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He Is Damo Suzuki

Interview by Andrew Stevens.

Damo Suzuki should require no introduction (though if he does then this should do the trick). Formerly vocalist with Can, he now never-endingly tours with the Damo Suzuki Network.

3:AM: Do you remember what you were playing that day in Munich when you were ‘discovered’?

DS: That time I was working for musical Hair and work there was quite boring, every day just same shit… so I made some happening on the street. I cannot remember what I’ve done.

3:AM: How are you a ‘network’? Are you ever confused with the Dan Reed Network?

DS: I create time and space of the moment with local sound carriers or musicians, that means everywhere I travel alone, I have different sound carriers and also music is different. I’m networking everywhere with this movement to understanding to share energy which I believe is the weapon against violence. We are composing pieces on spot call it “instant composing” and every time new experience for sound carriers on stage and audience… I have nets of sound carriers all over the world… so, that’s why simply called Network. And this way I’m keeping Never Ending Tour. Last year’s period I performed with around 400 sound carriers in five continents. So, name Network is fitting good, isn’t it?

Until now, I never heard of the Dan Reed Network… why I should confuse with them? Well I check their website… hmmm. They are much older than my network. Mine is since 1997. But they put Network as their band name. I put this as a movement…

3:AM: I saw you playing a hotel in Amsterdam a few years back, what do you make of there? Where do you like to play? Is Cologne your permanent base now?

DS: Amsterdam is interesting small city… I mean good size of city I like… I don’t like huge cities mostly. Because they steal energy. And one of my sound carrier friend guitarist — and I don’t like to say his name here as he is well known if I put his name he may have stress… with girls — is living there. There is no best cities to perform I can say as I have every city different experiences so, one and other I cannot compare. But, one thing is sure I perform in London most in Europe… every year three, four times. Also in another continent Tokyo… probably I perform around eight times in a year. This is all quantity answer. I like to perform just everywhere and share energy to audience, they are in trance when they are in the room where our sound is created. So, this space and time is my best place, it doesn’t matter Amsterdam or New York, Calgary or Melbourne… It’s my home where sound is creating and we have always nice guest in our home. Since three years winter time I spend my time in Australia… I stay in Melbourne and from there I tour Australia and New Zealand. So, Cologne is mainly I live when I’m not on the road.

3:AM: Are you more flattered to have a band [Mooney Suzuki] or a Fall song [‘I Am Damo Suzuki’] named after you?

DS: I met Mark E. Smith a couple of times. Last year I met him very short in Lyon where we performed at same festival. I didn’t have that time to stay at his show. But, he was happy to see me, we took conversation a bit. I was thankful when I heard that song… it’s already old song… from 1985!

3:AM: Is MySpace the future of musical awareness or just silly self-promotion?

DS: I don’t like to go to MySpace. Reason? It’s owned by Murdoch, the media mafia.

3:AM: Why do you keep on making new music, after 30+ years?

DS: Actually, I’m not making new music. New or old is no matter for creating music. There is only bad and good music.

What I’m doing is quite seldom and not compareable… I have much more weight for music process, not product. We serve daily menu for audience who are open minded and like to travel with their mind. Mainly people of the world needs answer. Product is the answer. Eating product hearing product not fresh cooked things. Listen to already composed stuff. Bands are coping themselves day and night. Singing same texture for years and years. This is kind of touristic. You go to Paris there is very famous tower, you go to London to hear Big Ben, etc… shoot photos in front of those places. No real ‘own’ experiences. People do those stuff because other people is buying or its trend. People is controlled by capitalism, materialism… devil’s guidance.

I don’t need any answer, I have enough time to live and create, I don’t like to be a slave under the time and material thoughts. All nature is processing and they don’t have reached result… so, they are timeless. Developing and developing… Never Ending… Human need answer because they believe their life is at least 80 years or something. So, they afraid without not reach something or without get thing in thier short life, but, actually it doesn’t help them anything. We born naked and die naked… you cannot carry all those things.

There are many possibilities to develop myself. So, I don’t have time limit to do this or that. Just let it go as nature. It’s much better to live like this way… you are not in stress and also you can hear breath of nature as you are trying to understand live with them and finding to live same rhythm like them. So, I will never stop create time and space of the moment. I get friends everywhere and next time I visit them is my home. So, I have homes everywhere, what I need more?

3:AM: Will you ever play the slide whistle on a record again [‘Pinch’]?

DS: I don’t know what is the slide whistle… what is it?

Andrew Stevens is contributing editor to 3:AM and lives in London.

First published in 3:AM Magazine: Wednesday, October 4th, 2006.