JM#149 – Vari Loves

Vari Loves’ Jaeger Mix appears out of a misty haze of soft vocals and sustained guitars, before big drums rumble out of the heart of the track in tempered staccato bursts. The Osl DJo completely disarms the listener with a soft, welcoming introduction before she streaks her way through a selection of tracks in the aim to narrate the course of a party through this hour.

Vari Loves is Kristin Ernstsen, a central figure in Oslo’s music scene who spends most of her time engaged in promoting artists, and when she needs a break from that, the booth beckons. She’s is a prominent DJ on the circuit, manipulating soulful soundscapes with a tender touch through mixes anchored in the fundamentals of House, Electro and Techno. 

It’s the same for her second edition of our Jaeger mix series, but here she compresses the ebb and tide of a night down to an hour with an acute precision and a seductive mood lingering on the tonal qualities of the mix. Soft vocals, effervescent melodies and deep rhythms, lure the listener into the soft enclosures of Vari Loves sounds.

It’s a mix that breaches that opaque distance between the start of a night and the dance floor, and between the sweeping pads and driving, yet subtle percussive progressions through her mix it’s a mix that can also live on beyond the dance floor through the mixtape format. It sets the mood for Vari Loves’ return  to the Jaeger booth this Saturday where she plays alongside Ra-Shidi for Saturday’s Nightflight. 

Hey Kristen and thank you for doing the Jaeger mix again. I’ve been meaning to ask you, where does the name Vari Loves come from?

Vari Loves is from the track “Shari Vari” by a Number of Names. You should check it out, it’s fun.

You’ve worked within the music industry in some form or another for a good while now. How do separate that side of it from your work as a DJ?

It is quite easy to separate working within the music industry from my own DJing. I have mainly worked with PR and branding, so it’s a world apart from when I sit down and listen to my own music and perform at my gigs. I tend to use my DJing and music as a way of disconnecting from the overstimulation that occurs these days. I often feel that I can “shake” off the everyday stress and become more present by just getting into the music and seeing smiling faces on the dance floor.

What have you taken away from working behind the scenes that you think might have influenced the way you mix? 

I get influenced by being around professional people in general, that really keeps me on my toes. And makes me want to continue to do the best job I can. I do not go out clubbing much these days, except from my own gigs, but as I have been booking for the concept Morning Beat for the past two years, I have really had a good chance to listen and feel the sets of some of Oslo’s best artists and DJs. Definitely influenced by this.

The last time you did the Jaeger mix you fit the entire party into one hour’s worth of music. Is this the same this time around?

Yes for sure. This is how my mind works and why I love doing mix tapes, it is like a gift from me to you with everything I love put into one hour and wrapped in the softest paper.

What do you look for in tracks to achieve this?

It’s not that complicated, basically go through my favorite tracks from the past months and year and find music that isn’t too hard, comfortable a good mixture of genres that represent my taste.

By the end you want to see a dance floor develop. What do you think is crucial to getting to the point where you start seeing people on the dance floor?

I just try and keep the vibe positive through my set, a good driving beat. This usually works really well at the club.

A lot of people will be listening to this mix in quite a different context, at their laptops at work or at a friday night pre-party. How do you hope this mix translates in those situations?

I really hope that the mix turns out good and that the people listening can have a great little hour where they can get into the flow and enjoy themselves.

You’re also back with us this Saturday. How will this mix differ from the mix that you’ll be playing at Nightflight?

It will not be that different, I will just be building of what you can hear in this mix. Lots of melody, trancy electro, punchy hard techno, dreamy romantic vocals. A bit less soft wrappings and a bit higher energy. It will be positive and fun. I am really looking forward to this gig!

Will any of the tracks here be making an appearance on Saturday too?

Let’s wait and see.

What else is on the horizon for Vari Loves that you’d like to share?

Hopefully more gigs like this, I try and keep my musical work as fun as possible, it is my passion and it and me needs to be treated gently. The summer as been a lot outside gigs and on rooftops, just how I like it. And I try to choose gigs that I look forward to. So I hope it continues like this. I also have some new booking and curating projects in the horizon so I try and keep it interesting around music. But I am currently not working within the commercial music industry. I am off to new adventures. To be continued.