Q.Varo. Credit: Penelope Valentine

Mystique surrounds the high desert—which makes it the perfect home for Q.Varo.

Local legend Gabriella Evaro and drummer extraordinaire Tyler Saraca conjure up psychedelically haunting jams that are truly out of this world. Their singles “I Just Want to Love You” and “Afraid Of” show the pair venturing far out with effects—while creating a grooving sonic headspace.

“I have been playing solo for two years now, and during this whole time, I have really wanted to play with a drummer,” Evaro said during a recent phone interview. “At that same time, though, I was really happy to jump into my own solo projects. … Especially last year, I really just was, like, ‘I want my music to grow,’ and I knew the only way it was going to grow is if I added a drummer to the mix. … I wanted that body, that bottom that (the music) was really needing.”

Evaro has played a lot locally, both with her family and as a solo musician, and she’s able to create a full band sound with a sampler known as a Kaoss pad.

“I just want to get more experimental with the music and really push the sound and boundaries,” Evaro said. “I love all different styles of music. This Kaoss pad that I play with has been a big influence on me getting more experimental. A bunch of friends from up north have really helped push me as an artist to keep growing and being more experimental with my music—just pushing the sound and getting more weird and abstract. There have been so many things and people who have really influenced that into the sound, but having Ty play with me now—who has drums, an SPD pad, percussion, a synthesizer, and all sorts of stuff—is awesome.”

Saraca said he’s always been a fan of “psychedelic stuff.”

“I’ve never released any music that I make on my own, but Gab’s heard some stuff I’ve played in the past, and it’s definitely got a psychedelic aspect,” Saraca said. “I love Jane’s Addiction, and Jimi Hendrix, and all that kind of far-out psychedelic stuff. … Gab totally has more of the electronic vibe going on, so it was really cool to get together with her and combine our forces just to see what happens and write some really fun music.”

Their love for all things experimental extends into the band’s videos and photos. Check out a live performance video of the band playing their song “Stung”—as seen through a colorfully trippy TV screen.

“It (psychedelia) is definitely a part of my personality and who I am,” Evaro said. “I love psychedelics; I love psychedelic art; I love colors and rainbows, all the more trippy stuff. I think it’s really important to embody visually what we are creating musically. It’s like the aesthetic of the sound, which fits both of our personalities together really well.”

YouTube video

Added Saraca: “When we first met, we did art together for the Joshua Tree Music festival, so I think there’s a lot of art involved. Artistic thought goes into the photo shoots we do, video stuff—anything we do. Like Gab said, she’s definitely an artist, and I appreciate art, too. We’re trying to express ourselves through any kind of medium, whether it be the music, or the photos, or fliers, or all that kind of stuff. It’s all fun. It’s all art.”

Q.Varo also brings exploration and experimentation into the studio.

“The approach to the song is always different,” Evaro said. “Sometimes all the magic happens when we are in the studio together. We definitely become the open channels for letting the songs come through us. Other times, Ty or myself will come into the room with ideas, beats, samples and riffs. … There are no limits, and it is very explorative. We love playing with textures, dubbing and warping the sounds. The Kaoss pad I play has so much free range to trip every channel, so we can do lots of layering, putting tracks in reverse and so much more. Between the gear I have and the gear Ty has, we both are pushing the bounds and vibing.”

A Q.Varo live show includes a little bit more structure, thanks in part to the connection between the two artists.

“For as tripped as our songs can be, we do have a formula,” Evaro said. “What won’t always be the same is what dubs I create on the Kaoss pad, but what will always stay true are the beats and measures in songs. Even when Ty and I are playing this section in one song in particular that actually has no measures, we still manage to end the song around the same time—every time. You get a sense and feeling when it is time to move to the next part, and when enough is enough. It is unspoken—and all feel.”

“I love psychedelics; I love psychedelic art; I love colors and rainbows, all the more trippy stuff. I think it’s really important to embody visually what we are creating musically.” Gabriella Evaro

Choosing a name for this new venture proved to be a little tricky, even for the effortlessly creative Evaro.

“I have been wanting to change my solo project name for the last few years. It’s literally taken me two years to come up with Q.Varo,” Evaro said. “No joke: All of 2020, I was at home with my brother and my best friend, and I would just be saying things all day, and we would just be like, ‘No, that’s terrible; definitely not; maybe.’ Actually, one of my homies came up with the name, but that was before Ty even joined the band. Q is my middle initial.”

Q.Varo plans to soon have an album’s worth of sonic experimentations compiled—perfect for your next trip to the high desert.

“We’re definitely building toward an album,” Evaro said. “We’re just writing nonstop. We’ve been playing every day or every other day nonstop, and it’s been a blast. … We want to do some live recordings to release, which will be super fun, but I definitely want to do an album. I’ve always wanted to do one, but I’ve been waiting for the right music, and I finally feel like I’m creating the best music I ever have, and making it with Ty is such a dream. This year for sure, we’ll be recording at some point.”

Added Saraca: “We’re in writing mode right now for sure—still getting to know each other, hearing each other out, and all that fun stuff. We’re just making music, and I’m sure at some point, we’ll put it down in the form of an album in some way. We like the idea of live, like releasing live tracks. … That seems really fun, too—so there’s a bunch of cool stuff on the way for sure.”

For information, visit www.facebook.com/q.varomusic.

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Matt King

Matt King is a freelance writer for the Coachella Valley Independent. A creative at heart, his love for music thrust him into the world of journalism at 17 years old, and he hasn't looked back. Before...