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Articles Home » Interviews » Winter Parade - 2001 Interview with Per Bjornar Riise
Winter Parade - 2001 Interview with Per Bjornar Riise
INTERVIEW: Winter Parade (Oct 2001)
We find out about more about Norways AOR sensation.

In The Spotlight - Winter Parade
Interview with - Per Bjornar Riise
Written by: Gdazegod (Oct, 2001)

Winter Parade are a new face to many of us rockers on the melodic rock scene. Coming from the unlikely hotbed of Northern Norway, these guys have struck a rich chord with their super brand of AOR. Yep, it's AOR all right. No Viking songs of rape and pillage, nor sweet nordic lullabies here. A strong mix of TNT, Firehouse and Tyketto type rockers, guaranteed to get their heart pumping. The band have been together in various shapes and forms since 1986, though have really only settled in the last three years or so. The current lineup is: Bjorn-Kjetil Westum - vocals, Dice Jacobsen - guitars, Per Bjornar Riise - bass, and Terje Follien - drums. GLORY-DAZE's Gdazegod says hello to one of the founding members, bassist and spokesman Per Riise.

Hi there Per. Hello to you.
Right back at ya!

We at GLORY-DAZE are very impressed with the stuff we've heard so far. Well done..
Thank you very much, and thanks for offering us the spotlight. We're very much obliged.

With your bandname, do people confuse you with a progressive metal band, or some other such musical genre?
A lot of people have come up and asked us what we call ourselves during the summertime. Laughs. Other than that, no ' I think it has become increasingly hard to predict what sort of band you are by name only.

Your musical history goes way back into the eighties. More twists, turns, and sub plots than a whole series of Star Wars movies huh?
The road has been long and winding, no doubt. When we first started out, Bon Jovi and Def Leppard had yet to be chart toppers in Europe. Then, for a while AOR and melodic rock was the hottest thing since boiled potatoes. A few years later someone released a song called Smells Like Teen Spirit, and I didn't hear the song until a couple of years later and I remember thinking 'So that's what torpedoed my form of music'. And now the circle is beginning to be complete again with melodic rock once more getting the attention it deserves. We've more or less been dipping in the waves throughout the period, and here we are!

Your current lineup was really only completed with the arrival of Bjorn, your lead singer just a few years ago. Since then, it's been full steam ahead for the band?
Bringing in Bjorn was a vitamin injection for the band. His presence has provided Dice and I with the engine we need to make our songs what they are.

You all have day jobs, so in effect, Winter Parade is a side job for you all at present?
That's correct. And since we all work far beyond the 9 to 5, it's strenuous work keeping the band afloat.

Per Bjornar Riise, Dice Jacobsen, Bjorn Kjetil Westum, Terje Follien
bass guitars vocals drums

Bjorn is a farmer, you and Terje are teachers, and Dice, your guitarist is into computers, and yet you still produce quality melodic rock. At times do you wish you were living somewhere else, perhaps where it is easier to do this sort of thing?
Right now, with all the things going on in the world, I guess we'll have to consider ourselves lucky for living in a remote area of the world. It's also an advantage to live where we do, 'cos there's not much in terms of distractions here. We can concentrate solely on the music. On the other hand, we lose out on a lot of contacts, etc. that comes with living in a big city. In the winter I wish I were Australian. Laughs!

Australian? Ha ha I wouldn't go that far! Anyway, you guys are based way up country in a place called Tynset, between Trondheim in the north and Oslo in the south. How hard does that make your job to try and stimulate local interest for Winter Parade away from those major cities?
Norway is a tiny country anyway when it comes to our kind of music, so I don't think that it matters all that much. It would have been more of an advantage to us to live in the big cities if we were to try and live off playing live. The Internet has made location less of a problem in many respects. Me doing this interview with you kinda proves my point, I think!

It sure does! Talking about things Norwegian, you say there's not much of a scene, but over the years we've been presented with some awesome artists, Davinci, TNT, Return, Evenrude, and more recently Street Legal. Surely it's not that bad?
I'm sorry if I wasn't clear on this ' what I meant to say was that we're not part of that scene, as we're so far away from everyone else ? The bands you mentioned are all gone, except for Street Legal, which I must confess that I haven't heard. It's embarrassing, as truth can be sometimes. Return released a Best of- collection recently that went to No.1 in the Norwegian charts. Not bad for a rock band in Norway!!

Yeah Street Legal.. That was Bjorn Boge's band (ex Davinci). I think we've reviewed them on GLORY-DAZE somewhere.. But of your songs we've heard so far, we think they're pretty classy. What sort of process was involved in preparing them from the pen/paper stage to the studio?
Dice and I write a song, then we record it, we write another one, record that one, and so on and so forth. We spend a lot of time writing the songs, so we don't actually have superfluous material lying around. If an idea isn't good enough we either toss it before it's finished, or we use bits and pieces of that song on other songs. Which means that we don't have 40-50 songs of various quality ' our objective is to never write a song that we feel is not as good as the last one.

What about the structure of the band. Is there a certain direction in which you'd like to head? ie: Van Halen party rock, Journey styled AOR, or a funky style a la Extreme?
You just mentioned some of the greatest bands in rock history, and we're not up there with them (yet), but Winter Parade is a stylistic mixture of pure AOR, British blues rock, and bands like YandT and Queensryche. So in a sense, Van Journey wouldn't be far off in terms of what we're trying to achieve ' melodies combined with a little edge.

Ha ha Van Journey.. very cool! How do all the varied musical styles going on around us affect the band? I see you all take swipes at hip hop, rap, and dare I say it boy bands (Westlife aren't that bad!). Are you taking snippets from different rock genres for instance?
In reference to what we have said about these things I suggest that the readers visit our web site to get the full picture. I also agree with you ' some of the boy bands are good ' I have nothing against them. Anyhow, it's not our policy to put other bands down ' we concentrate on what we want to do, musically, and then we'll just have to leave it to the audience to decide whether this is any good or not.

Yeah I agree, it wasn't really a swipe, more comical remarks as to each of your musical preferences..
But as far as influences go, you draw on a lot of different styles and musicians. I love Billy Joel and Fleetwood Mac to mention a few, and at the same time I'm inspired by Iron Maiden, so that's what makes us 'us'. We're not pure copycats of any ONE band, but we work in the tension field that builds up when several genres meet.

That's a good way of putting it. We couldn't help noticing how your album cover, and another band featured on GLORY-DAZE called White Diamond which look extremely similar. I understand there's a story behind that?

I first became aware of White Diamond when it turned out that they have used the same designer (ThinkBig) for the CD cover. I guess that's why we got such a great deal on it ourselves :) No, seriously, the guy at ThinkBig showed me this cover that they had done and I (and the rest of the band) thought it was great. They said that this cover was almost ready to be launched and we had no intention of releasing anything for a long time yet, so we figured it'd be OK to copy that one. Originally we had thought of just using the artwork in the middle as the full CD cover, but this other cover was really neat. I never expected to get anywhere with this anyway, and then suddenly the two covers are standing right next to each other on your web site. Dice and I nearly choked when we saw it!

This is what we mean.. the Winter Parade cover is very similar..

aWell I suppose that's one of the beauties of MP3.COM. Your website too.. What about that?
It's pretty neat, don't you think? We have this fan who runs the site. It's not complete yet, but we're getting closer every day. We've put out some info on the band, some pics, and links to our mp3s. There's not enough space on the web server, so we had to have the mp3s on

Yeah ISP's can be a bloody pain sometimes.. I suppose now with the Internet, the whole globe is your oyster now. At the moment is it just to give punters an idea as to who you are?
Definitely! It's also a very good showcase for record labels, as we've been approached by several already. Nothing definite yet, as we intend to take our time deciding what to do and who to choose. The songs we have are too strong to let them go to waste.

So, we see reference to a forthcoming second album some time in the future. Just how far have you guys progressed with this, and what sort of timeframe are we looking at?
We've recorded 12-13 songs already. There's another batch of 8-10 songs that are in the progress at the moment, but nothing's recorded. We have enough material to fill two albums as it is. The important factor now is to land a deal that financially sets us in a position to record them. We pretty much dipped into the financial and psychological reserves to record the songs we have finished.

Well, I can see now your heading into a deep winter. So, is this a good time to be songwriting by the fire/hearth, and getting some material together?
It's probably a better time for me than for Dice and Bjorn as this seems to be a rather busy season for them. Dice's business is doing really great at the moment, and he needs to take care of that momentum.

For you personally Per, as a bass player, how hard does it get for you during these colder times up in Norway trying to get to rehearsals, let alone warming up for them?
Well, let's just say that come January the rehearsal room will be too cold for any activities of that kind. Rehearsals are usually scarce during the coldest months. No point in trying to go somewhere when the weather man states that the next period will see temperatures below '40 centigrade!

Jeez that's cold! I'll be thinking of you when our south Pacific summer arrives and I'm at the beach! Seriously though, how far do you want to go with Winter Parade? Lets go off the scale, dream big?
We've been playing this game for so long now, we're pretty much past the time when we wanted to become the biggest act in the world. Now the ambitions are more related to being the best songwriters possible. If that's good enough, the rest will work ' simple as that!

Awesome. Hey, thanks for sharing a few words with us Per, perhaps we'll catch up closer to the time of the album release. Thanks !
I'm the one to thank for being given this opportunity. Cheers!

If you don't mind the cold, pop over to the webite of Winter Parade..
If you want to go the whole nine yards, then you can email Per Riise directly at:

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