Damo Suzuki interviewed by Alastair Shuttleworth
What can one say? No, really, what can one say that would speak louder than the man’s own legacy, the work he has done? Damo Suzuki is a living legend, which more or less says it all!
But, of course, that doesn’t mean much if you’re not familiar with the man and not the least his work.
Most descriptions of Damo Suzuki entails among other things the words (or something to the extent of) “mostly known for being the lead singer of Can on 4 groundbreaking albums“. Which is probably correct when it comes to most people.
But, in a way, perhaps in the way that really matters, that is only the beginning of a much longer, much more convoluted, much more exciting story. Because, if you only go by what he did when in Can, you have barely scratched the surface of his voice, his music, his perhaps almost unparallelled ability to seamlessly improvise vocals.
“Was that when you joined Can?
No, I had a job in a musical playing guitar. I was getting quite good money but after about 3 months I was very frustrated because I was doing the same thing every day. I can’t really remember what happened when I met Can, but every day I would go into the street and do a kind of street performance or just scream because I was frustrated. But they saw me and asked me to be their singer not because they liked my voice but because they wanted somebody who looked like an alien. Japanese or Chinese people in the early 1970s were seen seldom, totally different to now. Maybe in England you had Chinese people but not Japanese. They wanted me for this, they didn’t know how I sang.
And they invited them to perform with you that night with no rehearsal?
Yes, just spontaneous. I do the same thing now with the Network. I think it’s better this way because it’s interactive. Music is communication, and that’s why a live concert is more intense. There is a total difference between the music of the Network and 99% of other music. It is another world. The most important thing is that you are there at the venue, so it is your time. But if you have a CD at home, it is not your own experience. There you can sit back and go “Oh, it’s bullshit”, but it doesn’t even matter. If you go to a live performance you might make a new friend for example. It is not only the music, there are all kinds of experiences if you come to a show, it is your life.”
Damo Suzuki interviewed by Noisey, September 2014
He is really like no other vocal performer out there – the emotion with which he is able to empower his voice (perhaps even more for the lack of coherent, “normal” language) is amazing, and he is one of the true pioneers of modern musical vocalism. And the list of great, truly exploring artists he has worked with is huge.
So, instead of just yapping on, I simply implore everyone to dig into some of Damo‘s work – it’s aweinspiring, groundbreaking, worldchanging (might I say “strange, beautiful and lifegiving”, without trying to co-opt it?)
Damo will play with Earthless on Friday, April 20th, and will unite with Minami Deutsch for a performance on Saturday, April 21st.
http://spacefest.pl/ 8 Dec 2012 Gdańsk (PL), Fabryka Batycki video: (rec/edit) Agencja Vizualna sound rec: Tadeusz sound mix: Karol Schwarz
Liveset – Damo Suzuki & Popsysze, Spacefest, December 2012
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