Tuesday, May 21st, 2002
Dina Katsnelson / SWR3 / a-ha.com
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Morten complains about how in this interview marathon, he has to dispose of one journalist after another. "And that while once you get me started, you can not shut me up anymore. I can be quite difficult. I want a lot, I simply wish for it all to be real. That we're not pretending to be something that we are not. I also do not want to end up in a situation where I become part of a production process that has been set up for just someone, but not for me as an individual."
Magne is pleased by the observation that a-ha is finally getting the recognition that they deserve. "Every new album offers a possibility to rewrite the band's past," he says.
"We appreciate that we are linked together," Paul says. "The good thing is that we're still out here, instead of just peaking when you're twenty-two and that's it, and you don't achieve anything more for the rest of your life. We are just determined now. We have a career. And we are not doing this on a nostalgic trip, you know. I think we all appreciate that we actually can take it further now."
"My kids listen to demos and the stuff I do," Magne says. "They're part of the whole process. They come in the studio and you can actually hear them in 'Cannot Hide' where I do the French rap in the end. The voices are in the background when it is fading out. That's a little fingerprint there just from the visit in the studio."
"The text for 'Oranges on Apple Trees' was something that Magne had written as a provisional solution, as they were recording in the studio and needed some words to go with the melody."
"Morten came to me with an idea that had a lyric, or more like half a verse," Magne tells. "I liked something about it, but wasn't too touched by the way it sounded, so I really kind of rewrote the song. But I didn't have a text. So I simply threw in a few words, so that Morten would have something to sing. I picked this absurd combination, oranges on apple trees, because Morten always jumps on the random words that I am throwing in for practice and thinks it's great. So I thought, 'oranges on apple trees, bugs and bumblebees' - no way he can do anything with that."
"But what happens? He says "Oh, great, genius, brilliant!" And I went "Oh God, no..." I had to write a lyric based on it and actually, it was kind of funny because it was different kind of way of writing for me. It was more like trying to get a story together without feeling it as a person. I had to transfer myself into Morten's head. He had namely this conviction that the image of oranges growing on apple trees perfectly fits the times that we now live in: everything is possible, there are no clear limits, the pluralistic way of thinking. Well... Once again it was proved that he's absolutely unpredictable!"
"'You Wanted More' is about a relationship, not necessarily a marriage," Morten explains. "It can just as well be about friendship and about someone who always wants more. Someone who cannot lean back and wait for something to develop, and who thus doesn't find peace. Many of our songs are about relationships; about life itself, about those things that keep us busy. We never made a conscious choice on that; it is simply a reaction on that what has happened in our lives. That's why one writes songs, actually. And when it's done well, it's freeing, in a way; not just for yourself, but also for the people who hear this song and who can see themselves in it, or their lives. That is the way it works."
Paul talks about letting go of the production.
"It's always difficult, because in the period that I am working with Savoy, we sort of produce ourselves. It is a little bit hard to step back. You go in now and you go kind of "Oh, you are producing too?" you know. It's very hard, the difference between writing a song, arranging it and then? Yeah, at some point you have to step back and let the producer take his shots at it."
"So there was this song that I liked, called 'Time and again'. It feels like a song from our first round, like 'Hunting High and Low'. I think we recorded that like three times, with three different producers and in the end I still didn't see it coming so I went in and did it myself."
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