Posts Tagged ‘a-ha’

True North: New a-ha album, film and world tour

a-ha announced a new album and film today:

‘True North’ is a filmed live-performance for future streaming release with new music from a-ha.

Set in the awesome landscape of Northern Norway and recorded in the town of Bodø up above the Arctic Circle, the music from the film will be made available as a new album from the group for the first time since ‘Cast in Steel’ (2015).

“We chose this location as a way to showcase some of Norway’s most spectacular nature – where majestic mountains meet the raging sea – far up north, but right at the centre of the dramatic effects of climate-change.”

“We want this film to be a poetic homage to the importance that nature holds in Norwegian culture, and in particular the ocean, which has provided us with a privileged life up here, from the early fishing boom to the troublesome riches extracted from the seabed in the form of oil,” says Magne.

The album and film will be recorded over two days in November 2021, at the Svømmehallen Scene concert hall in Bodø, and planned for release in the autumn of 2022. It will include 12 new a-ha songs, with songwriting contributions from all three members.

a-ha will be joined by the Arctic Philharmonic orchestra on all the songs, and there will be a total of 36 musicians on stage.

“The concept of True North was originally inspired by Bruce Springsteen’s Western Stars. Our idea was to create a Norwegian version – a film which is a sort of a travelling letter from a-ha, with the ocean as a backdrop and with brand new music”, Magne tells Avisa Nordland (paywall).

“Long periods in the studio has usually lead to quarreling and frustrations for us. In deciding to create a film and do it as a live performance I think it will be much easier. Initially we planned to do it with an audience, but for logistical reasons it will be a film instead – with only the crew as “audience” and the finished film being the concert experience for our audience”.

“This is a live performance that will be filmed, and the music from that film will then be released as a new a-ha album. If we achieve what we’re hoping for, I think it will appear considerably more spontaneous and fresh than years of studio polishing”, Magne says.

The release of the film and album will be followed by a True North world tour, starting in late 2022 or early 2023.

“This is something that will fit into the aesthetics of a-ha. It’s not coincidental that we’re doing this in Bodø and Northern Norway. The album, film and subsequent world tour will be called True North”, a-ha manager Harald Wiik tells Avisa Nordland (paywall).

“The ways of releasing music has changed in recent years, and physical formats are almost completely gone. That’s why a-ha wants to release the music as a film experience first. We’ll have a crew of 100 people during the recording and aim to have the film available on Netflix or one of the other major streaming services. In addition to the material from the live performance, we’ll use footage from the nature around Bodø”, Harald Wiik says.

“I can’t really imagine a better way of using our music than making an artistic statement that embodies both worries and hope for the future”, Magne tells VG.

Over Oslo Festival: extra a-ha concert added
– all sold out

The festival site at Grefsenkollen in 2014, with Morten as headliner (Picture by Jakob)

The tickets for Over Oslo on June 11th 2022 – with a-ha and Simple Minds as headliners – went on sale through Ticketmaster at 10am today.
All 6000 tickets sold out in a matter of seconds.

Therefore an extra festival day, featuring the same lineup, was added on June 10th 2022. Those tickets also sold out very quickly.

“The number of people who wanted tickets *far* surpassed the capacity at our venue”, the festival organizers said on Facebook.

Beforehand there had been speculations in the press about how many additional days of a-ha concerts there would be, but according to the organizers June 10th and June 11th will be the only ones.

a-ha to headline Over Oslo Festivalen

Picture by Stian Andersen

A new 2022 tour date was announced today, bringing the total number of a-ha concerts planned for next year up to 40:

a-ha will make their first ever performance at the Over Oslo festival on June 11, 2022 which will be a celebration of the event’s 10 year anniversary. We are very much looking forward to performing at this extremely beautiful place with its world class view of our hometown. Very happy to be joined by our good friends in Simple Minds and loads of very talented and successful Norwegian and Swedish acts.

This festival concert will take place just three weeks after a-ha play two concerts at Oslo Spektrum on 20 and 21 May, but will obviously be a completely different experience – outdoors and with a spectacular view overlooking Oslo.

Morten previously headlined the Over Oslo Festival in June 2014, as part of his Brother solo tour.

6000 tickets will be available for June 11th next year, and they go on sale via Ticketmaster on Wednesday, September 15th.

Good reviews for a-ha: The Movie at Tribeca

The official poster, from the film’s Facebook page

a-ha: The Movie received lots of positive feedback from both the audience and critics after its world premiere at the Tribeca Festival earlier this month, eventually earning second place in the Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature.

Film Festival Today calls the movie “a delight for casual and diehard fans alike” and highlights how the three members of a-ha “deliver extremely thoughtful meditations on celebrity, authenticity, art and life over the course of a-ha: The Movie’s engaging 109 minutes”.

Cineuropa feels the movie is an “entertaining, captivating piece” which will “prove a joyful experience for the band’s fans, and a pleasant surprise for all lovers of 1980s new wave, alt rock and synth pop genres, especially for those not boasting in-depth knowledge of A-HA’s discography and who might want to “shazam” some hidden gems throughout the film.”

Berkreviews describes a-ha: The Movie as being “a celebration of their musical catalog” and that it’s “definitely one to watch if you are a fan of music or music docs. I found it to be extremely compelling and informative while fostering a love of a band I knew very little about. It’s quite possible that a band you currently love was inspired or influenced by a-ha. Thus, a-ha: The Movie earns the Must See rating.”

Indie producer Travis Stevens writes that “a-ha: The Movie creates a melody from the self-confidence, determination, beauty, competitiveness and insecurity required to create something as fleeting as a #1 pop hit and to remain a band with artistic ambition for 35 years after. They fucking rule.”

Writer Annie Zaleski describes it as “a fascinating + intimate documentary that’s often brutally honest about intra-band strain (and the inherent conflict between solitude, introspection & fame), but also makes a case for a-ha’s towering musical greatness.”

Coming up, a-ha: The Movie will be screened at the Munich International Film Festival in Germany on 8-9 July and at the Norwegian International Film Festival in Haugesund on 25 August. The regular Norwegian premiere follows on 3 September.

Concert added in Hannover

A new date in Germany has now been added to next year’s a-ha tour:

02 May 2022: ZAG Arena, Hannover, Germany

A total of 39 concerts are currently planned for 2022, taking place in Japan, USA, Sweden, Denmark, Czech Republic, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, France, Norway, UK, Portugal, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Peru.

The updated list of all dates can be found here.

Morten: “We have a deep respect for each other”

Morten, February 2021

a-ha: The Movie had its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York this weekend. The first review (4 out of 5 stars) has been posted on the website Josh at the Movies:

“The fact that I instantly opened my Spotify and downloaded most of A-Ha’s discography as soon as A-Ha: The Movie ended should speak volumes about its overall quality”, Josh Batchelder writes in his review.

“Following their dream from struggling below the poverty line, A-Ha: The Movie is an endearing story of realizing your dreams and believing in them. The documentary feels deep-reaching, a truly honest portrayal of personalities and musical insight. (…) I look forward to exploring more of A-Ha’s incredible body of work, as the ripples of their impact on the music industry can still be felt today.”

Morten himself has been interviewed by Salon.com in connection with the premiere. When asked about his own favorite a-ha songs, he says:

“There could be many. I don’t have a favorite song. I can lean to one song for a period, then to another. But all the songs we’ve done, we’ve had some sort of soft spot for at some point in time, or they wouldn’t be there. And there are a lot of songs in the making that have never gotten through to the point of being recorded and released. There are some cornerstones. On “Memorial Beach” there is a song that most people don’t know, “Cold as Stone,” which I like. A lot of others that are more the darker side of the band. A-ha is a dark band, really. That is where we are coming from. None of us listened to pop music growing up. We would not have listened to A-ha ourselves if we were on the street, because of the image of the band. Because of a number of things. Because of me, for one. [Laughs]”

In the interview, Morten points out how the band in many ways has been more successful since the 2000 comeback than in the first period:

“I feel the documentary fails us a little in the second half, which [chronicles] when we got back together through to today. That is the longest period that we’ve been together, I believe. And it’s our time when we’ve done our best business and touring. We played to many more people in the second half than in the first, and success-wise, that’s a bigger achievement than making it in the first place, I would argue.”

Early reports about the film also suggests that it spends quite some time on the often-reported creative frictions within the band:

“What I do feel is that the focus in the second half of the film is the disagreements and problems. But one has to bear in mind that we’ve been together for all this time and we’ve chosen to get together and get back together over and over again. We have a deep respect for each other and I’m always proud and honored to be associated with them. And we all feel the same. But we are not the same, and that is part of the package. All three of us are completely necessary for the band to become A-ha”, Morten says.

Director Thomas Robsahm has also done several interviews to promote the film recently, including conversations with Cineuropa and Screen Daily, while a video clip from the film, detailing the evolution of “Take On Me”, was published by Rolling Stone.

Next month a-ha: The Movie will be screened in Germany, as part of the Munich International Film Festival on 8 and 9 July. Information in English is available here.

Lisbon back on the schedule (again)

After a-ha’s performance at the Rock in Rio Lisboa festival was cancelled due to Covid in both 2020 and 2021, hopefully third time’s the charm as a-ha have now been confirmed for next year’s festival:

25 June 2022: Rock in Rio Lisboa Festival, Lisbon, Portugal

Duran Duran have also been confirmed for the same day.
Tickets already purchased will remain valid for the 2022 festival. More info here.

Movie trailer now available

The official trailer for a-ha: The Movie premiered yesterday, via articles posted by Variety in the US and VG in Norway.

It has also been posted by the production company on YouTube:

“I wanted to tell a story about their boyhood dream, and how incredibly difficult it really was to achieve an international breakthrough back then. About the future of a-ha. If there will be more music. I hope you’ll get to know them better as individuals and get a deeper understanding of the mechanisms within the band. This is not just a film about a-ha, but above all a film about Paul, Magne and Morten”, director Thomas Robsahm tells VG.

a-ha: The Movie will have its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York on June 12th – tickets for the outdoor screening are sold out, but streaming access can be purchased here (US only).

Meanwhile, the Norwegian premiere has been pushed back to September 3rd. Theatrical deals are also in place for Japan, Korea, Poland, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Austria and Switzerland, according to Variety.

a-ha – The Movie to premiere in June

Directed by Thomas Robsahm and Aslaug Holm.

After several postponements and much back and forth, the highly anticipated documentary film a-ha – The Movie is now finally set to premiere, at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York in June 2021.

The festival is held from 9 – 20 June, and the movie will be shown as part of the “Spotlight Documentary” section. Producer and co-director Thomas Robsahm says it will be extra special to have the world premiere in New York, only a few blocks from where Paul Waaktaar-Savoy lived for many years.

The movie will also premiere in Norway during the same month, on 18 June. It will also be distributed by First Hand Films in a number of other countries, including Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Belgium, Finland, Israel, Sweden and South Korea.

The running time may end up varying in different markets, as in addition to the 1 hour 39 minute version planned for Norwegian cinemas, there is also mention of a 90-minute version and a 52-minute version.

Other links:
World premiere for a-ha – The Movie at Tribeca
Anthony Bourdain, A-ha docs among 2021 Tribeca Festival feature line-up

Update 5/5:
It looks like the world premiere will happen at Brookfield Place in New York on June 12th. Tickets go on sale May 10th, while tickets for the virtual screening (starting June 13th – US only) are available now at tribecafilm.com.

Los Angeles concerts rescheduled

The three a-ha concerts at The Wiltern in Los Angeles are the latest to be rescheduled for next year. Here are the new dates:

07 April 2022: The Wiltern, Los Angeles, USA
08 April 2022: The Wiltern, Los Angeles, USA
09 April 2022: The Wiltern, Los Angeles, USA

Original tickets remain valid.

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