Posts Tagged ‘true north’

40 years of a-ha

New publicity shot by Stian Andersen

Today marks exactly 40 years since the formation of a-ha, on 14 September 1982. That was the day when Paul and Magne visited Morten’s home in Asker to wish him a happy 23rd birthday and welcome him as the new vocalist in their band.

Morten has described that moment in his 2016 memoir My Take On Me:

“On 14 September 1982 I was at home with my parents, when there was a knock at the door. It was not the first visit of the day, as it was my birthday. However, this particular visit would prove to be significant. I opened the door, and in front of me stood Paul and Magne with a potted plant, a Yucca palm. More than thirty years later, that palm is still at my parent’s house where it continues to grow and thrive. For me it’s still a symbol that reminds me of that day, which was not just my birthday, but also marked my decision to become a part of the band.”

And so began their journey; three very different individuals joined together by shared ambitions, determination and talent.

Tomorrow the story of a-ha continues, when the True North film premieres on cinemas in 29 countries around the world. Tickets are still available at ahatruenorth.com.

“I’m In” single release and album tracklist

“I’m In”, the first single from the upcoming a-ha album True North, was released today for download and streaming.

Here is the official music video, directed by Stian Andersen:

The new album can now be pre-ordered from the official True North web store, as CD, 2LP and an exclusive box set, along with new T-shirts. Release date 21 October.

Album tracklist:
1. I’m In
2. Hunter In The Hills
3. As If
4. Between The Halo And The Horn
5. True North
6. Bumblebee
7. Forest For The Trees
8. Bluest Of Blue
9. Make Me Understand
10. You Have What It Takes
11. Summer Rain
12. Oh My Word

a-ha announce new True North album details and first single “I’m In”

 

Today a-ha has announced the release date of their new album and film True North: 21 October 2022.

The first single is called “I’m In” and will be released this Friday, 8 July, along with a music video. It can be pre-saved using this link.

“I’m In” was originally shared by Magne on Instagram last year as a solo demo and he explains what the song is about in a new press release posted on a-ha.com:

“Magne, who wrote the moving “I’m In”, says it is “a song about total commitment and a show of support for someone who is troubled. Real commitment is a leap of faith. Everyone knows how difficult it can be to offer commitment and support unconditionally, but this is what it takes to make anything worthwhile happen – love, friendship, change, self-improvement, careers, a better world. Easier said than done of course but it begins with an attitude, then uttering the words. After this it is all hard work to realize whatever potential your commitment has in the world. Without this attitude everything just gets bogged down with conflicting thoughts, doubts and fear. Just say it: ‘I’m in’.”

Stian Andersen has directed the accompanying True North film, which will get a cinema release in late summer and a home video release on 21 October:

“In the True North film, a-ha perform and record with the orchestra. Also caught on camera in the landscape around Bodø, Magne, Morten and Paul discuss True North. In recurring vignettes, actors portray life in the north. The multidimensional film describes a narrative arc embodying the spirit of the new songs, showing how all of us are connected to the environment. Long-time a-ha collaborator Stian Andersen is the director. “True North is a letter from a-ha, from the Arctic Circle, a poem from the far north of Norway with new music,” says Magne.”

Release details from the press release:

    • “I’m In” is issued as an audio single on 8 July 2022. The music video, drawn from the True North film, is also released on 8 July 2022.
    • The True North film is released to cinemas in selected territories world-wide by Trafalgar Releasing in late summer 2022.
    • The True North album is issued on 21 October 2022. Editions include: jewel-case CD; heavy black vinyl (2 x recycled 12’’ vinyl); limited deluxe edition (with hard-cover book including 40 pages, 2 x LPs with glued sleeves, CD in a cardboard sleeve and an USB card); digital audio long-play for download and streaming. Pre-order is available from 8 July 2022 at ahatruenorth.com, where you can sign up for further information.
    • The True North film will be available for rental and purchase from 21 October 2022.

a-ha sign with RCA/Sony Music for True North release

MusikWoche reports that a-ha have signed a deal with the Sony Music-owned label RCA Records Germany to release the upcoming a-ha album True North internationally, along with its accompanying film version.

“We are very excited to be working with RCA/Sony Music for the worldwide release”, Magne says in a statement.

The 12-track True North album was recorded in Bodø last November, and is planned for release sometime in the fall of 2022.

The signing has also been announced by RCA Records Germany on Facebook and Instagram.

Update on True North album

a-ha in Bodø, November 2021
(Photo by Lasse Jangås – see more of his photos here)

After several days of rehearsals, it seems the main recording session for the True North album together with the Arctic Philharmonic orchestra took place in Bodø on November 4th and 5th.

Karl Oluf Wennerberg posted a Facebook picture together with drummer colleague Per Hillestad on Friday night, saying:
“The a-ha album recording is now finished. We have both participated as best we can 🙂 Per Hillestad, you’re a great guy in every way. Thanks for the company. Hoping the world will embrace the upcoming album/concert film.”

Another picture posted by Karl Oluf reveals that one of the songs on True North is indeed Magne’s “You Have What It Takes”, while Paul posted a video clip from rehearsals that included the hashtag “#makemeunderstand” – which may also be a song title.

A series of pictures from the True North sessions taken by Lasse Jangås, head of communications for Arctic Philharmonic, was posted on Facebook. One of them includes a glimpse of a list of the 12 songs on the album. Although it’s hard to make out what it says, in addition to “You Have What It Takes” it seems to include Magne’s songs “I’m In”, “Between the Halo and the Horn” and “Bluest of Blue”. Possibly also Paul’s song “Make Me Understand”, if that’s the title.

Arctic Philharmonic has posted an article about the project on their website, with text and photos by Lasse Jangås. It includes some quotes by Paul:

“We have a bit of a chequered past, and instead of going through three months of bickering in a recording studio we wanted to try out a new way of making an album”, Paul says in the article.

“The initial idea was to film everything in a regular studio, but then this idea came along, to do it with Arctic Philharmonic in Bodø. And this is really exciting. It’s always fun to work with a good orchestra – it adds entirely new colours to the music.”

Half of the songs on the album have been written by Magne, while the other half were written by Paul. And while Magne’s songs were arranged for orchestra by Kjetil Bjerkestrand, Paul songs have been arranged by Joe Mardin.

To conduct the Arctic Philharmonic orchestra, renowned Swedish musician Anders Eljas was brought in for the occasion. He is full of praise for the True North project and a-ha’s songwriting:

“Two different songwriters and two different arrangers gives the album something extra, different colours and a good dynamic. I don’t like it when an album is too even, and Paul and Magne’s different characters provides the album with different facets and will make it interesting to listen to”, he tells Lasse Jangås in the article.

“This is a band that writes songs with a unique character and that cares about how it sounds. And the songs are really good!”, Eljas says.

a-ha in Bodø to record True North

Magne inside the Svømmehallen concert hall in Bodø
(Screenshot from TV2)

a-ha arrived in Bodø a few days ago, to prepare for the recording of the new film and album called True North during the coming week. They are joined by Even Ormestad, Kjetil Bjerkestrand (who has done some of the string arrangements) and Karl Oluf Wennerberg – plus a second drummer; Per Hillestad, who was a-ha’s drummer from 1990-94. In total, a crew of 100 people will be at work on the project.

Karl Oluf behind the drums in Bodø
(Screenshot from TV2)

Earlier in the month a-ha had been rehearsing at Studio Paradiso in Oslo, the same studio where Paul did some recording sessions with Per Hillestad back in the summer of 2019.

Meanwhile, Arctic Philharmonic recorded the string parts for True North at Store Studio in Bodø on 15 October. This was partly to see if the arrangements were working and partly as backup if something should fail during the upcoming live performance.

TV2’s evening news had a report from the Svømmehallen concert hall in Bodø on Friday, where Magne was interviewed about the project. It can be seen on TV2 Play (subscribers only). There is also an article on TV2.no.

Magne could be seen playing what appeared to be a melody line from “You Have What It Takes”, which may indicate it’s one of the songs that will end up on True North.

“This is a special project because we’re joined by Arctic Philharmonic, which provides a larger pallette to use. We have challenged our own sound in different ways previously as well, but this is where we’re at right now. This is a-ha’s diary from 2019/20/21”, Magne tells TV2.

Over on Instagram, Paul posted some pictures and video clips from a shoot with Stian Andersen in Bodø, which will probably be used as part of the True North film.

The planned release date for True North is late 2022.

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