Forever Comes to an End – New album out May 19th

Bjorn Riis - Forever Comes to an End

I’m extremely proud and excited to announce that my new album, Forever Comes to an End, will be out on May 19th!

The album is written and produced by me and engineered and mastered by long-time collaborator, Vegard Kleftås Sleipnes at Subsonic Society. Guest appearances include Henrik Fossum – drums (Airbag), Asle Tostrup – programming (Airbag), Simen Valldal Johannessen – piano (Oak) and Norwegian singer Sichelle Mcmeo Aksum.

Norwegian photographer Kjetil Karlsen, has provided the haunting front cover image, taken in beautiful Beisfjord near Narvik in Northern Norway.

An exclusive preorder of signed albums will be up and available soon.

First show announced – Live in Bergen, Norway June 2017!

Close to the Rain - Bjorn Riis

I’ll be playing at the Close to the Rain festival in Bergen, Norway June 2-3 next year. This will be a rare opportunity to see both me and my band and Airbag sharing the same bill and stage!

A handful of Norway’s finest prog acts are already announced and there’s more to come!

Tickets are available now.

Facebook event

New album – “When can we hear it??!!!”

My new solo album, the follow-up to Lullabies in a Car Crash (2014), is announced for 2017. In the coming weeks and months, I will take you through the process of making this album. From writing the songs, to recording and eventually releasing it to the world.

One question that I’m getting a lot is “why can’t we just hear it already!”. Why not? Well, there’s still lots to be done and it takes time.

We’re in the very final stages of mixing. All the songs are finished and I spend most evenings either in my home studio or at my engineer’s, mixing the songs. It’s sometimes a painstakingly long process but also a very enjoyable one.

We’ll go into the mixing stuff later but as I said, it’s a long process. Still, there is a deadline. Part because I need to deliver to my record label but it’s also a deadline I force upon myself. You never finish an album. You just have to draw a line and let it go.

Bjorn Riis new album 2017
All the recordings are done in Apple’s Logic X.

The songs will be mastered in medio December. In case you don’t know, mixing is putting all the recorded tracks together, with effects and all, and making it work into a song. Mastering, is making that mix sound good on the different formats, like CD, vinyl, digital download etc.

Mastering usually takes somewhere between 1 day up to a couple of weeks, depending on how good the mastering engineer is and how picky you are at the receiving end.

Meanwhile, I’m working with Airbag’s vocalist and graphic designer, Asle Tostrup, to finish the artwork for my album. We hire photographers and come up with ideas and design for the front cover, booklets, labels etc. There’s also promo and marketing material. Everything, including the mastering of the album, should be finished around new year.

So, from there it should only take a couple of weeks right? Well, no. There are a number of reasons why you still have to wait a few months. I need to wait too!

When the large record companies needs to press 50k or 100k LPs, they come first in line. It’s great that there’s been a huge revival of the vinyl format but while no one wanted vinyl, all the old plants either shut down or, got rid of their old machines. Now everyone want’s to press vinyl but the plants can hardly keep up – which is why so few titles are reprinted these days. You better get that first edition! 



Anyway, it takes time to press vinyl and CD and print the artwork. Also, before you even begin to press, you need to make sure that everything is OK. You get the test press. Making vinyl, in particular, is such an organic process and you really need to be hands-on. I want to do the proofing myself. Others have their producer do it for them. Once that’s got the thumbs up, hopefully by the first run-through, you tell the plant to start pressing.

While all of this is happening, we slowly start to promote the album. Now, you already know that I’m releasing the new album and some sites have picked up on it but, hey let’s be honest, I’m a small act. It’s not that all the magazines and web news rooms and whathaveyou are waiting for a new album from Bjorn Riis. Weird, right?

Bjorn Riis new album 2017
My home recording studio. I do all the vocals and keyboards here and some of the mixing.

So, you got to start the process by slowly building on something. It’s strange, because we live in a world where everyone is easy to reach through all the social media. I mean, who reads magazines anymore? Well, that’s also the problem. It’s extremely hard to be noticed and to get the news out there when everyone is just browsing through today’s events on their phones.

You need to create a buzz. You need to get people talking and sharing. I’m, and Airbag, are lucky because we have such devoted fans all around the world and we know that word spreads fast because of you but nevertheless, it’s a long road to walk.

It’s also the case of reaching each market with the right impact within the right time frame. Sure, you can release and album digitally as soon as the master is finished but then you would spread everything too thin and people will have forgotten about the new release once the physical formats arrive months later.

So, the album is mixed, mastered, printed and the promoting is well under way. Then it’s distribution. Digital formats takes a few days, maybe a week, to be up on all platforms. Physical takes a lot longer.

Back in the 60s, 70s and even the 80s, an album got released in the US one month and in Europe weeks or months later. I know, because I could read in Metal Hammer or Kerrang magazine, when the new Kiss album was due but I still had to wait weeks before we got it here in Norway.

Now you can’t do that. People want the album the day of release. Social media has made the world a smaller place in some ways and while there is a financial aspect for some artists – you don’t want the album leaked while half the world is waiting for their copies – my concern is that I want everyone to hear it when it’s out. I don’t want you to have to wait and that means that we have to make sure all territories have their copies at the day of release.

So, where does that leave us? Well, you do the math but my point is,- as much as I want you all to hear my new album right away, there are lots of things to be done and we need to make sure it’s done properly.

I hope that made sense and that you got some insights on how it all works.

Check in soon! 

- Bjorn

New album – first sound clip

My new solo album, the follow-up to Lullabies in a Car Crash (2014), is announced for 2017. In the coming weeks and months, I will take you through the process of making this album. From writing the songs, to recording and eventually releasing it to the world.

As I write this, we’ve mixed 5 out of 7 songs and the mastering of the album is set for medio December. Still, there is a long way to go before the album is hitting the stores.

It’s been, almost to the day, three years since Lullabies. Since then, I’ve been busy with writing and recording with Airbag and we, as I’m sure you all know, released our fourth album, Disconnected, a few months back.

Most of the new album, was written simultaneously as the material for Disconnected, which was a new experience. While Lullabies mostly consisted of material I, for whatever reason, hadn’t brought into Airbag, the new album is all new songs.

The new album is very much a trip back to my roots and love of heavier music and movie scores. A strange combination, perhaps, but it’s always been there in what I’ve done with Airbag and on the last album.

So the question is, how do you make that to really be the main focus and not just a part of the whole sound? We’ll get back to that later. 



I can’t really tell you how proud I am of the new album. For me, making music is a very personal experience and there are periods that are just horrible, when you want to delete everything and start all over.

But there are also periods when I realise that I’ve managed to create something special. When you’re in that zone, or flow, it doesn’t really matter if you’re the only one who gets it or like it. It’s about pushing yourself and finding creativity and inspiration when you don’t think there is any.

So, I’ll leave it with that for now and a small taste in the clip below. I hope you will stop by once in a while and please feel free to ask me questions and suggest topics you want me to write about. 



New solo album out 2017!

Bjorn Riis new album 2017

I’m very excited to announce that I will release a new solo album next year! A follow-up to my highly acclaimed debut, Lullabies in a Car Crash (2014), the new album, again released on Karisma Records, will feature members from Airbag, Oak and several other guest appearances.

I’ve once again teamed up with long-time Airbag collaborator, Vegard Sleipnes, who also worked on Lullabies in a Car Crash. We have ventured back to my roots, exploring a harder and darker musical territory, with a strong focus on rhythms and sounds, as well as the more lush soundscapes of movie scores.

It’s still early in the process, so all I can say at this moment is – sometime by the first half next year. I’m proud and excited and can’t wait to share everything with you!

Please stay tuned and watch my Facebook page and here on the web site, for all the news and details.

Airbag “Disconnected” out now!

Airbag Disconnected

Finally! After nearly 18 months in the making, our new album is out!

Disconnected is available on limited edition digisleeve and standard jewel case CD, deluxe 180g double vinyl and digital download at all major stores (physical and online), iTunes and the official Airbag web shop.

See Airbagdisconnected.com and the official Airbag Facebook page for more news and details.

Oak “Lighthouse” out now – featuring me on guitar!

Oak Lighthouse

Oak is a band that I’m sure is familiar to many of you. They opened up for me on my solo shows in 2015 and Frontman Simen Valldal Johannessen and guitarist Ole Michael Bjørndal both played with me.

Oak has also supported Airbag numerous times and Ole is a regular rhythm guitarist for our live performances.

They’re new album, titled Lighthouse, is out on CD, vinyl and digital (Apollon Records). If you’re a fan of Airbag, Porcupine Tree, Tool and Opeth, or just great music, then be sure to check out this album!

Another reason to check out the album, is that I’m featured on guitar on the song Fire, walk with me. It’s a lovely piece, with a really nice atmosphere and lyrics.

Oak on Facebook

New Airbag album Disconnected out June 10th!

Airbag Disconnected new album

Airbag’s new album, titled Disconnected, will be released June 10th on Karisma Records.

After nearly two and a half years since The Greatest Show on Earth, a trip around the planet, solo project and other collaborations, we’re back with a brand new album that undoubtedly is our best yet. We’ve spent nearly a year writing, recording and mixing and we really couldn’t be more proud of the result!

Disconnected feature six songs reflecting on the theme of alienation between the individual and society, what society expects from us as individuals, and our resultant failure to live up to those expectations. Each of the six compositions depicts the state of feeling on ‘the outside’ and out of touch with oneself and those around us.

Musically, we’ve explored new sounds and ventured deeper into creating soundscapes, textures and dramatic arrangements.

Disconnected will be available on limited edition CD, double vinyl and digital download.

Stay tuned for pre-order information, cover artwork and more details.

Recording the 4th Airbag album!

New Airbag album

It’s exciting times! We’ve started recording our 4th album and the follow-up to Greatest Show on Earth. I’ve been writing new songs since last fall, starting in the middle of releasing my own album, and we’ve spent the winter and spring rehearsing and sorting out the arrangements.

Henrik, our drummer, tracking drums this weekend at Subsonic Society in Oslo, with engineer and long-time Airbag collaborator (and bass player in my live band) Vegard Sleipnes. We plan on wrapping up the sessions this week and the rest of us will be laying down bass, guitars, keys and vocals throughout the summer and early fall.

Be sure to follow the recording process on my Facebook page and on Instagram.