Posts Tagged ‘paul waaktaar-savoy’

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).

Paul interviewed on BBC Radio

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Paul was a guest on Richard Green’s retro show on BBC Radio Devon last Saturday, 15 October, in connection with his Waaktaar & Zoe project.

The full interview can be heard on bbc.co.uk (starts at 23:30 minutes).

Below are a few quotes from the conversation:

On Waaktaar & Zoe:
“This project has been going for maybe 3-4 years. […] It sort of started with a few songs, and from the very first session I really just loved her voice and that super rich mid-range. She was also very good at just zoning into the mood of the song, which I’m super sensitive to. I could see for every take we did, she would get closer and closer to where she needed to be. For me that was such a kick as a songwriter, because a lot of the times you have to make that up in the arrangement.”

On plans for Waaktaar & Zoe in 2017:
“[The album] is ready to go, so now we’re just trying to figure out how to present it. We’re gonna be concentrating a lot on videos and stuff, and I would love to do festivals next summer. Zoe can really deliver on a stage and I would love to do a bunch of shows.”

On plans for Savoy:
“We’re gonna be reissuing all the old stuff over the next few months, and then I’ll actually finish the mix on the new [Savoy] album this week, with Steve Osborne. So I’m super excited about that too. So that will be coming out, maybe summertime next year.”

On a-ha’s future:
“With a-ha, it’s the three of us always going in three different directions. I would love to make a new album, so I’m pushing for that. But, you know, there’s other plans, there’s maybe an unplugged album in the making…we don’t know. We haven’t said goodbye, so I know there’s gonna be more. So we’ll just have to see where it ends up.”

“Beautiful Burnout” now available

Zoe and Paul interviewed by NRK in Paul's Brooklyn studio

Zoe and Paul interviewed by NRK in Paul’s Brooklyn studio

“Beautiful Burnout”, the first single from the upcoming Waaktaar & Zoe album World of Trouble was released yesterday, 30 September.

The song can be purchased/streamed on iTunes, Spotify and other services through this link, and the music video can be seen on YouTube.

Update: The single will also be released physically as a limited edition (1000 copies) 7″ white vinyl on 11 November, with the B-side “They To Me And I To Them”. It’s available for pre-order from Drabant Music (worldwide shipping).

“Beautiful Burnout” gets a 5/6 review in the newspaper Stavanger Aftenblad (print edition); “Great vocals by Zoe and just the right amount of Beatles-references from Waaktaar. This makes me want to hear more”, the review says.

“After, I think, the first session, I got the shivers from the very first thing she sang. I thought ‘I don’t really want to have other people singing. I wish we could do something with this'”, Paul said in an interview with Lørdagsrevyen on NRK1 tonight.

There is also a short video clip from an interview with Audun Vinger on the Waaktaar & Zoe Facebook page.

Although the World of Trouble album isn’t out until 24 February next year, the tracklist and 15 minutes of song samples have already been posted on iTunes.

From Lørdagsrevyen, 1 October

From Lørdagsrevyen, 1 October

The 10-track album will include the songs “They to Me and I to Them” – originally an early a-ha song from 1983/84, “Open Face” – a song from the Cast In Steel recording sessions, and “Winter Wants Me Empty” – a new and more electronic version of the Savoy song “Unsound” from Lackluster Me.

Full tracklist:
1. Beautiful Burnout
2. Tearful Girl
3. World of Trouble
4. Laundromat
5. Mammoth
6. They to Me and I to Them
7. Winter Wants Me Empty
8. Ancient Arches
9. Open Face
10. The Sequoia Has Fallen

Follow Waaktaar & Zoe on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Waaktaar & Zoe signs with Drabant Music

Picture from Drabant Music

Picture from Drabant Music

The Norwegian record label Drabant Music issued the following press release today:

Pål Waaktaar-Savoy (a-ha) and singer Zoë Aphrodite Gnecco (daughter of Jimmy Gnecco) recently signed a worldwide recording deal with the Norwegian record label Drabant Music.

Pål and Zoe are both living in NYC and they have known each other for years. When this exciting collaboration turned into an album project they decided to simply name it Waaktaar & Zoe.

The album “World Of Trouble” is set to be released on the 24th of February 2017, while the first single “Beautiful Burnout” will be released on September 30th this year. Pre order the single here.

Follow Waaktaar & Zoe on Facebook.

The music video for “Beautiful Burnout” premiered at the international a-ha fan convention in Oslo in April this year. The song features lyrics that Paul has re-used from the early version of “Foot Of The Mountain” that was included on the deluxe version of Cast In Steel.

Waaktaar & Zoe also have a new Twitter account.

Paul to release “World of Trouble” album

Aftenposten has published an extensive interview with Paul today (subscribers only), which was done in Munich earlier this month.

Oberhausen, 20 April (From a YouTube video by Patricia Seders)

Oberhausen, 20 April
(From a YouTube video by Patricia Seders)

A few translated quotes:

“We’re not stopping now. This isn’t a farewell tour.”

– Yeah, as you already did the farewell tour last time?

“Yes, this tour is to promote the [Cast in Steel] album. We’ll probably be back for more craziness at some point.”

– How important is a-ha for you today?

“When in the middle of it, nothing is more important. There’s nothing in my life that hasn’t happened because of a-ha.”

– Will it be sad to walk off stage after the last concert?

“Not at all – it will be great. I can’t wait for people to hear the music I’ve made over the last few years. First up is ‘World of Trouble’, an album I’ve made with Zoë Gnecco from New Jersey. Her voice gives me goose bumps.”

– What about a-ha makes you the most proud?

“The fact that we’re still rockin’! That’s perhaps because we’ve never been super satisfied with things we’ve done. We don’t sit and pat each other on the back, thinking we’ve done something fantastic. I feel like an underachiever in everything I do.”

VG interview: a-ha are open for more

Munich, April 6th (Picture by Nicole Mikolai)

Munich, April 6th
(Picture by Nicole Mikolai)

VG has published a new interview with a-ha today, which was done after the concert in Berlin on Wednesday.

Asked about last week’s much debated Blick-interview, Morten says the comment about a-ha being a finished chapter was taken completely out of context:

“I don’t mean what’s written in there at all. I’m on tour with the band, having a great time and thinking that we should really be grateful that we get to experience this. Why would I have kept going together with the other two if it wasn’t meaningful to me? It’s been 30 years since we started and the fact that we still get to do it is not something you can take for granted”, Morten tells VG backstage in Berlin.

Magne describes the controversy surrounding the Blick-interview as a “storm in a teacup”, but he also feels it was necessary to set things straight with an official statement:

“That was mostly directed at the fans, as we don’t want them to believe that we don’t appreciate them. Because we do. It’s an incredible privilege to be able to embark on a tour and get such a fantastic reception, after 30 years. We may have taken this for granted in the past, but when you’ve been away from it for a while you’re more humbled by it”, Magne says.

Munich, April 6th (Picture by Nicole Mikolai)

Munich, April 6th
(Picture by Nicole Mikolai)

After the tour ends in Bergen on May 7th, Magne will be busy finishing his sculpture park at Fornebuporten, which should be ready by June 9th, Paul will release the new Savoy album, while Morten will take a long holiday.

Manager Harald Wiik says Morten may release new music and do solo concerts in 2017, although there are no specific plans at the moment. There are also some non-music related projects in the works.

Munich, April 6th (Picture by Nicole Mikolai)

Munich, April 6th
(Picture by Nicole Mikolai)

All three of them are open to the idea of more a-ha at some point down the line:

Morten: “That’s open for speculation, of course. When you’ve been working with music almost non-stop since the late 70s, the likelihood of it continuing is greater than the opposite.”

Magne: “I said I wasn’t open for anything five years ago, and I have been proven wrong. I haven’t thought of this as a farewell tour, as we’ve already done that. After this tour ends we don’t have any plans. So that leaves an open book. But we’re constantly getting lots of new requests and offers. Sometimes it’s easy to say no, while other times it’s very difficult.”

Paul: “One thing you can be sure of; if we get excited about a new song, we’re back in business. Regardless of what may have been said before.”

Apollon Records to reissue Savoy albums

Savoy

Savoy

Savoy have signed a contract with Bergen-based Apollon Records to reissue all their five studio albums on CD, vinyl and digitally; Mary is Coming (1996), Lackluster Me (1997), Mountains of Time (1999), Reasons to Stay Indoors (2001) and Savoy (2004).

“We have signed a contract with Apollon to reissue all the first five Savoy albums. This will be the first time they are released on vinyl and on digital platforms”, Paul told Bergensavisen earlier this week.

No release date has been set so far, but it appears Lackluster Me will be released first, as Warner in the US has yet to greenlight the reissue of Mary is Coming.

“Apollon has shown great enthusiasm for Savoy for a long time and that means a lot to us. It means everything, really”, Paul says on the decision to sign with Apollon Records.

The deal with Apollon does not include the new Savoy album, which will hopefully be released sometime later this year.

“The new Savoy album will be mixed now before the summer and has not been signed to any label yet”, Paul says.

Paul is also preparing to release the album he’s recorded with Zoe Gnecco. A music video of a song from the album will premiere at the a-ha fan convention in Oslo later this month. More info on a-ha.com.

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