Nick Kaelar, better known as Varien, is one of those artists who has been amidst the EDM soundscapes crafting powerfully mysterious and intelligent productions for the better half of this recent decade. Composing an orchestral suite for Skrillex in 2011 and later releasing one of his most popular tracks in 2014 with ‘Valkyrie‘ on Monstercat, this is a songwriter, DJ, producer and multi-instrumentalist with a rich history.

Since the beginning of his career, Kaelar always pushed boundaries. Having dabbled with genres like dubstep, orchestral, electronica and more, he is now an esteemed hybrid-electronica musician. Although Varien has offered a strong collection of unique records and worked with countless big names in the industry, he has never stopped giving fans a genuine narrative or story with his work.

 

Varien PS 3

 

Varien, much of your career as a DJ, producer and songwriter has been with Monstercat. Some of my personal favorite content has been your ‘Valkyrie’ series along with solo tracks ‘Gunmetal Black,’ ‘Moonlight‘ and early album Mirai Sekai.

 

These are of course just a few moments throughout your collection from Monstercat, but what can you tell us about your history with the label and your thoughts behind the intriguing ‘Valkyrie’ series?

I was with Monstercat before it was called that, the very first memory I have was meeting Mike Darlington over Skype, and he was asking me about what parts of labels and marketing at that time wasn’t efficient. At the time, I was releasing music under a different name under a whole umbrella of labels, and Mike wanted the opposite of that. Thus, Monstercat was born with an ethos to do everything right.

The Valkyrie series is very close to my heart. I still can’t believe Monstercat allowed me to do a 15 minute long progressive metal trilogy about Norse mythology. Those three songs and ‘Whispers in the Mist‘ are so near and dear to me. Moving forward, I am very conscious of making more impressionable songs like ‘Valkyrie,’ but on a larger scale. I aim to do this sooner than later. And I aim to do it in album form!

 

You’ve struggled with some of your own mental health and anxiety in the past couple of years, which led you to shut down some social media platforms, remove some tracks and even ghost away from the fanbase. I can without a doubt relate to these feelings, as this industry can be tough, let alone your own internal struggles.

 

Varien PS 2

 

After expressing your situation on YouTube, a year hiatus is definitely understandable. Considering recent events this year, fans and this industry are likely humbled by the decision. Internal balance and wellbeing is important for all people.

 

What advice can you give to other musicians, fans, writers and more, for dealing with health and a variety of anxieties?

You gotta do a few things. One, you have to distance your online persona from your person, in a Jungian sense. We perform on social media to appear a certain way, and that’s okay, that’s our persona. We also have a person, an authentic self, that we must keep close.

It’s easy to lose sight of who you are when you are “performing” whether on stage on or on Twitter. Another thing is to take breaks. Get grounded, ya know? A trail hike every once in a while, even just letting your feet touch the grass in your backyard or local park. You have to be very serious about taking care of yourself – eating the right foods, getting on a decent regimen of sleep and rest, and thenbalancing all of that with the hard work that goes into building your empire. And never forget who you are or what makes you, you.

 

Coming out of the hiatus, you’ve carefully crafted a five-track collection in the form of Death Asked A Question. Shifting from a fantastical narrative to telling your own story, this EP not only offers insight into a personal journey, but it also presents an evolved and matured sound.

 

 

How has your music shifted from telling a “fantastical” narrative on albums like The Ancient & The Arcane to telling your own story through songs like ‘God Is A Misanthrope‘ and ‘Death Asked A Question?

I mean, if you zoom out, in time, Varien as a project will just be a chronological record of myself as a person. Of course 2015-2016 was incredible fantastical music – my life was so easy and carefree. I was in love. My brain and imagination danced and out came these fantastical pieces of music. With Death Asked A Question, I didn’t really have a desire to visit the fantastical – I was fighting something very real. And I just had to get it down in some physical manifestation, so that it wasn’t trapped in my head. Now that it’s purged, and a lot of variables in my life have changed, fans can expect a little bit more fantastical, storytelling elements in music. I definitely have overcome the impossible, and it’s carved in stone, a sense of confidence that I’m excited to continue to apply to my music.

 

Finally, what have been some of your most memorable moments throughout your career and what can fans expect in the future, now that you’re here to stay and stronger than ever?

I mean, there are so many. I loved writing for Furious 7, the blurred whirlwind of living with Sam (Trivecta) and all the music that came out of that, coming back and announcing my return at MAGFest this year… there’s a lot of memories. I’m more excited about the future now, though. More than ever, I’m ready to conquer. Fans can expect so much. A return to form, as they know me and my music, but so much more refined This is a really good time to be a fan of Varien. Tell your friends!

 

 

Nearing a decade in a constantly evolving and growing wave of electronic dance music, Varien has been one of most inspirational, mysterious and genre-defying artists. On behalf of EDM Joy, I want to thank you for giving me a chance to speak with you. The community is glad that you are feeling better and continue to persevere.

Get ready for the coming Death Asked A Question EP and remix for The Chainsmokers, as it is tastefully dark, clean, reminiscent of the Varien we’ve all come to love and change for what we have the privilege to witness. For now, check out the title track and stay tuned, with Varien on his socials below!

 

Follow Varien Via:

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube | Spotify | SoundCloud