Q & A with Van Larkins


Two of the world's top acoustic guitarists, Andrew White (UK) and Van Larkins (AU), are taking to the road together this September for the release of their new albums, Beautiful Trouble and Cinder Moon, respectively. 

Presented by the world's most coveted acoustic guitar label, Candyrat Records (USA), the Acoustic Masters Tour features 8 Australian dates, including Brisbane's Black Bear Lodge on 17 September, The Basement in Sydney on 28 September and Melbourne at Paris Cat, 6 October.

Andrew White and Van Larkins will be heading towards the Coast on September 23 to play Eudlo Hall, and we took the time to catch up with (Owen) Van Larkins in the lead up to this gig...

G'day mate...you've had such an epic musical journey so far... but for the uninitiated, can you explain what 'fingerstyle' is, and why you were drawn to this particular technique of playing?

It's been crazy, that's for sure. “Fingerstyle” describes the technique-based, multi-genre style that a lot of the younger players are doing these days. The idea is to sound like a whole band with one instrument. Some notable players might be: Thomas Leeb, Antoine Dufour, Andy Mckee and Petteri Sariola.

Congrats on the release of your 4th studio album, 'Cinder Moon'.  With a majority of instrumental artists, there's generally a particular theme or concept to a release...  could the same be said for 'Cinder Moon' ?

I would say yes, it's a bit other-worldy... the tunes were written over a 5 year period, so although they are all fairly recent and complex, there's a nice dynamic. For example 'Outback Storm' has influences of EDM, 'Cold Fusion' has influences of Tool and Leo Kotke, Cinder Moon was written when I was trying to make the guitar sound like it was going through effects... no boring bits!

Now you're touring with your mentor (and producer), Andrew White.  Despite you having a well-established career, do you still feel any pressure there with being on tour with a peer?

There is always pressure, you don't want to let your tour mates down and it's important to always be at your best. Touring with Andrew is a trip, his music has been a part of my life since I started playing guitar, his role as producer and mentor has been invaluable.

With the way you approach your style of playing, do you ever feel limited at all?  You don't use any loops or technical trickery... it's actually quite raw, which is rare...

As we speak I am finalizing my little effects rig for the tour, still no loops but I thought seeing as though I play the one-man-band style, I should sound like a whole band. I prefer to play without a safety net, it feels more honest. Having members of the audience ask me “what loops and backing tracks are you using” (when I'm not) is the biggest compliment for me. I should mention at this stage, I played a shit-load of video games growing up ha ha! Multitasking for the win.

And finally, you must absolutely chew through guitar strings... how many sets do you think you'd go through over a month?

Believe it or not, now that I use 2 guitar on stage, I go through half as many strings! The problem I have faced over the years, is breaking strings when I change the tunings (which I do all the time).

Elixir Strings last for ever as well so that helps. I use Elixir HD Lights, and Elixir Nanoweb Phosphor Bronze 12-56.

Cheers Owen! Have a great tour with Andrew, and we'll be seeing you at Eudlo Hall on September 23.

Can't wait! Eudlo is my old home town, so many memories there... and I began my performing career on the sunny coast, so it would mean a lot to see all you legends there!

Details about this show and the tour: www.vanlarkins.com/shows