Hi! I’m doing well, actually. Thank you so much for asking! How are you?
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Death Asked A Question”?
Sure. It’s a pretty intense house/techno tune with some horror elements to it. More on the industrial side rather than just pure EDM house. It’s part of a larger body of work which will be out later in October!
Did any event in particular inspired you to write this song?
Yes. The last couple of years have been pretty wild, the past one especially so – I deleted all of my socials and took a hiatus after a lot of personal stuff went down, and I need massive room to breathe. I made a video about it! Well, rising from the ashes this year has been a triumphant but painstaking process, so I documented it in this music. It’s sort of an open journal, exploring the darkest parts and thoughts of my mind. I wrote a lot of these songs in the midst of all-day panic attacks and bouts of depression. It’s raw. And it’s not like anything I’ve done as Varien. There’s no grand narrative that is easily able to be articulated, it’s just up to you to feel it.
Any plans to release a video for the single?
Not this time around! That being said, I feel that a music video, or some long-form visual, is direly needed. I am pushing and honing a very specific aesthetic this year, and nothing dials that in more than visuals, visuals, visuals. I’m so excited to get into more of that! Especially for live shows!
Why naming the track after this song in particular?
Well, to be honest – I really like song names that are image or thought-provoking. I kind of get it and am inspired by the extremely long names emo/post-hardcore bands had for their songs. I’m looking at you Norma Jean! This name though, I mean, does have a meaning to it. In my darkest of days, self-harm was thought about a lot. And in those moments where you feel all by yourself and there’s this awful feeling like you’re almost flirting with the idea of death – because it’s a release from the pain, right? Well, what if in those moments, death, as an entity, asks you a question. What question? I will leave listeners to come up with their own answer. By the way, I almost feel that since I touched on a sensitive subject that I need to make some sort of disclaimer that I’m okay, that I have an amazing support group, and I’m in a much better place these days. Please don’t worry! The expression of these subjects is not the same as the act or promotion of them.
How was the recording and writing process?
Painful, sometimes quick, sometimes slow – which is new because usually I crank records out in no time. There were a few that, some days, I just could not work on music and had to take the day for self-care and then try again. I’m back on that ass-kicking mode, but this EP was definitely a call to rise up to the occasion and see if I could put together a comprehensive body of work. I also had a few other ideas for it, but those will just be put to use in the next body of work or collab!
What role does Florida play in your music?
Believe it or not, it’s so freaking hot here… and the humidity makes it that much more unbearable, that it keeps me in hermit mode all the time, haha. Well, I do get out and go on nature walks and hang out with friends, of course – but for the most part, you wanna stay inside where you won’t get a heatstroke. 😉
What made you want to seek for a darker direction this time around?
The majority of my music has always been dark, but this is gritty, visceral sort of dark. I kind of went full horror on this one, and that’s a new space. What made me seek that out? I didn’t seek it out. These feelings and ideas sought me out, burrowed in my brain, and stayed there. The only way to really do anything about them, is to work with them, and so in doing so – in that acceptance, understanding, and ability to articulate what they were – came this EP. A physical manifestation of abstract depression and anxiety.
What aspect of death and mental health did you get to explore on this record?
All of it, even the more risque subjects of BDSM and fetishes and how that intersects with the death drive.I am very interested in Freudian and Jungian psychology, as well as existentialism – which kind of is what this entire EP is reflecting; to take the subjects of death, mental health, sex, visceral emotions, and transmute them into a physical piece of work that can be consumed. This EP I would even say doesn’t explore death and mental health, this EP IS death and mental illness. I hope listeners can dive into it and feel something deep and raw.
Any plans to hit the road?
Oh you bet. My career up until now, we’ve done some touring and some big shows here and there, but from here on out, I couldn’t be more ready to hit the road. I have an incredibly unique set and working on visuals to make it such an immersive experience. My music has always been an invitation to escape into stories, and now I want to bring that to people in real life. Like a beautiful Lovecraftian psychedelic trip.
What else is happening next in Varien’s world?
Soundtracking! K-Pop! Whatever cool opportunities come my way that I feel I can do good on it. I am absolutely loving that I am writing RPG music, especially Japanese-leaning RPG music. That’s my soul, man. That’s my one true love, that I have been engaged with since I was a child. Small steps, but empires aren’t built in a day, and I am laying one brick at a time. Sometimes painstakingly, sometimes with a fervor like you’ve never seen!