KRIS?Barras is the Torquay-based blues/rock dynamo that has been winning audiences over wherever he goes.
Described as a ‘fast paced powerhouse of rock that stays put in your head like a well-trained attack dog’, Kris is also a published author who has written a plethora of guitar technique articles for magazines and is certainly a veteran in the UK music scene.
Ellie Hudson caught up with him for a chat.
Your biog says you were influenced to perform by your father by the age of 10, tell us more about that?
Well I actually started playing the guitar at the age of six. I used to watch my dad’s band rehearse and perform and that inspired me to get started.
I did my first ever gig with his band when I was nine years-old.
My dad was a fantastic vocalist and a good musician. He encouraged and inspired me with music throughout my childhood.
You’ve been touring all over the world as a session musician — was that your initial foray into touring and what bands have you played with?
My first experience of touring was with a pop-rock band Who’z in the Room with Norman? I was only 18 years-old and we toured the east coast of the USA twice, as well as recording an album in Philadelphia.
It was an amazing experience, so much fun! I’ve played with tons of different acts over the years from jazz quartets to metal bands. Last year I even played bass guitar for the 80s pop band, Buck’s Fizz! They had some surprisingly tricky tunes in their set and great fun to play on the bass.
You look very young for someone who has accomplished so much, writing books on guitar techniques, producing instruction DVDs as well as being a lecturer at the Academy of Music and Sound and a columnist in Blues Matters magazine. To add to this you are a mixed martial arts fighter. Just how many hours are there in your day?
Haha...yeah it does confuse people! There are people who know me from the band that Google me and find all the fighting stuff and can’t believe it’s the same person! I get the same from my fighting friends. They are all surprised when they see me playing with the band! I did martial arts from an early age alongside the music, so they’ve both always been a big part of my life.
In my early 20s, after what seemed like endless set-backs with music, I decided to go with the fighting career.
Mixed martial arts was presenting so many more opportunities for me at the time, so I just rolled with it. I kept on playing throughout my fight career, just in cover/function bands to help fund my way through training camps for fights.
When I retired from competition, (I had my last fight in Thailand in 2014) I loved getting back into doing my own thing with the music and it’s been an awesome few years!
Talk to us about your CD releases.
Well the first album wasn’t ever intended on being a released album, I just did it for promo to get gigs, exposure etc. However, people kept buying it and we started to get plenty of airplay. Things just grew from there.
Pretty much as soon as that was released, I started writing the next album, which became Lucky 13. That has been my most successful to date, reaching number two in the iTunes and Amazon Blues charts.
We’ve recently started recording the next album but there are no plans for release in place yet.
What’s your ultimate goal musically? To play the arenas, have a number one album and live the life of the ultimate rock and roller?
To be honest, I’ve already achieved everything that I set out to do with this band. Anything else that happens is a bonus!
My aim now is to just keep on enjoying it — playing decent gigs to people that want to listen.
This is your second headline gig at The Wharf. What can punters expect this time round?
I love The Wharf and can’t wait to be back there. We’ve got a few new tracks that we will be performing. Other than that, they expect the usual high-energy show that we love to deliver!
Kris Barras will be playing The Wharf tonight (Friday).