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Varient – Putting a Twist on Diversity

Carly Harmon – vocals
Jamin Triz – guitar
Josh Tarrant – percussion
Dave Pack – bass

Most people know this foursome as Blue Sun. Some know them as a much different band than they were when they first rose in Colorado Spring’s music scene. But either way, most people in their hometown have heard these guys at some time or another and in one form or another. Be it a four-hour jam/funk session, or a 45-minute rock and fuckin’ roll show, no one in this conservative, cow town draws a wide and diverse audience quite like Varient.

These guys have found their way into almost every genre, playing shows with a variety of bands, from emo and indie to the heaviest of metal lineups. Because of Varient’s flexible style that complements just about any show, their more melodic tunes set the mood for a rowdy Herman’s Hideaway night, their heavier songs become a good appetizer for the metal-heads at Bottoms Up later that weekend.

Since becoming focused on what style works best for them, Varient has come a long way in a short amount of time. While founders Carly Harmon and Jamin Triz started playing acoustic songs together almost four years ago, the music that we hear and read of in their latest press is relatively new. With long-time drummer Josh Tarrant, they have rewritten most of their set to redefine where they wanted to be with their music. All the hard work and soul searching has paid off—they’ve now got a real powerhouse show, new and impressive bassist Dave Pack, and an album, Non-Fiction, which rivals many of the signed bands on the shelves right now.

I got a chance to catch up with Varient as they were finishing up tracks in the studio, and somehow after the intense screams I heard from Carly, she was still able to answer a few questions.

Kaffeine Buzz: So you guys have been known as Blue Sun for a long time now, tell us a bit how you evolved into Varient?

Jamin Triz: As Blue Sun, we have been a cover band, had diverse sets of half covers, half originals, played four hour shows at the Ritz, [Laughs] and been an all original hard rock band. We really have done it all since we started. We used to be mostly funk with a few heavier songs. Now we are hard rock/melodic and do only originals. We played with bassist Jay McGuffin for two years as a cover band, then decided to go with a heavier sound and do an original set.


KB: What influenced the change? Why a heavier sound and why change from doing covers?

Jamin: We were having more fun with it at shows, when we would play our original songs. We would get a better crowd response, which is usually the opposite. We were listening to heavier music at the time and it just felt like the right direction to go.

Carly: When we were doing covers we would make a lot of money but we weren’t really doing what we loved. We enjoyed writing music much more than learning someone else’s, and we didn’t mind giving up the money to be able to do it.

Jamin: Plus since part of our set was covers, we weren’t included in the shows or the scene of original bands, which is where we wanted to be when we started the band years ago.

Carly: After we decided to change, we started playing with Luke Faimon and dropped our set from 25 songs to four originals. Before we had funk songs, metal songs, blues songs, we were everywhere and we needed a specific direction. This is what we took.

KB: Wow, from 25 to four songs. That’s pretty ballsy for any band to do.

Carly: And we didn’t even have any of the old songs recorded, kind of sad.

Jamin: Luke helped write a lot of the songs that are on this disk, but decided this wasn’t for him. We found Dave Pack through auditioning only like a week later, which was unheard of. We wrote really fast with Dave and got tight really quick. After only a few months we were ready to record this album.

Carly: And to top such a quick change, we decided to change our name right when we started to get more exposure.

KB: And why did you change your name?

Jamin: We have been thinking about it for awhile now. But when we were thinking of an album name, we realized that our band name didn’t fit us anymore. When we came up with the name we were a funk band. Shit, we would play the Utopia Café and I would play 15 minute guitar solos. [Laughs] So when we changed, our name needed to change. When people heard Blue Sun, they normally thought of a blues band, and we are not even close to that. We needed a name that fit our current sound, and Varient fit much better than Blue Sun.

KB: So how far do you want to take Varient? It seems like you guys are pushing really hard right now.

Josh Tarrant: We just want to support ourselves with our music, live comfortably and be able to tour and have a good time. We don’t care about being on MTV or selling out stadiums, but I would like to drive around a pimped out scooter like Jamin.

Jamin: The best job you could have is the one thing that you love doing the most.

Josh: Damn man, what are you going to do, cry us a Hallmark? [Everyone laughs]

KB: So tell us about the new album, Non-Fiction.

Jamin: Well, all the songs on this disk were written over the past three years, the last one three years ago, the first six months ago. This is our first real studio effort. We have released a live disk and a 3-song demo in the past, but nothing even close to this.

Carly: We have had a few bad studio experiences, people trying to charge us $2500 for 3 songs, people promising quality they can’t deliver. We are really weary of this now, that’s why we are so pleased with our CD. The engineer, Dave Degan (Soundstorm Studios) actually came to us and said he liked our sound and wanted to record us. He had been coming to our shows for the past couple of years and had seen us grow as a band. He offered to record a song for free because he was that confident he could do a good job for us. The first song he did was a thousand times better than anything we had ever done, and it wasn’t even mastered yet!

Josh: And when we decided to do the entire CD with him, he had to try and make the first free song sound as good as the other tracks, so he spent 12 hours mixing to make it sound as good as the rest of the album. We were floored, and when we heard the rest of the tracks, we were floored ten times over.

Carly: He was awesome, he really knew what he was doing and after so many disappointments, I don’t think we could have taken another. He’s finishing up Eyes Caught Fire’s new disk too.

KB: So do you have any new songs that are on the disk that you will be playing for the first time at the release party?

Carly: We have one that we just wrote called “Moments of Silence.” It was written just after DiRT from FaiLYeRZ passed away. It’s not specifically about him, but more on how everyone around him was affected, the town, the fans, and the entire Colorado music community

Josh: Yea we were so moved by the 400 or so people that showed up to his memorial service. That definitely fueled the emotion behind this song. We actually played this song at the tribute show but it was rough. It will be in full form at the CD release party.

KB: The melodic piece on your album with the stand up bass is really interesting, how did it come about?

Carly: The name of the track is “Perception” and it will be the last song on the CD. It’s actually the first song Jamin and wrote together years ago. It was written as an acoustic piece at first. Our old bass player, Jay McGuffin, added the stand up bass work and it turned out beautiful. It definitely feels good to end the disk with such a nostalgic, ambient song.

Join Varient for their CD release party at 32 Bleu on Saturday, June 5 with Laymen Terms, Tricklife and Porcelain Handjive. The new album Non-Fiction can be picked up at any Independent Records. Their new website is about to be launched, but in the meantime hyperlink over to for more info. If you do happen to run into Carly or Jamin at the party, congradulate them—they are getting married this month!


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