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Music PopWrapped | Music

VARNA Chat "Living A Lie" And Dream Show Line Ups

Rebecca Haslam | PopWrapped Author

Rebecca Haslam

08/09/2016 9:35 am
PopWrapped | Music
VARNA Chat
Media Courtesy of Chad Michael Ward Photography

Having earned themselves support from the likes of The Los Angeles Music Awards since bursting on to the scene back in 2013 with their EP This Time, It’s Personal, VARNA, fronted by vocalist Tiana Woods, are a band that are hard to ignore. As they promote and prepare to release the lyric video for their new track “Living A Lie”, Tiana and drummer Sean kindly agreed to this interview to chat dream shows, social media and song-writing inspiration.

PW: Please introduce yourselves.

Tiana: Hi PopWrapped! I am Tiana Woods, lead singer and song-writer of VARNA. Thanks for having us today!

Sean: Hi, I’m Sean and I play drums in VARNA!

PW: How do you know each other/how did you meet?

T

:

Sean and I were introduced through a mutual friend when our former drummer left the band, he stepped in summer 2015.

PW: When did you first realize you wanted to be performers? Was there an album you listened to or concert you attended that influenced your career plans?

S

:

You don't really choose to be a performer, it chooses you if you ask me. I've been hitting pots and pans/my parents kitchen counter since I was little trying to get people's attention, and I was also a part of a couple plays at that time too. Later on that led to things like piano lessons and doing the recitals, and joining band in junior high and high school with weekend competitions, and then indoor drum line in the winter. There hasn't really been a big stretch of time in my life where I haven't been in front of people.

T

:

I have been singing since I was a toddler. From there, I joined every music activity I could and made my first demo at 8. I never had a “Plan B.” Teachers in school never liked that very much.

PW: Which bands and artists influenced you growing up and how have those influences changed over time?

T

:

When I heard Mariah Carey on the radio at 5 years old, she gave me a dream to aspire to. Silverchair introduced me to the world of honest songwriting and hard rock at 14. They still inspire me to this day and I often go back to listen to them to remember why I do this. I listen to a mix of Deftones, Darkest Hour, Evanescence along with dark blues-rock, Top 40 - to keep myself in the loop - and singer songwriters like Meg Myers and Fiona Apple for lyrical content. I listen to a lot of different music for a lot of different reasons.

S

:

When I first got really into music and started figuring out what styles I actually liked, bands like Paramore, My Chemical Romance, Aiden, and Hawthorn Heights were really popular on MTV, and Fuse. So that was my introduction to what the music scene in America was offering. Not too long after that I made a major switch once I discovered Lamb of God. That led to me listening to bands like The Absence, The Black Dahlia Murder, and Light This City etc. Now my taste is really eclectic; I'll listen to Damien Rice, Art Blakey, Cannibal Corpse, Breaking Benjamin, Freddie King, Shakey Graves etc. all in one day.

PW: Is there a band or artist you might say you sound similar to?

S

:

We get the comparison of Breaking Benjamin meets Kelly Clarkson quite a bit. I suppose we'll let the listener decide if they agree with that or not.

T:

We like to mix hard rock with commercial vocals and honest songwriting.

PW: Tell me about your upcoming single "Living A Lie." Is there a story behind it?

S: “Living a Lie” poses the challenging question to the listener "Are you really living the way you would like to? Are you dedicating your life to the things that fulfil you?"

T: "LAL" is the song that I am most proud of to date. Aside from the fact that it took me two years to complete, I really feel that it is a unique song and will help anyone who needs it, as it did for me when I wrote it. It was very uncomfortable for me to be that honest with myself.

PW: Who or what most influences your song-writing?

T

:

I hate to be cliché but the ups and downs of life influence my writing. We are all just human beings trying to get through life the best way we can and music helps us for every occasion.

S

:

As a drummer, my job is to be the dynamic center of the band, and keep a certain feel throughout the song so the emotion in the lyrics can be properly conveyed. So, when coming up with a drum part I'm really thinking more in terms of moods and keeping a fluid sound. 

PW: How easy or hard do you find the song-writing process? Can it depend on the subject matter?

T

:

Song-writing is always a surprise to me. There are times that a song writes itself in ten minutes and then there are songs that can take years, like you said depending on the subject matter you never know! It always keeps me on my toes and excites me because you can get inspiration from anywhere and anything.

S

:

The song-writing process is challenging no matter what since there are so many variables: Is the hook good enough? Does the groove in the background properly support the hook? Are the transitions smooth? Should the song be faster or slower? Do the vocals sound like they’ fighting with the guitars and drums? The list can go on and on, it can feel like you're performing surgery after a while!

PW: In your opinion, which is the greatest song ever written and why?

T

:

I’m going to go with the nostalgic answer and say “Emotion Sickness” by Silverchair. That song is to this day, so incredibly personal and when I first heard it, it changed something in me. To me, there are hundreds of songs that are ‘the greatest song ever written’ for different reasons.

S:

The first blues song ever written, which is unknown. That's the song that completely changed music forever.

PW: What are your upcoming tour and performance plans?

S

:

We’re gearing up for the Anne Rice Lestat Ball, ‘Midnight In The Garden of Good and Evil’ in New Orleans on October 28th. With "Living A Lie" at radio, we are also taking a breather from local gigs and spreading the word about it as much as we can across the US where it's being shown lots of love!

PW: You've so far shared stages with Drowning Pool and Act of Defiance, but if you could share a stage with three other bands or artists who can be living or dead, who would they be and where would you play?

T

:

Silverchair, Papa Roach and Indigenous at Rock In Rio.

S

:

Blue Cheer, Anthrax, and Dio. If I was given the chance to play with any of those bands I wouldn't care if it was at Madison Square Garden, or next to a hot-dog stand to be honest!

PW: You've been praised by the Los Angeles Music Awards among others, but exactly how much does recognition like that matter to you? Do you care what critics and the like think or are you happy to just do what you love no matter what?

T

:

It was very odd to me that the critics loved us so well and we started getting all this hype out of the gate. I'm used to no one paying attention to our music and ignoring my band. Sure, it's nice to have awards as a pat on the back for the work that you put in is being recognized, but what matters to me is that we deliver the music our fans and we as a band, are excited about.

S

:

Recognition like that is always awesome but that can't be the sole reason why you do what you do; you have to keep in mind that you're not going to please everyone. If you're receiving a lot of buzz in the press and receiving awards that's great, but if you're not, that doesn't mean you're doing anything wrong.

PW: What are your thoughts on social media? To what extent has it helped your career and would you agree it’s necessary for bands and artists today?

T

:

Social media is extremely important for bands like us who are independent. It allows us to reach directly out to people in different countries that we would not have access to without the help of a major label. At the end of the day, it needs to be used in conjunction with good old fashion person-to-person contact. Nothing will replace the human experience.

S

:

Social media has become an extremely important part of a band’s marketing strategy. Methodically speaking though there's not a "one size fits all" approach. You just need to experiment with ideas and see what's working for you and what's not.

PW: What else does the rest of the year have in store for you?

T

:

Releasing our singles, playing shows and events in new places and continents and taking the holidays to work on new material.

S

:

Doing what we do best, bringing rock to as many people as we possibly can!

PW: Finally then, what's your ultimate ambition as a band? What would you like your lasting legacy to be?

T

:

Our ultimate ambition as a band is to play for as many people for as long as possible in as many places that it can take us. Legacy is a big promise, but to just help people with our music in whatever way they see fit.

S

:

I'd love the lasting legacy of VARNA to be the band that redefines what a hard rock band sounds like. I want to experiment with sounds, showcase our technical, heavy, and melodic capabilities. I'm convinced that there are far more sounds you can create and blend together with guitar, drums, and vocals than what is currently present in rock music today. Thank you so much for a great interview!

For more information on VARNA, visit their website, give their page a like on Facebook or follow them on Twitter and Instagram.

 

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