Posts Tagged ‘harald wiik’

a-ha to start rehearsals in June

a-ha at Maracana Stadium in Rio last month

a-ha at Maracana Stadium in Rio last month

a-ha will start rehearsals in June, in preparation for the Rock in Rio concert in September, the band’s manager Harald Wiik tells VG’s paper edition today.

The exact date for the Rock in Rio concert is not ready to be announced yet, but a-ha will play a 75-minute set at the festival, according to VG.

The band has been getting many additional offers to play live, but Wiik can’t promise any other concerts at this point:

“We haven’t planned any warm-up shows, but you never know”, he says.

a-ha Fan Weekend 2014

Terry Slater, Harald Wiik, Magne and Tini Flaat Mykland on stage at Samfunnsalen, Oslo

Terry Slater, Harald Wiik, Magne and Tini Flaat Mykland on stage at Samfunnsalen, Oslo
(Picture by Jakob)

Fans from all over the world once again gathered in Oslo on October 24-25 for the a-ha Fan Weekend 2014, which included Morten’s last two concerts of the Brother tour at Sentrum Scene, an a-ha convention with a Q&A session and a fan party.

Many were looking particularly forward to hearing former a-ha manager Terry Slater, who provided interesting stories from his long career and shared his thoughts on the music business then and now.

Current a-ha/Morten Harket manager Harald Wiik talked about the upcoming release plans in connection with the 30th anniversary of Hunting High and Low in 2015:

“The plan is – don’t hold it against me if not everything happens – but as of now there are plans for a 5-disc set of Hunting High And Low, with lots of new material. Plus heavy vinyls of all the first five albums. Also a box set of the vinyls called The Warner Years, for the first five albums. And then Deluxe Editions of Stay On These Roads, East Of The Sun and Memorial Beach. And some other things that I can’t tell you about now. But save your money!”

Morten at Sentrum Scene, October 24th

Morten at Sentrum Scene, October 24th
(Picture by Jakob)

Magne came to Oslo straight from the opening of the new concert house in Fosnavåg, where he did two performances with Apparatjik on October 23 and 24. He brought along two early copies of the long-awaited Apparatjik World book, of which Terry Slater was given one copy, while the other was donated as a prize in the Red Cross charity raffle held during the fan party:

“It should be out before Christmas at some point. I was hoping to have enough copies to bring tonight, but the printers couldn’t make it in time.”

While on stage at the a-ha convention, Magne also talked candidly about how he wasn’t satisfied with how the Beatles movie turned out:

“I wanted to make a much more radical score than what ended up [in the movie]. There was a struggle, a fight between me and the director, who came in a little bit late in the process, to make him understand what I was trying to do. So to my mind, the last version that I heard was a compromise where they had used my music in a way that I wasn’t a hundred percent satisfied with. I won’t be able to give you a percentage, as I haven’t seen the finished one. (…) The album is different, because I made the album afterwards, a bit more like I wanted the movie to sound.”

Magne previously talked about his problems with the Beatles film project in a radio interview on NRK P13 last month.

Morten visiting the fan party (Picture by Jakob)

Morten visiting the fan party
(Picture by Jakob)

At the fan party in the evening, Morten showed up on stage to meet the fans. One fan asked him about his plans for next year:

“I’m being asked if I have plans – big plans – for next year, which I believe I have. And those plans might include you guys. (…) It will be an interesting year, next year”, Morten said.

“We should have a lot of fun with numbers over the next year. Keep on guessing!”, Harald Wiik told the fans earlier on Saturday – referring to the numbers recently posted on a-ha.com’s Facebook page; 44 and 365, which have led to fan speculations about a possible a-ha reunion in 2015.

Check out more coverage of the a-ha Fan Weekend on a-ha.com’s Twitter profile and Facebook page.

Other links:
TV2 Nyhetskanalen – interview with Morten at soundcheck, Oct. 24th
NRK Østlandssendingen – report from Sentrum Scene
dbmag.no – Morten Harket concert review (5/6)
Vimeo – Safe With Me (Oct. 24th) by After Event Productions
Vimeo – Whispering Heart (Oct. 24th) by After Event Productions
Vimeo – Brother (Oct. 24th) by After Event Productions
Facebook – Sentrum Scene photos by StageWorks
Facebook – Sentrum Scene photos by Christina Galbraith
YouTube – Morten visiting the fan party
YouTube – Harald Wiik speaking at the fan convention
YouTube – Terry Slater speaking at the fan convention

Morten to perform at Spellemann Awards

Morten at the 2010 Spellemann Awards

Morten at the 2010 Spellemann Awards.

Morten will be premiering a new single called “Brother” at the 2013 Spellemann Awards (Norwegian Grammies) on January 18th, the official site announced today. The song, which is from his upcoming solo album, has been written by Morten, Ole Sverre Olsen and Peter Kvint.

This might indicate that “There is a Place” is a one-off single in connection with Night of the Proms, rather than an album track. Hard to say, as there’s been no official info about it yet.

“The album will be finished in December and is probably released in March. Then there’s a European tour in May, Norwegian and international festivals during the summer and even more touring in the fall”, manager Harald Wiik tells VG in connection with the Spellemann announcement.

The Spellemann show is held in Stavanger Konserthus and will be broadcast live on NRK1. Other acts scheduled to perform include Ask Embla, CLMD, Envy, Highasakite and Kvelertak.

Morten planning more cover versions

Doing a cover version of “Scared of Heights”, the song originally recorded by Espen Lind in 2008, was a suggestion by Morten’s manager Harald Wiik. Initially Morten didn’t like the idea, but eventually he agreed to do it.

But it was Magne who came up with the original idea of using other Norwegian hits, Morten said in an interview in VG’s paper edition on Saturday:

“Magne came up with the idea that I should pick out good, Norwegian songs and take them abroad. I like that thought, and it’s something that I will pursue on my next solo albums as well. Not just to be kind, but because these songs will be relevant and more than good enough in markets where they haven’t been released before.”

Morten’s solo tour is starting today, at Palace of Sport in Krasnoyarsk, Russia.

“I haven’t toured in these areas as a solo artist before, and I don’t expect the audience to be familiar with my own material. But they do associate me strongly with a-ha, so it will feel natural to do some a-ha material as well“, Morten tells VG.

“Some of the songs feel more strange to perform than others. “Stay On These Roads” is an easy choice, as I played such a big part in creating it. But what about “Hunting High and Low”? Paul wrote it at an early stage, and for me it so clearly demonstrated our caliber. There are stories connected to it; when we were setting up to record it, Magne came up with this extremely beautiful piano part. Then he forgot what he had played. Things like that. Even if people associate that song with my voice, I’m not sure if I’ll perform it live”, he says in an extensive article in Aftenposten.

“Is the world ready for Harket without a-ha in 2012? We don’t know. Maybe we have the odds against us. But we do have a hope”, manager Harald Wiik says in the same article.

TV-special on TV2

“Morten Harket – mannen bak myten”, the 1-hour TV-special about Morten’s ten-day trip to Brazil in January, aired on TV2 in Norway last night.

Hosted by Dorthe Skappel, it featured conversations with Morten and his manager Harald Wiik in various locations around Rio de Janeiro. Morten talked about his early performances with Ten Sing choir Anthem and about the first time he saw Bridges perform. He also revealed that he was offered a role in a movie with John Hurt and Helen Mirren at one point, and that he once punched a paparazzi to the ground in the UK. Morten got emotional when talking about being bullied for years as a child. “It was a real hell, year after year”, he said.

We were also introduced to a Brazilian fan who said that Morten’s music, and in particular “A Kind Of Christmas Card”, saved her from committing suicide in the 90s.

When asked about Morten’s philosophical way of speaking, Harald Wiik made it clear that he doesn’t agree with those who feel that Morten is hard to understand:

Harald Wiik and Morten, discussing the cover design of the new album

“I don’t really understand where that notion comes from. I am actually of the exact opposite opinion; I feel he is very precise and concise. I think the reason why many people get that impression, is that he’s being precise and concise at a very high tempo. And his focus can shift very quickly. But I feel that each single statement is very to the point and fact-based. But he’s going at a high speed, so you need to pay attention. It’s not for newcomers.”

The TV-special also included instrumental mixes of songs on the new album as background music and a number of clips from private home movies from Morten’s childhood. There were also some rare pictures shown – like this publicity photo of Morten’s band Souldier Blue from the early 80s:

Souldier Blue

Paying subscribers to TV2’s web-TV can see the whole special online. It has also been uploaded to YouTube.

NTB interview

Picture by NTB/Scanpix

In a new interview with NTB, Morten talks about the process of choosing songs for the album:

“Ten songs aren’t much. But those are the ones that made it through our filters”, he says, referring to a team consisting of manager Harald Wiik, Erik Ljunggren and in part producer Steve Osborne. Especially Wiik and Ljunggren have what he calls “an entirely different taste in music”.

– But are you in control?

“I won’t let anything make it to the album that I can’t stand behind, I’m not compromising myself. I could have been more hands-on, but we’re a team”, he says, while admitting that his team’s views of what makes a good Morten Harket-song and his own views don’t always match up.

“a-ha would have benefitted from a larger degree of playful collaboration between the three of us. And that’s not been easy to accomplish on this album either. We’re all grown-up, busy people with obligations in life. The kids, your home life, bed times. Every day. You need to have a strong desire – strong enough to want to break free of your daily life in order to do it.”

Of the songs on the album, he describes “Quiet” and the title track “Out Of My Hands” as “classic, complete ‘me-songs’ “. He says the following about the latter song:

“There’s a lot of me in it. It’s a purely spiritual song, about where we come from and belong, and it makes quite a firm statement about the real nature of life – beyond the reality we experience.”

Morten collaborates with Pet Shop Boys and Kent

(Picture by Just Loomis)

Manager Harald Wiik is interviewed in today’s VG, and reveals that members of Pet Shop Boys and Swedish band Kent have written songs for Morten’s new album.

Here are some quotes:

“This has been an open process where Morten obviously has written a number of songs himself, but we have also been in contact with various other songwriters.

When there’s an opportunity to work with Pet Shop Boys and Kent, of course we’ll say yes. Both bands have extremely good songwriters and have been at the top of Morten’s wish list.

We are well underway with the new album. Our goal is to be finished by Christmas, which would mean that the album is released in March next year.

There will also be a solo tour that starts in April. But this all depends on whether we get finished in time or not.”

Pet Shop Boys vocalist Neil Tennant has in previous interviews talked about a-ha being one of his favorite bands and about Morten having a fantastic voice.

Kent vocalist Joakim Berg has also praised a-ha and their songwriting skills, most recently in an interview with ABC Nyheter last year. You may also remember that his brother Adam Berg directed the music video for “Summer Moved On” in 2000.

 

Update: Wiik provides some further comments to Dagbladet about the album and tour.

Regarding the songwriting collaborations, Pet Shop Boys have written one song for the album, while Joakim Berg and Martin Sköld from Kent have written two songs together with Morten.

Work on the new album started in April this year. It’s being produced by Steve Osborne, and will be released by Starwatch/Universal.

Wiik also shares some more details about the tour:

“Morten will be touring all over Europe, starting in mid-April, and there’s likely to be a tour in South America in February/March. Plans for the fall of 2012 aren’t ready yet, but we assume the tour will include Japan and Oceania in that period.”

New solo album from Morten

(Picture: Universal)

Following the recent confusion about whether or not Morten had started work on a new solo album (see August 31st news update), a-ha manager Harald Wiik can now confirm that Morten is indeed working on his fifth solo album, to be released sometime next year.

The info appears in an interview with Swedish singer Anna Järvinen in Bergensavisen today, where she mentions that she’s always wanted to work with Morten:

“I have always wanted to do a duet with Morten Harket. Let’s hope he reads this. I guess he’s got more time now?”, Järvinen says.

The journalist then contacts a-ha manager Harald Wiik, who says the following:
“That’s nice to hear. Morten is working on a solo album to be released next year, but I can’t give much more details at this point.”

Morten’s previous solo album Letter From Egypt, which was released in 2008, sold around 30.000 copies in Norway.

 

Update: In an additional comment to VG Nett, Wiik says they’re aiming for a March/April release next year.

Danish group samples TSASOTV

Single cover

The Danish electro-pop duo Electric Lady Lab released their new single “Touch Me” this week, which uses various samples from “The Sun Always Shines On TV” – including some of Morten’s original vocals.

There have been countless cover versions of a-ha songs over the years, but this is apparently the first time a-ha have officially allowed someone to sample one of their songs.

Danish music website Gaffa.dk reports that Electric Lady Lab members Martin Bøge Pedersen and Stine Hjelm Jacobsen wrote “Touch Me” together with Johan Wohlert (ex-Mew).

Only after recording it did they ask a-ha’s management for permission. And although he personally liked the song, a-ha manager Harald Wiik said it was almost 100 percent certain that they wouldn’t get permission to use the samples. But he would play it for the members of a-ha and get back to them.

After two weeks Wiik sent an e-mail saying that all three a-ha members had approved the song after all. “Touch Me” is available on iTunes now, at least in Scandinavia.

(Thanks to Christian)

a-ha to perform at national memorial ceremony

NRK announced on Wednesday, August 10th, that a-ha will be among the artists performing at a national memorial ceremony on August 21st, following the recent terror attacks here in Norway on July 22nd.

In a statement posted on a-ha.com, the band says:

“On 22 July, we, like everyone else in Norway and the rest of the world, were shaken to the soul by these actions of cruelty and violent provocation against everything we stand for. But we are also very proud to belong to a small country where people, politicians and the royal family worked together and showed solidarity in the face of such tragedy, and we are grateful to be asked to participate in the memorial ceremony.

We do this to honor those who have been torn away, to show appreciation to everyone who made an effort to help on July 22, and to express our sympathy to the survivors who now are left in sorrow.”

The band was asked by NRK on August 2nd if they would be willing to do a one-off performance at the memorial ceremony. “There was no doubt that they wanted to do it. They are grateful to be able to contribute”, a-ha manager Harald Wiik told Dagbladet.

The memorial ceremony is taking place at Oslo Spektrum and is only open for invited guests; survivors, family and friends of the victims, rescue workers and others. Government officials and members of the royal family will also be present.

Besides a-ha, other artists scheduled to perform include Susanne Sundfør, Leif Ove Andsnes, Karpe Diem, Dumdum Boys, Sivert Høyem, Jarle Bernhoft, Bjørn Eidsvåg, Ingrid Olava, Sissel Kyrkjebø and Åge Aleksandersen.

The 90-minute memorial ceremony, which starts at 3PM local time, will be broadcast live in Norway on the TV stations NRK1, NRK2, TV2, TV Norge, TV3 and online at NRK.no. It will also be broadcast live on the radio stations NRK P1, NRK P2, NRK P3 and Radio Norge.

For more info, read the news story and NRK press release posted on a-ha.com. There is also an official site about the memorial ceremony (in English) at regjeringen.no.

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