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london report

Beitrag von meik1 am Fr 7 Aug 2009 - 9:27

A-ha are back! Norway's hottest band return from the wilderness with a new album and tour


By Sarah Graham
Last updated at 11:29 AM on 05th August 2009

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Back in the mid eighties they were the hottest band on the planet. And now, almost 25 years later A-ha are making a comeback - and they're hotter than ever.



With a new album out and a tour in the autumn, MailOnline's Sarah Graham met up with Morten Harket and Magne Furuholme to find out what they've been doing since topping the UK charts with Take On Me.


'The great part about coming back in a long career is to be recognised by people who grew up to your music and all these great artists today cite the band as musical influences,' says Magne Furuholme, keyboardist with A-ha.
Among those artists who have famously tipped their caps to A-ha are Noel and Liam Gallagher, Coldplay, U2 and Robbie Williams.


Back from obscurity: Magne Furuholmen (L) and Morten Harket (R) meet Sarah Graham to discuss their new album release, Foot Of The Mountain

The band - Magne, singer Morten Harket and guitarist Paul Waaktaar-Savoy - are promoting a new album and comeback tour almost 25 years after they first conquered the UK charts with Take On Me.

But this is no retro comeback in the vein of the 'Here And Now Eighties Tour' where long-forgotten, ageing New Romantics take to the road again for one last flash of glory.

What may surprise people is that Foot Of The Mountain is the Norwegian trio's ninth album and it brings the band full-circle back to the synth-pop musical style that first propelled them to fame.
You see, A-ha have never really gone away, they just stopped enjoying success in the UK music charts.
'We were under the radar for a long time firstly because we split up for seven years - not so much a split but more like we fell apart and fell into other things like family life, solo projects - kind of as a detox from fame,' continues Magne. 'It took a little while to reground ourselves.'
'Mind you the limelight exists anywhere in the world,' interjects Morten. 'When you're not in the UK it can be as active somewhere else in the world and for me that's more or less been the case so I never dropped out of the limelight in that sense. But we did from the UK point of view.'
At the height of their fame, Morten, Magne and Paul played to thousands of screaming fans, sold millions of albums and made TV appearances all around the world.
In the UK they had hits with their first three albums spawning singles such as The Sun Always Shines On TV, Hunting High And Low, Cry Wolf and The Swing of Things but, as Adam Clayton from U2 later observed, they were 'seen as a band for teenage girls'.

And it is this stereotyping that shaped the future of the band and the path it subsequently followed - a path that took them away from the UK music scene.
After the massive success of Take On Me it was difficult for the band to shake off their pop image and as a result they began to experiment with other sounds, sounds which didn't sit well with the British music-buying public. A-ha, it seemed, just disappeared into obscurity.
Now, decades older, the trio has been able to reflect on where their career has taken them and return to pay homage to their early sound with their latest album.
Foot Of The Mountain is a fusion of A-ha old and new: the edgy synthesizers of their early style blend with a melodic and whimsical flow reminiscent of Keane (one of the bands incidentally who cite A-ha as a major influence).
But their journey hasn't always been an easy one. The rate at which they first achieved success is phenomenal: three young men in their early 20s arrive in London from Norway in search of musical success.

They barely spoke English; they have no instruments, no manager and no record deal. Within two years they are the biggest pop group in the world.

'We kind of came with money saved from odd jobs and took a rented bedsit or two bed apartment at Queensway and subsequently the less money we had the lower the standard of the accommodation until finally we were sleeping in a basement in Sydenham underneath a demo studio and recording during the night and sleeping on polystyrene sheets during the day,' recalls Magne.


Taking on the world: The band - (l-r) Morten Harket, Magne Furuholmen and Pal Waaktaar - in their 80s heyday

'We kind of came with money saved from odd jobs and took a rented bedsit or two bed apartment at Queensway and subsequently the less money we had the lower the standard of the accommodation until finally we were sleeping in a basement in Sydenham underneath a demo studio and recording during the night and sleeping on polystyrene sheets during the day,' recalls Magne.
'But there was always something that happened that made me think "now we're really on our way". Every positive sign we would report back to our worried families. We had no contact, we had no one representing us we had just ourselves and the music.'
Morten adds: 'At the same time we were very quickly well known. So the tough period really was when we were a non entity, when we were just squatters from Norway. Though we all felt the same about that period, I never doubted where we were going so for me my only - I was only wondering how long the wait would be.'
'Oh no I don't think there was any doubt,' says Magne, 'it was just a question of easing the worry at home.'
'Well we didn't tell them much. They didn't know how scruffy we were,' jokes Morten.
'That's what I mean,' says Magne, 'we only told them the good bits, like "OK we got a meeting today with the publishing company ". It was one of those things that there's always something that was a good sign, a good indication.'
Soon the boys had a number one worldwide hit on their hands and everything changed.
However, as they began to plan and produce their second album, Scoundrel Days, they felt pressure from their record company to produce more of the same rather than evolve as artists and record the music they wanted to make. And here the problems began.
'One of the things that threw us a little with hindsight was equating the rather frustrating business of being the centre of celebrity attention and being idolised in a certain way or being seen to be this kind of pop idol,' says Magne.
'It was a little bit alien but we started equating I guess the musical output with our own frustrations and one of the ways of combating that is that you naturally look back to where you started.

'You say "OK our music is going in this direction, let's follow, who cares what it does to our career? A lot of people got frustrated with this.

'The first thing you'd hear after Scoundrel Days "there's no Take On Me on this album". Of course there isn’t, we've done that. This is Scoundrel Days, this is a better album. This was our approach. Their approach was "sh*t, they're really going down the tubes"'.
'It was named later on as our best album,' adds Morten.
Enlarge

Comeback: The band's new album is a return to the early recording style that propelled them to mega stardom

Magne goes on: 'Some of the material on Scoundrel Days was already written before Hunting High and Low.


'It was perhaps of a more challenging nature with songs like Scoundrel Days - those are the songs that have perhaps given us the legs, career-wise, and the status in other people's minds as a band to reckon with.

'Not necessarily the Take On Me's and the big successes but the more challenging material. And of course you're then in a situation where you've created a success so big that everyone wants it to just go on.
'As a musician you don't think like that, you think I just want to make the music I really believe in. It's a bit Napoleonic, you just take the army out there even though it's a battle you're going to lose on some fronts - you just do it because you believe in it.'
And lose on some fronts they did. As the band's frustration with their pop image grew, the further away from their early sound they moved. They experimented with a variety of genres including rock, but never achieved the success of their first albums.
Looking back, Magne says, he can see that the reason their success in the UK came to an abrupt end was because people wanted the pop-orientated A-ha they had grown to love. The band had become teen idols.
'Initially that was a big part of the commercial success and it happened very fast and we didn't control it, it kind of controlled us and propelled us into an area that was completely unexpected,' he says.
'I think U2 had a much better idea of what they wanted to be and what they didn't want to be whereas we found ourselves learning what we were and what we weren't completely in the spotlight.

'And it happened to such a degree that people somehow thought we were a band kind of made for this... manufactured. But Adam Clayton's right, we were mistaken as some sort of perfect pop product and we played along and we kind of embraced that and we paid the price for it.'
A few albums later the band broke up for a period and disappeared from the music scene to start families and, in Magne's case, to take up art professionally.
In 2000 they reformed, went back into the studio and began making music again. Although they still failed to penetrate the UK market, they won awards worldwide for their subsequent albums.
But as Morten says, they were still not interested in markets - they just wanted to make the right music for themselves.
And it might be this maturity and musical freedom that has now allowed them to embrace their early style and evolve it into their current sound. Hindsight, after all, is a wonderful thing.
'There was an intention to reacquaint ourselves with... to open up to some of the ways we used to do things,' says Magne.
'And doing that,' adds Morten, 'approaching the music in the way we used to in the early days has influenced quite a lot the final result.'
'We've done so many albums and most of the time what we've been doing is experimenting away from the last album, like rock.
'That's fair because I think rock was always a big part of our heritage, it was a kind of natural urge to get away from what you've already done but then at some point you get so far away from what you were doing that it's almost like the most radical and interesting thing you can do is revisit some of the mechanisms.

'Specifically to me there is something magical about the combination of our songs, Morten’s voice...', muses Magne.
'There was something I missed about the simplicity, the almost naivety that very simple but well-constructed synth arrangements bring and something about the lushness that isn't lush in a kind of schmaltzy way but lush in a kind of atmospheric - you know it's just conducive to our songwriting and to Morten's singing... we hadn't really celebrated it before.'
But he adds: 'Far from being a wish to return to the early days it's more a case of adding all that to our plate today. Something that we did as good as if not better than most we should be able to also use in our arsenal as well musically and I think we've just crystalised elements of the band and that’s why it’s interesting to do it today.'
Magne says comparisons to Take That's successful resurgence are a little wide of the mark: 'Take That are clearly hugely loved by their British audience. They are four people who sing and dance and entertain people. We are not trying to replicate anything, A-ha are simply trying to go on making music in the hope it will be meaningful in people's lives.'
Already making waves amongst music critics, Foot Of The Mountain looks set to put A-ha back on the map and a UK tour in November with dates at London's 02 should indeed reaffirm them as a band to be reckoned with.
They're older, they're wiser and they look and sound better than ever.
So what's the secret to their eternal youth?

'Eat all the preservatives you can!', Magne says. 'No, seriously, people who have lived are more interesting than people who look like they have been left in formaldehyde or reach for their youth with a surgeon's knife. Morten hardly drinks alcohol. Apart from that, genes, normal living and healthy food.
'It's a strange situation to sit here 25 years later and feel that it's a band that's still influential, that is something I didn't even consider at the time. I think for the first time there's enough distance to really take a good look at your life in the music business and realise it is a life, it has become a life. While we weren't looking it turned into a life.'

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1201346/A-ha-Norways-hottest-band-return-wilderness-new-album-tour.html?ITO=1490#ixzz0NToXGjPE


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Re: london report

Beitrag von meik1 am Fr 7 Aug 2009 - 9:30

UK success for a-ha’s latest

04-08-2009

A-ha’s latest album release, ‘Foot of The Mountain’ continues its European tour de force with solid sales charts performances in the UK.
For the first time since 'Stay On These Roads' was released in May 1988, a-ha has a Top 10 album in the UK. In its first week on the UK sales charts, the legendary trio’s latest album ‘Foot of The Mountain’, performed admirably with a no. 5 slot as a final result. Music Week’s unofficial mid-week sales charts indicated that ‘Foot of The Mountain’ held the second place, only outpaced by the Michael Jackson compilation ‘The Essential’. 'Foot of the Mountain' has also been A-listed by Radio 2.
‘Foot of The Mountain’ has seen healthy sales in Scandinavia and shot to the very top of the German sales charts earlier this year. The album remained in the German top 20 for six weeks
a-ha has been in the UK for a month doing promotion, and will soon return to Germany for a few appearances. a-ha is set to return in November for a string of live dates which will culminate with a performance at London’s 02 Arena
A few UK review quotes:
"Their ninth album 'Foot of the Mountain' is a welcome return to the electronica of their early hits and a glorious reminder of their soaring melodies." BBC Music, July 7
"The kind of album that sounds like it should be No 1 in Germany, which, of course, it was recently." The Guardian, July 12
"Talking about Foot Of The Mountain, which is the group's ninth studio album, [Magne] said: 'It was a real thrill to re-examine our formative elements and use them hopefully in ways that rejuvenates them and makes us move forward as opposed to backward.'" Music News, July 17


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Globulli

Re: london report

Beitrag von Globulli am Sa 8 Aug 2009 - 20:22

aja und Morten wieder im rankuschelfeeling wie er sich da an die frau kuschelt er muss mal an die :pig: grippe denken :lol:

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