Steamrolling through 2022, the Kris Barras Band has returned with a brand-new album, 'Death Valley Paradise.' Produced by Dan Weller (Enter Shikari, Bury Tomorrow, SiKth) and recorded at VADA Studios in Alcester, they return heavier, darker, more introspective but enormous at the same time. We catch up with Kris in this exclusive Gi interview.
'Death Valley Paradise' started life as a song before it was dissected and spread across the album. Death Valley is a place of extremes, where living things are said to not be able to survive. "To survive and thrive in those circumstances and find your paradise in it. For me, it sums up the journey I've been through. As a musician, you were put into a place where it was hard to survive, and you had to do different things to keep it moving."
For 18 months, the world stood still, and we realised that we didn't have control of ourselves anymore. "I had some really dark times. I didn't want to get out of bed. I didn't want to do anything. It was really tough," Barras says. "I've thrown everything at this. It was tough not knowing if I'd ever be able to do this again. What am I going to do with my life? I've gone all-in. If I'm not this, who am I?" he says.
For the ex-MMA/cage fighter, there was only one way out, to re-focus. "Once Covid hit, it was a case of "anything goes," and I don't give a fuck anymore," he says with no preconceived plan for the album. Barras decided to remove all shackles and began collaborating with songwriters, such as the heavyweights; Jonny Andrews (Three Days Grace, Fozzy), Bob Marlette (Alice Cooper, Airbourne, Rob Zombie), Blair Daly (Halestorm, Black Stone Cherry) and Zac Maloy (Shinedown, Tyler Bryant).
Early 2020 was uncharted waters for all of us. "At first, we thought, three weeks and it's over," he says. "I went through a cycle. At first, I tried to take it positively and then reality set in. I've been fortunate in my life in that I've been sad but never suffered from anything that I would count as depression until last year."
One of the shining lights of the period was co-writing. "It was a bit of a game-changer", he enthuses. Seeds of the songs had already been sewn in late 2019. "There were a few riffs we were playing around with on tour, and a lot of those early songs were heavy. I sat down with the label and said the stuff I'm writing is heavier, and they were completely supportive. "In my teens, I was pretty much only listening to Hard Rock and Metal, so it feels completely natural and free. More than ever, this album is me on an LP. I do think I've gone a little bit darker and deeper on it. Writing songs about topics I haven't done before."
The album opener and first single, "Dead Horses," shakes the foundations by delving into broken relationships, which steamrolls into the crushing "Long Gone," a tale of letting go. The album's high voltage calling card is "My Parade," - the bands' protest song. "It says this is my parade, but it's collective; it's our parade," Barras says. "This is my life, and this is how I'm gonna live it and if you don't like it. Fuck off."
They take an introspective look on "These Voices." "It's that inner voice that is always telling you that you can't do things and dragging you down," he says. "For me, it's been quite prevalent in my life over the past year." They submerge themselves in the melancholic and haunting "Wake Me When It's Over" whilst venturing into the chaotic darkness documenting his mental health struggles on the thundering finale, "Chaos."
The band features a new rhythm section of Billy Hammett (Drums) and Kelpie Mackenzie (Bass) along with Kris Barras (Lead Vocals/Guitar) and Josiah J. Manning (Rhythm Guitars/ Vocals). "The band on this album are a big part of how it sounds. When we get in a room and jam, everything just comes out heavier and more angsty," he says.
The Kris Barras band is set for an incredible 12 months ahead; They've just finished a sold-out UK tour with Kentucky's favourite sons Black Stone Cherry, culminating with a show at the world-famous Royal Albert Hall. Their biggest headline tour to date begins in March 2022, followed by playing the iconic Wembley Arena in support of Thunder.
Kris Barras Band' Death Valley Paradise' is out now worldwide via Mascot Records / Mascot Label Group.
Kris Barras Band – 'Death Valley Paradise' Tracklist:
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