Varient (Formerly Blue Sun)
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Varient (Formerly Blue Sun)

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The best kept secret in music

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"Band's Growth Forces Change"

By Tamara McCollough-Special to the slice

Spring is a season associated with changes and new births. For local band Varient, this spring has seen a group of musicians grow, change, and give birth to new sounds that lend themselves to the Colorado Springs music scene's eclectic mix.
Varient-formerly known as Blue Sun-will undoubtedly see a busy future, with a new name, album, wedding, and touring schedule.
"We've all grown a lot since we started," guitarist Jamin Triz said.
The melodic rock quartet-whose lineup includes Triz, vocalist Carly Harmon, drummer Josh Tarrant, and bassist Dave Pack-started nearly four years ago as a humble duo when Triz met Harmon while working at Macaroni Grill.
Harmon and Triz played several open mic nights at earthy places such as Utopia Cafe.
After Triz and Harmon played a few shows together, they incorporated bass and percussion to build on their musical ideas.
The lineup changed ove the years, with bassists and drummers coming and going, but the current members feel confident about their ability to work together and write songs.
"The four of us have been one of the best songwriting groups I've (worked with) since this project's been going," Triz said.
They learned to write songs more efficiently. It's easier and quicker now, Tarrant said.
After playing their Blue Sun sound for a while, they felt it was time for a change. "We had 25 (songs), cut them down to four, started over and basically (started) a whole new project," Harmon said.
With influences including Tool, Incubus, Tori Amos, and Primus, Varient draws from various sounds to create its own collective rock style.
In fact, the band's various influences led to its name change in April.
"Blue Sun just didn't fit, so we changed it," Triz said. "(Varient means) to vary from the norm,"Harmon said.
Listening to the band's debut CD, "Non-Fiction," Varient's name suits the music just fine. With varying tempos, melodies, rifffs, and emotions, "Non-Fiction" stands as a strong, professional-sounding release that properly exemplifies the band's hard work.
But a band's work is never done. Varient has a busy summer ahead of them.
Aside from the band's CD release show Saturday at 32 Bleu, Triz and Harmon plan to exchange wedding vows June 26.
After the honeymoon, Pack said the band is looking forward to sharing its sound out of state. "(We're looking) to do some shows out in California later this summer."
The band played shows as Blue Sun throughout Colorado Springs and Denver, sharing the stage with national acts such as RA and local acts including Leer 43 and Tricklife.
The upcoming show will be the band's first "offical" show as Varient, so support from local music fans will not go unnoticed, they said.

-Wednesday, June 2, 2004 - The Slice (Colorado Springs Gazette)


"Varient releases first CD, ready to take off touring"

By Chris Casey-The Gazette

Title: "Non-Fiction" by Varient

Style: Hard Rock

Personnel: Carly Harmon,vocals; Jamin Triz,guitar; Dave Pack, bass; and Josh Tarrant, drums.

What the band is about: Varient got its start in 2000 when Jamin Triz and Carly Harmon met while waiting tables at Macaroni Grill and started talking music. Triz shared some of his songs and ideas with Harmon and they formed Blue Sun. Triz and Harmon have remained constants, but members have rotated in and out on drums and bass. Original drummer Chris Chavez left about the same time the band started gigging around the Springs and writing original songs. He was replaced by Josh Tarrant, who remains in the group. Blue Sun played everything from rock to funk to jam material. After writing a large batch of songs, though, the band decided they needed focus.
"Everyone seemed to like the heavier stuff, just the crowd reaction and stuff," says Harmon, whose day job is teaching music at Gateway Elementary in Woodland Park. "We didn't feel like we were going in one direction, and so we cut down to four (songs), and we're up to 15 again-just trying to get some musical direction going, and I thing we finally did."
Dave Pack recently joined the band and holds down the heavy bass lines. As Harmon puts it, "It's melodic....That's the sound we're going for is the real bassy sound."
All four members collaborated on the songs, and Harmon writes the lyrics. Varient members list groups such as Tool, Black Sabbath, and Led Zeppelin as influences. Harmon is also a fan of Tori Amos.
"Finally, we found a group that's ready to go and travel and tour and stuff, and the CD's going to help a lot," she says.

How the CD Happened: After settling in on a direction and writing an album's worth of songs, the group recorded their debut CD under a new name, Varient.

Best Gig: Varient played the Ogden in Denver last weekend. "It was pretty amazing," Harmon said.

CD Vitals: 14 tracks, 74 minutes.

Available at: Independent Records, CD Warehouse, and Online at CDBaby.com, $10

Review: The musicianship and Harmon's vocals are consistently strong on "Non-Fiction," but Varient's Achilles' heel is a tendency to stray into excess, or perhaps, overearnestness. Some songs, lasting more than 5 minutes, wear out their welcome after four. More economy would go a long way.
Fans of bands such as Tool, Incubus, and Black Sabbath likely will be satisfied by Varient, both live and on CD.

Catch 'em live: Varient plans a CD release party at 9:00 p.m. Saturday at 32 Bleu. Tickets are $5.

-Friday, June 4, 2004 - The Colorado Springs Gazette (GO! Magazine)


"Blue Sun with Summerdown and Eyes Caught Fire"

By Noel Black

Few bands outside of Colorado Springs would dare to call themselves "hard rock" these days. Nevertheless, the Springs (of all places) can take it, and, in fact, has repeatedly proven that hard rock may be the everlasting soul of our music scene. Kindred spirits of locals Betting on the Muse with no small amount of Tori Amos vocals and grinding Metallica/Sabbath-like riffs, Blue Sun has a slutty sound that's been all but lost to the '70's. Composed of local Doherty grads Jamin Triz (guitar) and Luke Faimon (bass), semi-local Carly Harmon (vocals), and upstate New York native Josh Tarrant (drums), Blue Sun has taken the hard rock formula and pushed it straight off the Bijou Street Bridge.

-Thursday, May 28, 2003 - Colorado Springs Independent


"Hot Shotz>Interviews-Varient"

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 www.varientmusic.net is about to be launched, but in the meantime hyperlink over to www.bluesuncolorado.com for more info. If you do happen to run into Carly or Jamin at the party, congradulate them—they are getting married this month!


-Drew Wright, Jun 3, 2004

- Kaffeine Buzz Internet Mag (kaffeinebuzz.com)


Discography

Full-Length 14 song album, "Non-fiction", released on June 5th 2004.

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Varient started out as Blue Sun, an original melodic hard rock band based in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The band was created in June 2000 when Jamin Triz wanted to create something totally unique and new combining hard rock with a female vocalist. In August of 2000, Jamin met Carly Harmon while waiting tables at Macaroni Grill and shared his songs and ideas with her. After deciding to take on this project, the two team wrote songs and played at numerous open mics and jam sessions. Carly and Jamin gained valuable experience in the local music scene and found a connection with bassist Nick Kellerman and drummer Chris Chavez. The group played more open mics and began to play the Colorado Springs club scene. Chris Chavez left the band and drummer Josh Tarrant took his place. The band began to write more songs and within a year, Blue Sun had enough material to play four hour 50% original and 50% cover shows around the front range. At this point the band's original material was all over the musical spectrum, ranging from funk tunes to melodic hard rock sounding songs. Nick Kellerman left the band for personal reasons and bassist Jay McGuffin took his place. Jay's amazing knowledge about music theory and writing challenged to band to new levels. The band decided to become an all-original band when it became apparent that playing covers was leading them in the wrong direction. Blue Sun recorded an inexpensive live album called "Live in the Basement" and sold a limited number during the summer of 2002. In January of 2003, Jay left the band to pursue a more jazz oriented musical direction. Bassist Luke Faimon,formerly of Street and Roads, stepped in and Blue Sun decided to go in one direction in terms of song writing and musical style. Their 24 originals were cut down to 4 and new songs were written. Instead of playing songs that were in all different styles, the band decided on focusing on the melodic hard rock sound that was popular with listeners. Blue Sun received positive feedback from the change and continued to go in that direction. In October of 2003, Luke Faimon left the band for personal reasons. Soon after, Bassist Dave Pack joined Blue Sun and more song writing was done. In April 2004, the band changed their name to Varient, which fits their musical direction and style much better than Blue Sun. Currently, the band is in the process of mastering their first full-length album to be released in the early summer of 2004. Varient currently plays gigs around Colorado and is available to play for clubs, private parties, and festivals. Varient strives to be professional, energetic, and positive. Varient has shared the stage with national acts such as Three Days Grace and RA!