Q&A Scene: Guitarists’ Special ~ Van Larkins

Tell us about your new single/ album/ tour?

​Hi What’s my Scene! My new single is my take on an 80’s classic by Survivor, Eye Of the Tiger. I wanted to capture the feeling of listening to the whole band, and reproduce that feeling on an acoustic guitar using Percussive techniques and the catchy melody that launched the song back in 1982. My latest album is titled “Cinder Moon” and is a collection of pieces composed over a 5 year period, so there are several different styles and influences and is also the first album I have produced myself with the help of Pix Van Mason, an amazingly talented engineer, producer and friend that I have had the pleasure to work with for over 10 years. My next tour is in Melbourne with Phisha, and world renowned Fingerstyle Innovator, Thomas Leeb. The tour has been created and organised by Drew Roller, the creator of the “Acoustic Uprising Movie” that both Thomas and I are featured in.​

Cinder Moon Album



Melbourne Tour Dates: 

  • Saturday/Sunday 4th and 5th of August – MGS
  • Wednesday 8th August – The Loft, Warrnambool
  • Sunday 12th August – Sooki Lounge Belgrave
  • Wednesday 15th August – (Melbourne Guitar Night) – the Toff in Town

How long have you been playing guitar?

​I began playing Fingerstyle Guitar when I was 16, taught by Rod Vervest in Western Australia, it was my introduction into using the instrument to emulate other instruments, in particular, the harp. Later, when YouTube really took off, I was introduced to percussive playing and then began the welcome challenge of transforming a traditional instrument into an entire band, influenced by hard rock, electronic music and funk.

​​Why did you first start playing?

Playing the guitar and composing my own music, is my way of speaking to the world with a language that’s universal, and to be honest, a whole lot of fun. ​The guitar kind of found me, it was never forced and I was never formally trained. I love that the rules of music once learned are meant to be broken.​

Which guitarist most influenced your playing?

​I’m going to be honest here, my main influence is 80’s music. There are only a handful guitarists I listen to​, which include Peteri Sariola, Jon Gomm, Antoine Dufour and electric players like Joe Satriani, Steve Vai and Eric Johnson.

Describe your favourite guitar. 

​I play my own signature brand of guitars, crafted by Brisbane luthier Luke Kallquist. Currently I play a baritone tuned to open C, and I have an 8 string on the way which will be tuned to E minor with higher octave strings for the D and G strings.​

How do you prepare for a show?

I like to over prepare for a show about 2 hours before, and right before I play I like to be alone and distracted, by something like a game on my phone or something interesting to read or watch, as I had never planned on being in front of a lot of people, I like to keep my mind of that until the adrenaline kicks in on stage.

Tell us a quick, on the road or studio, anecdote.

​I played a show with guitar legend Don Ross, and while playing “Wandering Hands”, a challenging piece with a capo on the 11th fret (partial), the springs in the capo began to tire, and it gradually slipped of the neck of my guitar leaving a trail of buzzes and muted notes. These sort of things happen all the time, which I’m thankful for, because I’m always prepared for a quick recovery!

What, or who, inspires you?

Na​ture inspires me most. Bush regeneration and landscaping, as well as growing native plants, was my day job for almost 7 years before I made the leap of faith into the Australian music industry. I always connect with my surroundings, cities tend to inspire complicated and busy compositions, whereas forests and mountains inspire a story with a more conservative approach to technique.

Which song do you wish you wrote?

​I think the answer is always going to change depending on when I’m asked, but right now, that would be Tom Petty’s “Wont Back Down”. I feel like this song describes my experiences in Australia playing a style of music which is quite new and rarely understood.​

How would you describe your sound in food form and why?

​I would describe my sound like I describe my favourite dish (Tom Yum Soup), a balance of sweet and spicy. Lots of flavours, and it packs a punch!​​​

What’s next for you?

​In 2 months time, I will be moving to Nashville, via Canada. This is a massive move for me, and I believe a smart career move. I’ll be hitting the ground running there and working with musicians and industry professionals that I have developed a relationship with over the last 8 or so years. Expect albums, collaborations and maybe even some innovations in the next couple of years.​ It will be amazing to be surrounded by hard working, full-time musicians. I think this will push me to be a better player.

What’s your scene?

​Honestly? Country Pubs in Australia. ​If you don’t feel at home with a reasonably priced T-bone and a frothy beer, then mate you need to sort yourself out.

Catch Van at the Melbourne Guitar Show:

Saturday 4th August – 3pm: MEET THE PLAYERS: FINGERSTYLE GUITAR featuring Thomas Leeb, Van Larkins, Mark Fisher.

Sunday 5th August – 11:30: EXCLUSIVELY ACOUSTIC STAGE Level 1 Escalator East

Combining classical guitar style with musical influences like electronica, Psytrance and 70s funk, Van Larkins’ ground-breaking techniques and complex compositions have earned him a coveted spot on the U.S. CandyRat Records roster, multiple endorsements and praise from the world’s best fingerstyle artists, including Andrew White, Antonio Vargas and electric guitar legend, Phil Emmanuel.

Tickets are on sale NOW!

Online ticket prices when pre-ordered:: Adult day pass $20, adult weekend pass $30, family day pass $35, concession day pass $10, concession weekend pass $15, premium ticket** $40




Australian Music Association announced the 2018 return of the Melbourne Guitar Show, set to rock Caulfield Racecourse on August 4 and 5 – and this year, it’ll be bigger than ever.

Proudly presented by Triple M and Australian Musician, the lineup boasts an impressive haul of both local and international artists, and featuring amongst the bunch is none other than UK guitar legend Albert Lee.

In addition to some killer performances from the artists on this massive lineup, #MGS2018 will also hold a monster exhibition that will feature a gigantic variety of electric and acoustic guitars, effects pedals, amps and more state-of-the-art guitar technology, both home-grown and from around the world.  It will continue to be Australia’s biggest guitar pop-up shop, and that’s not all.  The Melbourne Guitar Show will host information seminars, demonstrations, and live performances from Australia’s most talented guitarists.


This year will be extra special as the Melbourne Guitar Show welcomes UK guitar legend Albert Lee.  Lee’s work with The Everly Brothers, Eric Clapton, Emmylou Harris and The Crickets is renowned within the music world and cemented his place as one of the most respected and renowned guitarists in history.  Speaking on Lee’s talent, Eric Clapton enthuses, “(He is) the ultimate virtuoso.  His skill is extraordinary and he’s gifted on just about every level,” while Emmylou Harris says, “(Albert Lee) is a brilliant guitar player…his sound is unmistakable, never qualled.”  The British-born country-rock artist started his long and illustrious career during the emerging rock ‘n’ roll scene of ‘60s London, when he played in bands with the likes of Jimmy Page and Chris Farlowe.  He has received countless accolades for his work, and has been named Guitar Player Magazine’s Best Country Guitarist five times in a row.

The first lineup announcement for #MGS2018 is a big one.  Joining Albert Lee is Daniel Champagne, a prolific young guitar virtuoso with the world at his feet, and Jeff Lang, who has been described by Rolling Stone as “Australia’s best roots music artisan.”  Melbourne Guitar Show favourites Nick Charles and Shannon Bourne will also be returning this year, alongside some seriously talented women Fiona Boyes, Alison Ferrier, Cat Canteri, Nat Allison and upcoming punk rockers Rackett.  Not to mention a whole host of additional artists are set to be announced over the coming weeks.

Drawing over 5,500 guitar lovers and enthusiasts to last year’s exhibit, the Melbourne Guitar Show is growing year on year and is gearing up for the biggest event yet.  The voice of the Australian music products industry, the Australian Music Association (AMA) will be teaming up with australianmusician.com.au and presenting sponsors Triple M, 3PBS and Aon to present this year’s guitar-centric weekend.  At last year’s MGS, punters not only enjoyed scheduled performances and demos from the awesome artists on the lineup, but also witnessed surprise on-stand appearances from some of Australia’s finest artists, including Ian Moss, Darren Middleton (Powderfinger), Paul Dempsey, Oscar Dawson and Ali Barter.  Both the promoters of the show and the exhibitors are constantly wrangling acts right up until the very last minute – and who will be joining the all-star jam this year? Come on down and find out!

Thrilled to present #MGS2018 once again, AMA executive officer and MGS organiser, Rob Walker says, After an awesome show last year, we’re looking forward to continuing the tradition the show is creating.  We’re very pleased to present Albert Lee on his 75th birthday tour, as well as the usual host of wonderful players we present.”

Not only will the 2018 MGS provide a hands-on chance to see, hear and play a broad range of the world’s favourite brands, it will also see exhibitors offering great show deals, plus an opportunity to get close to some hand-crafted, locally made instruments and epic guitar and gear collections.  Describing the exciting developments, Rob continues, “Our exhibition welcomes back some big names this year and the learning opportunities are plentiful.  If you’re in the market for guitars and gear, great live music from some of the best players. the Melbourne Guitar Show is the place to be.”

The first artist line up announcement includes: Albert Lee, Daniel Champagne, Jeff Lang, Nick Charles, Shannon Bourne, Fiona Boyes, James Ryan, Phil Manning, Nat Allison, Brett Kingman, Alison Ferrier, Cat Canteri, Scott Darlow, Rackett, Van Larkins, Justin Bernasconi, Rohan Stevenson, and more to be announced over the coming weeks.

The Melbourne Guitar Show will be held at Caulfield Racecourse on August 4 and 5.

Tickets are on sale NOW!

Online ticket prices when pre-ordered:: Adult day pass $20, adult weekend pass $30, family day pass $35, concession day pass $10, concession weekend pass $15, premium ticket** $40





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About Mary Boukouvalas 1612 Articles
Mary is a photographer and a writer, specialising in music. She runs Rocklust.com where she endeavours to capture the passion of music in her photos whether it's live music photography, promotional band photos or portraits. She has photographed The Rolling Stones, KISS, Iggy Pop, AC/DC, Patti Smith, Joe Strummer, PULP, The Cult, The Damned, The Cure, Ian Brown, Interpol, MUDHONEY, The MELVINS, The Living End, Foo Fighters, Smashing Pumpkins, Rage Against The Machine, The Stone Roses –just to name a few - in Australia, USA, Europe and the Middle East. Her work has been published in Beat magazine, Rolling Stone magazine, Triple J magazine, The Age Newspaper, The Herald Sun, The Australian, Neos Kosmos, blistering.com, theaureview.com, noise11.com, music-news.com. She has a permanent photographic exhibition at The Corner Hotel in Richmond, Victoria Australia.