November 2017

My Mission And Yours

Damo SuzukiDamo SuzukiDamo SuzukiDamo SuzukiText: Emma Ramsay Images: Damo Suzuki

In the early 1970s a young Damo Suzuki was taken from his busking gig on a street corner in Munich, and asked to play with a band later that evening in a local venue called the Blow Up club. The band name was Can. Soon after this fateful night, they were to record their second record in a giant castle in Cologne and Damo was their new frontman. They jammed and jammed for hours which then became months, and resulted in a series of seriously incredible improvisations that would be cut up and mastered to become their highly influential krautrock album; Tago Mago.

This free form approach to music making is still alive today in the expansive music network of Damo Suzuki. Krauty-flourishes of rhythm, repetition and trance like states are still present in Damo’s contemporary performances – these days, he sees the live music moment itself as the most vital.


Emma Ramsay: There was a period in your life after your time with Can where you were not musically active. Were you being creative in other ways during this time?

Damo Suzuki: Was not creative on art… but, creative on family life as everyone else do.

ER: You were quite ill before this re-emergence into the music fold. Did you gain a refreshed outlook how music could function in your life again?

DS: I found different perspective in music that time than before. I was awaken from long bad dream, music was no more music… life itself was music.

ER: How did that experience change what you considered to be vital in your life creatively?

DS: It has energy and give others energy, too and should be if you experienced in that terrible situation. You’re much more strong, you live not twice or more often…

ER: How you think music feeds into our need for collective participation in society?

DS: Music is communication at its birth… signal as smoke on the hill to other hill, our early family communicated with other folks on hill opposite. Communication is positive energy avoid violence. So, it’s no matter of me, when same minded person (sound carriers) comes and create time and space of the moment, then something happens. Because, there are open minded and free situation there before music starts and when it start it get more heat… and between sound carriers amazing chemistry.

ER: There can be differences between studio composing and the kind of instant composing that occurs at your shows. Why does it make more sense for you to perform music, to push that potential alchemy between sounds and gesture in live setting?

DS: Look, all around you… there are bad energies controlling this system. This system is bad energy. With this kind of music form you cannot be rich… that I find good and already possible keep away from this money and violence orientated world.

First one became king and made a kingdom, then found a money system to put people in different class. Many people are slaves of this system. Because they need answer to protect themselves and comparing with the other. Everyone got own worth live, then, why they have to compare to others or follow endless trend? People was made to be free. Free from material world. You don’t need any words, it’s an invisible bunch of energies we’re making and this happens only in live performance, we can create this only with an audience.

ER: The idea of many smaller creative acts weighing against larger injustices in the world is an idea that resonates very strongly with me as an artist. You started your Never-Ending Tour in 2002 when the US began bombing Iraq. Are there bigger scale events on your mind right now as you set out on this current leg of touring?

DS: Yes, this is still and stay as point of creating good energy. They threw bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and killed some ten thousands of civil people in the moment 65 years ago. They still don’t learn even they never even excused and continuing bombing and never stop killing people. Once I wrote in my newsletter US talk too much about freedom, if you have enough money you never talk about, if you have enough sex you don’t talk about it, you know what I mean? Violence is ugliest thing in human society and this is the power of evil.

ER: What sustains you and your foundations when you lead such a nomadic lifestyle?

DS: I don’t need the answer, all thing is processing… my home is where I have good time not geographical thing. I don’t like to have many things around me that I’m not able to move. I have good life, travelling, meeting nice people, creating time and space of the moment, share this energy to other people, I can see smiles on their faces, then they gave me good motivation. Hey, what more do I need?..and I have to say I’m happy to be Damo Suzuki.

ER: Speaking to members of Holy Soul (Sydney) and Chateau Laut (Berlin) about their experiences playing alongside you they talk with such a buzz of positivity! There is so much respect and love there. Does it ever become too much, each show having no preconceived ideas, a new collaboration every show?

DS: There are many things to do, get positive energy everywhere against this system. It’s never ending…

ER: Do you ever do acoustic collaborations out in nature? Sydney has some cool beach caves!

DS: I’ve done that a few times but, the place is not the point. To perform in the middle of a bad system and create good energy is very necessary, especially at this moment.

This is my mission and yours!!!!!!!!!!!!

The new live album Damo Suzuki and the Holy Soul is available on Repressed Records. It was recorded live at the Corner Hotel. The album launch is set for November 21 at the Excelsior Hotel, Sydney with special guests Naked On the Vague.

Next story: In Rhodes – Kate Rhodes

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