Q&A with DROGU3 – Brennen Varone Who Went From Being Deployed To Afghanistan To Up And Coming EDM Artist.
Posted On 11 Nov 2015
Tag: 41st Airlift Squadron, Afghanistan, All Access, All Access Music, All Access Music Group, allaccessmusicnicole, Artist, Artist Interview, Brennen Varone, Børns, Darkness Heals, DAW, Digital Audio Workstation, DROGU3, EDC, EDM, electronic dance music, Electronic Music Composition, Empire Of The Sun, FL Studio, Foster The People, FRACTIONS, FRACTIONS EP, indie pop, iTunes, Karma Fields, Knife Party, Linkin Park, M-Audio Keyboard, M83, Meteora, Midnight City, Music, music interview, Pandora, Pendulum, Psychedelic Indie Pop/Rock, Rob Swire, Rokit 5 PA Monitors, Sony, Sony Walkman, Soundcloud, Spotify, The Naked And Famous, The Royal Concept, Tyco, U.S. Air Force, United States Air Force, US Air Force, Walkman, Washed Out
Brennen Varone, a Producer/Composer/Singer/Songwriter/DJ, is the artist known as DROGU3. He was raised in the suburbs of Minneapolis as the oldest of three children, who grew up with a singer/songwriter mother. Brennen’s musical passion developed early on, as there was always music surrounding him. As a young boy, his affinity towards music was clear, and he was soon given his first guitar. Without the financing to send him on his quest for knowledge of the craft, Brennen spent countless hours on his own, mastering instruments and creating songs. While guitar and piano were Brennen’s primary tools of his trade, that would soon change when he had the opportunity to take an Electronic Music class in high school. It was in there that set Brennen on his path of passion for Electronic Dance Music (EDM).
Brennen’s enthusiasm continued to grow as his musical direction took shape in the most unlikely of places. In 2013, he was deployed to Afghanistan as a Loadmaster in the United States Air Force. He was responsible for C-130 aircrafts, crewmembers, the injured, the dead. Between 19-hour flights and rocket attacks on a weekly basis, music was his escape from the daily realities he was faced with. Brennen’s living quarters was a tiny 8 x 16ft Connex Box (a windowless container used for shipping and storage) and a bunk bed shared with a fellow Airman. With only two pieces of equipment, (a Toshiba Satellite, and an M-Audio keyboard) he strung them up with cable, and attached them to the springs under the top bunk. This musical talent was creating the very humble beginnings of DROGU3…an artist forged by war.
DROGU3’s first EP, FRACTIONS, is a project that has been a year in the making. It showcases his ability to produce multiple sub-genres under the colossal umbrella that is EDM. As you listen to these tracks, remind yourself where they were conceived. You will undoubtedly hear Brennen’s heart and soul poured into each song. His goal is for you to feel the emotions he felt while creating them. For this reason, he has decided to make the download of his FRACTIONS EP entirely free. ENJOY.
All Access Music writer, Nicole DeRosa got to catch up with Brennen aka DROGU3 to chat about his incredible journey thus far. Enjoy their interview below:
Hi Brennen! Where does this interview find you and what else is on your agenda today besides this?
Hey Nicole! I’m actually in my studio working on a remix for a band called The Royal Concept. They’re awesome guys, with a killer sound. I’m stoked they asked me to work on this project for them.
While guitar and piano were your primary tools of trade growing up, who or what was the catalyst for you to get into Electronic Dance Music (EDM)?
It was probably when I took a class in high school called Electronic Music Composition. It was the first time in my life where I could take the ideas I had in my head, and physically create something that was previously just a thought. With EDM, the musical possibilities are virtually endless and that’s why I fell in love with it. The only limiting factor is your minds creativity, and how dedicated you are to perfecting your art.
In 2013, you were deployed to Afghanistan as a Loadmaster in the United States Air Force. In your extremely cramped living quarters (a tiny 8 x 16ft Connex Box aka a windowless container used for shipping & storage) you found music as an escape from the war. While living this completely foreign, scary and isolated existence, what was the first song you created? Can you tell me a bit about the inspiration for that particular track?
Man, that takes me back…It was a track called “Darkness Heals.” It was the very first song I made in that wonderful place. I guess I just needed an outlet for everything I was feeling. Something to take my mind off the facets of a wartime reality. Unbeknownst to me at the time, that song was when my hobby turned into a deep passion. I started producing more and more, and my crew (comrades I flew with) became my biggest advocates. If it wasn’t for their support, I don’t think I would’ve continued with the tenacity I currently have now. So shout out to the 41st Airlift Squadron! Keep kickin’ ass guys.
What are your main pieces of equipment and software that you use to compose and structure your music?
I use FL Studio as my DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) to create my music, a basic M-Audio Keyboard, Rokit 5 PA Monitors and a pair of headphones. There are other various pieces of equipment in my studio, but those four are the meat and potatoes of what I use.
Your debut EP, FRACTIONS is a project that has been a year in the making. FRACTIONS showcases your ability to produce multiple sub-genres under the colossal umbrella that is EDM to create a very unique and otherworldly sound. Why did you choose that name as the title?
As you can imagine, a year is a long time to work on four songs. I ran into several obstacles that nearly crippled it’s release, and that’s why it took so long. I named it “Fractions” because each song was created at a different phase of my life within that one year. It was an interesting time for me as I was going through a range of emotions, so the name seemed fitting.
Given the opportunity, which artists would you love to collaborate with and why?
There are so many, but I’d probably have to go with Karma Fields, or Knife Party. Karma Fields and I share similar artistic approaches in melodic construction. They use really dark, minor notes which I love. Whereas Knife Party, man they have been my favorite producers since day one. I fell in love with their music way back when they were Pendulum. Rob Swire is absolutely brilliant, and it would be incredible to work with him. Rob if you ever read this, make my dream come true, bro.
Nowadays, everything is so instant…you press a button and it’s yours ala Spotify, Soundcloud, iTunes etc. What was the first album that you remember saving up your hard earned money for and purchasing at the store for yourself?
Linkin Park – Meteora. I played that album till my Sony Walkman broke. Worth every penny!
What was the first song you fell in love with and why?
Haha…wow, this is ironic because, it just came on Pandora but “Midnight City” by M83. Hands down. There’s literally dozens of songs that I love, but this one is by far, my coup de’ gras. The moment that lead synth comes in, no matter how many times I’ve heard it, I’m instantly put in a “damn this song is good” kinda mood. M83 is a genius.
Who is in your current playlist? Any genres or artists we would be surprised to find in there?
I mean there’s the obligatory EDM artists that I listen to, but honestly my favorite music as a consumer is Psychedelic Indie Pop/Rock. Some guys I’m listening to are Washed Out, The Naked and Famous, Tyco, Foster the People, Empire of the Sun and of course M83. BORNS is also a good one.
What’s on tap for you next, Brennen? What are your most excited about for this year?
This year is going to be awesome for DROGU3. I’ve got a lot of projects in the works, and some collaborations I’m looking forward to. There will also be a few tracks featuring myself as the vocalist. I’m pumped to show my fans the range I have as an artist and hopefully gain some new ones in the process.
All in all, I have more desire and ambition now than ever before, and I can’t wait for you all to continue this journey with me.
To stay up to date with DROGU3 , visit him via his social avenues below: