“Sometimes my fingers play a random melody” – Introducing: Var Var

Var Var is a Russian gothic-metalcore band. Olga (vocals) and Vitalii (guitar) set off the band in March 2020. During the quarantine they were working on their music and the first song “Wolf Howl” was released in October 2020. Both musicians are very open-minded and enjoy almost all music genres, but Var Var’s music is mostly influenced by modern metalcore bands (Architects, Asking Alexandria, Bring Me the Horizon, Spiritbox, Ice Nine Kills) and gothic-emo bands of 2000s (Evanescence, HIM, the Rasmus, Poets of the Fall, Within Temptation, My Chemical Romance, Skillet), so some of their songs tend to be very melodic with beautiful tender vocals and other songs are very groovy with heavy riffs and extreme vocals. The lyrics combine fairy tale settings with deep psychological and social issues. The songs raise questions about identity, life choices, bullying, emotional detachment. The band’s fourth single, True Love Kiss has just been released today! We are proud to share the Var Var’s very first interview here, on MyToucheBlog.com!

Beginnings:

Olga: We met in November 2019. I came to my friends’ gig. I wasn’t sure at first to go or not but then I saw recommendations from an astrologist (laughs) to go out so I went to the gig. There I met the drummer of my friends’ band with his wife and a new guy. That was Vitalii. In such company we spent almost the whole evening and in the end, I was 100% sure I wanted to have Vitalii as a member of my new band as he was a very optimistic, open-minded and determined person. Leaving the club, I asked him if he wanted to join my project and he agreed. Then we didn’t keep in touch for almost 5 months. (smiles) Finally, in March 2020 I contacted Vitalii. We met on the 21st of March and two days later our government announced a lockdown. Perfect timing for starting a band. (laughs)

Behind the name:

Olga: The name comes from the Russian word “varvar” which means “a barbarian”. This word meant “a foreigner” in ancient times and the Romans used it for different German, Slavic, Asian and other tribes. As a Russian band that uses the non-native language in songs and is oriented mostly on the European audience, we thought this word would perfectly represent our identity. Unfortunately, we had to split the word into two parts in order not to have any problems with distribution because it was already taken on some platforms. That’s how VAR VAR appeared.

VitaliiAnd also it is easy to write and pronounce in most languages. (laughs)

Inspiration:

OlgaI was really into music when I was a teenager but then something happened and I quit music and wasn’t interested in it for 6 years. In 2019 I accidentally heard Asking Alexandria’s single “Into the Fire” and then I was listening to their self-titled album on repeat and became obsessed with the idea to start my music project. As for songwriting, I can’t say that my music is based on any bands or even genres but, of course, my songwriting has been formed by my listener experience which includes a wide range of artists: from Mozart and Tschaikowski to My Chemical Romance and 30 Seconds to Mars, from Adele and Beyoncé to Lamb of God and Architects.

Vitalii: As to me, just playing the instrument has always been inspiring. I am very grateful to my parents who presented me with my first guitar and gave me the opportunity to develop as a musician, and, of course, I am grateful to my teacher Vladislav Maneshkin (you can see his awesome covers on his YouTube channel) who got me interested in playing the guitar. The level I’ve reached in 4 years is his contribution. Now I listen to lots of different styles of music and love many of them but bands which inspire me more than others are Disturbed, Ice Nine Kills, Machine Head, Lamb Of God, Architects and also I was inspired by listening such guitarists as Andy James, Zakk Wylde, Marty Friedman, Ritchie Blackmore, and Steve Vai.

Songwriting process:

Olga: Sometimes I just have a special state of mind when I feel that something interesting might come out and I need to catch this moment and start playing the piano and singing. Writing lyrics is a big challenge for me. I read English books and try to find some vivid expressions and then use them in the songs. Also, I can’t write songs about anything. I need a plot-driving idea and sometimes I spend days articulating it. 

VitaliiI’m mostly inspired by emotions, different situations in my life, as well as people who surround me. Sometimes my fingers play a random melody and it touches me so much that I want to develop it into a song. As for our debut album, we have lots of ideas but we would like to make something conceptional and need to form our style at first. 

The biggest challenge is to come to the final version of the song that will be satisfying for everyone and stop changing and improving everything.

Vitalii

Teamwork:

OlgaNow we’ve released only 3 songs. These songs were written mostly by me because some of them were pretty old but on our next single we worked together and the whole musical idea of the song came from Vitalii. In the future, I suppose the instrumental part will be mostly Vitalii’s responsibility and my job will be lyrics and the vocal part. Also, it’s turned out that being a band it’s not only writing music. You need to work with many people, post something on your social media, develop a visual concept. Now we try to share these functions. I’m in charge of our social media and Vitalii is responsible for our design and videos.

VitaliiSince we are quite a young band, we try to establish teamwork but sometimes we have some disputes or even arguments. And course, we always try to solve such problems quickly as a team.

Inspiration behind “True Love Kiss”:

VitaliiInitially, the main inspiration of True Love Kiss was a very emotional situation in my life. Once I played some chords and a short melody and realized that this is what I wanted to hear in my song. The same evening I came up with the first idea of the solo. After that day I wrote the whole song pretty fast. I worked a lot on the solo and for the moment I think it is my most emotional and touching solo of all time. Then I asked Olga to write no less touching lyrics and she did it perfectly.

OlgaI had several ideas at first and finally I decided to write about my personal issues. Actually, this song is the first one which is directly connected with my personality and my life experience. Obviously, the idea is taken from Sleeping Beauty but it’s a metaphor for the very reserved person that I am. It’s really hard for me to show other people any emotions so people usually think I’m very calm and balanced although I have a wild mix of emotions inside. And it’s probably okay with negative feelings but I struggle also with expressing love, joy, gratitude, or affection and I’m sad to realize that most of my friends and family members have no idea how they are precious and important for me.

Olga: dark, tragic, emotional, melodic and intense

Describe your music in five words!

COVID-19:

Olga: Positively, actually. As there was no need to spend time on commuting, we could devote more time to making music and nowadays almost everything you need to make music is on your computer. There wasn’t a strict lockdown all over Russia, only in Moscow and now everything is functioning as before. The only change is the obligation to wear masks in public places.

Online concerts:

OlgaTo play any metal you need at least 5 musicians and now there are only two of us. We are looking for enthusiastic people to join our band but it is hard. As soon as we find them, we will plan our first concert.

Fun facts:

VitaliiOnce we discussed that we could release an album within 3 months… it’s funny, isn’t it?

OlgaRecently we’ve started our YouTube channel. We will post there our music, of course, and also it will be a kind of diary. So, if you want to know how it is to be a beginner metal band in Russia, join our channel. 

Check out VAR VAR on Spotify!

Photos: КУЛИЧКОВА ЕЛЕНА

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"I associate heavy metal with fantasy because of the tremendous power that the music delivers." - Christopher Lee

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