Get to know... Varley

Credit: Jen Krause

Berlin based trio Varley's playful and expensive take on indie-pop makes for joyful, blissed out listening.

As they prep for the release of their debut album, 'Smalltalk & DMC's' later this year; the band, led by Dublin born Claire-Ann have recently shared their first single of 2021, 'Push Pull' – a blend of retro disco and hazy dream-pop which has us truly hooked.

We caught up Varley to chat about the dynamics of the band, what's to come from their debut album and life over in Berlin.

Who are Varley and when did you decide to create music together?

We are Claire-Ann, Joschka and Matze. We first met over 10 years ago at an International Songwriting Week, where musicians from all over the world came together to make music and we have been friends ever since. We all moved to Berlin in 2016 and re-connected and started writing and playing music and released our first single “Roamer” in 2018

How do your personalities & influences vary as a band? Would you say you each complement each other nicely?

We definitely all have really different personalities. Matze and Joschka are doers whereas I am 100% an (over)thinker and over the last year or so we have really found our sweet spot and can all appreciate the other ones' workflow. As far as our influences go we all have quite different tastes in music, especially when we were growing up, I think that’s why each member of the band is so important as we all bring something to the table and it definitely keeps it interesting.

You’ve just released a new single, tell us a bit about ‘Push Pull’ - where did that one come from?

I’ve always been quite a shy person and don’t usually like to get into a discussion or debate with people so after years of receiving mostly well-meaning but sometimes disheartening advice and never saying anything back “Push Pull” was my response that I wish I would have said at the time. It’s not that I don’t appreciate it but at a certain point it gets to be too much and it was our way to silence the outside noise a bit and just do us.

You’ve also announced your debut album! What can we expect to hear on ‘Smalltalk & DMC’s’?

It’s vulnerable and honest, a heart on sleeve type of album. It’s full of contrasts and we talk about a lot of uncomfortable topics, such as loneliness, social problems, anxiety, insecurities but speckled throughout the album are hints of hope, self love and admiration for fearless women that we look up to. We viewed the album as a safe space to talk about our deepest thoughts, fears and doubts.

Is ‘Push Pull’ a good representation of the sound of the album?

Matze: Push Pull is definitely a good representation of what you can expect to hear on the album. However in saying that it was really important to us not to just write the same type of song over and over again so what binds the whole album together is the lyrics, Claire-Ann’s vocals and an organic band sound. It's super important to us to create a special vibe for each song that directly correlates with the lyrics and feeling of the song.

You’re based in Berlin - how’s life there at the moment?

Berlin is a lot quieter lately. However we are taking the time to explore the wonderful nature around us and we are writing lots of new songs. It’s not necessarily bad but we are excited for the day when we can meet our friends and family and play live again!

Where’s the best place in the city to get a taste of the Berlin music scene?

Busking is a big thing over here and in pre-covid times you could always find the most incredible musicians on the streets or in the parks here. There’s nothing better than strolling in the parks or wandering around the markets on the weekend and hearing lovely music. It’s slowly starting to come back which is music to our ears – literally!

If you could have any visual artist create a visualiser for ‘Smalltalk & DMC’s’ - who would it be?

Joschka: We worked with Simone Cihlar on all the Artworks for our songs and the album artwork, and we have to say that we are impressed by her work and the style she is incorporating in those. It’s collage art with a vintage organic touch to it, it’s clear in it’s messages, works with contrasting images and has a nice and rough vibe.

Also we worked with Jen Krause on our videos, the one for Push Pull and also the upcoming ones, and she is doing a fantastic job of making our songs come to life in the world of moving pictures. We are really excited to share the next videos as well.

And aside from the album, what’s the plan for the remainder of 2021?

We would love to play all of the new songs live but of course that is not possible at the moment so we are working on filming some songs from the album in a live setting. We are also working on the next music videos too which is so exciting. We are so happy to be working with Jen Krause and her team again so you know it’s going to be good!