We heard that Kris Barras was performing in London in March 2018, days before the release of his sophomore album "The Divine and Dirty", we got together before the show and chatted about a whole bunch of stuff including the recording process for the new album, things he cannot live without whilst on tour and his love of DIY....
Kris, we know that you’re an amazing guitarist who has performed all over the world, please tell us something about yourself that not many people know....
I am the worst person at DIY, every set of shelves I put up has always ended up falling down and not after years of use, normally within 5 minutes!
"The Divine and Dirty" is soon to be released, this is the follow up to "Lucky 13" which was released in 2016, did you approach the recording process any differently the second time around?
Yes, completely differently, with Lucky 13, it was engineered by me and I mixed it with the keyboard player who also did most of the production. With the new album, I didn’t want to worry about the recording process and just wanted to concentrate on playing. I ended up hooking up with Josiah Manning at Momentum Studios just outside of Plymouth, he came highly recommended by several friends and we got together and played some tracks and it just worked really well and we ended up doing the whole album there.
Would you say you enjoyed it more the second time around not being so involved in the recording process?
I’m not a massive fan of the recording process, my favourite thing is playing live, it’s why I do it. I just live to play!
Guitarist Magazine reviewed the new album and gave it a very strong 9/10 which is really impressive, did you anticipate such a strong reception?
You just never know, music is so subjective and everyone has their own opinions, I didn’t really know what to expect, we’ve had good and bad reviews in the past, it’s what people like at the end of the day and so far, we’ve had nothing but positive praise for the new album.
Would you say that you’re more of a live performer? I ask as you’ve only released 2 albums to date and have been playing a very long time.
You need to bear in mind that I’ve only really been doing this seriously since 2015 because of my fight career up until then, we released an EP in 2015 which acted as a demo just to get me gigs and now I have 2 albums behind me as well.
You signed a multi-album deal with Provogue/Mascot Label Group, are you contracted to release the albums within a certain timeframe?
Kind of, there is a deadline to meet but it will mean that there’s a new album out every couple of years.
You officially retired from fighting a couple of years back, would you ever consider getting back into the ring?
I can’t really be bothered, if the music career hadn’t taken off, I guess I would have considered it but, the way this is going, it’s going to be pretty full on so not a lot of spare time to be honest.
Would you consider doing a charity event?
I think that they’re mainly for novices, you get 8 weeks of training and then get in the ring after raising money for charity, I just couldn’t do that as I spent years doing it professionally and you’d have to find another ex professional who’d be happy to do it and then there’s the training which would be just as tough as it used to be, it kind of defeats the object really!
You’ve been voted as one of the best 15 blues rock guitarists in the world, how did you feel when you found out?
Amazing, really good, it was good to have some recognition and it came just around the time when I signed the record deal so it was a bit of a perfect storm!
It’ll be the first time playing with Beth Hart, we met Blackwater Conspiracy briefly at Rambin’ Man Fair last year, their frontman (Bill) got in touch when we announced that we’d be heading out on tour to promote the new album and offered their services. There were quite a few bands in the mix and management decided that they’d be the best fit for the tour, they’re a great bunch of lads too and we can’t wait to get out there with them.
Tell me three things that you CANNOT live without when you’re on tour
Definitely water, vocalzone (pastilles that you suck before you go on stage to sort your vocals out!) and vests, I always wear one on stage cos I’m a sweaty buggar!
You’re playing a bunch of festivals this year, which ones are you particularly looking forward to?
All of them! I guess Ramblin’ Man Fair, we’re playing the Blues Stage (we played the Rising stage last year so it’s something of a promotion this year!) It’s going to be outdoor as well so a much bigger space, it’s a great festival, the atmosphere is amazing and we’re all really excited to be a part of it again
You’ve played all over the world, do you find that audiences react differently to your music depending on which country you’re playing in?
Yeah definitely, the response in mainland Europe is fantastic, they love guitar music and you see a much younger audience at your shows too! You get 18-25 year olds at Blues festivals in Europe, you just wouldn’t get that in the UK!
How does Kris Barras relax after a tough day at the gym?
In my hot tub, it’s in the garden and it’s the best thing I ever bought!
Shame you can’t take it on tour with you!
Maybe I could bring an inflatable one? Or get a tour bus with one installed!
Before we left Kris to his own devices, we thought we'd roll out the quickfire questions and put him under some real pressure!
Whisky or Beer - Whisky
Hot Dogs or Burgers – Hot Dogs
Tattoos or Piercings - Tats
Cats or Dogs - Dogs
Car or Bike - Bike
Camping or Glamping – Glamping (I hate mud!)
Fender or Gibson – FENDER!
Wellies or Walking Boots (at festivals) - Flip Flops (forever the optimist!)
Devon or Cornwall - Devon
God or Google - Google
We'd like to thank Kris for taking the time to chat to us and we wish him every success on his UK tour which is happening NOW! For more details, check out his website
His new album "The Divine and Dirty" is available NOW