New to OurStage this year, Kris Norris is a fifteen-year veteran in the metal community. He floated around from obscure metal band to obscure metal band until he landed with Darkest Hour in 2001—his first successful gig. Recently he parted ways with the band to pursue a solo project (The Kris Norris Projekt) and production ventures as well as make instructional videos for JamPlay. Back in May he landed among the Top 10 in the OurStage metal channel. We recently caught up with Kris to ask him a few questions. Here’s what we got:
JM: You have worked on a few different projects in your career as a guitarist, which was your favorite?
KN: Probably the Undoing Ruin CD with Darkest Hour. Having Devin Townsend as producer really expanded my guitar playing and brought me to a new level.
JM: How about at an engineer/producer?
KN: I really haven’t done too many at this point, but so far doing the Kris Norris Projekt getting to produce myself was an interesting and fun experience.
JM: Are you working on anything big in the studio these days, either as a producer or a musician?
KN: Not really. Doing my full time job and doing side work for James Murphy at his studio doing drum editing work. Not many bands have come to ask me to produce their stuff yet, but I think that’s because I have yet to prove myself as a producer.
JM: If you could have a solo face-off with any guitarist— alive or dead—who would it be?
KN: John Petrucci definitely. I know he’d kill me but it would be such an honor to lose to my idol.
JM: Who is your favorite artist/band these days?
KN: My favorite band these days is still and always will be Dream Theater— they never cease to excite me in their records.
JM: What’s the strangest fan interaction you have ever had?
KN: People getting the same tattoos that I have then showing them off to me. Always strange.
JM: If you were forced to work under a pseudonym, what would you choose for a name?
KN: I actually have one and it’s Kaiser Rune [laughs].
JM: What was the most influential album for you while your music taste blossomed?
KN: Probably Lunar Strain by In Flames.
JM: Any good, young, bands you think we should keep an eye on?
KN: There’s a band from [New] Jersey called Mutiny Within. Just awesome melodic power-metal-ish stuff.
JM: How about some advice for young, aspiring guitarists?
KN: It’s so cliché but never give up. In my teens I worked at Wendy’s with the drummer from Darkest Hour in our early teens. Who would have ever thought that we would tour all over the entire world later on playing music together?
JM: If you could only eat and drink one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
KN: Hmmm… Well porterhouse steak to be exact for food and I know I couldn’t live on it- but Vanilla Coke. Always stocked in my refrigerator!
As the perfect accompaniment to this feature, check out the playlist of Kris’ best songs here on OurStage, as well as a few other face-melters from similar artists.