“I’m not telling any fictional story here, I am showcasing the dark parts of
this year that I have been in – and I’d like for you to listen.“
Long considered one of America’s most mysterious, enigmatic and creative electronic music forces, Nick Kaelar aka Varien returns after a year away from the limelight with the title track from his brand new EP ‘Death Asked A Question’.
Dark, brooding and brimming with simmering emotion, ‘Death Asked A Question’ is a jarring piece of production from Varien, at times blissfully euphoric, then suddenly jittery, shuddering and almost uncomfortable. Industrial synths jut up against depth-ridden basslines, haunting vocals float across mesmerising piano segues, dark FX twitching and roaring in and out of the production, Varien allowing the ghosts of his past to manifest themselves as part of his composition process.
One of the Floridian’s most personal projects to date, the single is part of a 5-track collection and sees Varien move away from using his work to tell fantasy stories, instead using production to articulate elements of his own struggle with mental health and anxiety. It was a battle that ultimately led him to shut down social media platforms and disappear from his fans over a 12 month period, taking the time to confront personal demons and eventually realign his own sense of internal balance and wellbeing.
Varien spoke in depth about that period of his life in a recent interview with EDM Sauce: “Last year around June-August was complete torture… I had been grinding NONSTOP for 7 years as Varien with only 10 days of actual vacation. Not good. Workaholic culture is worshipped in our society and it is absolutely toxic – it’s ok to take time off. It’s ok to be vulnerable with others. You don’t need to be rich or have ‘influencer’ friends to feel complete. You can step off the grind and kick back every once in a while. It’s ok that you’re not revolutionising the world – being yourself is more than enough. Relax, Find a purpose. Go.”
Penning recent KPop #1 single ‘Scientist’ for VIXX, Varien has written tracks for film and TV including ‘300: Rise Of An Empire’, ‘Bones’, ‘The Purge: Anarchy’, ‘Face Off’, ‘The Walking Dead’ and more. His 2015 album ‘The Ancient & The Arcane’, released on Monstercat, reaped a whirlwind of critical acclaim with Dancing Astronaut hailing it as a “cinematic masterpiece” and Your EDM dubbing it “an empowering and enchanting experience… a true out of this world endeavour”.
As he returns to the forefront of electronic music, it is his own story being told, his own emotions channelled through the production, his own journey recounted and dissected and explored. An honest reflection of Varien as an artist, ‘Death Asked A Question’ serves as both a glimpse into Varien’s own demons and a way for listeners to better understand their own.
Varien ‘Death Asked A Question’ is available to download worldwide now via Most Addictive. ‘Death Asked A Question’ (full EP release) will be available October 26th.
VARIEN // SOCIALS:
VARIEN // STREAM: