Varien has truly come a long way in all of this time he’s been involved in the electronic music industry. He’s released countless hit tracks, has appeared in many cities to DJ for fans, and he has been repping Monstercat as one of their top artist for years.
His successes all stem from his passion for what he loves, his drive to be a better person each and every day, and the will to be a different drop of water in a sea of sameness. Recently Varien conducted an AMA via reddit, which enlightened and inspired many of his listeners. These below are some of the questions his fans have been waiting and wishing to have answers to:
What ever happened to Valkyrie 3? Also, I’m really hyped to see you at GameCon! 😀
I get this question almost daily, actually. Let it be known that I am going to make Valkyrie III within the next few weeks. I have the main melody, and I know who I want to work with on vocals, it just all needs to come together. There was a plan for a big-scale audio-video production but ultimately realized that the music would paint that picture on it’s own.
Nick, I’ve been a giant fan of your work for years now! My one question is: what’s an advanced tip(s) you could give to musicians, music theory-wise? Thank you!
Simplify. Some of the best melodies out there are three, maybe four notes, and quite repetitive. If you’re too knee-deep in thinking about music theory, you’ll overcomplicate things, and that’s never fun. Keep music fun.
I have 3 questions: 1) What kind of music did you listen to before you started producing? 2) What is the message that you are trying to bring across through your own music? 3) What is your favorite tv show? love you varien 🙂
1. Everything, man. My high school mixtapes were insane. John Coltrane right into Pig Destroyer. Girls loved it, haha. I grew up listening to so much stuff, and even moreso now. I will say that I am a huge metalhead, and have been for most of my life. That side of me will never fade.
2. I was never into “messages” until recently. I was more interested in storytelling. But right now, I’m working on quite the art piece (song+video) that’s brutal, raw, and disturbing. My biggest life message is to create exactly the life you want and take it with great ferver, as long as no one is harmed. Embrace your demons. Take control of your emotions. If you only get one shot in this life, then you better make it 100% true to yourself and your needs/desires.
3. My favorite TV show is Game of Thrones. My buddy Sam (Trivecta) and I could talk about it for hours on end, theorizing, etc. We’re book readers above all though. A close second favorite TV show would be House of Cards.
“Hi Nick, huge fan of your music here. I have three questions. My first is, why did choose Monstercat over other labels to distribute your music? (Not hating on Monstercat as its a fantastic platform, just curious as since you first joined you’ve grown tremendously and could really move on to bigger endeavors IMO). Second question is about your track “Reflection”. This is one of your best works in my opinion, and personally one of my favorite garage tracks. What inspired you to take a step into that dark, Burial sort of direction? Will we ever hear anything similar from you in the future? Thanks for taking the time to do this AMA, good luck in the future and much love <3
Edit: another question came to my mind; what happened to that psy-trance you were working on? I was excited to hear that.
1. I was sort of grandfathered into Monstercat from its inception. I had been on a lot of labels as my past alias and hated how music was distributed. It made no sense, and I needed an alternative. My friend Jon Winter (Going Quantum) introduced me to his friend Mike (Darlington) via Skype one day to talk about this new label idea they had. The rest is history.
2. Good track man! Yeah, a lot of the stuff I’m working on at the moment is really minimal, dark kind of stuff. Nothing garage-y, but definitely the same colours as “Reflection”
3. That “psy-trance” thing ended up becoming the entire album idea for The Ancient & Arcane
Hey Varien, I’ve been a big fan of your work since Cloak and Dagger. What keeps you motivated and “fresh”?
There’s always potential for cool ideas. I don’t believe that everything has been done; I believe that there so many possibilities and ways to capture images and stories with music, and that keeps me fresh. Not to mention, I get bored of my own music very quickly!
Never being 100% content with my music is what keeps me motivated. I curse the day I sit back in a chair comfortably and say, “Yep. I did it.”
Varien, are you ever able to do breakdowns or tutorials again? Also can you explain the basic makeup of the main sound in the drop of Aether and Light please? I need to know what it is ;-;
The main sound of Aether and Light? Here, have it. It’s a Massive patch. Make sure you have the latest version!
As far as breakdowns and tutorials, I don’t have time to do things like that anymore. Thankfully there are a ton of fantastic producers on YouTube who do.
Really excited for the album, Varien. Any interesting collabs in the works?
Yes, Noah Bradley and I are working on a behemoth of a project together.
What is a great non-music related advice that you could give to a musician with a strong will but way less expertise than you?
Don’t buy into distractions. The gossip, the drama of the world, the news, your friends’ latest car, your Facebook feed. These are all distractions, and while sometimes fun and rewarding, most of the time it just puts bullshit in our head that we don’t need. Stay focused.
What is your favorite collab you’ve done, and do you have any planned? Like Mirai Sekai, and the everlasting Toothless Hawkins.
Very, very proud of Mirai Sekai. It was more than just me and Alex (7MD); the art tied everything together. The promo video by petriep, the album art, and the merch run made it such a fun experience
Be sure to watch out for Varien’s upcoming LP, as it is highly anticipated. You can catch a sneak peak of it by tuning into the ever so amazing Monstercat Podcast this Thursday. For more details, listen here.