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February 2010

Call that snow? Magne Furuholmen is deep in it, in the Norweigian mountains.
“There’s seven feet of snow outside my window,” says A-Ha’s guitarist.
“It’s minus 18 but there’s a bright shining sun. I’m up in the cabin and I’m doing all right.”
How many homes do you have?
“You know, one for every season. You’ve got to when you’re living in Norway.”
Odd that he’d choose the cabin in that case unless he’s a winter chaser. But enough of that, we’re here to talk about the end of A-Ha, as the trio have announced their farewell tour.
“It’s a perfect symmetrical ending,” he says, referring to the 25th anniversary of their debut album Hunting High & Low.
“We’ve had a fantastic run together but it’s a long time to be working with anyone.”
But their latest album, last year’s Foot Of The Mountain, was a success, reaching No. 5 in the UK and earning critical acclaim. Why stop now?
“It’s the perfect opportunity to leave the party before you get thrown out.”
Though he admits: “It’s hard to walk away from any success. But I want to be brave and take steps that offer new and creative challenges.”
You can sense from what he says next that not all is rosy in the A-Ha camp anyway.
“It’s taking us four years to make records, and it involves a lot of debate and disagreements and it’s not always something that comes out feeling like a strong team effort.”
He adds: “This is an opportunity to say good bye to our fans while people have a good memory of A-Ha.”
Furuholmen, Morten Harket and Paul Waaktaar-Savoy have sold in excess of 35 million albums in the past 25 years. Among their 15 UK Top 10 singles are Hunting High & Low, The Sun Always Shines On TV, Train Of Thought, Cry Wolf, Bond theme The Living Daylights and Take On Me, which reached number 1 in 27 countries.
In 1991 their show at the Maracana Stadium in Rio De Janeiro earned a Guinness World Record for the largest-ever audience attendance at a paid concert – 196,000 people.
The band regrouped in 1998 after a four year break and enjoyed a new audience, he says.
“It’s been gratifying since then to see how the climate around A-Ha has changed, from being a nostalgic 80s trip of teenage hysteria to serious music lovers owning up to being closet A-Ha fans.”
They include Coldplay, Kanye West, Oasis and U2.
It was during the sabbatical that Furuholmen had began working as a visual artist. That’s what he’ll be doing when the group split at the end of the year.
“That alongside new and exciting collaborations in music,” he says.
“It’s inspiring to try new things.”
The farewell tour starts next week in Argentina, before heading to America, Europe, Australia, Russia, Japan and then the UK, ending in Oslo in December.
“Nottingham will be one of the last gigs we play together so hopefully it will be quite magical, certainly emotional and special, for us too.
“I certainly like to think that people will leave the arena thinking it was the best A-Ha show they’d ever seen.”

A-Ha, Trent FM Arena, Sunday November 21, £28.50, £38.50 and £55, 0844 412 4624,

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