New album – Recording vocals and bass

I’m very proud and excited to announce that I will be releasing a new full-length solo album in 2019! You can follow the whole process – the writing, recording and mixing of the album right here on my web site. I’ll post news updates, in-depth written features and video clips from the studio.

At last! I’m finished recording the new album! There’s only a couple of guest appearances left but everything else is done. It’s always a strange feeling. You live inside this bubble on every project and it’s so incredibly consuming.

It’s a feeling of never wanting to let go and just hoping it will soon end. Strange feeling indeed.

Bjorn Riis - New album 2019

I did most of the bass tracks myself. I always play bass on demos. Both my own and Airbag’s but I’ve never felt comfortable with being a bassist. You can hear how safe I went with Lullabies and I wish I had someone better to do the bass. On Forever I felt that I managed to do a fairly decent job, which gave me more confidence to do the bass for this album.

I’m using an Epiphone Thunderbird. Hardly what you would call a high end instrument but it does the job and I think it sounds pretty cool. I like that fat edgy tone and the neck is really easy for a novice like me to play.

I tend to stick to the stuff that I grew up listening to, like Kiss, Sabbath and all of that classic rock stuff. I can hear a lot of that in my playing and perhaps that provides a nice contrast to the other instruments. And I’m a pick guy. Never really understood fingers on a bass. Unless you’re ripping it apart like Geezer Butler.

I record the bass at home. No amp. It’s fed straight into a Universal Audio Solo 610 tube preamp, which really makes a huge difference to the sound. I like a lot of grit and fuzz, especially on the heavier parts, so we’re re-amping using a UA Ampeg plug-in that sounds amazing. It’s all over Forever and it will be all over this album too.

Kristian Hultgren (Wobbler) has been playing with me for a while and I wanted him on one of the tracks. He has a very aggressive attack, which I think fit that song very well. We recorded using the UA 610 and one of his mid 60s Fender P guitars.

Bjorn Riis - New album 2019

All of my vocals are recorded in my home recording studio. I guess that’s the only place I feel comfortable and confident to lay down the tracks and try new things, which I think I have on this album.

I’m using a Rode NT2-A into the UA 610 preamp, which is for the most part set with a pretty high input. I love those close in-your-face vocals and there are lots of them on this album.

Next time we’ll go deep into how I recorded the guitars for this album. Stay tuned!

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Terra Incognita Quebéc, Canada 2019

I’m excited to announce that I will be performing live with my band at the 15th annual Terra Incognita festival in Quebéc, Canada May 17-19 2019! Airbag will also perform, so this will be a unique chance to experience both bands in one weekend!

Terra Incognita 2019

Check out the official Terra Incognita Facebook page for all the details and news!

Tickets ON SALE NOW!

See you there!

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New album – Recording acoustic guitars

I’m very proud and excited to announce that I will be releasing a new full-length solo album in 2019! You can follow the whole process – the writing, recording and mixing of the album right here on my web site. I’ll post news updates, in-depth written features and video clips from the studio.

This weekend I recorded all the acoustic guitars. It’s a fairly easy process and I’m always most comfortable with recording them in my home recording studio. Still, there’s always the challenge of mic placement and of course – being able to perform well and record quality tracks!

Bjorn Riis - New album 2019

I have a Yamaha LL16 that I’ve been using for a few years. It’s featured on all of my solo releases and Airbag’s Disconnected. Nothing over the top or super fancy but to me it has a really comfortable neck, it’s easy to play and it sounds great. It’s perhaps a slightly darker sounding acoustic but I’ve never been a fan of something that’s too crispy and bright.

I use Elixir 11-52 gauge strings and Dunlop Tortex .50mm and Jazz 1.00mm picks.

Bjorn Riis - New album 2019

The guitar is recorded with a Rode NT2-A condenser mic. I usually have two setups. For the darker single track sounds I place the mic about 5-6 inches away and for the lighter stereo stuff, I like it to sound as airy as possible and often sit a meter away from the mic.

The mic is fed into a Universal Audio Solo 610 tube pre-amp that sounds really nice and warm. It’s set very gently, with just a touch of the input gain or compression, but it makes all the difference and the tracks are very easy to mix in later on.

Acoustic guitar has always been important for me and my music. I mainly write on acoustics and I often build a song around that initial idea or demo. Hopefully that translates to the finished mix as well.

Next up is bass guitars. Stay tuned!

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New album – Recording drums

I’m very proud and excited to announce that I will be releasing a new full-length solo album in 2019! You can follow the whole process – the writing, recording and mixing of the album right here on my web site. I’ll post news updates, in-depth written features and video clips from the studio.

This weekend we’ve been recording drums for the new album. Once again Henrik Fossum (Airbag) and I returned to Subsonic Society studios where we’ve done drums and mixing of all of the Airbag and my solo albums.

Bjorn Riis - New album 2019

Long-time collaborator, Vegard Sleipnes, who also run the studio, engineered the recordings and he’ll also mix the album in November when, hopefully, all the recordings are done.

As much as I want to evolve and explore new sounds and ways of doing things, I also believe in the fact that there’s no reason to change things if it’s working. We know this studio and Vegard knows us, both what we want and how he can challenge us.

Time and money is obviously a part of the whole production so being able to just come in and put down the tracks in an enviroment that makes you comfortable and relaxed is very important.

Bjorn Riis - New album 2019

All of the demos were completed a couple of weeks ago so we used these as the backingtracks and sort of a guide for Henrik but I also give him total freedom, well… more or less… to come up with ideas and suggestions.

Obviously he knows drums much better than I and part of the reason I choose him for my albums is that I know he’s extremely versatile and creative.

I wanted a slightly different sound this time based on the material that I’ve written so we went for a fairly tight and stripped down kit with a 70s feel in mind.

Bjorn Riis - New album 2019

For some of the stuff we ended up using a 1940s Ludwig kick that has this amazing low end thump. We also experimented with different types of snares and cymbals for each song and certain passages.

Not sure how many mics we ended up using but Vegard loves to just throw a bunch of ambient stuff around the room. I’ve no idea if he ever ends up using them but it looks pretty amazing though!

Next up is recording bass, acoustic guitars, pianos, vocals and of course lead guitars. Stay tuned for more updates!

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New album out 2019!

I’m very proud and excited to announce that I will be releasing a new full-length solo album in 2019! You can follow the whole process – the writing, recording and mixing of the album right here on my web site. I’ll post news updates, in-depth written features and video clips from the studio.

Ok, so if you’ve been following me on my Facebook page I’m sure you’ve already seen me posting a couple of pics of me recording something new this summer.

Bjorn Riis new album 2019

The Coming Home mini album got released in February and I started to write for a new album and the follow-up to Forever comes to an end soon after.

The writing process for this album was a bit different compared to Lullabies and Forever. Lullabies was very much me wanting to finish a lot of the stuff I had laying around from not having used them with Airbag. Forever started out with the title track that was written while I promoted Lullabies and that sort of grew into a new album.

This album was written really fast, over a period of 2-3 weeks, and all of the songs are new. There’s no left over material or ideas that’s been laying around. I knew I wanted to make a new album and I pretty much picked up the guitar and started writing.

Now this might sound cocky but over the years I’ve developed some techniques that allows me to put down new ideas really fast. Ideas for a song can pop up at anytime and I use my iPhone a lot to write down lyrics, ideas for an arrangement or record a couple of chords and riffs.

When I get home I can pop into my home recording studio and within 30-60mins I’ve recorded a very basic draft of what might end up as a song.

I wanted to do things slightly different this time. I wanted to keep a lot of the initial ideas and recordings because they often have that nerve and spontaneity that’s often lost by trying to make everything perfect on the 54th take.

I wanted to have the feeling of a band and although I record everything separately with either myself or additional musicians, there’s something about not overdoing things. I’ve arranged the songs with the band in mind and what we’ve been doing live.

Is it possible to translate this song to the stage? That’s sort of been my goal but certainly no rule. Limiting yourself often generate new ideas and ideas that perhaps wouldn’t have emerged if you have too many options and tools available.

OK, so I think I’ll leave it with that for now. Be sure to stop by once in a while and keep your self up to date with all the latest news on my Facebook page.

We’ll record drums this coming weekend so see you then!

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Close to the Rain – Oslo edition 2018

I’m excited to announce that I will be performing live with my band at the Close to the Rain – Oslo edition festival, in Oslo Norway 31/8-1/9 this fall! We had a blast in Bergen last year and can’t wait for the first Oslo edition to happen!

Close to the Rain 2018

The first bands are already announced and there are more to come! This will also be the ONLY chance to see me and my band in Oslo this fall.

See the official Close to the Rain Facebook event for all the details.

See you there!

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Ino Rock festival 2018

I’m pleased to announce that I will be playing at this year’s Ino-Rock festival in Inowroclaw, Poland on August 25th. This year’s line-up is all Norwegian, including Gazpacho and Soup!

Ino-Rock 2018

Airbag played the festival back in 2010. We had such a good time and it’s always a pleasure to visit and play in Poland.

See the official Ino-Rock website for details.

See you there!

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Coming Home out now!

Bjørn Riis - Coming Home

Wow! I’m so proud to finally have my new mini-album Coming Home out there! It’s been such a cool project involving super talented friends and musicians. The reviews has been overwhelming so far and I can’t wait for you all to hear it.

The pre-order and shop is closed but Coming Home is available on CD, LP and download from all major physical and online retailers including these…

Karisma Records
Big Dipper (Norway)
The Garden (Norway)
Burning Shed
Amazon
Rock Serwis (Poland)
Plastic Head (EU)

Itunes
Bandcamp
Spotify

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