I've always had this idea that musical greatness is a mindset, it depends on the work ethic and the hours put into becoming great. Jimi Hendrix used to sit practicing the guitar whilst he was on the toilet, this is something that has always stuck in my head. Kris Barras used to be an MMA fighter so he's already developed the discipline and the mindset to achieve greatness, he just needs to put the hours in and he sure as hell is doing that! Coming off the back of the successful "Divine and Dirty Tour" which I had the pleasure of seeing, I've been lucky enough to ask the man himself a few questions regarding how he handles nerves, the transitions from sports to music and why he wouldn't swap careers with any musician...
Kris Barras: Well both aspects have always been in my life; I started playing guitar around 5 years old and Martial Arts around the same time too. After I decided to retire from fighting Professionally, I started to write music again and performing gigs for fun.
Q. Was it always a clear cut path for you?
KB: Not really, no. In my late teens, my music career was doing pretty well but then it all kinda came to a halt. I was training alongside the music career and started competing in some amateur fights. I did well and I seemed to get more and more opportunities with that, so I just rolled with it.
Q. Who / What has always inspired you the most?
KB: Lots of people really. I've always had a massively supportive family, so that's been a great help. My dad was the guy that got me started on the Guitar at such an early age, so I would probably say him.
Q. If you could swap careers with any musician, who would it be?
KB: I wouldn't. The journey is the best part! I wouldn't want to swap with an already established artist, I want to carve my own path and enjoy the ride!
Q. Is there anything you bring over from the MMA world into music that you think helps you or hinders you?
KB: Being able to deal with nerves in a positive way has helped massively I would say. Hinderance, not much...other than a cricked neck and sore knees!
Q. Due to fighting all over the world, does that just ease the nerves for you when on stage?
KB: Yeah definitely. Nerves can either make you or break you. It definitely helps being able to channel that nervous energy and use it to perform to the best of your abilities.
Q. "The Divine and Dirty" is quite an evocative title for an album, what does that mean to you?
KB: It's the contrast between the Good and Bad in us all. I think it's described by the sound of the album too; we have the 'Dirty' slide guitar style riffs, mixed with the 'Divine' Gospel style vocal elements.
Q. I feel a lot of raw emotion in your music, is that the best way you feel to channel your emotions?
KB: Yeah, I can be quite an intense person and if I don't have an outlet then I think I would implode. Once I stopped the fighting, the music was my release.
Q. I found "Hail Mary" to be quite the trailblazing anthem but it's clear there's so many more layers to it. How did that song come about and what does it mean to you?
KB: I actually came up with the riff first on this one, then added the lyrics/melody later on. 'Hail Mary' is an American term for a 'last-ditch attempt to win' in an American Football game. The song is about someone desperately trying to get that one woman that is always out of reach.
Q. You're about to embark on a tour, what can we expect from you during the tour? How would you describe your live shows?
KB: A high energy performance with songs that are roughly in tune ha ha
Q. What advice would you give to someone wanting to get into the music business?
KB: The clue is in the question; treat it like a business. Be honest with yourself and work hard!
Q. And what about MMA?
KB: I'd say the same, with the addition of a good physio ha ha.
Q. What does the future hold for you?
KB: Lot's of touring, getting to meet great people and having a good time.
Check out the brand new video for Hail Mary: