Right before his show at Papiersaal in Zurich we had the chance to sit down with Stu Larsen and ask him a couple of questions. We talked about his music, who he would like to collaborate with and where he wants to travel to.
Thanks to Stu Larsen for taking the time to sit down with us! Make sure to also check out our concert review.
Interview with Stu Larsen
In your own words, would have to describe your music, what would you say?
It’s pretty simple. That’s the word I can think of. The music is very simple, simple lyrics, simple melodies and simple guitar chords. It’s not complex at all, simple acoustic folk. I like it like that.
Resolute is a really great album. I personally love the song “Till the sun comes back”. I saw that you performed this song with a choir – how did that feel, to for once not be alone?
It was pretty amazing, in fact I don’t sing that song very often. It doesn’t feel right just me and the guitar, it needs a choir, it was written with a choir in mind, we recorded it with a choir. I played that show in London with that choir and I was just like, THIS is what it’s supposed to be. I finished a show somewhere, I can’t remember where exactly, but someone yelled out that song for the encore. I said I don’t know if I can, but I wanted to do it for them, but I said only if you sing along and you are the choir. And it was amazing. I think it was in Bologna. They were singing along and then something that will probably never happen again did happen. I unplugged the guitar and jumped off the stage, which scared me at first, because it was quite a long way down. Then I walked into the crowd and they were all standing around me and we were just singing together. It was so special.
It is special to have a crowd standing around you. Much like busking. When have you last been on the streets?
It’s not really my thing to be honest. I’ve done it maybe 10x in my life. I tagged along with Passenger quite a lot. I helped him out, sold CDs and talked to people and sing a song or two with him. I think to be a successful busker, you need to have the personality that he has. He brings people in and he’s got a big kind of thing where he gets people involved. I’m the opposite. I don’t have that confidence as a busker on the street. Not really my favorite thing…
But one of your favorite things is travelling… hat does your travel-bucketlist look like. What’s on the top of your list?
So many places! I’ve been to maybe 40 countries now. But I’ve seen nothing in Africa or South America. I’ve been to Mexico, but no where else in Central America. So much I want to explore, I’d really love to do South America, but not just for a week or two, I want to go for months and months. Just get lost there. I also want to learn Spanish, I think I will before I go to South America.
I feel free and calm when hearing your music. What artist do you listen to when you need to unwind or calm down?
I actually listen to a lot of my friends’ music. Tim Hart who’s touring with me right now. He’s putting a new album out soon, so I’ve been listening to that. Luke Thompson, another mate from New Zealand. Jedd Appleton who was just on the road with me recently. I love their songs. I really just put on my friends music. Two other ones I’ve been listening to lately are Leif Vollebekk he’s Canadian, he’s amazing, plays guitar and piano, he’s got a really chill album. And there’s a band out of Melbourne that I’ve been listening to lately. But they’re a bit more up. Like an old school slow jam blues kind of band, they’re called The Teskey Brothers. I think they will be very famous in the next 4 years, if not sooner.
You once said that you prefer writing when you’re off tour, you really disconnect from everything. How do you keep track of your experiences/ideas while you’re on the road?
I’m not really good at that. I take a lot of photos which sparks memories, which is cool. But when I have an idea for a song I record a lot of little voice memos on my phone. Some of them I don’t remember and I go back to them thinking “Is this me, it sounds like me but I don’t remember it?”. When I first started travelling I thought I would write songs all the time. But I just got so busy enjoying the moments that I’m in and I kind of think, I’ll go to the guitar later and I just want to be in the moment. I don’t play guitar that often when I’m not on stage.
You do have some nice photography skills. I like your Instagram feed. There are many really good pictures on there.
Oh thanks, I like to take pictures. But of course for every good picture there are usually 100 bad ones too. Also, I don’t want people to see my face every day (laughs), I think people have really loved connecting with the journey, with my music, the travel, there’s all the photos. People seem to be following on with the whole adventure and not just the music side of it. I really love that, and obviously I love travelling and taking photos. I feel lucky that I get to do that.
Before sitting down with the artist, we ask our followers if they have any questions for the artist. We’ve got a couple questions for Stu.
Hélène: If you could collaborate with any artist for your next single, who would it be?
I’m already doing that I think… Natsuki Kurai! We toured together some time, we recorded together, he’s just a genius. He plays the harmonica, he’s from Japan and one of my best friends. We’ve actually just recorded a little 4 track EP in Japan. He’s the best! You have to check him out. If you hear him YouTube and such, he’s phenomenal, but when you see him live, it’s mind blowing. I Just love watching the crowd when he plays, they’re all just “whaaaaat”. It’s amazing. He’s my dream collaboration for sure, and I’m doing it – I feel very lucky.
Alex: When writing songs, what comes first music or lyrics?
Kind of at the same time. Usually I’ll just sit down and it just starts spilling out. I never sit down to deliberately write a song about a certain thing. I just start playing and something comes out, I then just start shaping the song around that. Maybe the melody comes slightly before the finished lyrics.
Jessica: Could you see yourself ever moving back to Australia and settle down there?
Yeah, one day. There’s lots of places I’d like to live. I found a cottage in New Zealand that I want to live in for a while. I want to live in Italy and Spain, Sweden and Scotland. But also driving through Switzerland today from Milan, it’s just so pretty. The little houses up on the mountains – that’s where I want to go. I would love to spend more time here. I’ve never really seen the countryside here.
Finish the sentences
Last thing i do before I go on stage is…. Uuuuhm… What do I do? I don’t really have a routine, but I must be doing something. Wait, yes, I normally tighten my shoe laces because the get loose during the day. I like the tight boots.
Getting on a plane feels like… normal… I fly so much, getting on a plane is normally where I start thinking about the next thing or where I’m going to. Everything is day by day for me. I find flying very freeing.
I love the taste of… Whiskey.
Sharks are… a little scary. Never had any experiences with them, but I don’t want to.
Ok, that was it, thanks so much for taking the time to have a chat.
Thank you for coming down!
If you want to know how the concert was, head over to our concert review: Stu Larsen at Papiersaal