“I hope you'll join me on the rugged yet beautiful path ahead”: Get to Know Kris Main!
Kris Main opens up about pop-punk influences, a song that really moved him, and the transition from producer to producer-singer.
For those who have never heard your music before, how would you describe it to them? How would you finish the sentence “Kris Main is ___” or “Kris Main’s music is ___”?
“Kris Main is an artist with rawness and beauty.” Expressing beauty in rough sounds is my artistic identity. [But as] an artist, music is just my main weapon. I want to express myself in other ways as well.
I would like to learn more about your focus on the pop-punk genre! Who are your favorite pop-punk artists, and how did you first become a fan of the genre?
Actually, rather than just pop-punk, I'm more focused on hybridizing the rock genre. Rock is inseparable from me, as I've been immersed in heavy metal from Japan and the U.S. since I was eight years old. Rockstar blood [has been] flowing in me since then. But at some point, I shifted from rock and focused on EDM, pop, and hip-hop in my works. Now, I'm putting more emphasis on expressing diverse sounds [that are just] based on the rough sound of rock.
I have a lot of favorite artists, but among pop-punk artists, I really admire Travis Barker, Lil Lotus, Machine Gun Kelly, Huddy, and jxdn. When I was in high school, I was profoundly shocked by Machine Gun Kelly's song “forget me too” [ft. Halsey]. I screamed and jumped around in excitement. Not only did I become a fan, but that unforgettable moment also shaped the framework of my current sound.
Who or what inspired you to start producing, and did that happen before or after you started wanting to become a singer?
At the age of nine, I happened to listen to Zedd's song “Spectrum” [ft. Matthew Koma]. After hearing the entire song, I looked at myself reflected on [a] monitor, and tears were streaming down my face. Despite my young age, I was deeply moved and shocked. That moment inspired me to create songs that could touch and comfort many people, and I've been producing ever since.
Until 2020, I was solely active as a producer. It was HE’S of Advanced, a fellow member of my current label, who said, “Your voice is killer. How about trying singing?” Singing my own songs brought me immense happiness and blessings. Now, as a singer-songwriter, I can try even more diverse [forms of] expression.
What do you think are the biggest misconceptions about what it’s like to produce music?
Producing may seem like something not everyone can do, but anyone can become a producer, regardless of age or gender. If there are [people reading] this interview who dream of becoming producers, start right away!
What can you share about your new single?
This song reflects regret over a painful love [when], after realizing that I gave a lot of love to my lover, but all that came back were wounds, I decided to leave her. The message is, “My wounds will heal, but you will remain as a lifelong scar.”
Do you plan to eventually include your new single on a longer project? How do you decide which of your songs belong on an album?
With this single, I plan to solidify my unique sound and create my own color. I tend to decide whether to release a particular song as a single or include it as an album track based purely on the spontaneous pull of my heart.
Please share some information about each of these songs:
“Hate My Heart” (ft. LAVEEN): Everyone experiences moments when they regret and miss a past love. This song is my expression of those emotions in my own way.
“No Braker” (ft. LEESÉ): "No Braker" is a cute song created with the emotions of teen movies and memories of my high school basketball days. The lyrics depict a scenario where a man and a woman, after spending a passionate night at a party, find themselves in a situation where the man falls deeply in love and expresses his affection, while the woman warns him not to misunderstand.
“Can't Help Myself”: Similar to “Hate My Heart,” this debut song carries a tragic and deep feeling. I created it when I was fifteen.
A song of your choice from LVSE: I have a special attachment to the song "Replay" [ft. SUNHO]. It's about genuinely loving someone but regretting causing them pain by repeating the same mistakes. I put my sincere feelings into it, and I remember creating it in just three days.
You’ve produced songs for several different competition shows. How have your experiences been similar or different depending on which show you were producing for?
I've always felt a sense of freshness. Even when working in the same genre, the results can vary greatly depending on the artists involved [with the show]. Whether it's competition songs or OSTs, I feel like I've always worked with genuine enjoyment [on them].
What are your goals for 2024?
I want to build my own artist image, gain recognition from the public, and express myself in even more diverse ways.
Lastly, is there anything else you want to say about yourself or your new music?
I will always express the beauty within roughness to all of you. I hope you'll join me on the rugged yet beautiful path ahead.
Answers have been lightly edited and condensed for clarity. Photos courtesy of 285 LABS.