Happy new year!

Dear friends! 2019 has been an amazing year in so many ways! With both Airbag and my solo project, I’ve had the chance to travel around the globe playing shows and meeting wonderfully devoted people.

Naturally, my proudest moment was the release of my third full-length album, A Storm is Coming.

To see my album turning up on your top lists of 2019 is quite a surreal experience!
Like most people, I’m working 40+ hours a week and I have a family. The few hours I have left, is spent trying to make music.

I read Steven Wilsons letter on Facebook the other day and as he’s done many times before, he’s talking about the (almost) lost art of making an album. I’ve been involved in the record industry since the late 90s and I’ve experienced the peaks and the lows. Things change as they’ve always done, with new generations and technology. Still, there’s something about the importance of music being an art form that shouldn’t be forgotten or dismissed.

I’m lucky. Like Wilson, I’m still in the position where I’m able to create an album and to have it released on multiple formats. Including vinyl.

The reason for this is that you still spend your hard earned money on physical formats. This is important because streaming alone won’t finance new music. Your support is vital and tremendously appreciated.

The internet changed the music industry and the way many artists make music, including me, but it has also allowed a whole new generation of musicians to reach a bigger audience and the listener to discover a lot more music.

I grew up in the 80s and I still remember buying vinyl and spending hours listening to the music and staring at the cover art. It was equally important.

As much as I appreciate that my daughter is experiencing music in a different way and, I’m sure, enjoys it as much as I, I still want her to have that experience of discovering music as an art form.

I can see her amazement when she’s studying the inner spread of the The Wall album cover and hearing all the sound effects and the powerful music. Or, the awe of the spread on Kiss’ Alive 2 and hearing all the guitars and bombs. It’s a complete experience.

And that’s what we’re trying to achieve. An experience.

Airbag will release a new album in 2020. It’s been a long journey from Disconnected. Along the way we’ve lost a couple of founding members but we’ve also found new inspiration and we’re working with some amazingly talented musicians.

We’re extremely proud of what we’ve accomplished. We’re thankful for your patience and we can’t wait for you to hear it!

We’ll also have the remaining vinyl reissues out. Including Identity, which celebrated its 10th anniversary this year. Imagine that! All Rights Removed saw a reissue on red vinyl earlier this year and it’s now being mentioned as one of the most important prog releases of the decade.

I’m working on new material too and there will be a new solo album eventually. I’m also playing guitar on a couple of tracks on the upcoming album from The Opium Cartel.

A lot of exciting stuff is happening in Norwegian prog this year. Keep an eye out for new albums from Oak, Wobbler and long-time Airbag/Riis/Oak guitarist Ole Michael Bjørndal.

My heartfelt thanks for your support! It really means the world to me!

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6 Replies to “Happy new year!”

  1. Hey Bjorn, I am a very late arrival to the Airbag/Bjorn Riis party (like the last few weeks), but what a party…You and the band are all I’m listening to at the moment.
    I do not post as a matter of habit bit I wanted to tell you two things. I will be telling everyone in my circles about you and you and Airbag over the forseeable future, so keep making the music man. Second, having been buying vinyl since the early 60s, and then an early adopter of everything that followed until streaming arrived (no sir, I want my plastic back). It was only through finally giving in and letting Tidal take over that I got to hear about you. So while I share your passion for the art and the feel, it was this media that ‘chose’ you for me to listen to based on what I already loved. Pretty ironic eh?
    Greetings from South Wales and try and come down this way soon and thrill us all. You’re some musician pal.
    Best wishes
    Kev Weekes

  2. Hello Bjorn. SO VERY glad to hear a new Airbag album is coming this year. I “discovered” your music almost by accident on YouTube in 2018. One of the main reasons I sailed on the 2019 Cruise to the Edge was to see Airbag perform live. I have to say you all were amazing and exceeded all expectations. I have spent the last year and a half listening to the four Airbag albums over and over and am ready for more. I have less experience with your solo work but will definitely be getting into that ASAP. Thanks for all your hard work and your fantastic music.

  3. Keep up the great work. I own an indi shop in Cincinnati, Oh in the states. We turned 45 this yr…yes I am old. I carry a lot of prog in the shop. Love the cover of the new release. If you have posters or any swag that I could use in the shop please send.
    Thanks
    Dean Newman
    head keeper
    Moles Records
    111 Calhoun st
    Cincinnati, OH 45219
    molesrecords@fuse.net

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