Award-winning Yarraville percussionist, drummer and composer Will Larsen tells Benjamin Millar his Melbourne Fringe Festival show has something special in store for music and film buffs alike.

 

What is your connection with Yarraville?

Complete strangers in Yarraville will say “Hi!” to you in the street just like they would in a country town.

At first, I found it a bit disarming, wondering if I’d ever met these people, but it was that sense of village community that ultimately persuaded me to move here.

That was 18 years ago.

 

What do love best about living in the area?

My regular haunts know and greet me by name and they generally know what I’m going to order before I do.

 

Does living here influence or inspire your music in any way?

Writer’s block is as much a problem for composers as it is for authors.

If I’m stuck for an idea in my studio, I’ll head in to Yarraville village for a coffee to clear the head.

 

What can you tell us about your duo Tess Said So?

Tess Said So is Rasa Daukus (director of music at Canberra University) on piano and keyboards and myself on percussion and drums.

We’re both from a modern classical background, but our music is all about blurring genres – pop, rock and jazz influences are constantly and deliberately worming their way into the music.

 

What can we expect from your Fringe Festival performance, Nosferatu – A Symphony of Horror, at The Sun Theatre?

We’ve both composed music for film before, but we’ve never performed a score with the movie live in front of an audience, which is the way it would always have been done up until the late 1920s.

Nosferatu is a favourite of ours with its wonderfully dark themes and beautiful photography, but it’s pretty dry without music.

What Rasa and I do is provide the emotional content for the film, whether it be fear or happiness or anything in between.

We are there to create empathy for the characters, even the vampire, because empathy is what keeps a film audience engaged.

If an audience doesn’t have empathy for the film, they get bored.

 

What else is in the pipeline for Tess Said So and your other musical adventures?

We have a new album just out, Scramble + Fate, through European label Preserved Sound, and we are currently in discussions to tour both Europe and the UK.

I’m also writing and recording songs for a very talented up-and-coming young singer, Aylin Eser.

She has quite an amazing and unique voice.

She will be releasing some new material we’ve written together before the end of the year.

 

What is something people may be surprised to learn about you?

When I was four, I was on an episode of Here’s Humphrey with Humphrey B. Bear.

 

Nosferatu – A Symphony of Horror will be performed at the Sun Theatre from 2.30pm on Sunday, October 2. Tickets: www.melbournefringe.com.au