Article: “a-ha will never return”

a-ha are ending things on a high note – having received recognition from elite bands like U2, Coldplay and Oasis.

Today marks the start of the world tour which will end with two concerts in Oslo in December 2010. And when a-ha say that this is the end, they really mean it.

“a-ha will never return after 4 December 2010. There will be no more album releases or concerts”, Magne Furuholmen says.

“This is it, but hopefully we won’t have such a dramatic ending as Michael Jackson had.”

Dagbladet is talking to Furuholmen on the phone from Cologne. It’s a joyful, satisfied and talkative pop star on the other end of the line.

“We’re ending things on a high note”, Furuholmen says.

“a-ha is not a perpetual motion machine, and there’s a time for everything. Our time will soon be over, and we’ll end it with a celebratory show. Nothing can last forever.”

Furuholmen can promise a big and spectacular ending to a 25 year long adventure, and tells us that the audience will get to experience a version of a-ha that we have never seen before.

a-ha is the only Norwegian band – measured by success and quality – that is part of the pop world’s Champions League.

“People at home [in Norway] have become very fond of us. Everyone want us to be successfull, and we feel a bit like the national football team – everyone are cheering for us”, Furuholmen says.

But it hasn’t always been like that. It’s only in later years that the band has been given the recognition they deserve.

That’s also true abroad. The international press and other band colleagues respect the trio for their longevity and for the way they shaped the pop sound of the 80s.

“Yes, we’re seeing a change. When the guys in U2 say that we’re a unique band, that is a sign of respect and recognition.”

It was in connection with the controversy surrounding U2’s “Beautiful Day”, which was seen as plagiarism of a-ha by many, that Bono and company gave their comments.

“We are all magpies, who steal and borrow from each other. But it was nice to get some feedback from U2”, Furuholmen says.

Coldplay said early on that they were a-ha fans. This lead to Chris Martin and Furuholmen becoming close friends.

“It’s obvious that this made way for other artists to speak out. Standing in a pub in London and having a discussion with Noel Gallagher about which a-ha single is the best – that’s fun.”

“When people use a term like “a cross between a-ha and Talking Heads” to describe a genre, then you’ve made an impression”, Furuholmen says.

Even though a-ha will split up next year, Morten Harket, Magne Furuholmen and Paul Waaktaar-Savoy will continue as musicians – individually.

“I’m already playing together with Coldplay-bassist Guy Berryman and Mew-vocalist Jonas Bjerre in the band Apparatjik – and there will be an album eventually.”

Furuholmen will also continue with his art projects.

Furuholmen says the following about the band’s last album, Foot Of The Mountain:

“I’m really pleased with the album, and would have given it a 5 out of 6. But I wish we had made less compromises – then it would have been a 6 out of 6.”

This article appeared in Dagbladet, 27 October 2009.
Written by Anders Grønneberg.

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