Archive for the ‘Paul’ Category

‘Tårer fra en stein’ book pre-order

The front cover features a previously unseen photo from the early 80s, taken by Viggo Bondi

Ørjan Nilsson’s upcoming book about Paul’s life and career, Tårer fra en stein, will be published in Norway on 6 October and can now be pre-ordered from bidra.no (signed by the author).

The 302-page book (written in Norwegian) is based on extensive interview sessions with Paul over the last two years, where he has opened up more than ever before. The book goes into great detail about every aspect of his songwriting and musicianship, making it the definitive account on Paul’s creative output over the years.

Nilsson has also interviewed a number of Paul’s family members, friends and colleagues, including his wife Lauren, his parents Olav and Gerd, his sister Tonje, Alan Tarney, Viggo Bondi and Hågen Rørmark.

The book also features a number of previously unseen photos from the early days and lyric sketches from Paul’s personal notebooks.

In connection with the book release, a ltd. ed. 7″ vinyl featuring cover versions of “Whalebone” by the author’s own band Willow and “Manhattan Skyline” by Kings of Convenience will be included for those who pre-order through bidra.no.

On 6 October there will be a book launch at Tronsmo book store in Oslo, where Ørjan Nilsson will talk about Tårer fra en stein with music journalist Audun Vinger.

Tårer fra en stein can also be pre-ordered from haugenbok.no, tanum.no, platekompaniet.no or bigdipper.no.

New Savoy reissues: solid remastering, but shorter than the original albums

Mountains of Time inner cover with new liner notes by Kieron Tyler, record sleeve with lyrics, and CD.

The new and remastered version of Savoy’s Mountains of Time (1999) was released by Apollon Records last month, and those who pre-ordered the vinyl and CD versions from the Savoy Bandcamp page are finally starting to receive their items.

I have only had a chance to listen to the new CD version so far, but from the first moments of the opening track “Man in the Park”, the increased clarity and detail resulting from Joe Lambert’s new remastering work is striking. There’s an added punch to the drums and the layered guitars sound razor sharp. To my ears, it sounds really good throughout the album.

But those familiar with the original album will also notice that many of the songs are noticeably shorter on this reissue. That was also the case with the Lackluster Me reissue last year, which was 2 minutes 13 seconds shorter than the original 1997 release – but it’s even more obvious on Mountains of Time, which has been shortened by 3 minutes 12 seconds in total, compared to the 1999 release.

While most of the edited songs simply fade out earlier, some of them, like “Any Other Way” and “Grind You Down” have parts missing in the middle of the songs.

According to Apollon Records, editing some of the songs for the new vinyl editions is Paul’s own choice, as it was necessary in order to fit the albums on one vinyl record in best possible sound quality. The original albums were never recorded with the vinyl format in mind.

But that’s not really the issue; regardless of the need to shorten the albums for vinyl, the original full-length versions could easily have been used on the new CDs and digital versions. That has not been done. Additionally, Apollon Records has also chosen not to mention the new song edits anywhere.

They are still fantastic albums, in beautifully presented gatefold covers with new and informative liner notes. But it’s confusing when certain parts of the songs you’re so used to hearing suddenly are missing.

According to some fans, there is also an error on the actual Mountains of Time vinyl record, in the form of a “clicking” noise at the end of some songs that sounds like someone changing tracks. This is not present on the CD version.

For more detailed info about which songs have been edited, check out these comparisons between the original CDs and the reissue CDs:
Lackluster Me (1997 vs 2016)
Mountains of Time (1999 vs 2017)

“Laundromat” single release

Single cover

In the midst of everything going on with a-ha at Giske recently, Drabant Music released “Laundromat” as the fourth single off Waaktaar & Zoe’s World of Trouble album on 16 June. Available on iTunes, Spotify etc.

“Laundromat easily stands out as the best track on the album”, Norwegian music site Gaffa said in its review of World of Trouble earlier this year. “It is cheeky and sexy, and takes unexpected turns in its buildup.”

As with the previous three singles, “Laundromat” is also accompanied by a music video, which was released on 20 June and directed by Jason Brandenberg and Lauren Savoy.

This is the first video Lauren has done for the Waaktaar & Zoe project, while Jason Brandenberg also directed the video for “Tearful Girl”.

Drabant Music press release

New book about Paul coming this fall

Paul Waaktaar-Savoy and author Ørjan Nilsson
(Photo by Ivar Kvaal)

October 2017 will see the release of the first book focused on Paul Waaktaar-Savoy’s music, life and career.

The book is called Tårer fra en stein (Tears from a stone) and has been written by Norwegian journalist Ørjan Nilsson, based on extensive interview sessions with Paul in New York, Berlin, Hamburg and Oslo over the last two years.

“I have listened to a-ha all my life, and I have long wanted to take a deeper look at Paul Waaktaar-Savoy, a man who usually doesn’t say too much”, Nilsson tells Dagsavisen.

“It took some time before he opened up, but he hasn’t held back on anything. He has answered any questions and talked about everything from religion, family and adolescence, to the inner conflicts in a-ha and his problems with social anxiety.”

According to a press release about the book, Paul opens up about “his work, mindset and music. About art, film and literature. About his adolescence in suburban Oslo in the 60s and 70s, his life in America over nearly 30 years, his successes and failures. About a-ha, Savoy and Bridges. About giant crowds in arenas and stadiums, about concerts in front of 50 people. About politics, The Doors and Gunvor Hofmo. About his wife Lauren. About Morten and Magne.”

Tårer fra en stein will be published by Falck Forlag, which has previously published books about Hunting High and Low and Scoundrel Days in its series of books about the 100 best Norwegian albums of all time. As part of the same series, Nilsson wrote a book about the Kings of Convenience album Quiet Is the New Loud in 2014.

‘Mountains of Time’ to be reissued in July

The new Mountains of Time album cover

Savoy’s third and most successfull album Mountains of Time from 1999 is set to be reissued by Apollon Records on 14 July, the label announced on its Facebook page today. The reissue will be available on CD, vinyl and digitally. There will also be limited edition T-shirts.

Update: pre-orders can now be made at the Savoy bandcamp page.

The Mountains of Time reissue was originally slated for release in May this year, with Reasons To Stay Indoors to follow in July, but both of them seem to have been pushed back a few months.

While the cover of last year’s Lackluster Me reissue was mostly similar to the original, this new reissue of Mountains of Time will feature a brand new cover. The cover image seems to interpret the album title quite literally, showing both mountains and an hourglass.

For more info on Savoy and Paul’s other side projects over the years, check out a new and detailed article written by Barry Page for The Electricity Club.

“Open Face” single release

“Open Face” single cover

“Open Face”, the third single from Waaktaar & Zoe’s World of Trouble album, was released on 7 April and can be purchased/streamed here.

A music video for the song, directed by Jenny Woods, premiered exclusively on the French Rolling Stone website today and can also be seen on YouTube.

For more in-depth info on Waaktaar & Zoe, check out the extensive interview Paul did with the Super Deluxe Edition website last month.

As for possible Waaktaar & Zoe live dates, Paul says in the interview there’s still a chance it might happen:

“I would love to because she has a really powerful voice. I’m just trying to figure out how it could be done. I’m toying with the idea of doing a double show, where Savoy can do one half and Zoe can do the other half… stuff like that, to make it workable for me, as well. (…) The original idea was to do some festivals first, in the summer, but it got a little bit tight with the unplugged thing with a-ha, so we’ll see. Once we get to the end of the summer, the fall period is fairly open for me, so I’m hoping that would be a good place to do some gigs.”

Paul interviewed in Musikkpraksis

Cover of Musikkpraksis, #1/2017

Paul is on the cover of the latest issue of Norwegian music magazine Musikkpraksis. Inside there’s a 10-page report from Paul’s home studio in Brooklyn, where he recorded the newly released Waaktaar & Zoe album.

“When you hear her sing, she sounds like she could be 20, 30 or 40 [years old]. I find that really cool”, Paul says of Zoe Gnecco.

“I tend to write songs based on where I’m at in my own life. When I get someone else to interpret them, who’s in a totally different place, it does something to the songs. You feel like you’re hearing them from two different angles. Something that means one thing from my viewpoint, means something else from hers.”

He is also pleased with the World of Trouble mixing process, which was done with Steve Osborne.

“The good thing about Steve is that I can give him a bit more than he needs. Whereas many others want to include absolutely everything in the mix, Steve isn’t afraid to remove things. He knows what might potentially hinder the melody, and what might strengthen or weaken the groove.”

Among other things, the interview also covers Paul’s current preferences when it comes to microphones, amps and guitars. As for future releases, there is a lot of material from the last few years that’s just waiting to be heard.

“I have a lot of songs ready, and it’s only now that I’m starting to release things. But I can’t just release everything all at once, that would be too much. I need to release [Waaktaar & Zoe], then Savoy, and then the next one.”

From Musikkpraksis, #1/2017

A few more translated quotes from the interview have been posted on a-ha.com.

The magazine is now available in selected Narvesen stores across Norway. The price is 149 kr (£14).

‘World of Trouble’ now available

Album cover

Waaktaar & Zoe’s long-awaited World of Trouble album is released today by Drabant Music, and is now available digitally on Spotify, iTunes, Tidal etc. through this link.

If you prefer physical formats, the album is also available on CD, black vinyl, purple vinyl and blue vinyl. All formats can be ordered from Drabant Music (worldwide shipping).

In a review in Vårt Land’s paper edition, music critic Olav Solvang writes that Paul “delivers several rock solid applications for new pop classics” and that Zoe’s vocals “fit perfectly with Waaktaar’s quirky, and at times demanding, songs”. He feels that “Beautiful Burnout” is “a powerful pop song that should become an international hit” and that she sings it “with an impressive maturity and presence”.

Other Norwegian album reviews so far include Aftenposten (3/6), Dagsavisen (3/6), Gaffa (3/6) and VG (3/6).

Zoe was a guest on NRK P1’s Kveldsåpent last night. The radio interview can be heard at radio.nrk.no. There is also an interview with Paul in Dagsavisen today.

Paul interviewed in D2 magazine

The cover of D2, January 13th

The cover of D2, January 13th

Paul is on the cover of today’s issue of D2, which is the weekend magazine of financial newspaper Dagens Næringsliv. Inside there’s an extensive 12-page interview with him, in connection with Waaktaar & Zoe and today’s single release of “Tearful Girl”.

You can buy/stream “Tearful Girl” here and watch the new music video here. The video was directed by Jason Brandenberg, who previously did “Whalebone” and “Isotope” for Savoy.

The D2 interview touches upon the upcoming World of Trouble album, his life in New York, the status of a-ha and his thoughts on Donald Trump.

Waaktaar & Zoe is an exciting project for him, as it offers a chance to start afresh:

“I like to start from scratch. That’s a conscious choice I have taken many times, for instance when I incorporated Savoy into my last name. You get a lot of free energy – you clean your soul and empty your desk. One of the great things about Zoe is that she’s never recorded anything before. It’s like I’m hearing the music with her ears and rediscovering some of the enthusiasm and glow I had when I first started out.”

2017 will be a busy year for Paul, as he’s also got several other projects in the works:

“Now that my son is about to start college, my goal is to release two albums each year. In addition to [Waaktaar & Zoe], the new Savoy album has been mastered and will probably be released in September. I’m also mixing the second Bridges album from 1981. I think it sounds surprisingly vital. It was recorded on tape, so the sound is good, and it’s a very alright documentation of the transition into what would eventually become a-ha.”

From the interview in D2

From the interview in D2

Although he enjoyed last year’s Cast in Steel tour and is ready for the acoustic tour next year, Paul feels that a-ha is a bit “up shit creek” at the moment – especially when it comes to the chance of recording another studio album.

“We have been active for a very long time, maybe longer than any band should. I sometimes get the feeling we’re keeping it going on life support, that we have taken it too far. Our most successful days are behind us, and the dynamics and roles within the band no longer function like they used to. I guess we’ll just have to settle for doing a few gigs now and then.”

He goes on to say that the current a-ha concept contradicts his need for a fresh start: “We have done everything at least a 1000 times, and it all references something that’s been done before.”

“But I don’t think any less of the other guys’ talents now than when we started. So if it can result in good material, I’m willing to take the chance – despite the fact that I’m not too happy with a lot of our recent output. If we could manage to create just one more great song, that alone would be worth another ten mediocre songs. Yeah, that’s how it is: “If we could just get one more!”.

With only days to go before Donald Trump takes office and uncertain times ahead, Paul hopes that people will take to the streets and protest:

“The next four years are bound to be different, but I choose to be an optimist about it. I hope we’ll get to experience some of the same uprising, the same demonstration- and protest culture that characterized the 1970s. Everything can’t all be reality-TV, can’t all be business, can’t all be for sale. Trump is a caricature of everything that’s horribly wrong [in society], so if those same protest feelings aren’t awoken during his term, I fear they are gone for good.”

The closing song on World of Trouble is called “The Sequoia Has Fallen” and is a song title Paul first came up with while on his honeymoon at Redwood National Park in California in late 1991. Originally conceived during the era of George Bush Sr. and the Gulf War, the song was picked up again for this album as Paul felt it resonated with the times we are currently living in. (Incidentally, a fallen Sequoia was in the news this week).

“I always have a lot of songs that I’m playing around with. Sooner or later they find their place”, he says.

These were just a few quotes from the extensive D2 interview. In addition to the print edition, the whole interview is also available online at dn.no.

Pre-order ‘Lackluster Me’ reissue

“An astonishing masterpiece: dangerously catchy and unpredictably intellectual in its gloomy, monumental beauty” (Stavanger Aftenblad, October 1997)

The title font and band logo on the reissue cover differs slightly from the original cover.

The title font and band logo on the reissue cover differs slightly from the original cover.

Savoy’s second studio album Lackluster Me is regarded by many as the band’s finest album to date, and was hailed by critics when it was released in 1997.

The new reissue of the long out-of-print album will be released by Apollon Records in a few weeks time, and is now available for pre-order from:

savoyaha.bandcamp.com
karismarecords.bigcartel.com (Vinyl/T-shirt bundle)
karismarecords.bigcartel.com (CD/T-shirt bundle)

This is the first time the album is released on vinyl, as a limited edition of 1000 copies.
The CD reissue (jewelcase) will also be 1000 copies only.

The vinyl will apparently also include the CD, but it’s unclear if this is the same regular CD in jewelcase or without a cover.

It seems there won’t be any bonus tracks or other added material, but a Lackluster Me T-shirt (edition of 100) can also be purchased, either alone or as a bundle with the vinyl or CD.

Apollon Records plans to reissue all the Savoy studio albums, but Lackluster Me is released first, as Warner Brothers has been slow to greenlight the reissue of Mary Is Coming (1996).

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