Stu Larsen is an Australian singer-songwriter that I was interviewing in October. We met each other an hour before his performance at Knust, Hamburg and I was stunned how positive person he is. His life is very inspiring, he doesn’t have fixed address, he spent time exploring and wandering all over the world. Through Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Germany, USA and UK, road tripping with friends, playing unexpected shows in unexpected places. Are you curious why he made a decision to leave behind normality, security and comfort, choosing to live as simply as possible and follow the opportunities that lay themselves down in front of him? Is it really that easy?
When did you realized you want to be a musician?
Well, it’s a good question. I don’t remember, because it’s all I ever knew. Like my mother was very musical, she was singing when I was little and I think I always felt good about music. It was probably when I was 26, when I thought maybe I can do it for a career and quit my other job to start doing music. So I think it’s always wanted to do something with music since I was 3 or 4 years old.
Who inspires you the most?
Musically: people, like Damien Rice, Ray Charles – just because he has so much soul and he puts everything into his music. But I guess inspirations in life, in general, comes from so many people I met on the way and I love traveling, meeting other people and hearing other people’s stories. So there is no only one person – there are many, many people… Passenger is another one. We travelled for few years together and he’s a big part of inspiring me to do what I’m doing as well. But there’s a lot of elements too as well.
Your songs are pretty often about breaking up, losing people, saying goodbye… Did you already lost someone special in your life and that’s why you wrote those songs?
Yes, there’s a few songs about that and some of them are about past relationship, some are about my father, who passed away recently or 3 years ago (it feels quite recent). So yeah, there’ve definitely been people to say goodbye to. I think my song, that got the most plays on Spotify (it’s called Thirteen Sad Farewells) and it’s a song about someone that I wasn’t even really with. It was like this. I kinda like she, she didn’t really like me. We hang a little bit and it never turned it to anything. But I wrote this song kinda about this situation.
I’ve read that you don’t have a fixed address, you’re always on the road. Why? Isn’t it hard to live always on the way?
It’s not hard. At first it was very difficult, when I first quit my job and start to traveling. I promised myself that I will do it for two years before going to a job or stopping somewhere. It was the best challenge to make to myself, because after one week or one month I knew that it would be too hard and I want to go home again. So I forced myself to push through and eventually became normal and easy. This is my life now and it’s comfortable to live this way. When I stop somewhere for one week or two weeks, I’m going to be crazy, because I’m not used to be. I need to go to the next place.
Does the journey influences your music?
Always, constantly. A lot of the songs are about places, that I’ve been to or people, that I’ve met on the way. Yeah, a lot of songs are about traveling.
Which places are you going back to pretty often? Are there any places you can’t live without?
There’s too many to list, because I’ve been traveling around since 2010 and at 2011 was my first trip to Europe. So since then I’ve been back every year or sometime twice a year and I’ve made so many friends in different places. So there are so many cities that I have to visit every year to hang out with my friends and experience the city again. The list is too long…
You said you had an another job before, what were you doing before you became a musician?
I had three jobs. My first one was delivering newspapers, when I was like 15 years old kid on my BMX bicycle. It wasn’t a real job, just once a week. Then I was working in the supermarket for 6 years or something. And I was working in the bank after that. But I worked very different, I had a short hair and no beard, I looked much younger.
Are you more yourself right now?
I think so. Yeah *laugh*
Who would you become if you weren’t a musician?
That’s such a scary question. I don’t know. I don’t want to say I don’t know. I think about it sometimes, cause I was working in the bank and I was living in the area that I grew up in and life was good, but this is so much better. I think I started to become a little bored with life, living in one town and having everything I needed. There was a couple of years with the bank. So I guess, I would just stay doing that, but in pretty bored.
Do you have any other hobbies or passions? Do you collect something?
I collect things, yeah. *laugh* My friends tease me about it. I take the pens from the hotels, who I stay. So I’ve got like a shoe box full of pens. Just little things… I’m trying to buy a little souvenir from every city that I go to. So when I go to the new place, I buy something new.
Where do you keep the souvenirs?
My mother hates me, because is like a wardrobe and it’s full of things of mine. So every time I collect the full box, I send it to my mother’s house and she puts it in the wardrobe for me. She’s moving house in couple of months so I have to go back to help her and maybe go through all the things I’ve collected to see if I still want to them or find somewhere to store them.