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Magne Furuholmen's interview.

Tuesday, May 21st, 2002
Dina Katsnelson / Orkus / a-ha.com

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Source: www.a-ha.com

"Hi Magne. Until now, the three of you used to do interviews together."

"I know, but you get to the point sooner, or you get to the point at all when you're not constantly talking through one another. Especially when you prod a little deeper, we often think quite differently on certain topics."

"Is 'Lifelines' rockier than 'Minor Earth, Major Sky'"

"Yes. Within a-ha, there is always the tendency to slide into a softer or more bombastic sound. This time, Morten and I have been writing together a lot and I learnt how to avoid kitsch. We tried to be a little more 'edgy'."

"The title song is very personal."

"I would have liked to see it as the first single. The song is indeed very personal; it's about decisions you take in life. Sometimes, you sit in a restaurant and you look at other people. You think about how your life could just as well have taken a completely different course, and you wish you could step into the lives of those other people, to find out what effect completely different circumstances would have on you. I often regret not to have tried certain things, because I feared the consequences. Maybe I would have completely different friends, lead a completely different family. I don't want to change my life, but I am fascinated by the fantasy about how things also could have been. I don't want to exaggerate, but I carry this fundamental sadness about perhaps having lived my life in a too one-dimensional way."

"Oy. You're pretty philosophical."

"All Norwegians are. We're not especially simple or open people. In Norway, people have the tendency to muse over things and they easily get melancholic. We are a thinking people. I can also never write or compose when I am happy, because then I'd rather play with my kids. Writing songs when I'm feeling sad also offers me a way to get into my own feelings. Or at least it's an attempt to. When other people can then do something with it, when my thoughts and emotions find a resonance in their heart and head, then we have arrived at the point where art begins to work."

"Somehow, a-ha is a pretty rare band, because at one hand, you are active on the teenager market while at the other hand, your music is really sophisticated and has depth."

"Yes, isn't that beautiful" It is possible to create quality pop songs without being too strategic or clever about it. I don't like clever music. That's why I like Radiohead, for example. They allow themselves to be vulnerable. Or Travis. They don't have a single weak track on their latest album. Best of all, I like songs that show a fundamental simplicity. That's a lot better than showing a calculated cool. Being cool is stupid; but maybe I'm just saying so because I'm not cool myself."

"You have reached everything imaginable already early in your career. How big is the temptation to take a holiday for the rest of your life?"

"Not as big as most people imagine. I see our career as some kind of mission. Every new album that we make is another attempt to correct the past. During our time off, I experienced quite some irritation when I heard how people talked about a-ha. I badly wanted to get my past back and say "Fuck you, folks." We're a much better band than most people believe. The reason for the misunderstanding is that we landed such a massive world hit with 'Take On Me'. Now, with the comeback album and also with this latest one, finally colleagues and reviewers walk over and say "a-ha are actually much better than I thought." I'm proud of that."

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