In the final days before the unveiling of his band’s latest album Light It Up (released 13th September) HEAVY caught up with Kris Barras, guitarist and vocalist of Kris Barras Band and former Mixed Martial Artist, in the heart of London’s vibrant Soho. “[Light It Up] felt like my first proper album – how I always dreamed an album was made from being a kid. That really helped with the creativity,” he declared, a giddy gleam of sunshine breaking out from within.
A thoroughly confident man – and why shouldn’t he be having found success in not one but two ‘dream jobs’ – Barras acknowledged his growth as a musician: “You can get caught in that trap in the bluesy rock world … all about three quarters guitar solos, a quarter singing about your baby leaving you, or ‘I woke up this morning’… I tried to come at it from different angles [for Light It Up]. There’s been a natural progression through the three albums [recorded with Kris Barras Band – previous albums Lucky 13 (2016) and The Divine and Dirty (2018)].”
Barras’ growth has seen him support of the likes of Black Stone Cherry and play alongside Billy F Gibbons of ZZ Top in Supersonic Blues Machine, another band that Barras fronts: “It was not that long ago I was playing ZZ Top covers in pubs, and now I’ve played “Sharp Dressed Man” stood next to the guy that wrote it.”
Though his life may read like a fairytale to many, Barras’ success as a musician conceals a scar of sorrow: “I’ve had a bit of tragedy in my life – I lost my dad,” he professed, bravely. “My dad was my very first guitar teacher, he was a musician, I played with his band when I was 9 years old – my first gig. … He always wanted me to pursue music. … If my dad didn’t die, I don’t think I would have done this. … It was always his inspiration that kind of stuck with me.”
Click here to listen to the full interview to hear Barras’ words of wisdom for hungrily ambitious musicians trying to breakthrough, how Barras escaped the blues rock booby trap, and why Light It Up was his most challenging yet rewarding album yet.
Pre-order Light It Up here.