Magne releases “Troubled Times”

Single cover

Magne has recorded a new cover version of the song “Troubled Times” as a tribute to Fountains Of Wayne and the recent passing of Adam Schlesinger, who died of COVID-19 complications on 1 April. The song was originally included on the American band’s second album Utopia Parkway in 1999.

Initially posted on Instagram as a preview on 24 April and full version on 8 May, Magne’s version was officially released last Friday, 19 June, along with a music video featuring contributions from fans.

To promote the song, Magne was a guest on the NRK P1 radio show Nitimen on Friday. The audio is available here (starts at 10:34), and a picture from his visit was posted on Instagram.

“Fountains Of Wayne is a band that I used to listen to a lot, and was inspired by as a songwriter. (…) When this happened, I went back and re-listened to many of those songs. “Troubled Times” is a beautiful song that in a way describes the situation that we’ve all found ourselves in”, Magne says in the interview.

In early May, Magne asked fans to help him put together a collage video for the song, which sparked a lot of creative feedback:

“I asked for short video clips, but ended up getting all kinds of stuff. I think we had to go through 500-600 submissions. (…) It was impossible to include all of them, but we’ve tried to put together something that reflects the times that we’ve been through – and still are in the middle of – and I think [the video] has turned out to be both touching and humorous.”

As we know, the a-ha tour was put on hold back in March because of the current pandemic:

“We were at the airport in New Zealand, ready to fly to Tokyo, when everything was shut down. Instead we had to fly back home [to Norway] on short notice, and went into a two-week quarantine. This was supposed to have been a big touring year for a-ha around the world, but that’s all been postponed now”, Magne says.

As for summer exhibitions, Magne will only be doing a couple of them this year, including a solo exhibition at Galleri Nicolines Hus in Kragerø from 18 July – 1 August.

He was also supposed to be this year’s festival artist during the annual Petter Dass literature festival in Alstahaug, Norway. But that festival, along with Magne’s participation, has been postponed to June 2021 instead.

Magne in Feelgood magazine

Magazine cover

Magne is on the cover of the latest issue of Norwegian culture magazine Feelgood (#1/2020).

Inside there’s a 12-page interview about his career within music and arts, written by Erik Valebrokk, which was done in late January.

Here are a few translated quotes regarding a-ha:
————–
Do you think [a-ha] will be recording any new music?

– Everybody keep asking about that, but I don’t see any need for that whatsoever. It’s the thing that wears us out. Having to collaborate on music pulls at the destructive sides of our relationship. We have come to have such different viewpoints and very diverging versions of our own history.

What do you think about Cast In Steel, the last a-ha album so far?

– To put it this way, I’m glad we made it. I really am. Then again, I tend to be happy about everything we’ve done together, regardless whether it was bad or good, because it always leads to something, it becomes a document of a certain time in some way or other.”
————–
Magne also mentions that he’s currently having “big ideas” about the Julia Pastrana opera that’s been in the works for quite some time. The song “Julia”, the first new Apparatjik release in eight years, was released on 20 March.

The magazine can be ordered from feelgoodmagasin.no. The price is 259 kr (£22), which includes shipping within Norway. It’s also available at Narvesen stores.

a-ha in new Volkswagen commercial

Last autumn a-ha visited the area around Kristiansand, Norway to shoot a commercial for a new and electric version of the classic Volkswagen Caravelle. The 4-minute commercial premiered on YouTube yesterday. More pictures and info about the collaboration (in German) can be found at volkswagen-nutzfahrzeuge.de.

Rock in Rio Lisboa performance cancelled

Only six weeks after the announcement that a-ha would performing at this year’s Rock in Rio Lisboa in Portugal on 27 June, the festival organizers have decided to cancel this year’s event and postpone it to June 2021 instead. This is because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which will probably have an impact on live concerts and other public events for a long time to come.

Tickets already purchased will remain valid for the 2021 festival, but it remains to be seen if a-ha will still be part of the lineup next year.

This means the next a-ha dates scheduled will now be the South American tour after the summer, starting in Lima, Peru on 1 September 2020.

NME: Rock in Rio Lisbon postponed to 2021

Apparatjik releases new song “Julia”

Apparatjik has released a new song called “Julia” today. It’s an homage to Julia Pastrana and their first new release since 2012. The lead vocals are by Jonas Bjerre, while Martin Terefe sings the second verse and Magne the last verse.

“it’s 10 yrs since apparatjik made our first album apparently (tsk,tsk), so we (rather apptly) celebrate with a new song from our ongoing julia pastrana project…”, Magne wrote on Instagram when he posted a short teaser for the song last month.

“Julia” can be streamed and purchased here.

South American dates announced

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The Hunting High And Low Tour has been expanded with nine tour dates in South America in September 2020, the official site announced today:

01 September: Parque de la Exposición, Lima, Peru
03 September: Movistar Arena, Santiago, Chile
05 September: Buenos Aires Arena, Buenos Aires, Argentina
08 September: Teatro Positivo, Curitiba, Brazil
11 September: Espaço das Americas, São Paulo, Brazil
13 September: Jeunesse Arena, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
16 September: Expominas Arena, Belo Horizonte, Brazil
19 September: Arena Fonte Nova, Salvador, Brazil
22 September: Auditorio Nacion, Mexico City, Mexico

This will be the first a-ha tour of Brazil and Argentina since 2015, their first visit to Chile since 2010 and the first ever a-ha concerts in Peru and Mexico. Visit the official site for ticket details.

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