Nick Kaelar is a man of many names. Some know him as Nick, others Koinu, but most notably he is known as Varien. Kaelar is electronic music’s self proclaimed “prince of darkness” based out of Tampa, Florida where he has produced nearly every style of music possible for the past 8 years. Nick not only produces electronic music under 3 different aliases, but also plays a wide variety of instruments including: drums, guitar, bass, and much more.

The accomplished producer has crafted a plethora of anthemic scores for: Furious 7, The Walking Dead, 300: Rise of an Empire, and The Purge: Anarchy just to name a few. His latest EP My Prayers Have Become Ghosts, was put out by EDM powerhouse label Monstercat this past year. The EP serves as a unique blend of cinematic, atmospheric, and eerie musical overtones check it out below.

This Sunday the eclectic producer Varien touches down in NYC with friends Fox Stevenson and Feint at Webster Hall. Get tickets to see them in action here:

Below Varien and I cover a wide variety of different topics. He goes in-depth about how he mainly wants to focus on his Japanese inspired side project Koinu in 2017, what fans can expect from his Sunday show at New York City’s famed Webster Hall, his goals for the next 2 years, a possible REZZ collab, and much more!

You seem to be working on 3 different musical projects at once, Nick Kaelar, Varien & Koinu is there a reason for this and which one do you see yourself working the most with in 2017?

“I see myself working with Koinu the most, in 2017, I just want to have fun, travel, get out, and play loud, fun music. I still have plenty of great stuff for the other aliases though!”

How would you describe your music to a first-time listener?

“Ah, this question is always a bummer to answer! I pretty much make everything covered to a degree where I don’t have to elaborate too much, but of course that answer falls short of what I really do.”

Are there any video games or movie series you wish to write a score for someday?

“Oh yes, I would have loved to have done Black Mirror, Stranger Things, Ex-Machina, and pretty much every J-RPG in existence. In the future, I’ll make sure this happens to some extent.”

During the process of creating music what would you say are the hardest barriers to overcome and how do you go about doing this?

“Opening up a project file – and seeing nothing. A blank canvas is pretty intimidating, and this is after I’ve been doing this for close to eight years. Once the ideas are laid down though, it’s off to the races and becomes extremely fun.”

In addition to producing music you also play a bunch of different instruments. Will you be throwing down live for us at Webster Hall this upcoming Sunday?

“I wish I could clone myself and treat my fans to a full Varien Band, but alas, I can’t do that! I will absolutely throw down this weekend at Webster Hall regardless. I think everyone, especially me, is going to be leaving with a stiff neck.”

What can fans expect from the show at Webster on Sunday?

“An onslaught of the senses that should probably be illegal to some degree.”

In terms of shows/tours, releasing music, and any further projects you wish to pursue what can fans expect from Varien in 2017?

“I’d like to revisit some of the more synth-heavy stuff, and not EDM, but more synthwave x cinematic styles. I’d still really love to do something artistic and beautiful but in the style of my EP with 7 Minutes Dead, Mirai Sekai. I already have a bunch of ideas sketched out to a good degree, it’s just a matter of making a plan for this year and executing it!”

What do you still want to accomplish that you have yet to do say within the next 2 years?

“I’d love to be a lead composer for a AAA game or Netflix Original, in terms of scoring. I’m also looking forward to selling out headline shows and working with K-Pop acts.”

What would be your dream venue to perform at?

“Red Rocks. Hands down.”

What inspires you to make music?

“I can’t NOT do it. Even when the times are hard and everything seems overwhelming, it’s something that I have to do, I have to express myself in this manner or else that energy goes elsewhere – and usually to something unproductive and wasteful.”

Who are your dream collaborators either dead or alive?

“I’d love to collaborate with a visionary director like The Wachowski Sisters (who are my idols in film) or someone not yet discovered. Music wise, I feel like I’ve already collaborated with all of my musical idols – Two Steps from Hell, Skrillex, Celldweller, and a handful of Hollywood composers. We shall see though! I would love to do something with Rezz, I’ve been watching her for quite some time.”

Lastly, do you have any advice for aspiring producers today that want to get into the electronic music industry?

“It’s hard. It’s a business. There’s a lot of politics involved. Put your best foot forward, be kind, be grateful, cherish every opportunity, and try your best to keep positive.”

If you enjoyed that interview and want to find about more about Varien make sure to follow him on all his socials below.

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