Past Perfect, Future Tense

23 de junio de 2009

Magne decora el café "Bølgen & Moi"

Entrevista en "Dagbladet Søndag"


By: Guro Danielsen,

Magne Furuholmen (46) never rests, he just finds up new stuff to do. Or else...

One third of Norway's most successful popband ever confidently waltzs into the Bølgen & Moi café at Tjuvholmen. He is wearing sneakers with golden details and a shirt a tad more unbottoned than the rest of the customers. Besides from that he has a thorough knowledge concerning the decoration and interior of the place. Since he has designed that himself. The text-based decor consist in variations of the letters in the word "confusion", like on a Scrabble board.

- My favourite is "icons of sonic sins", Magne Furuholmen comments as we pass the matte-tiled wall.

All in all there is a lot that he'd like to earmark in that brand new place. He's talking about challenges and possibilities concerning art as a decoration tool. About the fact that all conversations going on on the tables surrounding us - more or less involuntary - are influenced by the surroundings that he has been a part of creating. He glances at the menu and orders a tuna dish that he has never tasted before, while he continues pointing out the lighting above us.

- Uh, but was this supposed to be about art? Shouldn't we talk about music?, he interrupts himself.

It's never easy to know when one thing ends and the other thing begins when it concerns Magne Furuholmen. He had a solo exhibition in Asker earlier this year and is having another in London at Fall. At the same time a-ha are promoting their ninth studio album. The words he uses on his art can just as well be used on the music. It's pretty much an íssue of a relation between form and content. Furuholmen prefers to set some Dogma-like limitations to himself, he thinks that it liberates some creativity.

- On this album I wanted to get back to the time when we played all instruments ourselves, worked with synths and experimented ourselves to a result when it came to sound. For my part it was about quitting being ashamed of the sound we were a part of creating in the 80's. Because some folks in the band still do.

Magne Furuholmen feels that the big beast is moving. The a-ha beast, the whole popstar machinery. Hotel rooms, limos, screaming fans. And the reviews that came in today and made Magne sarcastically remark that "we're not up to the Rybak level".

- a-ha are judged upon expectations, not upon results. That is the price that we have to pay for being the band that has contributed most to international pop music through the years. According to most people we are the National Team, and we have to wear the national colours no matter what.

The tuna dish gets served.

- Ooh, that was good. It is always rewarding trying out new stuff. Always. Do something that you've never done before. Shake it all about. That was what I wanted with this album. Remove the a-ha live sound, remove the sound of a band feat. orchestra, he says while tucking in on curry fish and noodles.

In 1999 Magne got hospitalized suffering from cardiac arrhytmia. He was told to change his way of living, which amongst other things included a controlled diet.

- Do you still follow that diet?

- Either I follow it or I don't give a . That is the dynamics that I prefer. I started well. But it did have some unexpected effects, he says.

- For instance, I must take my part of responsability concerning Morten Harket's fundementalistic approach on wheat products.

Furuholmen stresses that this part is written down word by word.

- Because someone will read it?

- EVERYTHING we say about eachother through the press WILL be read, he says.

The three strong personalities within a-ha have had their notorious episodes of arguing, artistic differences and struggles.

- Did you ever consider not to make a new a-ha album this time?

- Yes. I've done that every time since 2000. I think that all three of us feel the same way. Usually we are happy knowing that we did all that we could. When I set for a project I get a kind of "bulldog-approach" on stuff, I lock my jaws on it. It's not always that healthy.

-Maybe especially not since you have so many projects running at the same time?

- I have a restless heart that beats wildly and out of control. I even have a diagnosis for that! I'm never allowed to totally relax, because that's when I'm at risk of having a heart attack. Finn Skårderud* describes it clearly by explaining the importance of different ways of sitting on a running horse: either you cling to the horse's neck or you grab the reins and take control. It's a matter of keeping yourself on the right side.

Beside music and art he also has a family life with his wife Heidi Rydjord (46) who he has had a relationship with since high school and their sons Thomas Vincent (19) and Filip Clements (16).

- My wife often wonders whether I don't wear myself out. Then I pretend not to understand what she's talking about.

- Because you're bouncing off the walls at home too?

- Well, I--- , he begins and lets the rest of the answer trail off.

Magne Furuholmen rather takes refuge in new working situations than resting.

- I recharge by transitioning from one universe to another. I get really frustrated by getting stuck in the same place and I am averagely inpatient about myself as well as about other people. Whenever I'm too settled I get disillusioned. That's when I have to demolish the sand castle that I built and start all over again.

- Is there any end to your productivity?

- No, not really. There's so much stuff I want to do, and I haven't even started yet.

Magne's pursue and interest for words affects all of his artistic activities, which results in that he gets very satisfied when he comes to the conclusion that the word "recreation" is much better than "relaxation" when it comes to him.

- Because it is in the word itself: "re-creation". Like when I'm reading. Everything I read is dog-eared, actually a complexed system of dog-ears. Whenever I find a word that I like I dog-ear the page in a special way so I can find it again when I re-read the book.

- Why don't you just highlight the words with a marker?

- Just in case I give the book away to someone else. Right now I'm reading "A short History of Nearly Everything" by Bill Bryson and I've recommended it for my eldest son. He'd like to read it once I'm done and I'd like to spare him for my observations. I'll just straight out the dog-ears.

He talks a lot with his sons about the concept of fame and about how it seems that people nowadays seek fame just for the sake of it. He himself never invites photographers into his home. Not just because he thinks that his home is very uninteresting, he also thinks that knowing that much about another person is not healthy. Nevertheless he has gotten a small grasp of the newest reality concepts though he barely can stand watching the Travel Channel.

- I'm trying to tell my sons that there's nothing wrong with watching "crap tv" but it has to be adequated by some quality movies.

- So if they'd like to be part of a reality show, you'd put your foot down?

- No. But we would have to have a long talk about that. Anyway that's pretty unlikely. They've been so close to fame that they know that it's not *that* attractive.

Magne Furuholmen has lived the life of a superstar for almost 25 years now. This fall a-ha begins a small tour in Germany and the UK and ends the year with to concerts at the Oslo Spektrum. Next year the rest of the world awaits. As restless as he is Magne likes to find something to do between the gigs. Most often the backing band has joined in the fun as the other members are not that interested.

They've earlier had the Irony-Free Tour where it wasn't allowed to be ironic or sarcastic. That had people in a good mood. Then it was the Meditiation Tour, the Cultural Tour, the Jogging Tour and finally the unsuccessful mix-up that was The Cultural Jogging Tour.

- That time where we focused on training we ended up being totally intolerable. That was the one which ended in the famous Colonic Cleaning Episode.

- What's the plan this time?

- I've got a couple of ideas. I'm going to learn Esperanto, I think I'll stick with that idea.

He's unsure on how long he'll keep on working on the a-ha projects. No matter what he always look at every of their projects as if it was the last thing they'd ever do.

- So our gigs at Oslo in the fall may very well be our very last concert in Norway ever. But you never know...

1 comentario:

Marcus Aurelius dijo...

I really hope he learns Esperanto!
I wrote the article about a-ha in the Esperanto Wikipedia.

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