Making its way back to the Caulfield Racecourse for its fifth consecutive year, the Melbourne Guitar Show is eyeing August 2019 off like a dog eyes off its dinner. Poised to be its biggest and best jaunt yet, this year's show – kicking off across the weekend of August 3rd and 4th – promises a (quite literally) jam-packed lineup of performers and exhibitors, with an emphasis on getting punters hands-on with the enormous array of axes on show.
In the lead-up to this year's Melbourne Guitar Show, Australian Guitar is going full steam ahead on the hype train. Every Tuesday and Friday, we'll be going head-to-head with one of the top-notch fretboard warriors making their way to the show, in the pursuit of getting to know a little more about who'll be melting out minds when they take to the stage. In this edition: Van Larkins.
From Metallican shred to angelic fingerpicking, pop-channelling rhythms and sheer rock ’n’ roll fury, Van Larkins is impossible to pin down as just one style of guitarist. The Southport-native songwriter takes to the guitar with a sharp and sprightly attitude, his playing unpredictable and his energy infectious. And above all, Larkins’ bubbly sense of humour and inimitable stage presence makes him a must-see in concert. As far as his one-man-band approach goes, Phil Emmanuel said it best: “Van Larkins doesn’t just play guitar… He creates a beautiful musical soundscape. His application of musical cascades and original compositions shed new light to the term ‘ear candy’.”
What are you most looking forward to about the 2019 Melbourne Guitar Show?
After living in Nashville for a year and touring with some amazing musicians, I can't wait to get back to Australia and perform my new songs, with some new gear! Melbourne is close to my heart, having played the first International Guitar Night hosted by the Acoustic Uprising Film.
Why do you think events like the Melbourne Guitar Show are so important for guitar lovers?
The MGS isn't just a trade show, it's a meeting place for musicians from around the world and a chance to trade riffs with some of the greats. It's a melting pot of creatives and new music technology
What can punters expect from your performance at the Melbourne Guitar Show? Do you have any exciting surprises or curveballs up your sleeve?
I've been working on some new material, and also have just started playing the harp guitar which is something Australia hasn't seen a lot of. I've also been using the Tonewood amp, which is just amazing.
What are you most excited about in the guitar world right now?
Building relationships with new and current sponsors, touring to new territories, and getting inspired by all the amazing talent out there.
What innovations would you like to see companies take with the guitar in the near (and distant) future?
Any products and services that can assist the self-managed musician to sustain a career in the current market, and with the new streaming model of releasing music and social media content.
What guitar(s) are you playing on at the moment? Do you have any particular go-tos or favourites?
The Van Larkins Signature Kallquist guitar, Cole Clark guitars, and Timberline harp guitars are my go-tos! Journey instruments are also really cool.
Let’s go way back: what was the first guitar you bought, and what was it about that guitar that reeled you in?
My first guitar was a Maton Natural series – it was a great first guitar with warm tone, and was previously owned by Les Karski, former guitarist of the Bondi Cigars, and my first guitar teacher.
What’s does the rest of your rig look like?
I use as little gear as possible – some LR Baggs reverb and DI, K&K preamps and a Boss OC3 octave pedal.
If you could design the ultimate guitar, where nothing is impossible with it, what would you put on it?
A travel guitar that offers the same quality both unplugged and plugged in.
Who are your favourite up-and-coming guitarists? Anyone we should be keeping an eye on?
Alexandr Misko is amazing, and a super humble dude. He's definitely one to check out.
Melbourne Guitar Show 2019
Stars (ft. Mal Eastick, Nick Charles and Roger McLachlan)
James Norbert Ivanyi
Cartridge Family (ft. Sarah Carroll and Suzanna Espie)
Simon Hosford’s Fair Warning
Saturday August 3rd + Sunday 4th
Caulfield Racecourse, Melbourne VIC
Tickets on sale via australianmusician.com.au