a-ha walking out of their VW van.

Icons on the road

Always reinventing, a-ha and Volkswagen

With more than 80 million records sold worldwide, Norwegian band a-ha are truly music icons. Fronted by the soft, haunting vocals of Morten Harket and complemented by Pål Waaktaar-Savoy on guitar and Magne Furuholmen on the keyboard, a-ha have put out a huge catalogue of hits including Take on Me, Crying in the Rain, and the theme music for the James Bond film The Living Daylights.

We were given the chance to sit down with the group to discuss their successful history and the exciting challenges of reinventing themselves for the future. We also discussed how Volkswagen are reinventing their iconic vans to become emission free, thanks to a collaboration with partners ABT e-line.

Morten Harket standing next to a VW van.
The van is definitely an icon. And that it is now going electric is a huge statement
Morten Harket
Singer, a-ha

A success story

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The setting for our chat couldn’t have been better. The Norwegian backdrop of lush forests and the idyllic surroundings of the city of Kristiansand perched on the banks of Kristiansfjord and its tributary, the Topdalfjord. As we drive down the coastline and through the city, we are greeted by traditional wooden houses and fishmongers doing their daily trade.

It’s a familiar place for the three band members, who all love the city, and they seemed right at home as they described to us what it takes to cement your place as an icon in your field.

A VW van driving past a lake in Norway.
a-ha walking out of their VW van.

“We were just three guys who loved making music together. Always on the lookout for the sound that immediately creates goose bumps ” Pål, the band's guitarist, explained to us when we first sat down. When we asked how to become an icon, Pål answered with a wry smile “You don't create anything great by planning it.” He then remembered the exact moment they knew they were onto something “When we sat together and heard the chorus to Take On Me for the first time, a feeling went through us, a wow moment that made us believe that this could become something really big here. "

You don't create anything great by planning it.
Pål Waaktaar-Savoy
Guitarist, a-ha
Pal Waataar-Savoy playing a guitar in a recording studio.

Always one step further

A-ha's music was not only always way ahead of its time, it was also absolutely unique and unmistakable. This captivating magic, the ingenuity and the arrangement of Morten's gentle and melancholy vocals carried by the driving riffs and catchy melodies of guitarist Pål and keyboardist Magne. The band's timeless hits still accompany us today and generate the same fascination when listening to them as in earlier times. Magne, keyboardist for the band, explains: “We have never rested on our success, we have faced the challenge again and again and constantly reinvented ourselves - we always wanted to offer the audience something new, exciting and ambitious, they were part of it our personal journey. Reinventing ourselves again and again is a must for us "

Magne Furuholmen in his workshop.
Reinventing ourselves, again and again, is a must for us
Magne Furuholmen
Keyboard player a-ha

It’s the same principle that drove the Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles to develop electric vans in collaboration with ABT e-line. Singer Morten Harket commented on it saying “The van is an icon, and the fact that it is now going electric is a massive statement. It stands for the changing attitudes that are essential for the time ahead.” As we approached the end of our trip, the sun was slowly setting behind the canopy of trees that surrounded us. As the band said goodbye to us and the vehicle, we are all leaving with a genuine sense of excitement about where the future will lead.  

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