country and at the same time, but still their lives are going to take completely different turns. Three lives intertwined by small and major historic events. Maybe the lives of these three people can say something about all of us? About our country? About who we were and who we became?”

Datoen will premiere on NRK1 in Norway on September 6th. The airdate for the episode with Magne is not yet known.

Album previews and new TV performances

The final version of the album cover differs slightly from the first version that was posted

The final version of the album cover differs slightly from the first version that was posted last month

The first preview of the rest of the songs on Cast In Steel was posted by today; the Harket/Olsen/Kvint song “The Wake”.
More previews will be added daily, check out the full list on

Meanwhile, German TV promotion in the week of the album release is shaping up nicely:

On 3 September, a-ha will be performing two songs live at the Deutscher Radiopreis (The German Radio Awards) in Hamburg; “Foot Of The Mountain” and “Under The Makeup”. This according to a post by the German forum. The show will be broadcast live on ARD radio and aired later in the evening on NRD television.

On 4 September a-ha will be performing live on the ZDF talkshow Aspekte, which is taped in Berlin. All tickets are already gone, but the TV broadcast will apparently also be streamed online.

And on 5 September is the previously announced Goldene Henne 2015 award show on MDR and RBB – now confirmed to be a live performance of two songs.

“Under The Makeup” music video shoot

It has now been confirmed that this week’s a-ha music video shoot was for “Under The Makeup”. The shoot took place somewhere in Telemark, Norway from Monday 10th to Wednesday 12th August.

There has been some confusion surrounding whether the German release of “Under The Makeup” on 21st August had been cancelled, but that info turned out to be wrong and the single release is going ahead as planned.

The music video will feature Danish actress Sofie Gråbøl, known from the acclaimed Danish TV-series Forbrydelsen, its American remake The Killing and most recently the British series Fortitude.

Also appearing in the video is Swedish actress Frida Farrell, who has posted a selection of pictures from the video shoot on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter:

Picture 1    Picture 2    Picture 3

Apparatjik performance cancelled

The upcoming Apparatjik performance at the Pavilion stage in Karlsruhe, Germany on September 12th has unfortunately been cancelled. No reason was given for the cancellation, which was announced on

But while they won’t be appearing in Karlsruhe, Magne and fellow Apparatjik member Guy Berryman (who hasn’t actually performed with the others since 2011) had a car trip through Italy and Switzerland last week, as seen in this picture. Check out more pictures from their trip on Magne’s Instagram account.

More German promo and new music video

a-ha in the video clip on Universal's website

a-ha in the video clip on Universal’s website

“Under The Makeup” is currently being used to promote the German TV station Sat.1’s weekly Samstagskino (Saturday Movie) in August.

A video clip where a-ha also appear at the end can be seen here. There’s a special emphasis on the 2012 movie Mirror Mirror – a movie in which Morten and his daughter Tomine provided the voices for the King and his daughter Snow White in the Norwegian-language version.

Another new promo clip has been posted on on the website of Universal Germany, where fans can win guestlist-access to one of the German concerts next year.

Meanwhile, a-ha seem to be filming a new music video in Telemark, Norway this week. Whether it’s for “Under The Makeup” or “Cast In Steel” remains to be seen. Paul posted a short video clip on Instagram, while Magne posted the picture seen below:

a-ha to perform at Goldene Henne award show

a-ha will be performing at the Goldene Henne 2015 award show in Berlin on September 5th, the day after the new album Cast In Steel is released.

The show will be held at the Berlin Velodrom with 4500 people in the audience, and will air live on the TV stations MDR and RBB.

Other acts scheduled to perform include Karat, Die Prinzen, The BossHoss, Andreas Gabalier, Santiano, Oonagh and Johnny Logan w/ Olaf Berger.

More info in German is available in a press release at

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