XS ROCK Talks With Kris Combs Of Iris Divine

XS ROCK: Tell me about the latest band news? Any new projects coming out, live shows or announcements?
KC: Right now we’re preparing for the release of our new album, “The Static And The Noise”, which comes out on October 6th. We also have 3 shows this weekend (Labor Day weekend): 9/1 at The Sidebar in Baltimore (w/ Byzantine and Silence The Blind), 9/2 at The Canal Club in Richmond (w/ Byzantine) and 9/3 at The Rusty Nail in Philadelphia (w/ MindMaze). From there, we’re looking at touring opportunities for later this year or early next.

XS ROCK: How long has the band been together?
KC: Roughly 10 years. The original lineup of the band was a 4 piece, and then in 2012 two members left and I joined later that year. We opted shortly after to remain as a trio and we’ve had the same lineup ever since.

XS ROCK Talks With Kris Combs Of Iris Divine
Photo By Rob Fortenberry Photography

XS ROCK: What was your main motivation for starting or being in a band?
KC: Honestly, it’s the cliché answer where music has called to all of us at some point. I was 3 years old when I realized I wanted to be a drummer. My dad took me to Arizona and his friends wouldn’t stop blasting Rush, Zeppelin, and David Bowie. I had no complaints.

XS ROCK: What is your music background?
KC: It took 5 years of badgering to get my dad to buy me my first drumkit. From there, I did the typical school bands (marching, jazz, etc.) but I haven’t taken formal private lessons. I attribute a lot of my growth early on to just turning on the radio and trying to keep up with whatever came on.

XS ROCK: What image do you think your music conveys?
KC: Great question! I would like to think our image has a positive, yet visceral attitude. It could be a little demanding at times, but I also think the payoff is extremely worth it.

XS ROCK: What are your immediate music career goals?
KC: Right now we plan to promote the heck out of this album and take it as far as we can. We just released a video for “Taking Back The Fall” and I’d like to do a 2nd or even 3rd video. Obviously we want to keep touring and (hopefully) land a support slot on a major tour.

XS ROCK: What are your long-term career goals?
KC: Given the current state of music, the honest answer is to weather the storm that is how people choose to consume and pay for music and just keep pushing ahead.

XS ROCK Talks With Kris Combs Of Iris Divine
Photo By Rob Fortenberry Photography

XS ROCK: Which do you prefer? Writing new songs and recording or playing for a live audience?
KC: I absolutely love writing the music. I love figuring out song structures and brainstorming varying ways of having the instruments interplay with each other. Recording is massively stressful, especially for myself as I always look to knock out the drums in a weekend. Of course, you HAVE to play for an audience, so I’ll put that in second place. It’s stressful in its own way, but once you’re on stage and the vibe is going the stresses go away.

XS ROCK: What are your songs about?
KC: For the most part, our lyrics are about personal conflict and/or relationships. Being only the secondary lyricist in the band, you would have to ask Navid (vocalist/guitarist) for more details around his words.

XS ROCK: Do you have any outrageous tour stories from the road?
KC: I wish! So far everything has been quite tame. :/

XS ROCK: What’s the strangest request that you’ve ever received from one of your fans?
KC: We once played with a rather well-known band who we all respect and admire, but I won’t name given the nature of this story. After our set, a guy came up to me with a drumstick from that band and asked me to sign it. I told him I wasn’t in the band and he responded with “So?”. I found that very odd and even uncomfortable.

XS ROCK: Were your parents supportive of your aspirations to play in a rock band?
KC: My dad bought me my first drum kit at age 8, so there’s some implied support there. That said, still to this day he beats me up over the $$ side of things. My mom absolutely loved it (she always loved drummers), but she passed away in 2008 without ever seeing me on stage.

XS ROCK: What are your favorite tracks to play live?
KC: From our album “Karma Sown”, I would say “In Spirals” and “Fire Of The Unknown”. From this upcoming album, “Fractures” and “Taking Back The Fall”. That said, if you ask me again in 5 minutes they could all be different.

XS ROCK Talks With Kris Combs Of Iris Divine
Photo By Rob Fortenberry Photography

XS ROCK: Which band or artist inspired you to perform? Why?
KC: Once I became serious about drums and music, Van Halen was a HUGE influence. Later on I discovered Dream Theater, Alice in Chains, Pantera, etc. I’m also into moodier stuff like Pink Floyd, Massive Attack, Hooverphonic, etc.

XS ROCK: If you could design a dream tour for your band, who would be on the bill?
KC: I would absolutely love to tour with Haken and/or Fates Warning. That would be unreal!

XS ROCK: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment so far?
KC: I would say the management and (three days later) record label deal we landed for the release of “Karma Sown”. That was definitely surreal.

XS ROCK: If you weren’t performing in a band what kind of career do you think you would have?
KC: The reality is we all have full time jobs outside of the band! Well, I’m personally moving from a web development career to one in real estate. It’s insanely difficult to be a full-time musician with this climate.

XS ROCK Talks With Kris Combs Of Iris DivineXS ROCK: What type of equipment do you use for live shows?
KC: My main drums are made up of Mapex Pro M Series shells. I also have a side Pearl Firecracker snare and Pearl octobans. I have an endorsement with Soultone Cymbals and I use a mix of Tama and DW hardware.

XS ROCK: What do you think of the current music scene?
KC: I find it both sad and frustrating. There’s so much great music out there that isn’t given the time it deserves. I also find it conflicting when people choose not to pay for music but then get angry with artists over crowdfunding and/or high ticket prices.

XS ROCK: For anyone that doesn’t know you, what would they be surprised to know about you?
KC: I love sitcoms! And I feel bad for broccoli. Poor little trees!

XS ROCK: If someone had never heard you before, how would you describe your sound?
KC: I have to be careful with this! I would say a heavier, more aggressive Fates Warning or a more technical (and sometimes poppier) Alice In Chains.

XS ROCK: Is there anything that you’d like to promote or say to your fans out there?
KC: We’re still blown away by the support of our Kickstarter campaign for this release! Thank you everyone so much and we hope you enjoy the new album!

XS ROCK: Thanks again for taking the time to talk with us at XS Rock!
KC: Thank you!



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