The Kris Barras Band will release their new album Death Valley Paradise on 4 March 2022, ahead of their largest UK tour to date, which opens at the Phoenix, Exeter, on 8 March 2022.
“I had some really dark times,” Kris says. “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?”
The album was written during the lockdown, although Kris says he had no preconceived idea for the album as a whole. “Once Covid hit,” he said, “it was a case of anything goes, and I don’t give a fuck anymore.”
As the early days of the first Covid-19 wave hit the UK, Kris admits he found it a very difficult time. “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.”
Barras then decided to work with other songwriters, including 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).
“It was a bit of a game-changer,” he says. There were also some ideas for songs that Barras worked with in 2019. “There were a few riffs we were playing around with on tour,” he said, “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.”
Today they have released the track These Voices, along with a lyric video. “This song is one of my favourites from the album and perhaps one of the most personal to me,” Kris Barras said. “I wrote this over the Xmas period of 2020, and it’s about those niggling voices that you get in your head. The one’s that tell you, you can’t do something, the one’s that make you second guess every decision you make.
“We love playing this one live. The riff is always a classic headbanging moment of the set.”
Earlier, the band release My Parade, which is their protest song. “It says this is my parade,” Barras says, “but it’s collective. It’s our parade. This is my life, and this is how I’m going to live it and if you don’t like it, fuck off.”
The first song released from Death Valley Paradise was Dead Horses. “It’s about the acceptance of a relationship that’s just run its course,” Kris says.
The song is co-written with Johnny Andrews. “This was the first complete song that I had ever properly co-written,” Kris said, “and it was an awesome experience working with a guy like Johnny, even if it was done over Zoom during the lockdown.”
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,” Kris says. “When we get in a room and jam, everything comes out heavier and more angsty.”
For the video, the band used a ’69 Chevy Camaro. “I jumped in on camera duties for a few scenes,” Kris says, “including one hanging out of the back of a car flying through the moors to get some of the driving shots.”
Death Valley Paradise started life as a song before it was dissected and spread across the album, and Death Valley is an area full of extremes. “To survive and thrive in those circumstances and find your paradise in it,” Kris says, “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.”
Death Valley Paradise is out on 4 March 2022 and can be pre-ordered from smarturl.it/KBB
Death Valley Paradise
1. Dead Horses
2. Long Gone
3. My Parade
4. These Voices
5. Who Needs Enemies
6. Devil You Know
7. Wake Me When It’s Over
9. Cigarettes and Gasoline
10. Bury Me