Meet One Of LA’s Hottest Progressive House DJs: Varun
Posted by VMan on July 22, 2016
Varun is one of LA’s quickest rising progressive house artists. If you are thinking this is Above and Beyond, think again. This dude goes hard and his releases speak for themselves, delivering heavy-hitting tracks with strong melodies. We go to dive into Varun’s life as a DJ/producer in our up-close and exclusive interview with Varun.
Where do you think the direction of progressive house is heading?
Varun: It’s tough to say. I love Progressive House but the scene is definitely changing. There are a lot of new styles of music that are coming out and people are loving it. The biggest shift I’ve seen are these more percussive and noise driven drops (almost seeming a bit random at times). Some of it is a bit much for me but some of it is executed pretty damn well.
As a whole the genre is looking to evolve. Especially with how everything became so formulaic for a while. Progressive House will always be one of the most popular genres since it’s a very musical style but we’ll have to see where it goes from here. You’re going to see artists infusing elements from all different genres. I’ve already noticed myself experimenting with this during my live sets and even my production. People are open to it and they are definitely responding to it. There are no rules anymore which makes it a pretty exciting time for an artist.
What would you say has changed the most in the last 1-2 years in electronic dance music?
Varun: Well if you think about where the scene was 2 years ago it was not too long after Swedish House Mafia had broken up. Progressive house was dominating the scene at that time and artists like Calvin Harris, Alesso and Martin Garrix were just on fire. Anthems were big and when people started to crave something new the Deep House era came into play. Oliver Heldens and Tchami brought in a completely new flavor with their style of a Deep House/Future House and that really took off. Now it seems like Trap and Hip Hop influenced beats with electronic sounds are the new thing. DJ Snake, Chainsmokers and Jack U have all been making some incredible music.
I love that the scene seems to have finally reached a state that people are far more open and excited to hear a variety of styles. It’s a pretty exciting time for artists because you don’t have to feel stuck in one style anymore and gives you a lot more room to experiment. You can even make a certain type of music and still perform something almost completely different. Just listen to one of DJ Snake’s sets. The music he makes has a very different vibe than the music he performs. The creativity comes with how he is able to merge the two into a single fluid set. Helps add a lot more drama to your sets too.
How has your sound evolved? How would you say it has grown song after song?
Varun: Absolutely! I’m pretty sure this goes for every artist. Each song you make you’re growing. Learning new things throughout the process, gaining more confidence in how you approach it and dialing in your sound. Over time you start to create your own personalized library and it builds the foundation for your sound. As I’ve grown more confident with certain aspects of production, I want to experiment more with others parts of it.
After producing for 7 years and DJing for even longer, I tend to know what I like and what I don’t. Before that used to be one of my biggest struggles. As a DJ, it was a great asset to me to be able to select great music. As I producer, this would end up being one of my biggest struggles. It was so frustrating feeling like my sound was no where close to other artist’s music that I would use during my sets. After years of fighting with this I finally was able to get passed it. So much of music production is learning to get mentally strong. Now I finally feel what I make is sonically at that same level. Sure there are always going to be different aspects of my game I want to improve on but that’s all part of what makes this so exciting. I don’t really think there will ever be a point in my career that I’ll feel like I know everything about it. It’s endless.
What cities have the strongest progressive house scene? Whats your favorite city to play in, if any?
Varun: I think SoCal still has one of the strongest Progressive House scene’s in the US. LA, OC and San Diego seem to really be thriving and get some phenomenal crowds. Especially 18+ shows where they tend to really know the music!
What are you up to next?
Varun: I have some unreleased material that I want to get out over the next few months. Some solo stuff as well as some pretty cool collaborations. Still looking for the right vocalist on one of them. Towards the end of July I should have some shows coming up so stay tuned if you’re thinking of coming out!
Also, I’ve been focused on creating Progressive House since I started producing and wanted to see what would happen if I tried something a little different. I put together something around the 100 bpm range and I’m really loving it so far. We’re going to start recording vocals for it in the next couple weeks so can’t wait to see how it all comes together!